Journal of Romance Studies

Abdelwahab Meddeb: A literary path towards an Islamic atheism?

Journal of Romance Studies (2013), 13, (1), 49–64.

Abstract

This paper examines the literary and political work of Tunisian poet and theorist Abdelwahab Meddeb over the past thirty years, looking at the ways in which he consistently makes the case for an atheism that grows inevitably out of Muslim doctrine, especially where both vernacular and intellectual interpretations of this take root. Meddeb dually anchors his work within Muslim and French literary and philosophical traditions. On the one hand, he maintains that his work continues where that of philosophers from the Muslim canon was interrupted. This is at a point, Meddeb argues, that is just short of declaring an atheism derived logically from Islamic teachings. He also, however, situates his work firmly alongside that of French philosophical figures – Jean-Luc Nancy in particular. Yet despite his insistence on a dual affiliation, Meddeb’s work seems largely to be exposing Islamic structures in an unprecedented way to a post-theological mode of thinking that ultimately deviates from Islamic philosophical precedents, whilst the impact of his work on French thinkers seems negligible. Thus, although ambitious, his work lies outside of the intellectual and spiritual traditions to which he lays claim, potentially giving his ideas a limited sustainability.

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Meddeb, Abdelwahab (c.1999) Aya dans les villes (Saint-Clé ment-la-Riviè re: Fata Morgana). Aya dans les villes Google Scholar

Meddeb, Abdelwahab (2004) Face à l’islam (Paris: Textuel). Face à l’islam Google Scholar

Meddeb, Abdelwahab (c.2002) [2003] La Maladie de l’islam (Paris: Seuil) La Maladie de l’islam Google Scholar

Meddeb, Abdelwahab (2006) Contre-prêches: chroniques (Paris: Seuil). Contre-prêches: chroniques Google Scholar

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Nancy, Jean-Luc (1992) [2008] Corpus (Paris: A.M. Mé tailié). Corpus Google Scholar

Nancy, Jean-Luc (2005) [2008] La Déconstruction du christianisme (Paris: Galilée). La Déconstruction du christianisme Google Scholar

Nancy, Jean-Luc (2002) ‘Loin de l’Un’, Le Monde des livres, 2 May 2002. Loin de l’Un Le Monde des livres Google Scholar

Watkin, Christopher (2011) Difficult Atheism: Post-Theological Thinking in Alain Badiou, Jean-Luc Nancy and Quentin Meillassoux (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press). Difficult Atheism: Post-Theological Thinking in Alain Badiou, Jean-Luc Nancy and Quentin Meillassoux Google Scholar

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Qadiri, Sura