Saturday, October 25, 2008

Michael Bonner's Jihad in Islamic History (Princeton University Press) is a serious book that deserves to be read. It is written in the meticulous tradition of old-fashioned Orientalism--and I mean that as a compliment. But he mistranslates a few key terms from Arabic. For example, he mistranslates "baghy" as "outrage" (p. 6) and that really misses the whole meaning of the jurisprudential treatment. Baghy should have been translated as injustice or corruption, and that makes a whole difference because the section was trying to compare the treatment to the theories of Just War in Christianity. Similarly, "ta`awun" is cooperation and not "solidarity" (p. 145). I will have more to say about the book, time permitting.