Professor Gerald Hawting writes that:
The interpreter will approach the text with aims, preconceptions, tools and methods of interpretation, many of which derive not from the text, but from the mind of the interpreter and the society to which he or she belongs. In some cases, the interpreter’s agenda can dominate to such an extent that “exegesis” could legitimately be described as an imposition of meanings upon the text, meaning that may have been foreign to its “authors.” The imposition of meanings on a text can be so successful that it may obscure what, for an outsider, would count as earlier and perhaps more authentic levels of meaning.”
Explain his words as you would to a high school student, and provide an example of at least one qur’anic verse/narrative. You must be clear, but concise. .
One of our readings talks about the socio-historical context of the verses of the Qur’an, and that this facet of interpretation was basically pushed aside in favor of the legal interpretations. Given that you are living in the United States, please provide the reason(s) for which interpretive approach you think would better serve American Muslims.