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An Evening with Dr. Soroush (Harvard)


Dr. Abdul-Karim Soroush, the pre-eminent Iranian political thinker, philosopher, and religious modernist, engaged interested students and faculty in two soirées, held October 16 and November 9, 2001, on the Shi‘ite concept of tajarri’, false obedience, or what happens when one is intent on breaking the law but obeys instead, as would occur e.g. when one drinks what one thinks is wine, but turns out to be water. When one wants to commit adultery, but beds one’s wife thinking she is another. Is one blameworthy for one’s intent, or only for one’s actions? Animated discussion interrupted each session, even bringing the topic to cases of the converse of tajarri’, when, for example, one is certain that the drink is water but it is wine. Is this doubly sinful, because not only was the action blameworthy but the certainty as well? ILSP hopes to be able to continue the idea of soirées for future semesters.




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