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Historical Methodology and the Believer
by Ibn Warraq (July 2010)
The following is an expanded version of the speech Mr. Warraq delivered to the 2010 New English Review Symposium, "Decline, Fall & Islam" on June 19, 2010.
PART ONE: SCIENTIFIC METHODOLOGY
A few years ago I was invited to a conference at The Hague by Professor Hans Jansen, the great Arabist. After listening to series of grim papers all day long, Hans and I headed for the nearest bar. I was to give my talk the next day and I asked him what I should talk about. He replied, you must begin with a joke, there were not enough jokes. So I shall begin with a joke, first told me by Joe Hoffmann, which in fact is relevant to the theme of my present paper, that is, historical methodology, and the consequences of scientific research into the origins of early Islam and Christianity, consequences for the believer above all. more>>>