TED: An Agnostic Jew explores the Koran and finds much that is quite different from what is commonly reported

Lesley Hazleton explores the Koran and finds much that is quite different from what is reported in commonly cited accounts.

From TED: A psychologist by training and Middle East reporter by experience, British-born Lesley Hazleton has spent the last ten years exploring the vast and often terrifying arena in which politics and religion, past and present, intersect. Her most recent book, After the Prophet: the Epic Story of the Shia-Sunni Split, was a finalist for the 2010 PEN-USA nonfiction award.

She lived and worked in Jerusalem for thirteen years — a city where politics and religion are at their most incendiary — then moved to New York. She came to Seattle to get her pilot’s license in 1992, saw the perfect houseboat, and stayed. By 1994, she’d flown away all of her savings, and has never regretted a single cent of it. Now her raft rides low in the water under the weight of research as she works on her next book, The First Muslim, a new look at the life of Muhammad.

TEDxRainier is an independently organized TED event held in Seattle Washington.

More on Lesley from Wikipedia:

Lesley Hazleton (born 1945) is an award-winning British-American writer whose work focuses on the intersection of politics, religion, and history, especially in the Middle East. She reported from Israel for Time, and has written on the Middle East for numerous publications including The New York TimesThe New York Review of BooksHarper’sThe Nation, andThe New Republic.

Hazleton was born in England, and became a United States citizen in 1994. She was based in Jerusalem from 1966 to 1979 and in New York City from 1979 to 1992, when she moved to her current home in Seattle WA, originally to get her pilot’s license. She has two degrees in psychology (B.A. Manchester University, M.A. Hebrew University of Jerusalem).

She has described herself as “a Jew who once seriously considered becoming a rabbi, a former convent schoolgirl who daydreamed about being a nun, an agnostic with a deep sense of religious mystery though no affinity for organized religion”. ”Everything is paradox,” she has said. “The danger is one-dimensional thinking”.

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3 Responses to TED: An Agnostic Jew explores the Koran and finds much that is quite different from what is commonly reported

  1. Jerry says:

    This is a great clip. Thanks for finding this. She makes me appreciate Islam in a deeper level.

  2. cindijh says:

    I was totally engrossed with this clip. I loved her speaking style…and accent…and I found myself shaking my head in agreement again and again. The following quote is especially true….

    “Yet the fact that so few people actually do read the Quran is precisely why it is so easy to quote, that is, to misquote. Phrases and snippets taken out of context in what I call the “highlighter version” which is the one favored by both Muslim Fundamentalists and anti Muslim Islamaphobes.”

    I haven’t read the Quran cover to cover but then I haven’t read the Bible cover to cover either in spite of the fact that I am a Christian. (Leviticus and Deuteronomy come to mind) I do see this same “highlighter version” thing going on with the Bible. Fundamentalist Christians and atheists both share the same mindset…that of taking everything literally (and usually out of context). Or as she is quoted in the post….“The danger is one-dimensional thinking”

    Thanks for posting this…now I’m off to google Lesley Hazleton


  3. JustOneWorld says:

    @cindijh. Well I have read the Quran, cover to cover, about 9-10x, but I have read an English translation; so I can only claim to have read another’s interpretation.
    The language of the Quran is so deep, some of those Arabic words are expounded on in volumes. But the translator has to choose one word, or the actual book would stand about 9 ft tall.

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