Abdolkarim Soroush

Abdolkarim Soroush is a researcher at the Institute for Cultural Research and Studies in Iran and was a visiting fellow and scholar in residence with the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs during the spring 2008 semester. One of the Muslim world's most influential thinkers for his analysis of the relationship between religious and secular knowledge and authority, Soroush has also been a Visiting Professor at Harvard, Princeton, and Yale Universities and the Wissenschaftskolleg in Berlin. In 2005, Time listed him as one of the world’s 100 most influential individuals. A good introduction to his numerous publications is Reason, Freedom, and Democracy in Islam: Essential Writing of Abdolkarim Soroush (2000, translated and edited by Mahmoud Sadri and Ahmad Sadri). Born in Tehran in 1945, Soroush studied pharmacy in Iran before moving to the United Kingdom to continue his studies in the philosophy of science and history at Chelsea College. Soroush returned to Iran after the fall of the Shah and published Knowledge and Value (Danesh va Arzesh), the first of many books relating Islam to the challenges of democracy and modernity. He was appointed Director of the Islamic Culture Group at Tehran’s Teacher Training College. In 1983, disillusioned with the course of the Iranian revolution, Soroush resigned from the Culture Revolution Council and moved to the Institute for Cultural Research and Studies, with which he remains affiliated.

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