Samarina Tat’iana

From the History of Islamic Studies: A.-M. Schimmel and Phenomenological Approach to Religion

Samarina Tat’iana (2017) "From the History of Islamic Studies: A.-M. Schimmel and Phenomenological Approach to Religion ", Vestnik Pravoslavnogo Sviato-Tikhonovskogo gumanitarnogo universiteta. Seriia I : Bogoslovie. Filosofiia. Religiovedenie, 2017, vol. 71, pp. 89-103 (in Russian).

DOI of the paper: 10.15382/sturI201771.89-103


This article analyses key works of the well-known classic of Islamic studies A.-M. Schimmel and demonstrates that in her legacy the methodology of classical phenomenology of religion has found its fresh application to the study of Islam. The article focuses on essential points of A.-M. Schimmel’s biography that had infl uenced her academic career, and then analyses her phenomenological approach showing how she builds a system of description of Islam by means of systematising religious phenomena that proceeds from external forms (material objects) to the centre of religion, God. Phenomenological analysis of Islam provides a base for comprehensive understanding and description of religious phenomena, starting from the perception of stone, holiday, clothes, myth in minds of ordinary Muslims. Schimmel’s phenomenological approach to Islam takes into account the specifi city of lived religion prior to the emergence of this trend. A.-M. Schimmel’s legacy therefore fits in the context of contemporary religious studies. The second part of the article examines the influence of leading scholars in phenomenology of religion (Mircea Eliade, Gerardus van der Leeuw, Friedrich Heiler) on A.-M. Schimmel. It is concluded that the positive reception of her work among scholars of Islam and among Muslims themselves suggests that the language of the phenomenological description is the language of religious dialogue.


phenomenology, religious studies, Islam, mysticism, A.-M. Schimmel, M. Eliade, G. van der Leeuw, F. Heiler


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Information about the author

Samarina Tat’iana

Academic Degree: Candidate of Sciences* in Philosophy;
Place of work: Institute of Philosophy, Russian Academy of Sciences, 12/1 Goncharnaia, 109240 Moscow, Russian Federation;
Email: email: t_s_samarina@bk.ru.

*According to the International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED) 2011, the degree of Candidate of Sciences (Cand.Sc.) belongs to ISCED level 8 — "doctoral or equivalent", together with PhD, DPhil, D.Lit, D.Sc, LL.D, Doctorate or similar.