Book Review: Walid A. Saleh: The Formation of the Classical Tafsīr Tradition: The Qurʾān Commentary of al-Thaʿlabī
One of the most apparent characteristics of the academic Orientalism is its self-perpetuation: it takes a fresh graduate student bubbling with ideas, energy, and zeal, and offers him or her a ladder that would eventually lead where the professor holding the ladder is now standing. Once recruited and groomed, this graduate student joins the ranks of those who produce ‘scholars’ and ‘experts’ on Islam. Absorbed in an alluring profession, teaching Islam at the religious studies department of a university as an assistant professor, the first thing this graduate student of yesteryear does is the presentation of his or her doctoral thesis to the world as an expert’s book, thus adding to that storehouse of themes, ideas, opinions, and thoughts which Edward Said made sour for all times to come. Walid Saleh’s career and first book is a typical example of this entrenched Orientalism.