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Orientalists

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The Oxford Dictionary of Islam What is This? Covers the religious, political, and social spheres of global Islam in the modern world

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    Orientalists

    Term designating those who study classical texts in Asian languages (Akkadian, Arabic, Aramaic, Greek, Hebrew, Persian, Sanskrit, etc.), requiring rigorous specialized training. Flourished in Western scholarship from the eighteenth to the twentieth century. Sought to uncover allegedly essential features of Asian civilizations through the critical philological study of cultural texts. Became associated with the romantic, exoticizing impulse of nineteenth-century European culture, influenced by ethnocentrism and imperialism. Because of the negative connotations of this association, developed in the late twentieth century, scholars no longer use the term.

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