Since the earliest period of Islamic history, Arab thought and reason has been dominated by a reverence for tradition and textual analysis. In this groundbreaking work, the great contemporary Arab philosopher Mohammed Abed al-Jabri seeks to chart a course towards modernity via the proposition that respect for textualism and tradition are not inconsistent with rationalism, and that both history and philosophy are key to the evolution of knowledge systems and ways of reasoning in Arab culture.Al-Jabri dissects the systems through which knowledge is obtained and verified in Arab thought, and demonstrates their fundamental bias towards analogical reasoning and pre-modern authoritative referents, some of which are inherently resistant to empirical analysis. In an impassioned defence of rationalism, he argues that these textual reference points must be interpreted and mediated with critical analytical tools. He advocates an evolution of Arab thought to accommodate the changeability of values, interpretations and structures over space and time, to escape an a-historical imprisonment.This book has exerted an enormous influence within the Arab world on the 'Islam and Modernity' discourse. It is published here for the first time in English and provides fascinating insight into the trends of contemporary Arab thought.