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Bennet and Esposito’s work will be henceforth referred to as simply Bennet’s.
Bennet and Shepard’s typologies Westernise the study of Islamic thought through the systems they have chosen to organise their typologies and in several places their typologies do not accurately reflect the reality they are attempting to typify.
The British experience with the left/right spectrum, Britain with its ‘Mother of all Parliaments’, clearly demarcated party system along left/right lines and despite lying solidly within the boundaries of “Western political thought” has a not so clear relationship with the spectrum many would argue it organises itself around.
Within Bennet the left is termed “progressive” whilst the biggest right wing movement is termed “traditionalist” .
A synonym of “progressive” is liberal; a synonym of “traditionalist” is conservative.
Secondly, a typology must accurately apply to the reality that it is attempting to typify; this will be ascertained simply by applying the typologies to their evidence to highlight errors, inaccuracies, generalisations and simple oversights.
Thirdly, a successful typology must represent a beneficial departure from contemporary typologies or alternatively a significant build upon those pre-existing typologies in order for it to be a worthwhile endeavour.
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Methodology To assess the merits of Shepard and Bennets work we must first define what we will evaluate their typologies relative to.