New Perspectives on the Qur’an: The Qur’an in Its Historical Context 2
NEW PERSPECTIVES ON THE QURAN – Book Sample
New Perspectives on the Qur’an
About the Book – In this book, which continues the work of The Qur ‘an in Its Historical Coııtext, an intemational group of scholars address an expanded range of topics on the Qur’an and its origins, looking beyond medieval Islamic traditions to present the Qur’an’s own conversation with the religions and literatures of its day.
Particular attention is paid to recent debates and çontroversies in the field, and to uncovering the Qur’an’s relationship with Judaism and Christianity. After a foreword by Abdolkarim Soroush, chapters by renowned experts cover: method in Qur’an Studies; analysis of material evidence, including inscriptions and ancient manuscripts, for what they show ofthe Qur’an’s origins;
the language of the Qur’an and proposed ways to emend our reading of the Qur’an; how our knowledge of the religious groups at the time of the Qur’an’s emergence rnight contribute to a better understanding of the text; 0 the Qur’an’s conversation with Biblical literature and traditions that challenge the standard understanding ofthe holy book.
This debate ofrecent controversial proposals for new interpretations ofthe Qur’an will shed new light on the Qur’anic passages that have been shrouded in mystery and debate. As such, it will be a valuable reference for scholars of Islam, the Qur’an, Christian-Muslim relations and. the Middle East.
Gabriel Said Reynolds is Associate Professor oflslamic Studies and Theology at the University of Notre Dame (USA). He is the author of The Qur ‘aıı aııd Its Biblical Sııbtext (Routledge 2010), the editor of The Qıır ‘an in Its Historical Coııtext (Routledge 2008), and the translator of ‘Abd al-Jabbar’s A Critiqııe of Cİıristiaıı Origiııs (Brigham Young University 2010).
Introduction- The golden ageof Qur’ anic studies?1
On the aftenoon of Monday July 5, 2010, as I was working on draft of the present introduction, I received the terrible news that Nasr Hamid Abu Zayd had died earlier that day in Cairo. Professor Abu Zayd, the keynote speaker of the 2009 Notre Dame Qur’an conference on which this book is based, was a revered teacher of Muslims and non-Muslims alike.
His Arabic works on Islarnic thought were translated into Turkish, Persian, Indonesian, and many European languages. His “humanistic hermeneutic” (see his contribution to the present volume), a method of Qur’an interpretation developed during his work in exile towards the end ofhis life, gamered significant interest in the West and in the Islamic world.2 Accordingly Prof. Abu Zayd was often asked to give major speeches, and to him the keynote speech at our conference could hardly have been an extraordinary event.
Yet to the community of students and scholars of the Qur’an who gathered at Notre Dame it certainly was. And·so the present book is dedicated to his memory, in gratitude for his presence among us in April .2009, and in gratitude for the wisdom he has shared with many throughout the years.
The April 2009 Notre Dame Qur’an conference was preceded by a conference in 2005, the papers ofwhich were published under the title The Qur’an in Its Historica/ Context (Routledge, 2008). in that book’s introduction, subtitled “Qur’anic Studies and Its Controversies,” I describe the mysteries surrounding the supposed destruction of the Qur’an manuscript films collected by Got thelfBergstriisser (d. 1933) and Otto
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