The Qur’an is God’s verbatim speech for most traditional Muslims. Michael Birkel’s new book, Qur’an in Conversation (Baylor University Press, 2014), reflects how this sacred text comes into dialogue with the contemporary world through the voices of its interpreters. Birkel, who is Professor of Religion at Earlham College, engages North American Muslim religious leaders and academics in conversations of scriptural interpretation. Scholars, practicing imams, and younger public intellectuals wrestle with key suras of the Qur’an.
Qur’an in Conversation demonstrates a wide spectrum of interpretation and diversity of approaches in reading Islam’s scripture. The discussions directly address key issues in Muslim theology—good versus evil, the nature of God, and the future of Islam. Younger North American Muslims read the Qur’an in varied ways; this is analogous to the diverse ways in which Jews and Christians have interpreted their own holy books.
Michael Birkel welcomes people of goodwill into a public conversation about the current role of Western Muslims in Islam. Qur’an in Conversation encourages non-specialists and Muslim scholars alike to imagine how the Qur’an will be interpreted among North American Muslims in years to come.
* Text adopted from product page of Baylor University Press.
© International Qur’anic Studies Association, 2014. All rights reserved.