Conference and Workshop: The Translation of the Qur’ān in Indonesia – Yogyakarta, Indonesia | July 30 – 31, 2018

Indonesia is not only the most populous Muslim-majority state but also one of the most multilingual ones. This is one of several reasons that make the field of Qur’ān translation in Indonesia highly interesting. Another, is the early and strong presence of reformist trends in the country that led, on the one hand, to sustained daʿwa activities centered on the Qur’ān and, on the other, to doctrinal debates on the permissibility of such activities, that mirrored those in Egypt. Rashīd Riḍā actually issued one of his fatwas on Qur’ān translation in response to a question from Indonesia. In the 1960s, the government of the newly independent Republic of Indonesia emerged as a strong actor in the field of religion, commissioning a national Qur’ān translation that still dominates the market. The government also promoted Bahasa Indonesia as a national language at the expense of the multitude of regional languages spoken by Indonesia’s citizens. In recent years, however, the Ministry of Religion has started to reverse that trend and published Qur’ān translations in more than a dozen regional languages. These translations often compete with existing works by local religious scholars.

Recognising the complexity and relevance of the field of Qur’ān translation in Indonesia, the Department of Islamic Studies at Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg, Germany, and the School of Graduate Studies at the State Islamic University Sunan Kalijaga in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, organised the first conference on this topic. On July 30 and 31, 2018, dozens of scholars and students met in Yogyakarta to discuss the political, social and linguistic dimensions of Indonesian Qur’ān translations. The schedule allowed for plenty of time to discuss the twenty-three papers, including six given by students, that were delivered in two plenary sessions and several panels on politics and media, gender, education, and regional languages.

Some dominant themes emerged during the discussions: First, the dominant role of the authoritative Qur’ān translation published by the Indonesian Government. Owing to its wide distribution, it has been able to influence social and political debates but the scholars who produced it were also forced to react to social change, as is apparent in the evolution of the translation’s approach to gender. Another topic that was discussed a great deal was the question of script. At the beginning of the 20th century, the Arabic script competed with the Latin alphabet in qur’ānic exegesis and Qur’ān translation. For some languages, such as Javanese and Buginese, these systems, in turn, competed with traditional scripts such as Carakan and Lontara. Many papers touched upon this issue but it became apparent during the conference that a conclusive history of the rise and fall of different writing systems in Islamic literature, particularly during the 19th and 20th centuries, still remains to be written.

Several papers brought up unusual, little-known and unexpected facts, such as the existence of new prophets in Indonesia who base their message on the Qur’ān and their own translation of it, or the production of rhyming translations in traditional meters in languages such as Sundanese and Acehnese by traditional scholars. The field of qur’ānic translation in practice is clearly larger than is generally assumed, and includes interlinear translation, often considered a pre-modern phenomenon, is, in fact, thriving, both due to its roots in traditional Islamic schools and to a recent upsurge in interest in learning to read the Qur’ān in Arabic, as opposed to relying on stand-alone translations.

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Participants at the First Conference and Workshop on the Translation of the Qur’ān in Indonesia

The conference was judged a great success by the participants and will hopefully lead to a publication that will make scholarship on Indonesia, particularly that conducted by Indonesians, more visible within the field of qur’ānic Studies. It will also help develop a theoretical framework for the study of Qur’ān translations that takes multilingual contexts, changes in writing systems, and the politics of translation into account.

© International Qur’ānic Studies Association, 2018. All rights reserved.

Job Vacancy: Islamic Studies Associate Prof. | University of Cincinnati

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Photo Credit: https://www.uc.edu/ucomm/brand.html

The University of Cincinnati invites applications by advanced assistant and associate professors to fill the Inayat and Ishrat Malik Professorship in Islamic Studies. The position will begin in the fall of 2019. The search committee welcomes applications from scholars in the field of Islamic Studies, with research and teaching interests in such areas as Anthropology, Comparative Religion, Arabic, Ethics, Gender Studies, History, Literature, Philosophy, Political Science, Sociology, and Theology.

Minimum Qualifications:

A Ph.D. is required, as well as prior teaching experience and evidence of scholarly excellence.

The successful candidate is expected to engage in research, to teach on the graduate and undergraduate  levels in their area, and to contribute, via interdisciplinary education and as appropriate, to undergraduate certificate programs in such areas as Religious Studies, Middle Eastern Studies, Arabic Studies, Asian Studies, Security Studies, and Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies. The successful candidate should be thoroughly knowledgeable in the Islamic intellectual tradition and in Qur’anic Studies. Enthusiasm to present Islamic teachings in multiple areas of thought and experience and in a style accessible to diverse student audiences is essential. This effort will include the presentation of at least one public lecture in Islamic Studies each academic year. The candidate should also have a track-record of engagement with the Islamic community, demonstrate a willingness to contribute to the Islamic Center of Greater Cincinnati, and be able to build productive relationships with academic partners across campus and with interfaith and cultural groups in the Cincinnati area.

The tenure-track position will be housed in the department in the College of Arts & Sciences most appropriate to the candidate’s degree. Joint appointments are possible.

The successful candidate will be expected to make service contributions to the mission of that department and commensurate with the position of Professorship in Islamic Studies. The teaching load will accord with that of research-active faculty. The University of Cincinnati is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer with a strong commitment to diversity. The University is interested in qualified candidates who can contribute, through their research, teaching and service, to the diversity and excellence of the academic community, and we hope to attract applicants who have experience in promoting the success of students from diverse backgrounds. We encourage women, members of racial/ethnic/gender groups underrepresented in higher education, persons with disabilities, and veterans to apply.

For full consideration, apply online at https://jobs.uc.edu (Search Requisition #31164). A complete application will include a letter of interest, a CV, an article-length writing sample, and a one-page statement summarizing your contributions or potential contributions to diversity and inclusion as they relate to teaching, research and/or mentoring. Please use the Additional Documents function to submit the required documents. Three letters of reference must be directly submitted by recommenders to history@ucmail.uc.edu.

 

FOR ALL FACULTY HIRES: OFFICIAL ACADEMIC TRANSCRIPTS WILL BE REQUIRED AT THE TIME OF HIRE

 

The University of Cincinnati, as a multi-national and culturally diverse university, is committed to providing an inclusive, equitable and diverse place of learning and employment. As part of a complete job application you will be asked to include a Contribution to Diversity and Inclusion statement.

As a UC employee, and an employee of an Ohio public institution, if hired you will not contribute to the federal Social Security system, other than contributions to Medicare. Instead, UC employees have the option to contribute to a state retirement plan (OPERS, STRS) or an alternative retirement plan (ARP).

 

The University of Cincinnati is an Affirmative Action / Equal Opportunity Employer / M / F / Veteran / Disabled.

*Content courtesy of Dr. Jeff Zalar (University of Cincinnati)

Call for Papers: The Qur’ān and Ethiopia: Context and Reception

Submissions are solicited for a one-day symposium on ‘The Qurʾān and Ethiopia: Context and Reception’, which will be held at The Catholic University of America (Washington, DC USA) on Monday, April 8, 2019.

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Connections between the Qurʾān and Ethiopia are vast and varied. On the one hand, Ethiopia provides an important historical context (among many others) for understanding the Qurʾān in its Late Antique milieu. After all, throughout Late Antiquity, Ethiopia was a major political power, situated just across the Red Sea from the Arabian Peninsula. Occasionally, Ethiopia even interceded directly in affairs in the peninsula, as evidenced above all by the Najrān episode. In addition, Islamic literature relays many connections that Muḥammad and his followers had with Ethiopia, including most famously the first Ḥijrah in which companions of the prophet sought refuge in Ethiopia. Thus, it comes as no surprise that there are Ethiopic loanwords in the Qurʾān, perhaps none more saliently than the Ethiopic word maʾǝdd ‘table, Eucharist’, which is found as the name of the fifth sūrah (al-Māʾidah). While Ethiopic loanwords in the Qurʾān have long been known, a number of questions remain: What do these loanwords tell us about the context in which the Qurʾān came into existence? And, more broadly and significantly, can we move beyond loanwords? That is, what are the other ways in which Ethiopia may provide a context for understanding the Qurʾān in its historical setting?

On the other hand, the Qurʾān also had—and still has—a reception in Ethiopia. Modern day Ethiopia is home to a sizable Muslim community: The 2007 census reported that just over one-third of the country’s ca. 74 million inhabitants identified as Muslim. Similarly, in neighboring Eritrea, which is historically part of the ancient kingdom of Axum, almost half of the ca. 5.5 million inhabitants in 2011 were Muslim, according to a report by the U.S. Department of State. These modern Muslim populations have historical antecedents stretching back to the rise of Islam. Thus, Ethiopia provides fertile ground for studying the reception of the Qurʾān for well over a millennium. The reception of the Qurʾān in Ethiopia is an especially opportune topic for a symposium at The Catholic University of America, which thanks to a recent gift by Gerald and Barbara Weiner now holds an invaluable collection of more than 175 Arabic manuscripts from Ethiopia, including a number of copies of the Qurʾān as well as exegetical works (tafsīr). Thus, ultimately, this symposium aims to locate the Qurʾān in Ethiopia, both as a context for its early development and as a location for its later reception.

Abstracts describing the precise topic treated with a length of approximately 200-300 words can be sent as an electronic version (pdf and MS word document) to Aaron Butts (buttsa@cua.edu). The deadline for submission is November 1, 2018.

Papers presented at the symposium will be considered for publication in an edited volume, which aims to make this interesting topic available to a wider audience.

 

Questions can be addressed to:

Dr. Aaron Butts
Assistant Professor of Semitic Languages and Literatures
Department of Semitic and Egyptian Languages and Literatures
The Catholic University of America
buttsa@cua.edu

© International Qur’anic Studies Association, 2018. All rights reserved.

Summer School in Arabic Codicology, at the Royal Library of the Monastery of San Lorenzo de El Escorial, July 9 – 13, Madrid

The fifth, consecutive, intensive summer school on Arabic Codicology: the Islamic Manuscript Heritage in the El Escorial Collection took place in Madrid, Spain from July 9 – 13. The course was led and directed by Professor Nuria de Castilla (Ecole Pratique d’Hautes Etudes, Paris), and Professor François Déroche (Collège de France, Paris). This year, participants were also able to benefit from the expertise of José Luis del Valle Merino, director of the Royal Library of the Monastery of San Lorenzo de El Escorial. The course was sponsored by the European Commission Research Project Saadian Intellectual and Cultural LifE SICLE 670628 and co-organised by UCM’s Fundación General.

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Professor Nuria de Castilla and some of the participants at the summer school

The aim of the summer school has been to provide the students with basic training in codicology and the research methods they will need when studying and analyzing Arabic manuscripts. Following morning lectures on different aspects of codicology, such as composition, writing surfaces, illumination, paleography and bindings, the afternoons were dedicated to hands-on sessions at the Royal Library, where participants were able to apply the knowledge and skills they had learnt, by examining manuscripts from the Arabic Collection.

The El Escorial Arabic Manuscript Collection (circa 2000 codices) consists mainly of manuscripts from the Library of Sultan Mūlay Zaydān, which became part of the Library of Phillip III of Spain in 1612. The collection is thus one of the very few from the Muslim world to remain virtually intact and is therefore considered to be the most important collection of Arabic manuscripts in Spain and one of the most interesting in Europe.

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A hands-on session in the Library

The course not only furthered participants’ knowledge of the collection, but also promoted the creation of international networks and exchange between participants. With an average of 100 applications each year, but capacity for only 16 participants, to date, the course has welcomed participants from all five continents. This year, the course was attended by participants from Argentina, Austria, France, Germany, Iran, Israel, Lebanon, Morocco, Singapore, Spain, Tunisia, the United Kingdom and the United States.

 

Anyone interested in the field of codicology can find more information on the summer school’s Facebook page, Twitter profile or website.

© International Qur’anic Studies Association, 2018. All rights reserved.

 

Review of Qur’anic Research, Vol. 4 no. 7 (2018)

In the latest installment of the Review of Qur’anic Research (Vol. 4, no.7), W. Richard Oakes, Jr. (Independent Scholar) reviews Nevin Reda’s The al-Baqara Crescendo: Understanding the Qur’an’s Style, Narrative Structure, and Running Themes (Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2017).

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In his review, Oakes writes… “In The al-Baqara Crescendo, Nevin Reda does an exceptional job of describing the Qur’ān in the vocabulary of art, aesthetics, acoustics, chanting, song, music, the rhythms and rhymes of orally-recited poetry, poetic-like rhetorical devices, and German terminology. Her emotive vocabulary and accessible writing style lures the reader into a feeling that her approach is holistic and that Sūrat al-Baqarah is coherent…”

Want to read more? For full access to the Review of Qur’anic Research (RQR), members can log in HERE. Not an IQSA member? Join today to enjoy RQR and additional member benefits!

 

© International Qur’anic Studies Association, 2018. All rights reserved.

Second Aramaic & Syriac Studies Conference at the Cairo University 2019

The Department of Oriental Languages will hold its Second Aramaic and Syriac Studies Conference at the Cairo University (Egypt) between February-March of 2019.

Conference Panels Include:
Grammar and Linguistic Studies
Arabic, Hebrew, Greek and Syriac Rhetoric
Armenian and Syriac Studies
Arabic and Syriac Studies
Comparative Semitic and Syriac Studies
Archaeological studies
lnscriptions and Graffity
Old and modern Aramaic
Old and modern Syriac/Suryat
Ancient and modern Aramaic/Syriac Literature
Diaspora and Migration Studies|
Ancient and contemporary Theater and Story Studies
Travel Liteartures
Establishment of ancient and modern Syriac Schools
Dialog with Jewish and Islam
Translation of OT, NT, and Quran into Syriac
Renaissance literature/Studies
Jewish, Greek, Islamic,and Syriac Legal Texts
Christian arabic Studies
Karshoni Studies
Digital Studies in Syriac Heritage

Abstracts and Papers will be accepted until the end July 2018, and completed papers until the end August 2018.

Applications for attendance by observers are welcome and should be submitted by July 2018.

Conference Fees
US Fees include paper publication, accommodations, meals (3 days), a trip to new Library of Alexandria, and city tour.

  • Fees are $100.00 USD for Speakers without accommodations.
  • Fees for speaker attendance excluding paper publication are $350.00 USD (include accommodations, all meals for 3 nights)

Accommodations at University Hotel:

  • Limited single rooms, double and triple rooms available
  • Families should apply by the end July for suitable accomodations

Questions? Contact secondcairoconference@gmail.com

 

*Content and images courtesy of http://arts.cu.edu.eg/  and Prof. Dr. Salah Abdel Aziz Mahgoub Edris.

Publisher’s Corner – The Koran in English: A Biography

The Koran in English: A Biography

The untold story of how the Arabic Qur’an became the English Koran

 

For millions of Muslims, the Qur’an is sacred only in Arabic, the original Arabic in which it was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad in the seventh century; to many Arab and non-Arab believers alike, the book literally defies translation. Yet English translations exist and are growing, in both number and importance. Bruce Lawrence tells the remarkable story of the ongoing struggle to render the Qur’an’s lyrical verses into English—and to make English itself an Islamic language.

The “Koran” in English revisits the life of Muhammad and the origins of the Qur’an before recounting the first translation of the book into Latin by a non-Muslim: Robert of Ketton’s twelfth-century version paved the way for later ones in German and French, but it was not until the eighteenth century that George Sale’s influential English version appeared. Lawrence explains how many of these early translations, while part of a Christian agenda to “know the enemy,” often revealed grudging respect for their Abrahamic rival. British expansion in the modern era produced an anomaly: fresh English translations—from the original Arabic—not by Arabs or non-Muslims but by South Asian Muslim scholars.

The first book to explore the complexities of this translation saga, The “Koran” in English also looks at cyber Korans, versions by feminist translators, and now a graphic Koran, the American Qur’an created by the acclaimed visual artist Sandow Birk.*

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Author: Bruce B. Lawrence is the Nancy and Jeffrey Marcus Humanities Professor Emeritus of Religion at Duke University. His many books include Who Is Allah?; New Faiths, Old Fears: Muslims and Other Asian Immigrants in American Religious Life; and Shattering the Myth: Islam beyond Violence (Princeton). He lives in Hillsborough, North Carolina.

ISBN13: 978069115586
ISBN (ebook): 9781400887798
Publication Date: 2017
Publisher: Princeton University Press

 

*Content courtesy of Princeton University Press