Review of Qur’anic Research, Vol. 6 no. 2 (2020)

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In the latest installment of the Review of Qur’anic Research (vol. 6, no.2), Sidney H. Griffith (The Catholic University of America)  reviews Holger M. Zellentin’s (ed.), The Qur’an’s Reformation of Judaism and Christianity: Return to the Origins (London & New York: Routledge, 2019).

6.2In his review, Griffith writes “The title of this important collection of scholarly articles already gives away the hypothesis the editor intends the dozen, first rate studies of qurʾānic passages included in the volume to commend. Namely, the view that one might best understand the Arabic scripture’s relationship with contemporary Judaism and Christianity by recognizing, as he says, “the Qur’an’s attempt to reform rather than to replace the religion of the Jews and the Christians of its time.” (3). This characterization of the Qurʾān’s purpose is already debatable, albeit that one readily recognizes that the text does envision the continuing existence of the “Scripture People” within its purview, whose beliefs and practices are nevertheless criticized and whose social well-being is subjected to demeaning restrictions (Q al-Tawbah 9:29). The problem is that in several Medinan passages the Qurʾān explicitly distinguishes between “Those who believe, those who practice Judaism, and the Nazarenes (i.e., the Christians)” (Q al-Baqarah 2:62; Q al-Māʾidah 5:69; Q al-Ḥajj 22:17). It would seem that the Qurʾān really does commend replacement rather than just reformation on the basis of shared narratives. One suspects that in speaking of “reformation” in the present context, a term that readily suggests comparison with a major event in western Christianity of later times, the intention is to highlight the fact of the Qurʾān’s dialogue with Jews and Christians in the milieu of its origins, and to suggest familiarity with Jewish and Christian narratives of shared biblical and non-biblical figures, which the Qurʾān re-configures to fit its own, differing construction of revelatory meaning…

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© International Qur’anic Studies Association, 2020. All rights reserved.

Recent Publication—The Qur’an and Late Antiquity: A Shared Heritage by Angelika Neuwirth (Oxford University Press, 2019)

IQSA is excited to share a recent publication from the eminent Qur’an scholar Angelika Neuwirth. Neuwirth’s Der Koran als Text der Spätantike has been translated into English by Samuel Wilder and published under the title The Qur’an and Late Antiquity: A Shared Heritage.

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SYNOPSIS
Typical exegesis of the Qur’an treats the text teleologically, as a fait accompli finished text, or as a replica or summary of the Bible in Arabic. Instead Neuwirth approaches the Qur’an as the product of a specific community in the Late Antique Arabian peninsula, one which was exposed to the wider worlds of the Byzantine and Sasanian empires, and to the rich intellectual traditions of rabbinic Judaism, early Christianity, and Gnosticism. A central goal of the book is to eliminate the notion of the Qur’an as being ahistorical. She argues that it is, in fact, highly aware of its place in late antiquity and is capable of yielding valuable historical information. By emphasizing the liturgical function of the Qur’an, Neuwirth allows readers to see the text as an evolving oral tradition within the community before it became collected and codified as a book. This analysis sheds much needed light on the development of the Qur’an’s historical, theological, and political outlook. The book’s final chapters analyze the relationship of the Qur’an to the Bible, to Arabic poetic traditions, and, more generally, to late antique culture and rhetorical forms. By providing a new introduction to the Qur’an, one that uniquely challenges current ideas about its emergence and development, The Qur’an and Late Antiquity bridges the gap between Eastern and Western approaches to this sacred text.

Readers can purchase this book online at Oxford University Press, or find a copy at their institutional or local library.

© International Qur’anic Studies Association, 2020. All rights reserved.

 

Call for Papers: Syriac and Arabia Symposium (Hugoye Symposium VI)

bethBeth Mardutho: The Syriac Institute is holding its sixth Hugoye symposium on April 24-25, 2020, at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton. This year’s topic is Syriac and Arabia. While there has been much on the contribution of Syriac to the Abbasid translation movement, research on the connections between Syriac and Arabic before Islam and during the early years of Islam is in its infancy. This workshop aims to bring together scholars who cross the Syriac studies and Arabic/Islamic studies divide in the hope of forming a framework for the study of the Syriac-Arabic interface. Scholars interested in participating may send via email a proposal between 750 and 1,000 words. Submission deadline is February 29, 2020. Submissions are to be sent via email directly to George A. Kiraz at gkiraz@ias.edu. Scholars are expected to fund their travel to/from and accommodation in Princeton. The Institute will provide meals and a conference celebratory dinner. Speakers will be invited to contribute to a collected volume on an agreed-upon theme.

 

© International Qur’anic Studies Association, 2020. All rights reserved.

 

 

Call for Papers: IQSA Annual Meeting 2020

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The International Qur’anic Studies Association has opened its call for papers for its Annual Meeting to be held in Boston, Massachusetts from November 2023, 2020. Paper proposals should be submitted through the SBL’s automated online submission system under the corresponding “Affiliates” link by March 11, 2019 (note: IQSA membership is required for proposal submission; see below). Submission links can be found below under the respective program units. If you require further information or experience difficulties with the submission process, please contact the chairs of the program unit to which you would like to apply.

Please note that all proposals must include:

  • Author name and affiliation
  • Paper title
  • 400 word paper abstract (written in English)

Eligibility for proposal submissions is contingent upon the following:

  • Active IQSA membership is required at the time of proposal submission for the IQSA Program, and the membership status of all applicants will be checked prior to acceptance
  • Participants must maintain current IQSA Membership through their participation in the Annual Meeting

Please also note that:

  • To ensure equity and diversity amongst participants, participants should submit only one paper presentation per IQSA Annual Meeting
  • All participants must adhere to IQSA’s Professional Conduct Policy
  • Participants will be required to register for the conference by submitting payment through SBL’s online submission system (users are strongly encouraged to take advantage of the “Super Saver” rates which end mid-May)

Please email contact@iqsaweb.org with questions or concerns. We look forward to seeing you in Boston!


The Annual Meeting includes panels for each of IQSA’s eight program units:

Linguistic, Literary, and Thematic Perspectives on the Qur’anic Corpus
The Societal Qur’an

The Qur’an and the Biblical Tradition
The Qur’an: Manuscripts and Textual Criticism
The Qur’an: Surah Studies
The Qur’an and Late Antiquity
Qur’anic Studies: Methodology and Hermeneutics
Qur’anic Exegesis: Unpublished and Recently Published tafsīr Studies

PROGRAM UNIT 1
Linguistic, Literary, and Thematic Perspectives on the Qur’anic Corpus

Program Unit Chairs
Anne-Sylvie Boisliveau
Mohsen Goudarzi

For the 2020 meeting in Boston, the Linguistic, Literary, and Thematic Perspectives on the Qur’anic Corpus Unit invites papers to an open session on any topic that engages linguistic, literary, or thematic features of the Qur’an.

PROGRAM UNIT 2
Societal Qur’an

Program Unit Chairs
Johanna Pink
Thomas Hoffmann

The Societal Qur’an unit invites proposals for papers that investigate the Qur’an in its lived and societal contexts throughout history, from Late Antiquity to contemporary Late Modernity. Proposals are encouraged that engage with sociological, anthropological, and political science theories and methods in their pursuit of the societal and lived Qur’an. Papers might, for instance, discuss topics such as ritual and artistic uses of the Qur’an, practices of teaching the Qur’an, talismanic and medical uses of the Qur’an, the production of manuscript, print, and new media versions of the Qur’an, or the deployment of the Qur’an in terms of social identity and political organization.

PROGRAM UNIT 3
The Qur’an and the Biblical Tradition

Program Unit Chairs
Nora Schmid
Holger Zellentin

The focus of this unit is the Qur’an’s relationship to the Biblical tradition in the broadest sense: the books of the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament in the various languages of their original composition and later translations (regardless of a particular book’s status of canonization within specific Jewish or Christian groups), as well as the exegetical, homiletic, and narrative traditions of the Bible in written or oral form. For the 2020 meeting in Boston, the Qur’an and the Biblical Tradition unit welcomes proposals that engage any aspect of the relationship between the Bible and the Qur’an.

PROGRAM UNIT 4
The Qur’an: Manuscripts and Textual Criticism

Program Unit Chairs
Alba Fedeli
Shady Nasser

The aim of the Qur’an: Manuscripts and Textual Criticism unit is to provide a cross-disciplinary setting for the exploration of the various interconnected issues that arise when questions concerning the Qur’an’s text are investigated through the prism of its manuscript tradition. This latter term encompasses the field of Qur’an manuscripts per se, but also alludes to such information regarding the history of the text that can be gleaned from the citations, marginal notes, and detailed analysis provided in other branches of the Islamic sciences, for example Qur’an commentaries and the qira’at literature. It is hoped that bringing together scholars from a variety of disciplines will serve to enrich and strengthen each of these fields. The Manuscripts and Textual Criticism unit seeks to create a forum for the application of textual criticism to the Qur’anic text attested both in physical manuscripts and within the wider Islamic tradition. It also aims to investigate palaeographic, codicological, and art historical features in the Qur’an’s manuscript tradition.

For the 2022 meeting in Boston, the unit welcomes papers on any topic within the range of the interests of the Manuscripts and Textual Criticism program unit.

PROGRAM UNIT 5
The Qur’an: Surah Studies

Program Unit Chairs
Nevin Reda
Shawkat Toorawa

The Surah Studies Unit invites proposals for individual papers on any aspect of Surat al-An‘am (6, ‘Livestock’), which has attracted little attention in Western scholarship.  One of the seven long ones (al-sab‘ al-tiwal), it is a polythematic Meccan surah of 165 verses. Proposals might explore: material relating to Abraham or to Moses; engagement with Biblical laws or the Decalogue; its devotional uses, especially in Shiite liturgy; its important passages on dietary law; its polemic and critique of pagan rituals; its legal minimalism; rhyme and acoustics; depictions of non-human animals; its architecture and traces of compositional procedures; its affinities with Medinan surahs; or much else besides. The Surah Studies Unit encourages and welcomes diverse methods and approaches. The raison d’etre of the Unit is to bring different perspectives on a given sura into dialogue with one another.

PROGRAM UNIT 6
The Qur’an and Late Antiquity

Program Unit Chairs
Michael Pregill
Johanne Christiansen

The Qur’an and Late Antiquity program unit invites proposals that utilize various types of material or evidence—be that literary, documentary, or epigraphic—to illuminate the historical context in which the Qur’an was revealed and the early Islamic polity emerged. We are especially interested in papers that present and discuss comparative methodologies to contribute to a better understanding of the Qur’an’s place in the cultural, political, social, and religious environment of Late Antiquity.

Additionally, for the 2020 Annual Meeting in Boston, we seek proposals for a themed session considering the state of the field on the Jews in the prophetic milieu and early Islam.

PROGRAM UNIT 7
Qur’anic Studies: Methodology and Hermeneutics

Program Unit Chairs
Khalil Andani
Karen Bauer

This unit aims to understand and contextualize the methods and hermeneutics applied to the Qur’anic text, both historical and contemporary. The Methodology and Hermeneutics unit addresses questions that might implicitly govern other units, such as: What is Qur’anic Studies, and how does the study of the Qur’an differ from the study of its interpretation? What are the methodological differences between descriptive and normative approaches to the text? How does context (intellectual, social, ethical, historical) affect hermeneutical approaches to the text? The unit welcomes papers addressed to the hermeneutics and methods of particular schools of interpretation or thought, and also on hermeneutics as applied to specific subjects or concepts such as social justice and gender.

This year the Methodology and Hermeneutics unit will feature a pre-arranged panel that surveys Muslim engagements with the Qur’an from the classical and post-classical periods that focus on different visions of the Qur’an as a revelatory discourse and its major themes.

The Unit also invites submissions for a second panel on any aspect of Qur’anic interpretation, hermeneutics, and methodology. Proposals can focus on, among other topics, the following areas:

  • The overlaps and distinctions between tafsīr and ta’wīl in exoteric and esoteric Qur’an commentary literature as they have evolved historically;
  • The distinctive hermeneutical features of Qur’anic exegesis performed by minority Muslim communities including Sufi and Shi‘i (Twelver, Ismaili, Nusayri) commentators;
  • How the Muslim Peripatetics (falasifa), such as Avicenna, have engaged with the Qur’an through Aristotelian and Neoplatonic lenses;
  • The unique hermeneutical approaches of Muslim modernist thinkers in the 19th and 20th centuries;
  • Interpretative engagements with the Qur’an from thinkers in South Asia and Southeastern Asia.

Any other topic that deals with Qur’anic hermeneutics is welcome.

PROGRAM UNIT 8
Qur’anic Exegesis: Unpublished and Recently Published tafsīr Studies

Program Unit Chair
Shady Nasser

This exploratory panel is dedicated to exploring Qurʾānic exegetical works (tafsīr proper or otherwise) that were recently published or still in manuscript form. The goal of the panel is to shed light on these works of tafsīr that have not got enough scholarly attention, and which fall outside the “familiar” canon of Muslim exegetical works often used in modern scholarship. This panel encourages scholars to consult and study these recent publications in order to enrich our understanding of Qurʾānic exegesis and widen our perspectives with a more holistic and comprehensive view of tafsīr studies that fall outside the traditional sources often used.

For the 2020 annual meeting, the unit welcomes papers on any topic within the range of the interests of unpublished and recently published tafsīr works.


 

© International Qur’anic Studies Association, 2020. All rights reserved

Call for Papers: Archaeology of Islamic Society [ASOR]

American Schools of Oriental Research (ASOR) will hold its annual meeting on November 18-21, 2020, in Boston, Massachusetts. This meeting will feature a session entitled “Archaeology of Islamic Society” and will be chaired by Beatrice St. Laurent (Bridgewater State University). The session is open to any research from any period relating to the Archaeology of Islamic Society. The session is open to papers on any period in recent fieldwork, synthetic analyses of multiple field seasons, as well as any area of current archaeological research focused on Islamic Society.

asorThe deadline for the submission of abstracts is February 15, 2020.

Abstracts (max 250 words) must be submitted electronically through ASOR’s Abstracts Online Management System, selecting “Archaeology of Islamic Society” in the session field.

Please find general instructions on individual abstract submission and guidelines on the content and format of abstracts here.

Please note that ASOR Membership is a prerequisite for participation in the ASOR Meeting, as well as registration to the 2020 ASOR Annual Meeting is required for submitting your abstracts. For further information about the conference and registration, please visit the conference website. For any questions, email the session chair, Beatrice St. Laurent (bstlaurent@bridgew.edu).

 

© International Qur’anic Studies Association, 2020. All rights reserved.

 

Qur’an Gateway: New Tool for the Critical Study of Qurʾanic Texts

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IQSA is extremely excited to promote Quran Gateway, the world’s first digital critical edition of the Qur’an. This software contains, among other things, advanced search functions, translations, and a database of historical Qur’anic materials. It is an indispensable tool for researchers and students in the field of Qur’anic Studies. 

For more information, please watch the following video, featuring IQSA’s own Dr. Emran al-Badawi, Dr. Nicholai Sinai, and Rachel Dryden:

 

© International Qur’anic Studies Association, 2020. All rights reserved.

Review of Qur’anic Research, Vol. 6 no. 1 (2020)

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In the latest installment of the Review of Qur’anic Research (vol. 6, no.1), Naomi Koltun-Fromm (Haverford College) reviews Robert C. Gregg’s Shared Stories, Rival Tellings: Early Encounters of Jews, Christians, and Muslims (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2015). 

GreggIn her review, Koltun-Fromm writes “In this rather hefty tome, Robert Gregg sets out to share with us the myriad ways the Bible and biblical lore has been read over the centuries across multiple cultural, linguistic, and religious contexts. This book’s comparative yet innovative nature opens up new avenues for looking at this vast interpretive corpus. In particular, Gregg engages equally, openly, and with the same level of academic curiosity with all the material he presents here, Muslim, Christian, and Jewish. Despite its heft, this is more a “popular” book than monograph, but that does not make it any less of a good read (it is very readable) or academically useful. While aimed at the educated generalist audience, this volume proves indispensable to anyone interested in comparative biblical exegesis and wants to familiarize oneself with trends in corpora outside of one’s normal fields. Even for those of us who were Gregg’s students, and familiar with this material, but especially for those of us who were inspired by Gregg and have made careers writing about this same material, this book still has much to teach us…

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, 2020. All rights reserved.