Interreligious Horizons in Psalms and Psalms Studies

“By my God I can leap over a wall” – Interreligious Horizons in Psalms and Psalms Studies: An International Colloquium in Memory of Erich Zenger (* July 5, 1939 – † April 4, 2010) will be held on July 29-31, 2019 at Dormition Abbey in Jerusalem. This colloquium has been organized by Prof. Dr. Christian Frevel (Department of Catholic Theology, Ruhr-University Bochum) in cooperation with the Dormition Abbey on Mount Zion in Jerusalem and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). There is sure to be much of interest to IQSA members, including a public lecture by eminent Qur’an scholar Angelika Neuwirth entitled “The Emergence of the Qur’anic Proclamation out of Liturgy,” as well as a guided tour by Professor Neuwirth.

Picture1About the colloquium: There is hardly any need to justify the fact that Jerusalem is a special place of intra- and interreligious encounter of the so-called Abrahamic religions. The variety of confessions, denominations and religions in such a density at the narrowest of spaces is second to none. Adding the historical dimension, which potentiates the diversity of perspectives, the power of Jerusalem has a unique characteristic regarding the interreligious dialog compared to all other religious melting pots of modernity. The multi-religious lived space is characterized by cohabitation and snippets of shared religious experience. Thus, the historical and actual Jerusalem is a promising place for the academic reflection of mutual contact and religious encounter.

The colloquium will take the Psalms and the Psalter as a case study. Throughout history the Psalms represent an important part of the Christian-Jewish spirituality in practice. Alongside the character of David, the prophet, the Psalms are also appreciated in the Qur’an and the Muslim tradition. There is plenty of shared experience through the history although the Psalms are not part of the explicitly shared tradition. However, academic exchange on the interpretation of the Psalms took place in antiquity as well as in the Middle Ages until modern times. Addressing the present and  coming Jerusalem as a lived and believed space, the Psalms are an outstanding study object to explore the prospects and limits of an interreligious dialog starting from the treatment of religious traditions and their reception. Hence, it is time to explore the capability of the Psalms and Psalms studies in the interreligious dialog.

The role of the Psalter with its hymns and laments, its longing for peace, and its hope for the blessing of the world of nations will be explored in this colloquium which brings Jewish, Christian, and Muslim academics in a fruitful exchange. The city of Jerusalem is as well subject matter as the place of venue. “In the Psalms, there sounds an idea […] that the city grants its inhabitants something which is not simply the product of its inhabitants” (Erich Zenger).

The Colloquium deals with four topics:

I. Interreligious horizons in Psalms and Psalms studies

II. Psalms in the Muslim-Christian-Jewish dialog

III. Psalms in Jerusalem – Jerusalem in the Psalms

IV. Contextualizing Psalms in an interfaith dialog

 

If you wish to participate in this conference please feel free to register by sending an e-mail to pforte@dormitio.net.

 

Text accessed and reproduced with the kind permission of Sarah Ulmann.

 

© International Qur’anic Studies Association, 2019. All rights reserved.

 

Recent Publication: The Condemnation of Pride and Self-Admiration (The Islamic Texts Society)

The Islamic Texts Society has recently published a translation of Book XXIX of al-Ghazālĩ’s Revival of the Religious Sciences (Ihya’ ‘Ulum al-Din), The Condemnation of Pride and Self-Admiration, by Dr. Mohammed Rustom (Associate Professor of Islamic Studies at Carleton University).

bookThe Condemnation of Pride and Self-Admiration is the twenty-ninth chapter of The Revival of the Religious Sciences, a monumental work of classical Islam written by the theologian-mystic Abu Hamid Muhammad al-Ghazali. Perhaps the most important chapter in the whole of RevivalThe Condemnation of Pride and Self-Admiration delves into the fundamental spiritual ailments and major impediments of the soul, namely pride and self-admiration. In Part One, Ghazali focuses on pride, firstly by showing how the Qur’an condemns it, then by demonstrating what pride is and what its symptoms are, how pride manifests outwardly, as well as the seven causes of pride, the root cause being self-admiration. In seeking ways to cure the soul of pride, Ghazali presents the virtue of humility as the spiritual virtue par excellence; he offers examples of true humility, of false humility, and the manner by which the seven causes of pride can be uprooted.

In Part Two, Ghazali hones in on the root cause of pride: self-admiration. As with pride, Ghazali defines self-admiration, shows the various ways it manifests inwardly, how it causes negligence, delusion and complacency, and how each of these can be remedied. The Condemnation of Pride and Self-Admiration is therefore a genuine contribution to the field of virtue ethics. It will also be of interest to scholars and students of Qur’anic studies, given the thoroughly Qur’anic nature of Ghazali’s assessment of and proposed remedies for pride and self-admiration.

Mohammed Rustom is Associate Professor of Islamic Studies at Carleton University and Library of Arabic Literature Senior Fellow at NYU Abu Dhabi. He is the author of the award-winning book The Triumph of Mercy: Philosophy and Scripture in Mulla Sadra (2012) and co-editor of The Study Quran: A New Translation and Commentary (2015).

 

Praise for The Condemnation of Pride and Self-Admiration:

“Al-Ghazali’s moral psychology forms the most lasting part of his legacy: his piercing yet thoroughly humane observations on our many foibles, in particular, have lost none of their currency. Anybody willing to examine how the vice of pride can sour the human heart and warp not only our relations with one another, but our very perception of reality, will stand to benefit from Mohammed Rustom’s excellent English translation.”

-Taneli Kukkonen, NYU Abu Dhabi

“Mohammed Rustom’s annotated translation of one of the most important parts of al-Ghazali’s hugely influential Revival admirably combines lucidity with scholarly accuracy, and is a pleasure to read. I recommend it without hesitation to anyone interested in al-Ghazali, Sufism, or virtue ethics in Islam.”

– Ayman Shihadeh, SOAS University of London

“In his vivid and lively English translation of the twenty-ninth book of the Revival, Mohammed Rustom has gone to great pains to accurately convey the highly nuanced nature of the original Arabic, thereby bringing al-Ghazali’s thought to life for the contemporary reader.”

– Steven Styer, University of Oxford

 

Want to read more? Purchase this book online, or find it in your local library.

 

Text and image accessed and reproduced with the kind permission of Mohammed Rustom.

 

© International Qur’anic Studies Association, 2019. All rights reserved.

SBL 2019 International Meeting

The Society of Biblical Literature’s 2019 International Meeting will take place from July 1- 5, 2019 in Rome, Italy at The Pontifical Biblical Institute and the Gregorian University.

SBLIM

The SBL International Meeting is held annually outside North America. It provides a unique forum for international scholars who are unable to attend the North American meeting and for all who wish to engage more directly SBL’s growing international membership and scholarship.

Readers of this blog may want to give special attention to the following presentations:

Session 3-30, “Qur’an and Islamic Tradition in Comparative Perspective.”

July 3, 11:00 AM – 12:30 PM.

Saqib Hussain, Oxford University
Q 38 as Re-written Bible

Abbas Ashrafi, Allameh Tabatabai University
The Semantics of the Term “Logos” in the Qur’an and the New Testament

 

Session 4-23: “Qur’an and Islamic Tradition in Comparative Perspective”

July 4, 11 AM – 12:30 PM

Zohar Hadromi-Allouche, Trinity College, Dublin
Q 93 and Psalm 22: A Quranic Response to a Psalmic Question

Georgina L. Jardim, University of Gloucestershire
Psalm 31: Giving Voice to the Qur’an’s Mary and the Bible’s Hagar

Jusuf Salih, University of Dayton
Mary: The Bridge between Muslims and Christians

 

Session 5-5: “Qur’an and Islamic Tradition in Comparative Perspective / Biblical Characters in Three Traditions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam)”

July 5, 9:00 – 10:30 AM

Abdulla Galadari, Khalifa University of Science & Technology
Abraham and the Birds: Comparing Qur’an 2:260, Genesis 15, and Romans 4

Kate Tinson, Cardiff University
Sura al Baqara: The Three Cow Narratives of Verses 51–95 and Their Relationship to the Hebrew Bible and Jewish Exegesis

Ali Aghaei, Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften
Quranic Intertextuality with Jewish-Rabbinic Tradition: The Case of ‘the Cow’ in Q 2:67-74  

 

Session 5-16: “Qur’an and Islamic Tradition in Comparative Perspective”

July 5, 11:00 AM – 12:30 PM

Daniel Bannoura, Bethlehem Bible College
The Promised Land: A Trans-textual Reading of the Qur’an and Hebrew Bible

David Penchansky, University of Saint Thomas (Saint Paul, MN)
By the Lote Tree

Almond Ka Kwan Sin, Vanderbilt University
From Pious to Profane: Changing Interpretations of The Wife of Noah from Early Judeo-Christian to Islamic Literature

 

For a complete program of presentations, including times and locations, see here. To register, visit the SBL website.

 

© International Qur’anic Studies Association, 2019. All rights reserved.

 

 

Review of Qur’anic Research, Vol. 5 no. 6 (2019)

pageHeaderLogoImage_en_US

In the latest installment of the Review of Qur’anic Research (Vol. 5, no.6), Stephen R. Burge (Institute of Ismaili Studies) reviews Harald Motzki’s Reconstruction of a Source of Ibn Isḥāq’s Life of the Prophet and Early Qurʾān Exegesis: A Study of Early Ibn ʿAbbās Traditions (Piscataway, NJ: Gorgias Press, 2017).

Motzaki

In his review, Burge writes “Harald Motzki, famous for his isnād-cum-matn method of analysing ḥadīth, provides a thorough examination of the way in which Ibn Isḥāq, the author of one of the more famous of the sīrahs (biographies) of Muḥammad, gathered his sources, particularly his use of one source named Muḥammad b. Abī Muḥammad, about whom little is known. In so doing, Motzki’s Reconstruction of a Source of Ibn Isḥāq’s Life of the Prophet and Early Qurʾān Exegesis takes the reader on a journey through a number of sources, along which the reader can learn much about how Ibn Isḥāq used his sources, about the final product subsequently produced by his student Ibn Hishām, and about this little-known transmitter Muḥammad b. Abī Muḥammad…”

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, 2019. All rights reserved.

 

New Publication: Communities of the Qur’an (Oneworld, 2019)

Oneworld Publications has just released a new book, Communities of the Qur’an: Dialogue, Debate and Diversity in the 21st Century, edited by IQSA’s own Executive Director, Emran al-Badawi (Associate Professor and Director of the Middle Eastern Studies Program at the University of Houston), and Paula Sanders (Professor of History and Director of the Boniuk Institute for Religious Tolerance at Rice University).

On numerous occasions throughout history, believers from different schools and denominations, and at different times and places, have agreed to disagree. The Qur’anic interpreters, jurists and theologians of medieval Baghdad, Cairo and Cordoba coexisted peacefully in spite of their diverging beliefs. Seeking to revive this ‘ethics of disagreement’ of Classical Islam, this volume explores the different relationships societies around the world have with the Qur’an and how our understanding of the text can be shaped by studying the interpretations of others. From LGBT groups to urban African American communities, this book aims to represent the true diversity of communities of the Qur’an in the twenty-first century, and the dialogue and debate that can flow among them.

communities

From the Foreword by Reza Aslan:

“From the very beginning there were deep disagreements among Muslims over how to read and interpret the sacred text, to what degree it has been affected by the cultural norms of the society in which it was revealed, and whether historical context and independent reasoning should have a role in its interpretation. It’s just that the unique properties of the Qur’an, and the unique role it has had in the Muslim community, has, for the most part, excluded a large swath of Muslim voices from this fifteen-century debate.

This collection aims to remedy that situation by bringing together a diverse array of textual scholars who are engaging the Qur’an from perspectives that have been sorely lacking in Islamic scholarship for far too long. The inclusion of, for example, African-American, female, LGBTQ, Ahmadi, and even Baha’i voices to the centuries-long conversation about the meaning of the Qur’an is vital to ensuring the viability of this extraordinary text in the twenty-first century. Most importantly, by prioritizing engagement and disagreement, rather than the pretense of forced unity, this book is symbolic of the increasingly diverse Muslim community itself.”

Want to read more? Purchase this book online or find it in your local library!

Emran El-Badawi is Associate Professor and Director of the Middle Eastern Studies Program at the University of Houston.

Paula Sanders is Professor of History and Director of the Boniuk Institute for Religious Tolerance at Rice University in Houston, Texas.

Text and image accessed and reproduced with kind permission of Emran El-Badawi.

 

© International Qur’anic Studies Association, 2019. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

 

HBK Symposium on Islamic Art

The 8th Biennial Hamad bin Khalifa Symposium on Islamic Art will take place on November 10-11 at VCUarts in Doha, Qatar.

HBKThe theme of the 2019 conference is The Seas and the Mobility of Islamic Art. The symposium will explore the relationship between Islamic art and trade routes, migration, and travel. Among other topics, the speakers will discuss the following:

How did exposure to imported materials and ideas transform formerly local artistic traditions? What role did travel, diplomacy, and gift-giving play in crafting seemingly discrete forms and practices? How are the movements of people, shifting markets for labor, and the uneven distribution skills and techniques, bound up with the formation and metamorphosis of styles? How did the shipment of commodities and curiosities from distant places shape and change social, cultural, and religious institutions? What role do the objects created from such interactions have in enhancing cultural understanding or generating enmity and mistrust? And how has the ever-increasing pace of globalization affected such developments?

The program also includes discussions on the Qur’an and Islamic artwork. A complete program can be found here.

 

Conference Co-chairs

Radha Dalal, Assistant Director of Art History and Assistant Professor of Islamic Art, VCUarts Qatar

Sean Roberts, Interim Director of Art History and Associate Professor of Pre-Modern Mediterranean Art, VCUarts Qatar

Jochen Sokoly, Associate Professor of Islamic Art, VCUarts Qatar

 

Registration is now open.

For more information, write to Marisa Brown at mabrown@vcu.edu.

 

© International Qur’anic Studies Association, 2019. All rights reserved.

 

 

The Eighth North American Syriac Symposium

The Eighth North American Syriac Symposium will take place on June 16-19, 2019 at Brown University. Registration is open, and information about travel and lodging can be found on the conference website.

The program for the symposium has been updated. Readers of the IQSA Blog should give special attention to sessions 4C and 5B on Tuesday, June 18. Scheduled papers include:

Session 4C, “Encounters with Islam”

Laura Locke Estes (Saint Louis University), “Etiologies in Syriac Christian Accounts of the Origins of Islam”

Kelli Bryant Gibson (Abilene Christian University), “Interreligious Polemic in the Works of John of Dara”

Michael Payne (Brown University), “East Syrians and the Design Complex in 9th Century Iraq”

Joshua Mugler (Georgetown University and Hill Museum and Manuscript Library), “An Egyptian History of Syriac”

 

Session 5B, “The Translation Movement”

Nestor Kavvadas (University of Siegen), “Non-Arabs Standing Together? The Barmakid Viziers and Syriac and Greek Elites in the Age of the Translation Movement”

George A. Kiraz (Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton), and Beth Mardutho (The Syriac Institute, Piscataway, NJ), “Are we Overstating or Understating the Role of Syriac in the Abbasid Translation Movement?”

Kevin J. Ball (The Catholic University of America), “The East Syriac Heritage into Arabic: Ibn al-Tayyib’s Commentary on the Gospels”

 

Please direct any questions to nasyriacsymposium@gmail.com for more information.

 

© International Qur’anic Studies Association, 2019. All rights reserved.