Call for Papers – EABS Annual Conference Warsaw 2019

The Call for Papers for this year’s European Association of Biblical Studies Annual Conference is now open! The Conference will be taking place at the University of Warsaw, ul. Krakowskie Przedmieście 26/28, Warsaw, Poland, from Sunday, August 11th to Wednesday, August 14th 2019 followed by two days of post-conference tours.

Paper proposals will be accepted until February 28th, 2019 and individual EABS units’ Calls can be found on their webpages. To browse the list of EABS research units, including several Qu’ran related panels, click here. Please direct any enquiries about the specific Calls directly to the relevant unit chairs; for questions concerning the technical aspects of submitting an abstract, please email abstracts@eabs.net.

To submit your paper proposal, click this link. Contributions both from established scholars and PhD students in the field of biblical and cognate studies are welcome, but in order to submit an abstract, you must be a member of the EABS. To join or renew your membership, go to the join section of the website.

We very much look forward to seeing you in Warsaw in August!

Call for Papers: IQSA Annual Meeting 2019

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The International Qur’anic Studies Association has opened its call for papers for its Annual Meeting to be held in San Diego, California from November 2225, 2019. Paper proposals should be submitted through the SBL’s automated online submission system under the corresponding “Affiliates” link by March 6, 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)

 

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

Linguistic, Literary, and Thematic Perspectives on the Qur’anic Corpus
The Qur’an: Surah Studies
Qur’anic Studies: Methodology and Hermeneutics
The Qur’an: Manuscripts and Textual Criticism
The Qur’an and the Biblical Tradition
The Qur’an and Late Antiquity

IQSA will also run two additional panels this year:

The European Qur’an: The Islamic Holy Scripture in European Culture and Religion 1142–1850
The Societal Qur’an

 

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

Program Unit Chairs
Anne-Sylvie Boisliveau
Mohsen Goudarzi

The  Linguistic, Literary, and Thematic Perspectives on the Qur’anic Corpus unit invites proposals for papers that engage with the techniques utilized in the Qur’an for crafting imagery, characters, and narratives. Proposals may attend to artistic and literary strategies as well as to the broader social, religious, and political ends towards which these strategies are deployed.

PROGRAM UNIT 2
The Qur’an: Surah Studies

Program Unit Chairs
Marianna Klar
Shawkat Toorawa

The  Surah Studies Unit of IQSA invites proposals for individual papers on any aspect of Surat al-Waqi‘ah (Q 56). Proposers may, for example, wish to explore: the surah’s liturgical and devotional importance for Muslims (it appears in almost all lists of the suwar al-munjiyat, the “surahs that save”); the surah’s division of the judged into three groups (companions of the left, companions of the right, and frontrunners), rather than the more usual pairing into those in paradise and those in hell; Shiite interpretations of the surah, notably the frontrunners (al-sabiqun v. 10, al-muqarrabun v. 11); the surah’s structure and composition, notably the shift that takes place after v. 75; the rhyme scheme and the reasons for the departures from it; the surah’s eschatological and polemical themes; and much else besides.

The Surah Studies Unit encourages and welcomes diverse methods and approaches. Indeed, the raison d’être of the panel is to bring different perspectives on a given surah—especially surahs receiving little scholarly attention otherwise—into dialogue with one another.

 

PROGRAM UNIT 3
Qur’anic Studies: Methodology and Hermeneutics

Program Unit Chairs
Karen Bauer
Feras Hamza

This unit aims to understand and contextualise 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 additionally invites submissions with a special focus on European hermeneutics and the Qur’an. The predominantly European tradition of 20th century hermeneutics that is exemplified by such seminal figures as Dilthey, Heidegger, Bultmann, Gadamer, Tillich, and Ricoeur has produced a rich and sustained inquiry into the possibilities of an epistemology of, and an interpretive methodology for, “the text.” Interrogating the very relationship between the reader and the text, this hermeneutical tradition has offered insights into the nature of language, readership, reception, discourse as event, interpretive predispositions, and “worlds” opened up by the text. To what extent do these insights have implications for our understanding of the Qur’an? What  insights from the European tradition have had resonance with scholars of the Qur’an, and have prior attempts to incorporate such insights been successful?

 

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

Program Unit Chairs
Alba Fedeli
Shady Hekmat Nasser

The aim of the 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.

The unit welcomes papers on any topic within the range of the interests of the Manuscripts and Textual Criticism program unit. In addition, the unit proposes a special thematic session for 2019: “Life of Qur’an manuscripts.” We invite proposals that touch upon issues related to the modification of manuscripts after they have been produced. Papers dealing with all eras and regions of the manuscript tradition are welcome. Submissions might focus on the insertion of marginalia notes, colophons, waqf statements, annotations, additions, amendments, the recycling of writing surfaces, etc., or on references to such practices in the traditional literature.

 

PROGRAM UNIT 5
The Qur’an and the Biblical Tradition

Program Unit Chairs
Nora K. Schmid
Holger Zellentin

This unit was established in order to study the Qur’an’s relationship to the biblical tradition in the broadest possible sense of the term. We are interested, for example, in exploring the Qur’an’s reaction to the exegetical, homiletic, and narrative traditions of the Bible, in both written and oral form. We invite an engagement with the books of the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament, regardless of a particular book’s status of canonization within specific Jewish or Christian groups, and in the various languages of their original composition as well as in later translations. We especially encourage studies of the legal corpora that have developed in close dialogue with this biblical tradition prior to the emergence of the Qur’an and, subsequently, in exchange with the Qur’an.

For the 2019 Annual Meeting we further announce a themed session: “Theology of the Body in the Biblical Tradition and in the Qur’an.” This session will investigate the body as a useful site for studying qur’anic theological discourses in comparison with the biblical tradition. Since Peter Brown’s groundbreaking work, The Body and Society: Men, Women, and Sexual Renunciation in Early Christianity (1988), the scholarly turn to the body has transformed the study of religion. In the Qur’an as well as in biblical traditions, the body figures prominently both as a site of human agency and as an agent itself. We welcome proposals for papers that deal with the diverse ways in which theological discourse shapes human attitudes towards the body (e.g., attitudes towards celibacy, diet, discipline, the embodied components of ritual, etc.), as well as papers that investigate the impact of the somatic on theological discourse (e.g., embodiment in devotional piety, corporeal aspects of apocalyptic representations, etc.), in the Qur’an and in biblical traditions.

 

PROGRAM UNIT 6
The Qur’an and Late Antiquity

Program Unit Chairs
Johanne Christiansen
Michael Pregill

For the 2019 IQSA Annual Meeting in San Diego, 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.

 

SPECIAL PANEL 1
The European Qur’an: The Islamic Holy Scripture in European Culture and Religion 1142–1850

Panel Chairs:
John Tolan
Roberto Tottoli

The Muslim holy book has been a part of European culture since its first translation into Latin by Robert of Ketton in 1142. Qur’an manuscripts and manuscripts of Qur’an commentaries, meanwhile, have been used, commented upon, and circulated in Europe since the Middle Ages. Beyond the mere fact of translating, copying, and printing the Qur’an in Europe (in Arabic, Latin, and the various European vernaculars), this panel will explore how the Qur’an was mobilized in debates about European cultural identities: in polemics between Protestants, Catholics, and Unitarians; in debates about the power of the Catholic (or Anglican) Church; in discussions about the renewal and reform of Christianity or Judaism; in debates about the place of religion in secular European societies. We invite papers on these and other instances of the impact and the utilization of the Qur’an in Europe between the twelfth and early nineteenth centuries.

 

SPECIAL PANEL 2
The Societal Qur’an

Panel Chairs:
Thomas Hoffmann
Johanna Pink

The  Societal Qur’an  panel 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.

 

 

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

Andrew Rippin Best Paper Prize 2018-19

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Andrew Rippin was the inaugural president of the International Qur’anic Studies Association (2014). He is remembered as “an esteemed colleague, revered mentor, and scholarly inspiration to many members of the IQSA community.”

In honor of Andrew Rippin, the International Qur’anic Studies Association (IQSA) will award a prize to the best paper delivered at the 2018 Annual Meeting in Denver, CO by a graduate student or early career scholar (Ph.D. awarded 2013 or later).

The prize winner will receive $250. In addition, the award committee will provide him/her with detailed feedback and guidance enabling him/her to expand the paper into a scholarly article that qualifies for publication in the Journal of the International Qur’anic Studies Association (JIQSA), subject to peer review.

Interested scholars should submit a draft of the paper which they read at the 2018 Annual Meeting at Denver; this draft should be no longer than fifteen double-spaced pages (or 3750 words). Submissions should be sent to contact@iqsaweb.org by January 5, 2019. The prize winner will be announced by February 1, 2019. The winner should then be prepared to submit a fully revised version of the winning article by April 1, 2019. Publication of the final version is contingent upon review by the award committee and editorial staff of JIQSA.

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

CALL FOR PAPERS — International Qur’an Conference 2019

 

CALL FOR PAPERS — International Qur’an Conference
Tangier Global Forum
University of New England
Tangier, Morocco
(25-26 July, 2019)

The International Qur’anic Studies Association (IQSA) is happy to announce its third biennial conference July 25-26, 2019, which is hosted by the Tangier Global Forum of the University of New England, Tangier, Morocco. The main theme of the conference is Reading the Qur’an in the Context of Empire. We invite enthusiastic scholars to discuss under-researched aspects of Qur’anic Studies. Papers in all areas of the field are welcome, but we are particularly interested in papers about how rulers, politicians, religious figures and later colonial officers and European travelers contributed to the production, distribution and reception of Scriptures in general and the Qur’an in particular.

 

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Given the history and the pluralistic nature of the conference, participants are encouraged to exchange views on the relationship between the Qur’an and other religions. The conference will unveil new research on the Qur’an, and create a platform for connecting other religions to Qur’anic studies. Further attention will be paid to the important contribution of North African scholars to the emergence and flourishing of methods in the study of Qur’an, tafsir and translation. Also, particular attention will be paid to understudied texts, including Qur’anic commentaries, manuscripts, and translations produced under influential early, medieval and modern Islamic empires and sultanates in Turkey, Persia, Africa, Europe and the Malay-Indonesian world.

As there have been some long discussions about the way the Qur’an is [supposed to be] taught and examined in different Islamic and non-Islamic academic contexts, researchers will find a chance to discuss and challenge recent ideas and trends in Islamic studies by raising questions about: academic study of the Qur’an and its tafsir, reading the Qur’an along with other scriptures, reading the Qur’an in the light of recent archaeological and epigraphic discoveries, among others.

The sub-themes of the conference are as follows:

  • The Qur’an and Other Religions
  • Tafsir and the translation of the Qur’an
  • Qur’anic Manuscripts
  • The Qur’an and Mysticism
  • Modern African traditions of Qur’anic Exegesis
  • Method and Theory in the Study of the Qur’an and its commentaries (past, present, future)

The conference will take place in English, Arabic and French.

Please submit your abstracts (300 words) to: iqsatangier2019@gmail.com by January 30, 2019. Modest financial support may be available to accepted panelists by request, and contingent upon available funds.

Should you have questions about the conference, please contact IQSA conference director, Majid Daneshgar (majid.daneshgar@frias.uni-freiburg.de) or the IQSA administration (contact@iqsaweb.org).

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


المؤتمر الدولي للقرآن

منتدى طنجة الدولي، جامعة نيو انجلاند

طنجة، المغرب

من 25 إلى 26 يوليو2019

الجمعية الدولية للدراسات القرآنية ستنظم المؤتمر الدولي الثالث من 25 إلى 26 یولیو 2019 في منتدى طنجة الدولي، جامعة نيو انجلاند، المغرب. الموضوع الرئیسي للمؤتمر هو قراءة القرآن في ظل الامبراطوریة. اننا ندعو الباحثین والمتخصصین للمشارکة في جوانب الدراسات القرآنیة المختلفة التي لم تفحص حتى الآن. اننا نرحب بمقالات في جمیع الموضوعات القرآنیة. ولکننا مهتمون بشكل خاص أن تردنا مقالات حول دور الحکام، السیاسیین، العلماء، ولاحقا المستعمرين والسائحين الأوروبيين في إنتاج، توزیع، إدراك و قراءة الکتب المقدسة بشکل عام و القرآن بخاصة.

نظرا لتاريخ ولطبيعة المؤتمر المتنوعة، فاننا نشجع العلماء و الباحثین على تبادل الآراء حول العلاقة بین القرآن والأدیان الأخری. هذا المؤتمر سیکشف مباحث جدیدة عن القرآن و یصنع سیاق لربط الأدیان الأخری بالدراسات القرآنیة. سيتم الترکيز علی المساهمات المهمة للعلماء شمال أفريقيا في إبتكار وتطويرمناهج جدیدة في الدراسات القرآنیة، التفسیر والترجمة. سیکون هناك اهتمام خاص ايضا في نصوص لم تفحص من تفاسیر ومخطوطات قرآنية الى ترجمات للقرآن أنتجت في ظل إمبراطوریات اسلامیة کبیرة ابتداءا من الفترة الأولى للإسلام حتى العصور الوسطی و العصر الحدیث في ترکیا، بلاد فارس، أفریقیا، أوروبا وأرخبیل الملایو.

نظرا لانه كانت هناك نقاشات طويلة، حول الطريقة التي يجب ان يتم بها تدريس القرآن والتحقيق فيه، في المحیط الأکادمية الاسلامیة و غیرالاسلامیة، سیجد الباحثون فرصة لمناقشة الأفکار والتحديات والاتجاهات الأخیرة في الدراسات الإسلامیة من خلال طرح أسئلة مختلفة حول الدراسات الأکادیمیة للقرآن و تفسیره، قراءة القرآن مع الکتب المقدسة الأخری، قراءة القرآن في ضوء الاكتشافات الحديثة من آثار ونقوش، الخ.

لذلك، سيكون هناك موضوعات أخری للمؤتمر وهي علی النحو التالي:

القرآن و الأدیان الأخری

تفسیر و ترجمة القرآن

مخطوطات قرآنية

القرآن والتصوف

التقاليد الحديثة لتفسير القرآن في شمال أفريقيا

المنهج و النظریة فی الدراسات القرآنیة و التفاسیر (في الماضي والحاضر والمستقبل)

المؤتمر هو باللغة الإنجليزية، العربية والفرنسية

يرجى تحمیل الملخص و إرساله عبر هذا البرید الإلكتروني: iqsatangier2019@gmail.com

يرجي إرسال الملخصات حتی30 يناير 2019

قد يكون هناك دعم مالي متواضع(حسب الطلب) للاعضاء المقبولين للمشاركة باعمال المؤتمر. ويتوقف هذا الدعم على الاموال المتاحة.

اذا كان لديكم بعض الأسئلة، یرجی الاتصال بمدیر المؤتمر: د. مجید دانشجار: majid.daneshgar@frias.uni-freiburg.de

أو قسم إدارة الجمعية الدولية للدراسات القرآنية: contact@iqsaweb.org

 

Call for Papers: The Eighth North American Syriac Symposium

The Eighth North American Syriac Symposium

Brown University | Providence, RI

June 16-19, 2019

The Eighth North American Syriac Symposium will convene at Brown University on June 16-19, 2019. Held every four years since 1991, the North American Syriac Symposium brings together scholars and students for exchange and discussion on a wide variety of topics related to the language, literature, and cultural history of Syriac Christianity, extending chronologically from the first centuries CE to the present day and geographically from Syriac Christianity’s homeland in the Middle East to South India, China, and the worldwide diaspora.

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Image Source: https://www.brown.edu/academics/religious-studies/

We invite paper proposals for the 2019 Brown Syriac Symposium on the theme of…

Syriac Worlds: Interactions, Exchanges, Contributions.

Throughout its long history, Syriac Christianity has flourished in the midst of other languages, religions, cultures, and societies. However turbulent its circumstances, Syriac has enabled distinctive articulations and cultural expressions for its speakers. Moreover, not only have there been constant interactions, but Syriac has been an active medium of exchange. Contributions, borrowings, adaptations, and innovations have characterized the literary, material, philological, and cultural productions of Syriac speakers from the start. This Symposium welcomes proposals for scholarly papers on all topics that address Syriac in any of its historical time periods, within this broad theme.

Proposals may be submitted either for individual papers or as part of a proposed panel. Individual presentations must be limited to 20 minutes, plus 5 minutes of discussion time. Please submit contact information for the presenter(s) and an abstract of 250-350 words. Those wishing to propose a panel of 3 or 4 papers (4 papers maximum) on a specific theme must submit a separate abstract for each presentation, a title for the panel, and full contact information for all presenters and the session moderator.

All proposals should be submitted electronically to nasyriacsymposium@gmail.com on or before January 2, 2019. Notification of acceptances of paper and panel proposals will be made in early February, with a view to publishing the program in early March.

In addition to papers and panels, the symposium will feature keynote lectures by:

  • Liv Ingebord Lied, MF Norwegian School of Theology, Oslo
  • Kathleen McVey, Princeton Theological Seminary (emerita)
  • Ellen Muehlberger, University of Michigan at Ann Arbor
  • Michael Penn, Stanford University
  • Columba Stewart, St. John’s University David G. K. Taylor, Oxford University

Additional information for the Symposium can be found at the following website which will be updated regularly: https://www.brown.edu/academics/religious-studies/events- 0/syriac-symposium.

If you have any questions, please contact us at: nasyriacsymposium@gmail.com.

We look forward to welcoming you to Brown University in the summer of 2019!

Best wishes,

Susan Ashbrook Harvey
on behalf of the local steering committee:

 

Local Steering Committee:
Susan Ashbrook Harvey, Brown University (Chair)
Sargon Donabed, Roger Williams University
Jae Hee Han, Brown University
Sandra Keating, Providence College
Nancy Khalek, Brown University
Ute Possekel, Harvard Divinity School

 

*Content courtesy of Susan Ashbrook Harvey (Director, Program in Early Cultures Interim Chair, Dept. of Religious Studies | Brown University)

European Association of Biblical Studies Annual Meeting and Society of Biblical Literature International Meeting July 30 – August 3, 2018 | Helsinki, Finland

The University of Helsinki hosted the European Association of Biblical Studies’ annual meeting, which this year was held together with the Society of Biblical Literature’s international meeting, from July 30 – August 3, 2018.

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View from Helsinki Harbour of the Cathedral

Delegates were welcomed to the conference by Outi Lehtipuu, chair of the local organizing committee, John F. Kutsko, SBL’s executive director and Dominika Kurek-Chomycz, EABS’ executive officer, in the historic surroundings of the University’s Great Hall. This was followed by a reception at the City Hall, hosted by the major of Helsinki.

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Delegates were treated to a concert in the Rock Church, one of Helsinki’s most popular attractions (Photograph courtesy of SBL)

The conference included a wide range of papers on qur’ānic studies:

Sayed-Hassan Akhlaq (Boston) “The Inspirational Aspect of the Idea of “Tahrif” for Interreligious Dialogue” and “The Biblical and Qur’ānic Image of Moses and Jesus”

George Archer (Iowa State) “Ephrem’s 27thHymn on the Nativity in the Qur’anic Landscape”

Rachel Claire Dryden (Cambridge) “How al-Shayṭān got his Name: The Arabic Recensions of the Narratives from the Syriac Cave of Treasures”

Alyssa Gabbay (North Carolina) “Jesus, Son of Mary: Lineage and Descent in the Bible and the Qur’ān”

Abdulla Galadari (Khalifa University) “The Qur’ān: Authorship between Muhammad and the Divine”

Ghilène Hazem (Paris-Nanterre) “Avoiding Embarrassing Meanings: Ambiguous Qur’ānic Verses, Corrected Scribal Errors and Biblical/Apocryphal Intertexts”

Bert Jacobs (KU Leuven) “Reading the Gospel in a Muslim Context: Dionysius Bar Salibi’s (Re)Interpretation of Jesus’ Difficult Words and Deeds”

Ilkka Lindstedt and Nina Nikki (Helsinki) “Abraham as an Identity Sign in Paul and the Qur’ān”

Jusuf Salih (Dayton) “Mustafa Sabri Efendi’s Views on the Resurrection of Jesus”

Mohammad Ghandehari (Tehran) “Clarifying the Divine Teachings for Thee”: The Qur’ān’s Self-Identified Role in Clarifying the Bible”

Kate Tinson (Cardiff) “Moses and His Leprosy: Hebrew Bible, Rabbinic Texts and the Qur’ān”

The conference provided an important forum for scholars of the Qur’ān to interact with biblical scholars as well as being a key meeting point for the field in 2018, when there is no IQSA international meeting. Many thanks to the local organizing committees and the staff and graduate helpers at the University of Helsinki for such a warm welcome to a beautiful city and for an extremely well-organised conference – kiitos!

EABS’ next Annual Meeting will be held from August 11 – 14, 2019 in Warsaw, Poland.

SBL’s next International Meeting will be held from July 23 – 26, 2019 in Bangalore, India, which will coincide with IQSA’s biannual International Meeting.

The calls for papers for the above will be announced in due course.

 

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

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.

quranethiopia

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

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