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!

Preliminary Considerations on the Corpus Coranicum Christianum: The Qur’ān in Translation – A Survey of the State of the Art | December 5 – 7, 2018, Berlin

The Corpus Coranicum project requires little introduction to the readers of this blog. Its emerging daughter project, hosted by the FU Berlin, Corpus Coranicum Christianum, developed out of the doctoral research conducted by Manolis Ulbricht, co-supervised by Angelika Neuwirth, on the early Greek translation of the Qurʾān preserved in Nicetas of Byzantium’s Refutation of the Qurʾān (c.870). At present, the long-term goal of this interdisciplinary project is to study qurʾānic translations from the seventh century to the early modern period, in the principal ‘Christian’ languages, i.e. Greek, Syriac, and Latin, comparatively, and to make these texts available online through a synoptic digital edition. The aim of this initial workshop was three-fold: (i) to bring together scholars from various disciplines working on qurʾānic translations; (ii) to establish a methodological framework for a future digital database and a comparative analysis for translation techniques; and (iii) to explore avenues for further collaboration.

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The scope of the sources included in this preliminary workshop was intentionally broad, ranging from full translations to quotations, or mere allusions to the qurʾānic text. As most source material is available in Latin, the Corpus Coranum Latinum made up the most prominent part of the programme, with three panels. In a first panel devoted to the earliest sources, the translations by Robert of Ketton and Mark of Toledo were assessed with regards to the issue of the readership (Nàdia Petrus Pons) and the presence of scientific vocabulary (Julian Yolles). In addition, the qurʾānic quotations included in twelfth- and thirteenth-century Latin translations of Arabic scientific treatises were examined (Charles Burnett). A second panel examined the sources through which Latin Christians read the Qurʾān, with papers on the Latin glosses in Latin and Arabic Qurʾāns (José Martínez Gázquez), Robert of Ketton’s use of Ṭabarī’s tafsīr (J. L. Alexis Rivera Luque), and the question of the character of Ramon Marti’s Islamic sources (Görge K. Hasselhoff). The focus of the third panel was on early modern Qurʾān translations, with papers on the sixteenth-century translation by Egidio da Viterbo (Katarzyna K. Starczewska), the seventeenth-century translation and commentary by the Jesuit, Ignazio Lomellini (Paul Shore), and the recently discovered 1632 translation by Johann Zechendorff (Reinhold F. Glei). Finally, a presentation of the ERC-funded project on the Qurʾān in European cultural history, which will commence soon, should also be mentioned here (Jan Loop).

The single panel of Greek Qurʾān translations covered both the first appearances of the Qurʾān in Byzantium, as well as the late Byzantine Period. The former period was addressed with papers on the linguistic character of the eighth – ninth-century Greek translation, especially its non-classical vocabulary (Erich Trapp), and the historical background of Muslim-Byzantine rivalry behind its emergence (Jakub Sypiański). The late period involved papers appraising the knowledge of the Qurʾān and Islam by Gregory Palamas (Evangelos Katafylis) and John VI Cantacuzene (Marco Fanelli)

Papers on the Corpus Coranicum Syriacum, the language least represented at this workshop, were presented on the qurʾānic quotations in the Arabic disputation of Abū Qurra with the Caliph al-Maʾmūn, which were compared with those contained in the Garshuni version of the Legend of Sergius Baḥīrā (Yousef Kouriyhe), and on the double/triple occurences of qurʾānic verses in Dionysius Bar Ṣalībī’s Disputation against the Arabs (Alexander M. Schilling).

A special panel on the interdisciplinary nature of the overall project and its implications was entitled Corpus Coranicum ChristianumA Digitalized Trial Version. It consisted of papers on the Greek translation preserved by Nicetas of Byzantium (Manolis Ulbricht), the Syriac excerpts from the Qurʾān in Dionysius Bar Ṣalībī’s Disputation against the Arabs (Bert Jacobs), and the Latin translation by the seventeenth-century Fransiscan Germanus de Silesia (Ulisse Cecini). Prior to the workshop, these three scholars had agreed to provide micro-editions of selected common passages (Q 3:42-7; 90:1-4; 112), which were digitally processed in an online interactive edition by Joel Kalvesmaki (see http://textalign.net/quran/). The trial session continued with a presentation on the make-up and functions of this tool (Joel Kalvesmaki), and concluded with a brief comparison of the translation techniques applied to the selected materials.

Besides the work on the sources themselves, the workshop gave special attention to the use of digital humanities in the study of qurʾānic translations. This included an introductory workshop on the goals and techniques of the DH (Nadine Arndt, Oliver Pohl), as well as presentations on the Paleocoran Project (Oliver Pohl), the interactive digital edition of the New Testament (Holger Strutwolf), Ediarum (Nadine Arndt), and the valence of TEI for editing synoptic editions (Joel Kalvesmaki).

The proceedings of this first Corpus Coranicum Christianum workshop are planned for publication. A second workshop will be held in the near future.

Bert Jacobs, KU Leuven

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

Tenth SOAS Qur’ān Conference, November 9 – 10, 2018, London

Around a hundred delegates met in London from November 9 – 10, 2018 for the Tenth SOAS Qur’ān Conference. The conference theme was “Text, Translation and Culture” and featured presentations in both English and Arabic. SOAS LIBRARY, BLOOMSBURY

The conference began with an opening address by Professor Abdel Haleem, who first established the conference. The first morning featured two panels on qur’ānic rhetoric, which included papers by Adam Flowers (Chicago), on The qur’ānic Exhortation, Salwa El-Awa (Swansea), on Discourse Markers as Indicators of Text and Structure in the Multiple-topic qur’ānic Suras: A Meta-analysis of Q. 2, Thomas Hoffmann (Copenhagen), on A Qur’anic Self-Deconstruction? Q. 20:113 and Mamoon Abdelhalim Wagih (Fayoum University), on ‘أثر النحو العربي في خدمة النص القرآني’ (The Role of Arabic Grammar in Understanding and Interpreting the qur’ānic Text). 

After coffee, Rachel Claire Dryden (Cambridge) discussed The Typology of Rain and Other Weather-Related Phenomena in the Qur’ān, Johanne Louise Christiansen (Copenhagen) examined How to be Deliberately Vague: On the Rhetorical Strategy of Vagueness in the Qurʾān and Ulrika Mårtensson (Norwegian University of Science and Technology) analysed Between mustaqīm and mukhliṣ: ‘Covenant’ as a Linguistic and Rhetorical Analysis of the Canon’s Composition and Key Concepts. The first morning’s session concluded with a presentation by Professor Haleem himself on Sūrat al-Mulk, Q 67: Reading the Qur’an According to its balāgha: ‘ḥaqqa tilāwatihi’. 

In the afternoon, a panel on qur’ānic reception featured Mirina Paananen (Oxford), who discussed Taghannī or not taghannī? Ibn al-Jazarī on the Musical Recitation of the Qurʾān, Suleyman Dost(Brandeis), who examined The Rise and Fall of a Genre: The maṣāḥif Books in Context. Under the broader theme of qur’ānic theology, Livnat Holtzman (Bar-Ilan University), presented on The Rhetorical Aspect of āyāt al-ṣifāṭ: The Ashʿarite Prohibition of Gestures and the Ultra-Traditionalistic Response (12th–14th Centuries), Oliver Leaman (Kentucky), asked Is the Ethics of the Qur’an Utilitarian? and Ramon Harvey (Ebrahim College), discussed Al-Māturīdī on Abrogation of the sharīʿa in the Qur’an and Previous Scriptures. 

Day two of the conference continued with presentations on contemporary approaches to the Qur’ān by Todd Lawson (Toronto), who spoke about The Qur’an and the Shaykhiyya, Walid Saleh (Toronto), who discussed The Encyclopaedia of Tradition-based Qur’an Commentary and Sohaib Saeed (Glasgow), who examined Qurʾān Citations in Qurʾān Exegeses: A Case Study of Sūrat al-Anʿām (Q. 6) and a panel on tafsir, which included presentations by Ahmad Al-Dubayan (ICCUK), ‘نقد منهج المعالجة اللغوية لدى محمد شحرور’ (Linguistic Methodology of Muhammad Shahrur), and Ahmed Bouaoud (Université Abdelmalek Essaadi), ‘القرآن والتاريخ بحث في أطروحة أنجليكا نويفيرت حول تاريخ النص القرآني’ (Qur’ān and History: Angelika Neuwirth’s Thesis on the History of the Qur’anic Text). 

The afternoon sessions focused on different aspects of qur’ānic translation: Nàdia Petrus Pons (Autonomous University of Barcelona) discussed the Transmission and Survival of Mark of Toledo’s Latin Qur’an translation, Nora S Eggen (Oslo), analysed Modality in translations of the Qur’ān and Shawkat M. Toorawa (Yale), examined Ḥaqqa tilāwatihiDoing the Qur’an justice in English translation. 

The theme of qur’ānic translation continued with presentations on The Qur’ān in Non-Western Languages such as that by Johanna Pink (Freiburg), on Joseph and the Tiger, Mary and the Angel: What we can learn from Javanese Qur’an Translation, M. Brett Wilson (CEU/Macalester College), on The Poet of Islam’s Translation of the Qur’an and Philipp Bruckmayr (Vienna), which was entitled From Manuscripts to Printed Editions: The Translation of the Qurʼān into Indochinese Languages. 

The conference concluded with some closing remarks by Professor Abdel Haleem. Many thanks to the SOAS Qur’ān conference team for organizing such a successful conference. 

 

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

 

Details from Denver: 2018 Annual Meeting Conference Report

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The sixth Annual Meeting of the International Qur’anic Studies Association was held in Denver this year from November 16-19, concurrent with the annual meetings of the American Academy of Religion and the Society for Biblical Literature. This year once again provided an opportunity for scholars from across the academic world to come together to exchange new ideas and continue ongoing conversations on the Qur’an, the milieu from which it emerged, and the exegetical discussions which it inspired.

Emran_Gab_RecepThe first panel of the weekend, chaired by Alba Fedeli, focused on the topics of accessibility and interpretation as they relate to Qur’anic manuscripts. The early history of the Qur’an, as indicated by manuscript evidence, was a recurring theme, including the import of the Sana‘a palimpsest, the role of orthography, and interlinguistic connections. Participants also considered the role of digital technology in opening up new paths for manuscript studies and the relevance of these tools for the Qur’an in particular. The day was capped off by a lively general reception for IQSA members.

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Saturday was the first full day of talks, beginning with a panel on linguistic and literary perspectives on the Qur’anic text. The ambit of this discussion ranged from specific words (Shawkat Toorawa on awtād) to broader concepts (Saqib Hussain on ḥikma) to linguistic context (Marijn van Putten on the lack of Syriac borrowing in the Qur’an) to theoretical frameworks (Joseph Lowry on a ‘nomochronic’ assessment of the Qur’an’s normativity). After a luncheon which brought together senior scholars and graduate students, the afternoon featured an important and lively panel discussion on the topic of bias, representation, and the importance of diverse perspectives in Qur’anic studies. The panel highlighted both the work already undertaken to widen the scope of the field and significant improvements that have yet to be made. The day closed with a panel on manuscripts and commentaries, which featured Iskandar Bcheiry’s consideration of the Arabic and Syriac manuscript resources of the St. Lazarus monastery in Venice, along with Hacı Osman Gündüz discussing the concept of ṣarfa in al-Nāshiʾ al-Akbar’s poetry and Sheza Alqera considering the importance of oral context in an understanding of manuscripts.

Eleonore_PalimspsestThe third day of the conference was again full of panels, kicking off with a morning session on ways of contextualizing the Qur’an. Sarah Schwarz and Tommaso Tesei focused on the relevance of a Jewish background, respectively discussing Solomonic power and 4 Ezra 7. David Powers revisited the question of Zayd, Zaynab, and Muhammad, and how to understand the historicity of the traditional story combining those three figures. Finally, Johanne Louise Christiansen presented a summary of Roy Rappaport’s contributions to system theory and considered its relevance to studying the Qur’an. The theme of the Qur’an’s place within the Biblical tradition continued in the afternoon, with talks focusing on Hārūt and Mārūt from a comparative perspective (Rachel Claire Dryden), the polemical understanding of accusations of God’s poverty in Q. 3:181 (Shari L. Lowen), the theme of prophetic protection and Satanic utterances (Holger Zellentin), and the connection of Joseph to the rhetoric of clothing in the Qur’an (Sarra Tlili). The evening session completed the day’s emphasis on placing the Qur’an in a Late Antique world of literary and religious influences. Stephen Burge considered the interreligious rhetoric of fasting, while David Vishanoff discussed the tradition of an Islamic psalter, and Stuart Langley compared Q. 7:179, Isaiah 6:10, and Matthew 13:15.

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Monday, the last day of talks, brought together themes ranging from hermeneutics to genre theory to the Arabian context of the rise of Islam. In the morning set of presentations, Gabriel Said Reynolds offered thoughts on the problem of Qur’anic insertions, followed by Thomas Hoffman reflecting on a materialist understanding of the Qur’an’s iconicity and Johanna Pink considering the evolution of the term ṣabr between medieval and modern exegesis. The afternoon featured IQSA’s annual session on Sūra Studies, which this year was dedicated to the group of sūras known collectively as the Musabbiḥāt (Q. 57, 59, 61, 62, and 64). Both Adam Flowers and Karim Samji focused on genre as a method of understanding this grouping, while Andrew J. O’Connor spoke about the function of prophetic authority within them. Finally, the weekend concluded with another set of talks looking at the Qur’an through the broad lens of Late Antiquity. Four discussants considered a wide-ranging set of topics, including the Greco-Roman image of Arabia (Karen L. Carducci), the topos of Trinitarian deities between Arabian religion and the Qur’an (Emran El-Badawi), the long history of camel sacrifice (Brannon Wheeler), and the attestations of earliest Islam extant in Anastasius of Sinai (Stephen J. Shoemaker).

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This year’s Annual Meeting was one of IQSA’s most outstanding yet, packed with excellent presentations across the board and consistently high attendance. It was exhilarating as always to see the flourishing of new perspectives within the world of Qur’anic scholarship as well as the always impressive level of academic rigor exemplified by all of this year’s speakers. We look forward to moving from the shadow of the Rocky Mountains this year to the sunny shoresof the Pacific for next year’s meeting, and hope to see faces both familiar and new there!

By Conor Dube (Ph.D. Candidate, Harvard University)

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

Biblical Traditions in the Qur’ān, British Academy, London | October 11 – 12, 2018

Delegates were welcomed to the conference at the British Academy, in London by Nicolai Sinai (Oxford), who explained the impetuous behind the conference; a new publication on biblical traditions in the Qur’ān, which will hopefully go to press in 2019. While noting the continuing importance of the contribution made to the field by, amongst others, Heinrich Speyer, with his Die Biblischen Erzählungen im Qoran (1931), Sinai noted that this work remains untranslated and thus inaccessible to many scholars. Developments in the ways in which scholars approach the Qur’ān and view its relationship with biblical literature also call for a new publication that comprehensively examines biblical traditions in the Qur’ān, in light of these new approaches and methods.

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The British Academy was established in 1902 and is based at 10-11 Carlton House Terrace in London (Photo Courtesy of the British Academy)

The conference suitably began with a presentation about The Creation in the Qur’ān and its reworking of biblical antecedents by Sean Anthony (Ohio State). Marianna Klar (Oxford) discussed the qur’ānic presentation of Adam, His Mate, and Their Sons, and Shari Lowin (Stonehill College) examined Noah and the Deluge in the context of the Qur’ān. Nicolai Sinai (Oxford) then spoke about the qur’ānic view of Abraham, while Adam Silverstein (Bar llan University) focused on Joseph. Nora K. Schmid (FU Berlin) and Michael Pregill (University of California, Los Angeles) considered Moses in Egypt and Moses in the Wilderness, respectively. The first day of the conference concluded with a presentation by Saqib Hussain (Oxford) on Elijah, Jonah, Job, and Uzayr.

Day two of the conference began with presentations by Walid Saleh (Toronto) on Saul, David, and Solomon and Jack Tannous (Princeton) on John the Baptist and Zechariah. This was followed by Gabriel S. Reynolds’ (Notre Dame) exposition of Mary, Jesus, and the Apostles, while Sidney Griffith (CUA) discussed The Narratives of Surah 18: The Companions of the Cave, Moses’ Journey, Dhū l-Qarnayn. In the afternoon, Stephen J. Shoemaker (Oregon) examined qur’ānic Eschatology, while Devin Stewart (Emory) looked at Qur’anic Parables. The final panel of the conference concluded with presentations by Angelika Neuwirth (FU Berlin) on the Qur’an and Liturgy and Holger Zellentin (Cambridge) on Law and Ritual.

The conference was well-attended by academics, graduate students and members of the public. Both the particular interests of the participants and the venue itself fostered a positive environment for further discussion and exchange both during the question sessions and various breaks.

IQSA looks forward to the publication resulting from the conference and will endeavor to keep readers posted as to a publication date. Many thanks to the organizers, both delegates and the staff at the British Academy for making the conference such a success.

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

Fourth International Symposium on Rethinking the Qur’ān: Qur’ānic Studies in the First Three Centuries | October 20 – 21, Ankara

The Fourth International Symposium on Rethinking the Qur’ān: Qur’ānic Studies in the First Three Centuries, was successfully held by the Research Institute for the Philosophical Foundation of the Disciplines from October 20 – 21, 2018, Ankara.

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Ismahan Yurt, head of Institute, gave the opening address, which was followed by papers by Professor Mehmet Said Hatipoğlu on The Qur’ān and a Critical Mind, Professor Alparslan Açıkgenç on The Formation of the Discipline of Tafsīr during the Tedwīn Period, and Professor Halil Rahman Açar on Can earlier Attempts by Muslims to understand the Qur’ān be called Tafsīr?

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The Symposium continued on Saturday afternoon and Sunday, with parallel sessions at which papers were given on topics ranging from the Prophet Muhammad’s understanding of the Qur’ān to al-Tabarī’s interpretations, classical exegesis and interpretative methods. The Schools of Mecca, Medina, Kufa, and Andalusia, and their key features were also investigated. The aim of presentations and discussions was to illuminate the efforts of Muslims in interpreting the Qur’ān within the first three centuries of Islam.

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The committee extend their thanks to all participants for making the symposium such a success. Information regarding the publication of proceedings will be announced in due course.

 

 

 

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

 

 

Annual Meeting Reminders – Denver 2018

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The 2018 IQSA Annual Meeting in Denver, Colorado is just days away, commencing THIS Friday, November 16th at the Denver Convention Center, where over 1,000 events will take place, featuring more than 130 publishers and some 10,000 attendees! Read below for important reminders in anticipation of  IQSA’s exciting program this year.

  • IQSA sessions begin one day before the SBL/AAR schedule on Friday November 16th. Please book your travel and accommodation plans accordingly. This year’s opening session will be followed by the General Reception at 6:30pm at Uncle Joe’s Hong Kong Bistro. Please RSVP at THIS LINK.
    Note – this year’s meeting will not include a Presidential Address/Keynote 
  • On Saturday November 17th, graduate students and early career scholars should attend the Graduate Student Reception, 11:30am-1:00pm, where they will enjoy lunch with leading scholars in the field and share their own research. Please RSVP at THIS LINK or by emailing contact@iqsaweb.org.
  • On Sunday November 18th, all IQSA members are encouraged to attend the 2018 IQSA Business Meeting from 11:30am-12:30pm. See schedule for details.
  • IQSA’s print and online Program Book is now hours away from publication – stay tuned to www.iqsaweb.org to get a PDF version prior to the meeting!
  • Events like IQSA’s Annual Meetings are made possible by the generous support from its members, partners, and friends. Consider a donation to further IQSA’s mission, and remember to renew your annual membership!

Questions? Email contact@iqsaweb.org. On behalf of the IQSA Board of Directors and Executive Office, we look forward to seeing you in Denver!

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