Review of Qur’anic Research, Vol. 5 no. 2 (2019)

In the latest installment of the Review of Qur’anic Research (Vol. 5, no.2), Ayman S. Ibrahim (Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) reviews Juan Cole’s Muhammad: Prophet of Peace Amid the Clash of Empires (New York: Nation Books, 2018).

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In his review, Ibrahim writes “In recent years, the field of Islamic Studies has witnessed a growing trend centered on reinterpreting early Islam. The reinterpretation concerns historical episodes, events, or figures, and stands in a clear dissonance with traditional narratives depicted by classical Muslim historians…Juan Cole’s ‘Muhammad: Prophet of Peace Amid the Clash of Empires’ is a recent representation of this trend. The author attempts to reinterpret early Islam, particularly in relation to the image of the Muslim prophet. Following Fred M. Donner’s footsteps in ‘Muhammad and the Believers,’ Cole’s Muhammad “puts forward a reinterpretation of early Islam as a movement strongly inflected with values of peacemaking” (1). If Donner’s reinterpretation portrayed early Islam as an ecumenical movement (a community of believers, not Muslims), Cole’s book emphasizes Muḥammad as a “prophet of peace” who led a peacemaking community…”

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

NEW Journal of the International Qur’anic Studies Association,Vol.2 (2017)

IQSA is proud to announce the release of the second issue of its flagship journal, the Journal of the International Qur’anic Studies Association by Lockwood Press. JIQSA, vol. 2 (2017) is co-edited by Michael Pregill and Vanessa De Gifis (Wayne State University) and features new research on the Qur’an. The editors offer an insightful introductory essay in remembrance of Andrew Rippin, IQSA’s inaugural president and “esteemed colleague, revered mentor, and scholarly inspiration to many members of the IQSA community” (Pregill, 3).

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Articles include the 2016 presidential address by Farid Esack and a response by Shari Lowin, as well as a number of original contributions by renowned scholars in the field.

Readers will find JIQSA reflects the depth, diversity and debate latent within Qur’an Studies today. Subjects explored in this issue include the Qur’an’s place in late antiquity, literary and inter-confessional dialogue, its reception in the west, the hermeneutics of traditional and modern exegesis, transmission of the text, manuscripts, philology, rhetoric and more. A table of contents follows below.

Preparation for JIQSA, vol. 3 has already begun. Submissions should be uploaded electronically, in both Microsoft Word and PDF formats, to http://lockwoodonlinejournals.com/index.php/jiqsa/about/submissions. Please ensure that the documents you upload are anonymized for peer review. As a rule of thumb, articles should be between 10,000 and 15,000 words including footnotes, using 12-pt Times New Roman font double-spaced for the body and 11-pt single-spaced font for footnotes. Shorter or longer articles may be accepted for review at the discretion of the editors. Authors are encouraged to conform their submissions to our current JIQSA Guidelines and Style Sheet.

Volume 2 (2017): Table of Contents

  1. Pregill, Michael E. “Remembrance: Andrew Rippin (1950-2016).” JIQSA 2 (2017): 3-6.
  2. Esack, Farid. “Lot and His Offer: 2016 IQSA Presidential Address.” JIQSA 2 (2017): 7-34.
  3. Lowin, Shari L. “Response to Farid Esack’s 2016 Presidential Address.” JIQSA 2 (2017): 35-46.
  4. Stewart, Devin. “Cognate and Paronomastic Curse Retorts in the Qurʾān: Speech Genres and the Investigation of Qurʾānic Language.” JIQSA 2 (2017): 47-88.
  5. Ali, Kecia. “Destabilizing Gender, Reproducing Maternity: Mary in the Qurʾān.” JIQSA 2 (2017): 89-110.
  6. Lowry, Joseph E. “Law, Structure, and Meaning in Sūrat al-Baqarah.” JIQSA 2 (2017): 111-148.
  7. Qureshi, Jawad Anwar. “Ring Composition in Sūrat Yūsuf (Q 12).” JIQSA 2 (2017): 149-168.
  8. Pregill, Michael E. “Review Essay: Positivism, Revisionism, and Agnosticism in the Study of Late Antiquity and the Qurʾān.” JIQSA 2 (2017): 169-199.

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

 

 

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.

Promoting Scholarship & Building Bridges with IQSA #GivingTuesday

Dear Friends,

For over five years the International Qur’anic Studies Association has made fostering Qur’anic scholarship its mission. The Qur’an is an integral part of world literature, and it has shaped and continues to shape the world in which we live. By giving to IQSA you are promoting high quality scholarship and building bridges across the globe, which in turn has positive ripple effects on high quality education, journalism, publishing and public engagement.

 

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IQSA is the only non-profit learned society exclusively dedicated to convening regular Qur’an conferences in North America and in Muslim majority countries around the world, as well as to publishing rigorous cutting edge scholarship on the Qur’an. Within five short years IQSA has convened seven major conferences. These have included large scale conferences in throughout major US cities, Carthage, Tunisia and Jogjakarta, Indonesia, as well as co-sponsored panels in Berlin, Germany and St Andrews, Scotland. IQSA conferences showcase cutting edge research on manuscripts, historical documents, and high tech digital resources, as well as debate critical issues including methodology, hermeneutics and gender. This is possible because IQSA members include the very best scholars in the field.

The second issue of the bilingual Journal of the International Qur’anic Studies Association (JIQSA) is in its final stages of production; and IQSA’s first publication in the Studies in the Qur’ān series, A Qur’ānic Apocalypse: A Reading of the Thirty-Three Last Sūras of the Qur’ān by Michel Cuypers, is now available from ISD. IQSA members receive free access to JIQSA, the Review of Qur’an Research (RQR), the exclusive member directory (including world renowned Qur’an specialists) and PhD students and recent graduates gain valuable professional development experience. Lifetime and Institutional members carry additional member benefits. IQSA also rewards junior scholars and international academics with the opportunity to learn from colleagues around the world and publish their research. By giving, you help IQSA keep membership dues low and you reward those members of our community who need it most.

Donate NOW

It goes without saying that the current political climate has made our task — especially critical scholarship and building bridges — more important than ever. As academics, professionals and philanthropists we have a duty to support the Humanities and Social Sciences at a time when they are under threat. This also means we have the opportunity to bring about a much more intellectual discussion of the Qur’an when the public needs it most.

IQSA was founded by a generous grant from the Henry Luce Foundation, and is now funded through the generous support of its members, partners and friends.

Donate NOW

Most gratefully,

Emran El-Badawi, Executive Director

© 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.

First IQSA Studies in the Qur’ān Publication with Lockwood Press “A Qur’ānic Apocalypse: A Reading of the Thirty-Three Last Sūras of the Qur’ān” by Michel Cuypers

IQSA is proud to announce that the first publication in the Studies in the Qur’ān Series, together with Lockwood Press, is now available from ISD: https://isdistribution.com/BookDetail.aspx?aId=93549

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The present volume closes a trilogy devoted to the exegesis of the Qurʾān analyzed according to the principles of Semitic rhetoric, a method of textual analysis developed in the field of biblical studies. It studies the shortest sūrahs of the Qur’ān, which are traditionally dated to the beginnings of the preaching of Muḥammad in Mecca. The reference to the initial vision of Muḥammad in Sūrah 81, the point of departure for his career as Prophet, provides the starting point of the study of this group of sūrahs. The analysis shows that the redactors who assembled the textual fragments of the Qur’ān into a book were guided by precise intentions. In the end, it is these intentions that the rhetorical analysis of the text enables us to discover and better understand.

About the Author:
Michel Cuypers is a researcher at the IDEO, the Dominican Institute for Oriental Studies, Cairo, Egypt.

384 pages | 9 x 6 inches | Published October 2018
Hardback | ISBN 9781948488013 | $49.95
PDF eBook | ISBN 9781948480994 | $40.00

* Accessed from https://isdistribution.com/BookDetail.aspx?aId=93549

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

New Publication Muhammad: Prophet of Peace amid the Clash of Empires by Juan Cole

Below is an adapted excerpt from Muhammad: Prophet of Peace Amid the Clash of Empires by Juan Cole. Copyright © 2018. Available from Nation Books, an imprint of Perseus Books, LLC, a subsidiary of Hachette Book Group, Inc. This and the image of the cover are reproduced by kind permission of the author and publishers.

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The Companions of the Right Hand, the second group of good but perhaps not beatific people, are a “crowd of ancients and of moderns.”  That is, there are more contemporaries of the Prophet in this group.  The Event (56:90-91) promises, “And if they are among the companions of the right hand, then they will be greeted, ‘Peace be to you,’ by the companions of the right hand.”  They will dress up in fine silk and exotic brocade as though Asian royalty.  Any lingering rancor or grudges in their hearts for others will be removed, and they will all become siblings.  Concord is so central to the Qur’an’s view of the afterlife that it names heaven for it, saying, “God summons all to the Abode of Peace.”  The association of peace with heaven is also made in the New Testament.  In Luke 19:38, when Jesus approached the Mount of Olives after entering Jerusalem riding on a donkey, the crowds are said to have shouted, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord!  Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”

The chapter of Y.S. 36:52-58 represents paradise as having levels, with enjoyment the most basic, then above that a stage in which you recline on couches facing your spouse, followed by a plane on which you savor luscious fruit.  The pinnacle of paradise, however, comes at the fourth stage, when the voice of God addresses you with “Peace!”  Many readers will immediately think of the Paradiso of Dante Alighieri, which imagines heaven as nine levels.  The Qur’an positions peace at the apex of the delights of heaven.

These images have a moral purpose.  The Meccan sanctuary on earth dimly reflects the spectral asylum of the next world.  The comportment of the Vanguard and the Companions of the Right Hand, the Qur’an implies, exemplifies ideal behavior to be mirrored as well as possible even in this world.  Middle Platonism, the “spiritual commonwealth” of late antiquity, held that the spiritual is real and the material earth only participates in the archetypes of the other world.  In the classical rhetorical tradition that was all around Muhmmad when he journeyed north every year, the aim of a speaker was to use vivid, energetic language that brought the thing described to life before the eyes of the audience, making them feel as though they were witnesses to it.  It was not enough, however, simply to describe.  The speaker sought to whip up hearers emotionally by appealing to their imagination.  The Qur’an uses these literary devices in making paradise present to the believers.

Likewise, Christian sermonizers urged believers to keep the prospect of joining the concourse of heaven in mind.  Cyril of Jerusalem (313-386) preached, “Even now, I beseech you, lift up the eye of your understanding: imagine the angelic choirs, and God, the Lord of all sitting, and his Only-begotten Son sitting with him on his right hand, and the Spirit with them present . . .”

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