Review of Qur’anic Research, Vol. 6 no. 5 (2020)

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In the latest installment of the Review of Qur’anic Research (Vol. 6, no.5),  Juliane Hammer (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill) reviews Communities of the Qur’an: Dialogue, Debate, and Diversity in the 21st Century edited by Emran El-Badawi and Paula Sanders (London: Oneworld, 2020). 

CommunitiesIn her review, Hammer writes “When I first saw the title of the book under review here, ‘Communities of the Qur’an,’ I was excited. In the field of qurʾānic studies, there has been a decades-long (if not longer) focus on the qurʾānic text itself, on its origins and history, its linguistic and literary qualities, but rather much silence about the people who engage with it. This volume, edited by Emran El-Badawi and Paula Sanders, aims to change that by bringing together scholars who, in complex ways, write about and often also represent communities of the Qurʾān that the editors selected based on a thoughtful process. The result is a collection of essays, ten plus the introduction by the editors, rounded out with a foreword by Reza Aslan, and an afterword by Reuven Firestone…”

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Review of Qur’anic Research, Vol. 6 no. 4 (2020)

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In the latest installment of the Review of Qur’anic Research (Vol. 6, no.4), David Marshall (The World Council of Churches) reviews Mark Durie’s The Qur’an and Its Biblical Reflexes (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2018).

BibReflexesIn his review, Marshall writes “Mark Durie’s ‘The Qur’an and Its Biblical Reflexes’ is a highly original work and a substantial contribution to the field of Qurʾānic Studies. He engages with a great deal of secondary literature, but his study is also based on extensive direct reading of the text of the Qurʾān itself, so there is nothing second-hand about his approach. He presses everything he uses into the service of a very distinctive argument, so that what he says of the Qurʾān could also be said of his own work: it marches to the beat of its own drum. Durie writes clearly and engagingly, regularly re-stating his aims and recapitulating his developing argument…

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Review of Qur’anic Research, Vol. 6 no. 3 (2020)

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In the latest installment of the Review of Qur’anic Research (vol. 6, no.3), Andrea Stanton (University of Denver) reviews Johanna Pink Muslim Qurʼānic Interpretation Today: Media, Genealogies and Interpretive Communities (Sheffield/Bristol, UK: Equinox Publishing Ltd., 2019).

6.3In the review, Stanton writes “Have you ever wondered why Ibn Kathīr’s tafsīr is so ubiquitous online, in multiple languages, and in translations of different lengths? Or, what percentage of Muslims read the Qurʾān in previous centuries, and what “reading” meant? About the proliferation of pious lectures or advice-giving programs on YouTube and the details of the people behind them? Have you wondered about the role of nation-states in the politics of Qurʾān interpretation?

If you have not, Johanna Pink’s expansive, rigorous, and compelling new book on the development and contours of contemporary Muslim interpretations of the Qurʾān will open your eyes to and your understanding of these phenomena and more. If you have, then – like me – you will delight in every page, because this is the book that you have been waiting for…”

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

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

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

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Review of Qur’anic Research, Vol. 5 no. 10 (2019)

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In the latest installment of the Review of Qur’anic Research (Vol. 5, no.10), Majd Al-Mallah (Grand Valley State University) reviews Richard Serrano’s Qurʾān and the Lyric Imperative (New York: Lexington Books, 2016).

5.10In his review, Al-Mallah writes “As the title suggests, Richard Serrano’s Qurʾān and the Lyric Imperative examines the Qurʾān, but the intention is not to explain the holy book of Islam. The Qurʾān, as the author puts it, “continues to defy explanation, despite the legions engaged in the vast Islamic and Orientalist intellectual industry intent on doing just that” (1). Instead, the book examines the connections between the Qurʾān and poetry in the classical Arabic tradition and the ways in which those connections have served a central role in preserving people’s understanding of the text…

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Review of Qur’anic Research, Vol. 5 no. 9 (2019)

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In the latest installment of the Review of Qur’anic Research (Vol. 5, no.9), Eléonore Cellard (Collège de France) reviews Asma Hilali’s The Sanaa Palimpsest: The Transmission of the Qurʾan in the First Centuries AH (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017).  

palimpsestIn her review, Cellard writes “‘The Sanaa Palimpsest: The Transmission of the Qurʾan in the First Centuries AH’ by Asma Hilali aims to contribute to the ongoing discussion of the transmission of the Qurʾān in the early Islamic centuries, presenting a new interpretation of one of the most discussed documentary witnesses in recent years: the palimpsest of Ṣanʿāʾ. This monograph is the culmination of a long investigation, that started with the digitization project De l’Antiquité tardive à l’Islam (2005–2008) funded by the French ANR (Agence Nationale de la Recherche). One of the aims of this project, directed by Christian J. Robin, was the digitization of three Qurʾān manuscripts found in the Ṣanʿāʾ mosque in 1972 or 1973 and kept in one of the mosque’s libraries, Dār al-Makhṭūṭāt. Of the three digitized manuscripts, one—inventoried as DAM 01-27.1—is of particular interest because it is a palimpsest, parchment leaves from which a previous text has been erased in order to write a new text above. The most intriguing feature is that its lower and upper texts are both qurʾānic. Then, what are the motivations behind this recycling operation?…”

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Review of Qur’anic Research, Vol. 5 no. 8 (2019)

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In the latest installment of the Review of Qur’anic Research (Vol. 5, no.8), Sami Helewa, S.J. (Campion College, University of Regina) reviews Khaleel Mohammed’s David in the Muslim Tradition: The Bathsheba Affair (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2015).

davidIn his review, Helewa writes… “The biblical story of the Israelite king David son of Jesse contains multi-dimensional elements regarding his achievements as a leader, a military strategist, a conqueror, a pious man of considerable intensity, a lover, and a monarchist. Occurring at the apex of David’s religio-political leadership, the Bathsheba storyline is perhaps the most controversial narrative element in David’s story. It stands out as an oddity in the overall narrative of David’s excellence, of his otherwise outstanding achievements in securing his people among other, rather hostile, neighbouring tribes or nations. The Qurʾān (Ṣād 38:20–26) makes strong reference to the biblical account of the episode with Bathsheba in 2 Samuel 12. More so, the qurʾānic commentaries through the centuries that followed the advent of Islam enriched the Islamic tradition with a variety of interpretations of David’s story. The mention of David in the Qurʾān and in the Islamic tradition had the prophetic purpose of setting the Muslim prophet Muḥammad in the same line as the biblical prophets. It is within the genre of tafsīr (qurʾānic commentary) that Khaleel Mohammed’s David in the Muslim Tradition: The Bathsheba Affair makes its mark in the important study of the Bathsheba narrative detail of David’s story. With the introduction and the conclusion chapters, the monograph is segmented into a total of seven chapters…”

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Review of Qur’anic Research, Vol. 5 no. 7 (2019)

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In the latest installment of the Review of Qur’anic Research (Vol. 5, no.7), Maria De Cillis (The Institute of Ismaili Studies) reviews Seyfeddin Kara’s In Search of ʿAlī Ibn Abī Ṭālib’s Codex: History and Traditions of the Earliest Copy of the Qurʾān (Berlin: Gerlach Press, 2018).

Insearch

In her review, Cillis writes “In his new volume, In Search of ʿAlī Ibn Abī Ṭālib’s Codex: History and Traditions of the Earliest Copy of the Qurʾān, Seyfeddin Kara takes into account how the Shiʿi claim—that the fourth caliph and first Shiʿi Imam carried out the compilation of the Qurʾān before anyone else—has frequently been perceived as politicised bias. This, our author observes, as many scholars have done before him, has contributed to the crystallization of a negative attitude in Western academia towards the study of Shiʿi ḥadīth compilations. What is admirable and innovative in this new work is Kara’s goal of refusing to espouse any distorted, standardized preconception, and his yearning to shatter any sectarianized perspective…”

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

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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…”

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

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In the latest installment of the Review of Qur’anic Research (Vol. 5, no.5), David Cook (Rice University) reviews Michel Cuypers (ed.) A Qurʾānic Apocalypse: A Reading of the Thirty-Three Last Sūrahs of the Qurʾān (Atlanta, GA: Lockwood Press, 2018). 

Cuypers

In his review, Cook writes “That the Qurʾān as a text has apocalyptic affinities has been the focus of scholarly research for the past century. Of late, due to the work of Fred Donner and others, defining the Qurʾānic apocalypse has come into vogue. Michel Cuypers’ ‘A Qurʾānic Apocalypse: A Reading of the Thirty-Three Last Sūrahs of the Qurʾān’ is a welcome addition to this genre. However, one should note that Cuypers’ work is quite different from other research and readings on the subject. While most scholars seek to place the Qurʾān within an apocalyptic framework, and then relate the text to outside events, or to extract history—such as it is—from the text, Cuypers seeks to read the entire text as if it were an apocalypse in terms of its rhetoric…”

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