Eléonore Cellard wins Andrew Rippin Best Paper Prize 2019

The International Qurʾanic Studies Association is delighted to announce that the second annual Andrew Rippin Best Paper Prize (open to papers delivered by junior scholars at the 2018 annual meeting) has been awarded to Dr. Eléonore Cellard for her paper “From Coptic to Arabic: A new palimpsest for the history of the Qur’ān in Egypt during the first centuries of Islam.” The winner of the Andrew Rippin Best Paper Prize receives a cash award. In addition, an expanded and edited version of the winning paper qualifies for publication in the Journal of the International Qur’anic Studies Association.

This award is given in honor of Prof. Andrew Rippin (1950-2016), a leading scholar of the Qurʾān and inaugural president of the International Qur’anic Studies Association (2014). Prof. Rippin is remembered as “an esteemed colleague, revered mentor, and scholarly inspiration to many members of the IQSA community.” An announcement regarding submissions for the second annual Andrew Rippin Best Paper Prize will follow the 2019 IQSA annual meeting in San Diego.

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An abstract of Eléonore Cellard award winning paper follows:

According to the Islamic tradition, the Qur’ānic text was fixed some years after the conquest of Egypt by ‘Amr ibn al-‘Āṣ. Egypt, however, didn’t received any of the archetypal codices sent by ‘Uṯmān ibn ‘Affān. Without this archetype, how did the Qur’ānic text spread to this region during the first centuries of Islam? Did Egypt play a role in the beginning of the written transmission of the Qur’ān? Unfortunately, the hundreds of early Qur’ānic fragments found in Egypt in the last centuries can’t attest to their Egyptian origin, as they contain no information about their dating or their origins.

A new palimpsest, recently emerged on the antiquities market, could shed some light on these issues. On its scriptio inferior – the original text which has been erased – we could so far decipher fragments of Deuteronomy and Isaiah, probably written in the 6th or 7th century, within a Coptic monastery, located between Cairo and Assiut. The scriptio superior – the upper text which supersedes the Coptic text – is a Qur’ān, sharing similarities with the large copies kept in Fustat (Old-Cairo) and elsewhere, and dating from the middle of the 8th century. The originality of this palimpsest is its lower cost manufacture, reflecting a more modest, and regional context of production in this period, perhaps in Middle-Egypt like the former Coptic manuscript.

Revealing the existence of another way of production of Qur’ān copies as early as the 8th century, this document shows also that the written transmission of the Qur’ān was already well established and under control. Last, but not least, this artifact reminds us of the material proximity of Qur’ānic and Coptic scribal cultures in Egypt. The copyists never ignored each other, but what were exactly their relationships? Studying this palimpsest and the others, we approach the Qur’ān as a tridimensional book, never isolated from the other scriptural cultures, but rather interacting with them, in the multicultural story of Egypt at the end of Late Antiquity.          

portrait pro Eleonore-3Dr. Eléonore Cellard is specialist in Qur’ānic manuscripts. She started her research activities in 2008, under the supervision of François Déroche. In 2015, she submitted her dissertation intitled “The written transmission of the Qur’ān. Study of a corpus of manuscripts from the 2nd H./8th CE” (INALCO/EPHE). Until 2018, she carried on her research at the Collège de France, as research assistant and post-doctoral researcher.  Involved first in the French-German Coranica project, then in the Paleocoran project, she published Codex Amrensis 1, the first volume of the collection of facsimile and diplomatic editions of the earliest Qur’ans (Brill, 2018).

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

2019 Reminders & Updates

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A belated Happy New Year from the International Qur’anic Studies Association! 2019 ushers in a range of new publications, exciting events, and organizational developments for the IQSA community.

HOW TO SAVE MONEY THIS YEAR

Attending conferences and accessing quality scholarship cost money–but we have got you covered, (1) with versatile “five tiered” IQSA membership, and (2) with early registration through SBL (about $195).  A graduate student could pay as little as $220-225 for both membership and registration (and enjoy two free meals on the house 🙂. The same advice more or less applies to faculty members and independent scholars. Pay early. Save money.

Students or scholars experiencing extenuating circumstances should write contact@iqsaweb.org about temporarily waiving the membership fee.

WHY BECOME A MEMBER IN 2019?

IQSA Membership for 2019 is now open! Membership consists of five levels: Student/InternationalMid-range Faculty/GeneralFull Professor, Lifetime, and Institutional. The Student/International level is $25 (USD) for student and international (Global South) scholars. The Mid-range Faculty/General level is $50 (USD) for all non-student scholars, professionals, and mid-range faculty. The Full Professor level is $75 (USD) for full professors. The Lifetime level is a one time installment of $2,000 (USD) and Institutional membership is $400 (USD) annually.

Member benefits include:

  • DISCOUNTED Registration for Annual Meetings (IQSA, SBL, AAR)
    • IQSA Membership makes users eligible to register at the SUPER SAVER level prior to May 24th at the low cost of $195.00 as affiliates
  • Free passes to Annual Meeting events, including the Exhibitor Hall, private general and graduate student receptions, sessions, panels, and more
  • Access to the membership directory – an internal network of over 200 scholars!
  • Access to IQSA publications, including the monthly Review of Qur’anic Research, the Journal of the International Qur’anic Studies Association, and more
  • Professional development opportunities for graduate students and junior scholars, including volunteer, job postings, and employment networking
  • Eligibility for Andrew Rippin Best Paper Prize ($250 USD and potential publication in JIQSA)
  • [ Starting 2019: To be eligible to present at annual and international IQSA conferences IQSA membership dues must be paid by the time the paper abstract is accepted – no exceptions! ]

To become a member, click HERE. To renew or edit your membership, sign in to your member account, click the “Join IQSA” tab, and select “Edit your member profile” at the bottom of the page.

JOIN US IN TANGIER, MOROCCO!

Membership also grants access to IQSA’s quickly approaching third biennial International Qur’an Conference to be held from July 25-26, 2019 and 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. 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. All accepted panelists are required to renew and/or sign up for IQSA Membership immediately in order to secure a position in the program. For more details, visit the 2019 International Meeting page.

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).

READ OUR NEW PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT POLICY

Members should note IQSA’s newly published Professional Conduct Policy, to which all members and event participants are expected to adhere in order to best promote mutual understanding through scholarship and open inquiry. Members are encouraged to read and abide by the policy now available online.

WHO WANTS TO VOLUNTEER?

IQSA is currently seeking Blog contributors and a grant writer (the latter will receive free membership/benefits). Also for IQSA friends and members outside North America, stay tuned later this year for our “IQSA regional coordinator” program. If you are interested, write contact@iqsaweb.org.

STAY CONNECTED!

IQSA members make new discoveries, have fascinating conversations and share all sorts of cool and material exclusively over social media and discussion group. Join for free and see what you’re missing!

To stay informed throughout the new year, follow IQSA via www.iqsaweb.org, the weekly Blog, Facebook, and Twitter. Also join the IQSA discussion group by sending an email to iqsa-subscribe@yahoogroups.com.

– DONATE NOW –

Over the years IQSA members have been extremely generous. Thank you. We encourage our members and affiliates to continue support for our mission by clicking this link to make a donation. The International Qur’anic Studies Association is a registered 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization, and every gift ensures its continued role in building bridges across the globe via the critical study of the Qur’an.

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

 

Review of Qur’anic Research, Vol. 5 no. 1 (2019)

In the latest installment of the Review of Qur’anic Research (Vol. 5, no.1), Devin Stewart (Emory University) reviews Karim Samji’s The Qur’ān: A Form-Critical History (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2018).

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In his review, Stewart writes “The urge to provide an inventory of the types of speech included in the Qurʾān is an old one. As Karim Samji points out, in one passage of his famous Qurʾān commentary Jāmiʿ al-bayān ʿan taʾwīl āy al-Qurʾān, Muḥammad b. Jarīr al-Ṭabarī (d. 310/923) interprets the seven “letters” (aḥruf) in which the Qurʾān was revealed as seven types of speech contained in the sacred text: command (amr), rebuke (zajr), exhortation (targhīb), admonition (tarhīb), debate (jadal), narrative (qaṣaṣ), and parable (mathal) (270). However, this urge has not been met with sustained interest and methodical investigation on the part of modern scholars in Qurʾānic Studies. Karim Samji’s The Qurʾān: A Form-Critical Historyis therefore an important contribution to Qurʾānic Studies, the first attempt to apply biblical form criticism to the Qurʾān in a sustained manner to provide an overview of the main genres contained in Islam’s sacred text…

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.

In Memoriam, Keith Small (1959-2018)

By Daniel A. Brubaker, Ph.D.

smallKeith Edward Small, scholar of Qurʾan manuscripts who made significant contributions to the field of Qurʾan textual criticism, passed away early morning Thursday, December 6, 2018 in Oxford, UK, having been admitted to hospital earlier in the week.

Keith was diagnosed in 2016 with AL Amyloidosis, a rare blood disorder without known cure that causes protein deposits on vital organs. As the disease progressed, mobility and regular activity became more difficult. Dialysis became a regular routine and Keith had been in and out of hospital. He kept up writing activities and correspondence throughout as much as he was able, and his characteristic kind and gentle demeanor remained evident to those around him.

Keith was a friend of IQSA from its beginning, having served as the inaugural unit chair of the Manuscripts and Textual Criticism unit. He felt deeply, along with the other organizers, the need for a public space to foster the critical study of the Qurʾan.

Keith was born July 24, 1959 in Battle Creek, Michigan. He took his BA from Western Michigan University, a Masters of Theology (ThM) at Dallas Theological Seminary, and then his PhD at the Guthrie Centre for Islamic Studies at London School of Theology. On August 10, 1985, Keith and Celeste were married.

Discussions with Muslim friends and a realization that many questions remained unanswered about the Qur’an’s transmission as a physical object formed the impetus for Keith’s advanced scholarly inquiry.

Prior to achieving his doctorate, Keith traveled to meet with scholars who studied the early Sana’a, Topkapı, and Samarkand Qur’an manuscripts. After the reintroduction of the Bergstrasser archives, said to have been destroyed by Spitaler after WWII, Keith was invited by Michael Marx and Angelika Neuwirth to the first Corpus Coranicum conference at the Free University of Berlin in 2005. At this conference, Keith’s paper comparing early variants in textual critical issues, reminiscent of the critical edition of the Qur’an projects initiated Jeffery and Bergstrasser, was appreciated by those present, including Neuwirth and Marx, Gerd-R Puin, Noja Noseda, Andrew Rippin, and Efim Rezvan. Hope was in the room for various reinitiated projects since Bergstrasser’s death in 1938 and Arthur Jeffery’s subsequent lament in 1959 that a truly critical edition of the Qur’an was perhaps now beyond reach of scholars.

Keith authored several books. His Textual Criticism and Qurʾan Manuscripts (Lexington, 2011) was the first of its kind and has become the standard introduction to the subject. Keith’s work was always circumspect; he wished to treat his subject with integrity and honesty. A committed Christian, he strove to be meticulous in his analysis and critical in assessments without overreaching the evidence. This approach earned him not only the admiration and trust of colleagues, but also a position as a Manuscript Consultant to Oxford’s Bodleian Library for their Qurʾan manuscript collection, where he has had an office since 2014. As part of this work, Keith was asked to produce Qur’ans: Books of Divine Encounter (Bodleian Press) to accompany the first exhibition at the newly renovated Weston Library (the Special Collections library of the Bodleian) to showcase the collection. Keith was a visiting lecturer and associate research fellow at the London School of Theology and a guest lecturer at Oxford University, as well as having presented papers at conferences in Britain, the United States, Germany, and France.

Keith was a friend to me. I met him in 2005 and was quickly drawn to interest in Qur’an manuscripts after seeing his work. From the start, he was helpful to me and provided direction, contacts, and resources. He provided my first opportunity to present a conference paper on the topic, at MESA in San Diego on a panel that also included David Powers and was chaired by Emran El-Badawi. It is true to say that I owe my current work in Qur’an manuscripts in significant part to the kind mentoring guidance of this wonderful man, Keith Small.

Throughout this past year, Keith has been working toward completion of a final book project, a book that uses Christianity and Islam to explore the popular assertion that all religions believe the same thing. It is our understanding as of a month or so ago that Keith was on the final chapter of this book; we hope it will be forthcoming soon.

Keith was 59 years old. He is survived by his wife, Celeste, and their three adult children, William, Taylor, and Beverly.

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© International Qur’anic Studies Association, 2018. 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.

 

iqsagiving

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.

Suggestions for Presenting a Conference Paper at IQSA

With the IQSA Annual Meeting quickly approaching next month, there has never been a better time to catch up on Dr. Devin Stewart’s (Emory University) suggestions for effective presentations at academic conferences!


Attendance at many conferences over the years and observing the presentations of both neophytes and older scholars has proved to me that nearly no one is taught in explicit terms how to write or deliver a conference paper. For the most part scholars have learned by osmosis, watching examples, whether good, middling, or bad. It is my hope that the scholars who participate in IQSA will be able to rise above the sea of mediocrity and make excellent presentations. I have witnessed a number of papers at IQSA that fall short of that mark, and while such lapses are not more prevalent at IQSA than at other conferences, my hope for the performances at IQSA is that they will be exceptionally high.

[The following statements represent my own considered opinions. It does not represent the opinion of the IQSA board or any other identifiable body in academia. My intention in presenting these comments and guidelines is only to help improve the quality of papers at the annual conference and thus to improve the experience and edification of all conference attendees.]

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Alba Fedeli presents her work on the “Birmingham Qur’an” manuscript at the 2015 IQSA Annual Meeting in Atlanta, GA.

Purpose:

The main purpose of a conference paper is to announce to the world a new result that you have discovered. In practical terms, it is also to force you to write something, or to finish writing something, that you will publish, and to get feedback from scholars in the field before you do so. If you are lucky, members of your audience may alert you to problems in your argument, plausible counter-arguments, sources you have overlooked, or relevant secondary studies you have not come across. They may push you to explain your argument better, more clearly, or more precisely. All of this will help improve the resulting publication and help ensure that you do not publish something that is unoriginal, incompletely documented, or badly argued.

Content:

A conference paper should be a report about completed research that 1) is new, 2) makes a solid argument and 3) emphasizes concrete results. Especially for this society, 4) concrete results primarily consist of concrete conclusions regarding the text of the Qur’an, its meaning, or its historical interpretation and use. This definition has several implications that may go against what young scholars have been told by their sophomoric graduate student peers or benighted advisors and what they have seen performed by droves of misguided conference-goers.

  • The content of your conference paper should not have been published before. It should be a new contribution to the field. You should not deliver a paper that is an info-mercial for your latest book. You should not present something that is an article already in press.
  • A conference paper is a report about research that you have completed. It is not a verbatim, blow-by-blow transcript of the publication you intend to complete. You do not have time to read the entire article or book chapter that you are working on. You are presenting the news story about the project you have completed. Emphasizing the results.
  • A conference paper should not be an interim progress report. While in many organizations, researchers and scholars present such reports as conference papers and lectures, doing so is akin to submitting one’s tax forms or an application for a business license. Many papers produced as part of a government-funded project or by scholars working in teams or for industry are presented as evidence that the project is moving forward and producing tangible results. However, unless the project has reached the point where there are actual results and conclusions can be drawn, it is not yet time to inflict it on the audience. It is acceptable to present something that is not 100% complete, or in which the conclusion is tentative or provisional. It is not acceptable to present something that has no identifiable conclusion yet. One should avoid presenting something that simply states that we have reached the middle of our work, this is the procedure that we are following, and this is where we stand. That is just shop-talk.
  • A conference report should not be a plan for or introduction to research that will be carried out in the future, a prolegomenon, the equivalent of the introduction to a dissertation, a book, or an article. Papers that do this are quite frequent, and leave one asking, “Where’s the beef?” Avoid presenting an introduction to a blank.
  • A conference paper must have a conclusion. Show and tell is not enough. No matter how fantastic the manuscripts you have to show are, it is insufficient merely to describe them. You must explain what they tell us that we did not know before about something greater: the historical transmission of the Qur’ān, its textual variants, patterns of copyists’ errors, and so on. A negative result is still a conclusion; it can make for a good presentation if it is interesting for some particular reason.
  • If you must present the theoretical background or describe a controversy in order to frame your results, do it quickly. An excessively long wind-up is one of the most common faults of conference papers in general. If you write an article or the introduction to your book or dissertation, you can take the time to write at length, but in a conference paper, a long introduction merely delays and in some cases completely displaces the concrete results, which is a disappointment for the audience.
  • Do not leave out the concrete results. Your colleagues in the field are most interested in these, and if you don’t get to specific results, you are robbing them. Include as many results as you can explain well in the time allotted. If you only have only a few examples, then you can spend some time. If you have many examples to choose from, select examples that are representative and can stand in for the others.  A long wind-up to a simple and small example is disappointing.
  • Your paper should take into account the relevant scholarship in the field. There may be too much for you to address in your presentation in any detail, but you should briefly indicate that you are aware of it. Especially in Qur’anic studies, there is a problem with reinventing the wheel. Do not assume that your idea has not been said before. Consult other scholars about the studies that might be relevant, especially studies in German and Arabic.

Structure:

  1. Problem or issue.
  2. Earlier scholarship on the issue, presented briefly.
  3. Your sources, method, approach, briefly
  4. Your results, conclusions [This should be the main part.]
  5. Implications

Presentation:

The single biggest problem with conference presentations in general is that presenters read a prepared text that was written as if it were a journal article or a book chapter.  If you read a prepared text, you must write it to be read aloud in the first place. Most scholars are not trained to do this type of writing. Doing so is a skill on its own, and it takes practice. An alternative is to prepare notes, a handout, or a power-point presentation, and to speak to the audience from these notes.

If you use power-point, do not read out paragraphs of text from the power-point slides—this is an insult to the audience, whom you are accusing of being inattentive or lazy.

Speaking to the audience directly is about ten times better and more engaging than reading, unless you can write like P.G. Wodehouse. Unfortunately, speaking directly to the audience is a road not taken by 80-90% of conference presenters in all fields, and not just ours.

-Dr. Devin Stewart, IQSA President Elect (Emory University)

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

NEW IQSA Membership Option – Automatic Renewal

The International Qur’anic Studies Association depends on its members’ continued commitment to fulfill its mission by actively participating and taking advantage of member benefits like Annual Meetings, professional networking, and more! In response to popular demand and feedback for ways to ease the processing of yearly registration, IQSA is delighted to introduce its new and improved Automatic Renewal option for Annual Membership!

Skip the hassle of manually logging in and renewing your IQSA membership every year by choosing to enable Recurring Payments for Automatic Membership Renewal! This feature processes annual subscriptions for individuals every calendar year from the member’s join date. Members must select an online payment method (PayPal or Credit Card) to enable this option, and all stored payment information is secured by Wild Apricot’s adherence to requirement 12.9 of PCI DSS v3.2 (click here for details).

Q: What if I need to change my membership level or other registration information?
Members can log in to their membership profile at https://members.iqsaweb.org to update any user information or change levels. Prices for Automatic Membership Renewal will be adjusted for recurring payments accordingly (see below).

Membership Prices (Annual)
Student/International | $25 
Mid-range Faculty/General | $50 *all non-student scholars, professionals, and mid-range faculty
Full Professor | $75 
Lifetime | $2,000 *one time-only installment
Institutional | $400

Q: What if I decide to cancel my Automatic Membership Renewal?
No Problem! Recurring Payments via Automatic Membership Renewal can be cancelled by logging in to a member’s user profile and selecting “Stop Recurring Payments” on both the Profile and Invoices and Payments tabs.

So don’t wait! Save the trouble of remembering to renew your IQSA Annual Membership by logging in to https://members.iqsaweb.org and enabling Automatic Membership Renewal today! This option guarantees continued access to member benefits including, but not limited to…

Discounted Annual Meeting Registration
Access to the membership directory

Review of Qur’anic Research
Professional development opportunities for graduate students and junior scholars, including volunteer, job postings, and employment networking
Bilingual English-Arabic Journal of the International Qur’anic Studies Association (JIQSA)
Eligibility for Andrew Rippin Best Paper Prize ($250 USD and potential publication in JIQSA)

Questions? Email contact@iqsaweb.org to get all the details on never letting your IQSA membership lapse again!

 

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