New IQSA Blog Coordinator: Meet Justin!

The International Qur’anic Studies Association is pleased to welcome a fresh face to its Executive Office! This year, Justin Novotny (Catholic University of America) joins the team as IQSA’s new Blog Coordinator.

NovotnyJustin began graduate school at the Catholic University of America in 2014. He earned his master’s in Medieval and Byzantine Studies in 2016 and is currently completing dissertation under the guidance of Lev Weitz. Justin’s dissertation examines narratives about Ethiopia within the Islamic literary tradition. While at CUA,  he studied both Arabic and Syriac, and his broader research interests include Qur’anic Studies, Muslim–Christian relations, and Islamic history.  Before coming to CUA, Justin completed a Masters of Liberal Arts at St. John’s College in Santa Fe, NM and taught high school history and English for three years.

IQSA welcomes its members and affiliates to contribute to its mission by submitting content for its weekly blog! Examples of past blog posts can be found HERE. Content can range from relevant event announcements to professional development opportunities to literature reviews and more. Submissions should be pertinent to the Qur’anic Studies, Late Antiquity, or Islam.

Submissions will be evaluated according to their relevance to IQSA and the interest of its members. Please send your submission to contact@iqsaweb.org to be considered. Questions? Email contact@iqsaweb.org for clarification.

Once again, a warm welcome to Justin Novotny as IQSA’s newest member of the Executive Office!

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

Comment after New Zealand Incident

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On behalf of the International Qur’anic Studies Association, we offer our condolences to Muslim communities across the world after the New Zealand mosque attacks. At least one IQSA member has already confirmed that they lost a loved one in Christchurch on March 15, 2019. We are pained by this horrific incident and alarmed at the rise of terrorist attacks based on hatred and bigotry. These include similar attacks against a synagogue in Pittsburg, a church in Charleston, and against other houses of worship.

Our professional conduct policy and mission uphold pluralism and the strongest commitment to diversity. Critical scholarship is an integral weapon against extremist, fundamentalist narratives. IQSA is a community of scholars and friends. Our organization will always promote and embody goodwill between members coming from different cultures.Our thoughts are with all those who mourn.

Emran El-Badawi, Executive Director                                 Gabriel Reynolds, Chair

 

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

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.

 

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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.