Islamic Studies Qurʾan and Contemporary Analysis
by
Salwa El-Awa
  • LAST MODIFIED: 23 November 2021
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780195390155-0284

Introduction

Contemporary analysis of the Qurʾan is marked by a significant turn from source- and historical-critical into textual analytical approaches, allowing more than ever before for the literary and linguistic components of the text to be uncovered using systematic applications of the methodology derived from contemporary literary theory and linguistics. Such textual approaches existed in the classical Islamic period, such as in works of Ibn al-Anbari, ar-Rummani, Abu Bakr al-Bāqillānī, ʿAbd al-Qāhir al-Jurjānī, and al-Shāṭibī. While maintaining the Islamic theological principle of the Qurʾan’s divine inimitability, those authors analyzed the text from their contemporary literary and linguistic viewpoints. Alternatively, early Western works, dating back to the earliest translations of the Qurʾan into Latin in the 12th century by Robert of Ketton, were marked by polemical attitudes and attention to debating the message of the Qurʾan from Christian theological viewpoints. In the early 20th century, while reformists Muḥammad ʿAbduh and Rashid Ridda in the Middle East called for moving the stagnant waters of Islamic scholarship at the time to produce relevant modern interpretation of the Qurʾan, Western scholars continued to build on the efforts of 19th-century scholars such as Geiger, Hirschfeld, Weil, and Nöldeke, among others, to establish the sources of the Qurʾan’s Judeo-Christian materials through philological and biblical research, and to reproduce a revised Qurʾan based on the chronological order of revelations. However, in the second half of the 20th century, a considerable shift in approach took place, with contemporary scholars such as Montgomery Watt (b. 1909–d. 2006), Kenneth Cragg (b. 1913–d. 2012) and others calling for a change in Western academic attitudes in writing about Islamic topics. While older diachronic source- and historical-critical approaches did not entirely lose their appeal in the postmodern era, which can be seen particularly since the 1980s in the works of Griffith, Reynolds, Neuwirth, Sinai, Witztum, Crone, and Zellentin, the new more text-oriented synchronic approaches analyze the text of Qurʾan as used by Muslims from thematic, structural, linguistic and literary points of views. On the way to a more objective and increasingly systematized approach to the study of the Qurʾanic text, several complementary and competing theories are utilized, either developed within Qurʾanic studies or borrowed from linguistics, literary criticism, and critical discourse analysis approaches. Also, many scholars adopted a combination of historical and textual approaches in attempts to reach deeper and more contextualized understanding of this complex text. Areas such as the thematic unity of the text, coherence and textual relations, and literary analysis of various aspects of the text and its language and linguistics are gaining increasing popularity in recent publications among scholars both in the East and in the West.

Overviews of Approaches

A large number of works are dedicated to identifying the variety of approaches to the Qurʾan that have gained increased interest in recent years. Hawting and Shareef 1993 is a collection of essays offering insights into the varied methodologies of analyzing the Qurʾanic text with some comparisons between traditional and contemporary approaches. Boullata 2000 provides an overview of contemporary approaches, with a variety of essays adopting textual, structural, thematic, and literary approaches. Taji-Farouki 2006 examines a representative selection of controversial modern and postmodern hermeneutical approaches to the Qurʾan by Muslim intellectuals across the world, highlighting the challenges and struggles those approaches face in engaging directly with the text in the contexts of modernity and globalization. Works such as Saeed 2005 and Cancian 2019 provide overviews of contemporary approaches developing in certain parts of the Muslim world such as Indonesia and Iran. McAuliffe 2001–2006 is a comprehensive collection of articles on a very wide range of questions about the Qurʾanic text and history and is a good starting point when searching for key issues, authors, or sources. McAuliffe 2006 and Rippin and Mojaddedi 2017 complement one another with a wide selection of essays representative of the key methods of analysis in contemporary Qurʾanic studies. Robinson 2003 [1996] is a key work for students and researchers looking for an example of one in-depth contemporary analysis of the Qurʾan from several angles chronologically and textually. For more key references, encyclopedia, handbooks, and companions that offer insights into the issues of interest in those approaches, see the separate Oxford Biographies in Islamic Studies article “Qurʾan”.

  • Boullata, Issa J. Literary Structures of Religious Meaning in the Qurʾān. Richmond, UK: Curzon, 2000.

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    Fifteen essays by influential authors representing examples of the dominant approaches to literary analysis in contemporary Qurʾanic studies.

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  • Cancian, Alessandro, ed. Approaches to the Qurʾan in Contemporary Iran. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019.

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    A collection of seventeen essays looking at various approaches to reception of the Qurʾan in contemporary Iran with special attention to three fields: authority, legitimacy, and cultural manifestations.

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  • Hawting, G. R., and Abdul-Kader A. Shareef. Approaches to the Qurʼān. London: Routledge, 1993.

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    Thirteen essays analyzing the Qurʾan as a literary text, as a text in context, as a thematic unit and as a more widely contextualized text within historical, biblical, and legal frameworks.

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  • McAuliffe, Jane Dammen. “Western Scholarship and the Qurʾan.” In The Cambridge Companion to the Qurʾan. Edited by Andrew Rippin, 235–251. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2006.

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    Fourteen essays on a number of issues by prominent Qurʾan scholars. Key to understanding the different contemporary approaches to the Qurʾan. Access to full book or individual chapters available online.

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  • McAuliffe, Jane Dammen, ed. Encyclopaedia of the Qurʾān. 6 vols. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2001–2006.

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    Written by a selection of scholars representing a wide variety of contemporary approaches, the six-volume encyclopedia is an essential first point of reference for students and researchers on the key issues in the study of the Qurʾan. A new online-only version of this work is edited by Johanna Pink and can be accessed online.

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  • Rippin, Andrew, and Jawid Mojaddedi. The Wiley Blackwell Companion to the Qur’ān. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley, 2017.

    DOI: 10.1002/9781118964873Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

    This is a second edition of the 2006 book edited by Andrew Rippin. It was completed by Mojadeddi after Rippin passed away in 2016.

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  • Robinson, Neal. Discovering the Qurʾan: A Contemporary Approach to a Veiled Text. 2d ed. London: PCM Press, 2003.

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    An in-depth analysis of the Qurʾan from several angles of paramount interest to contemporary Qurʾanic studies. The first edition of this book was published in 1996.

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  • Saeed, Abdullah, ed. Approaches to the Qurʾan in Contemporary Indonesia. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005.

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    A compilation of eleven essays on various issues stemming from contemporary Indonesian approaches to the Qurʾan. The essays cover a range of legal, interfaith, and gender issues as well as methodological, exegetical, and creative approaches to the text.

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  • Taji-Farouki, Suha, ed. Muslim Intellectuals and the Qurʾan. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006.

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    Eleven essays by Eastern and Western Muslim scholars and intellectuals on postmodern critical approaches to interpretation of the Qurʾan.

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Critical and Reformist Approaches

The rise of the contemporary approaches to the Qurʾan as a text is the product of a long-evolving critique of issues and limitations within the classical and historical approaches both in the East and in the West. Several works represent this critical movement, which led gradually to the present more text-centered approaches to the Qurʾan. al-Khūlī 1961 is one of the earliest contemporary theoretical works to set out the need for a literary aesthetic approach to the Qurʾan based on the psychological impact of the text in its historical context. The school of thought its author formed in Cairo University in the late 19th century produced multiple valuable works further formalizing and developing his theory. Out of the same school, Abū Zayd 2014 emphasized the importance of the linguistic and literary study of the Qurʾan within its cultural context, causing much controversy around application of the concepts of historicity and critical discourse analysis to the text. In the West, a gradual turn toward a more literary than historical-critical approach became discernible in the last few decades. In his many works in the 1980s and 1990s, Rippin advocated the move from the historical-critical approach to a more text-centered literary approach to the Qurʾanic text, for example, Rippin 1983 and Rippin 1992. Rippin 1988 also called for a recipient-centered approach focusing more on the history of exegetical reception of the Qurʾan. Madigan 1995 reviews some of the current main approaches, arguing that neither the historic-critical nor the literary approach with their current limitations are sufficient for the study of the Qurʾanic text. They need to be supplemented with an approach whose methodology is more suitable for the study of religion. More recently, Neuwirth 2007, offers a critical assessment of the classical Western approaches for their limited perception of the text as a single-author “premeditated” compilation, when it should be more appropriately understood as a polyphonic document produced in dialogue with the early Muslim community and thus reflecting its evolving needs, questions, and concerns over a period of time. The author highlights the value of attention to the textual, aesthetic, and linguistic study of the Qurʾan while maintaining a balance with the historical-critical approaches that help understand the text’s “relation to the traditions of the adjacent cultural groups.” The introduction to Neuwirth, et al. 2010 offers a more detailed critique and the authors’ perspective on how the text should be approached within its historical cultural milieu. Contemporary hermeneutical approaches to the Qurʾan also advocate a reinterpretation of the text from the viewpoint of contemporary issues, such as gender, discussed in Barlas 2002, and politics, discussed in Wild 2006.

  • Abū Zayd, Naṣr Ḥāmid. Mafhūm al-Naṣṣ: Dirāsa fī ʿUlūm al-Qurʾān. Casablanca, Morocco, and Beirut, Lebanon: Al-Markaz ath-Thaqafi al-Arabi, 2014.

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    A controversial critique of traditional Arabic Qurʾanic studies, proposing a new text-linguistic hermeneutical approach to the Qurʾan grounded in its historical and cultural contexts. Originally published in Cairo in the early nineties, then reprinted numerous times by various publishers.

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  • Barlas, Asma. “Believing Women” in Islam: Unreading Patriarchal Interpretations of the Qurʾan. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2002.

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    A strong critique of traditional historical and theological patriarchal interpretations of the Qurʾan, arguing that the Qurʾanic text promotes equality across genders. The 2019 edition includes two new chapters, a new preface, and updates throughout.

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  • al-Khūlī, Amīn. Manāhij tajdīd fi’l-naḥw wa’l-balāgha wa’l-tafsīr wa’l-adab. Cairo, Egypt: Dār al-Maʿrifa, 1961.

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    A pioneering contemporary theorization of the literary approach to the study of the Qurʾan based on aesthetic appreciation. The author is considered the founder of the Cairo school of contemporary Qurʾanic studies.

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  • Madigan, Daniel. “Reflections on Some Current Directions in Qurʾanic Studies.” The Muslim World 85 (1995): 345–362.

    DOI: 10.1111/j.1478-1913.1995.tb03627.xSave Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

    A discussion of Wansbrough’s conclusions and the efficacy of existing approaches in addressing the key questions in Qurʾanic studies. Focuses mainly on the value of both the historical-critical approach and the literary analysis of the text.

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  • Neuwirth, Angelika. “Orientalism and the Qurʾān: Qurʾānic Studies as a Case in Point.” Journal of Qurʾanic Studies 9.2 (2007): 115–127.

    DOI: 10.3366/E1465359108000119Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

    An overview and critique of traditional orientalist approaches to the Qurʾanic text with insights into an alternative approach recognizing the text as polyphonic scripture and combining attention to the text with the historical analysis.

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  • Neuwirth, Angelika, Nicolai Sinai, and Michael Marx, eds. The Qurʾān in Context: Historical and Literary Investigations into the Qurʾānic Milieu. Vol. 6 of Texts and Studies on the Qurʾān. Edited by Gerhard Bowering and Jane Dammen McAuliffe. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2010.

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    An important collection of twenty-seven essays on a number of key Qurʾanic studies questions addressed mostly from a historical-critical point of view. The essays provide a good outlook on the current state of affairs in contemporary Qurʾanic studies, where textual analysis is often utilized in support of the argument within what is mainly a diachronic approach.

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  • Rippin, Andrew. “The Qurʾan as Literature: Perils, Pitfalls and Prospects.” Bulletin (British Society for Middle Eastern Studies) 10.1 (1983): 38–47.

    DOI: 10.1080/13530198308705361Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

    A forward-looking essay promoting the literary approach to the text while considering the issues that arise from such applications.

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  • Rippin, Andrew. “Reading the Qurʾan with Richard Bell.” Journal of the American Oriental Society 112 (1992): 639–647.

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    A review and critique of Richard Bell’s Commentary on the Qurʾan, published in two volumes in 1991.

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  • Rippin, Andrew, ed. Approaches to the History of the Interpretation of the Qurʾan. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988.

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    A collection of fourteen essays on the different approaches to exegesis across the Muslim world, promoting the need for more attention in Qurʾanic studies to tafsir and Hadith literature.

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  • Wild, Stefan. “Political Interpretation of the Qur’ān.” In The Cambridge Companion to the Qur’ān. Edited by Jane Dammen McAuliffe, 273–290. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2006.

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    A discussion of contemporary political exegesis of the Qurʾan within the contexts of other exegetical approaches.

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Textual Approaches

Qurʾanic studies has witnessed many important developments in recent decades. Most notable are the remarkable advancements in the study of the Qurʾan as a text with numerous theories put forward and applied to different parts of the text and thus offering varied interpretations of the question of the ambiguous text structure. The textual approaches are mainly synchronic post-canonical. They take for granted the text of the muṣḥaf in its current state without questioning its history, authenticity, or textual integrity. With various theoretical backgrounds, the textual approaches utilize methods and tools derived from biblical studies, literary theory, and linguistics to examine the text’s content, structure, and language. More scholarly attention has been directed to the nature of the text as an oral scripture and the impact of its historical and cultural contexts on the production of its meaning and structures.

Thematic Approaches

An increasingly popular approach to contemporary analysis of the Qurʾan is based on deconstruction then reconstruction of Qurʾanic themes. It entails a re-reading of themes of particular interest in the Qurʾan in one of two directions: (a) a horizontal exhaustive search across the entire Qurʾan transcending sura borders, with the aim of reaching conclusions regarding the Qurʾanic worldview about this theme; or (b) vertical within any given sura (typically longer multiple-topic suras), with the aim of proposing a structure that represents a coherent thematic unity within the sura in question. Although both methods have the thematic analysis at heart, the former is commonly known as the “thematic approach” at-tafsir al mawdu‘i, while the latter is often referred to as the “structural approach.” In both the horizontal and the vertical thematic approaches, some linguistic elements are used to deduce meanings and textual relations. Contemporary examples of the horizontal thematic analysis include Rahman 1980 and Harvey 2017. The search for a hidden thematic unity within multiple-topic suras is not unknown in early modern Arabic tafsir and Qurʾanic studies, for example, in the works of Abdulla Draz and more recently al-Ghazali 1995. However, significant Western interest in the approach followed publication of Mir 1986 and Mir 1993. This is now a growing area of interest and involves a complexity of textual, contextual, and literary questions. Numerous studies were dedicated to analyzing the structure of the longest chapter of the Qurʾan, Q. 2, but also many other long and medium-length suras including Q. 3, Q. 4, Q. 5, Q. 19, Q. 23, Q. 33, and Q. 75. The burgeoning field is still developing its methodology and theoretical stance. New terms and principles are being coined or borrowed from tafsir and literary and linguistic theories. Mihwar (axe), in Qutb’s tafsir, and ‘amud (pillar), in Mir 1986, refer to the central idea around which the multiple topics in a given sura are said to revolve. “Structural markers” in Klar 2017 and “hinge” in Robinson 2001 or “inclosio” in Reda 2017 all refer to the linguistic elements that provide indication of connectivity and structure. Ring theory was suggested in a number of works, including Farrin 2010, as a possible basis for a more theoretically sound approach to the question. Drawing on tools developed in biblical studies, Cuypers 2015 and Zahniser 2020 introduced the more complex Semitic Rhetoric approach, arguing that long Qurʾanic suras are composed of multiplex rhetorical structural patterns.

  • al-Ghazali, Muhammad. Nahwa Tafsir Mawdu’i lil-Qurʾan al-Karim. Cairo, Egypt: Dar al-Shuruq, 1995.

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    A very short tafsir based on illuminating the basic thematic structure of each Qurʾanic sura, following the method introduced by Muhammad Abdulla Draz in his analysis of Q. 2 in an-Naba’ al-‘Azim (which was written in 1932).

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  • Cuypers, Michel. The Composition of the Qurʾān: Rhetorical Analysis. Translated by Jerry Ryan. London and New York: Bloomsbury, 2015.

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    A complete new theory explaining the Qurʾanic text structure systematically in terms of Semitic Rhetoric theory, derived from biblical studies. Translated by Jerry Ryans from original French (published in 2012). Original edition, ePDF.

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  • Farrin, Raymond. “Surat Al-Baqara: A Structural Analysis.” The Muslim World 100.1 (2010): 17–32.

    DOI: 10.1111/j.1478-1913.2009.01299.xSave Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

    A contribution to the ongoing scholarly discussion of Q. 2 structure, introducing ring theory as a helpful literary theoretical foundation for the analysis.

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  • Harvey, Ramon. The Qurʾan and the Just Society. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2017.

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    This is contemporary hermeneutican theological approach to the thematic analyis of the Qurʾanic concept of society and justice. It draws on classical and conetmporary academic studies of the topic within the Qurʾanic text. The book covers several sub-themes relevant to the lives of contemporary Muslims such as ethics, political justice, fair trade, family relations, inheritance and corrective justice. The paperback edition was published in 2019.

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  • Klar, Marianna. “Text Critical Approaches to Sura Structure: Combining Synchronicity with Diachronicity in Surat al-Baqara.” Journal of Qurʾanic Studies 19.2 (2017): 64–105.

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    A two-part article analyzing previous approaches to structural unity issues in Q. 2 and proposing a new hybrid approach based on combining synchronic and diachronic methods.

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  • Mir, Mustansir. Coherence in the Qurʾan. Indianapolis, IN: American Trust, 1986.

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    A key work on the issue of coherence in the Qurʾan. Provides a useful survey of previous works, and introduces to the English reader ‘amud theory of Qurʾanic nazm, the method of anslysis developed by the Indian scholars Hamiduddin Farahi (b. 1833–d. 1930) and Amin Ahsan Islahi (b. 1904–d. 1997) and originally published in Urdu in Islahi’s tafsir Tadabburi Qurʾan. The work drew much scholarly attention. Many authors engaged with the theory, adopting and modifying it in further structural analyses of Qurʾanic suras.

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  • Mir, Mustansir. “The Sura as a Unity: A Twentieth Century Development in Qurʾanic Exegesis.” In The Qurʾan: Critical Concepts in Islamic Studies. Edited by G. R. Hawting and Abdul-Kadir A. Shareef, 198–209. London: Routledge, 1993.

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    This short essay contributed to establishing the current widespread conviction in English Qurʾanic scholarship that long multiple-topic Qurʾanic suras possess thematic unity by virtue of a central theme that links together all the topics of the sura.

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  • Rahman, Fazlur. Major Themes of the Qurʾan. Minneapolis: Bibliotheca Islamica, 1980.

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    One of the earlier English works focusing on identification of the principles of Islamic thought deduced from key themes encountered throughout the Qurʾan.

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  • Reda, Nevin. The al-Baqara Crescendo: Understanding the Qurʾan’s Style, Narrative Structure and Running Themes. Montreal: McGill Queen’s University Press, 2017.

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    A thematic structural analysis of Q. 2, adopting a holistic approach utilizing tools derived from literary and biblical text analysis.

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  • Robinson, Neal. “Hands Outstretched: Towards a Re-reading of Surat al-Ma’ida.” Journal of Qurʾanic Studies 3.1 (2001): 1–19.

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    A thematic structural analysis of Q. 5.

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  • Zahniser, Mathias. “The Miraculous Birth Stories in the Interpretation of Sūrat Maryam (Q 19).” In Structural Dividers in the Qurʾan. Edited by Marianna Klar, 92–138. New York: Routledge, 2020.

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    An application of the principles of Semitic Rhetoric to explain some of the thematic structures found in Q. 19.

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Linguistic Approaches

The contemporary linguistic approach to the Qurʾan emerged in the second half of the 20th century, possibly inspired by the increasing popularity of semiotics, synchronic, and structural approaches to linguistics following publication of Ferdinand de Saussure’s work. The scope of the linguistic study of the Qurʾanic text is its phonetic, lexical, syntactical, textual, and contextual elements, with little or no interest in aesthetic or historical questions. Although it represents a postmodern, post-literary theory development in Qurʾanic studies, this approach has roots in the classical Arabic linguistic works on lexical and syntactical aspects of the Qurʾanic language such as mufradāt, wujūh, al-a’jami wa al-mu‘arrab, and iʿrāb ‘l-Qurʾān. It is also not entirely disconnected from the works of Western Arabists and philologists working on the Qurʾan in the early 19th century, such as Abraham Geiger and Arthur Jeffery. However, as an apparatus of objective analysis, contemporary Qurʾanic linguistics distances itself from the theological interests of the classical approaches. Izutsu 1959 appears to be the first contemporary work to place Qurʾanic studies in a clear frame of purely semantic analysis. This was followed by growing interest in applications of various linguistic theories, many of which address issues raised also in the thematic and structural analyses of the Qurʾan and/or revisit other traditional Qurʾanic studies issues with fresh analysis grounded in theories of contemporary linguistics. Robinson 2003 [1996] (cited under Overviews of Approaches) offers an analysis of pronoun dynamics in the Qurʾanic text and looks at various other linguistic phenomena as part of a wider hybrid approach to issues of textuality and coherence in the Qurʾan. Madigan 2001 engages the scriptural study with an analysis of the semantic fields of Qurʾanic self-references, drawing important conclusions about the nature and position of the Qurʾan as a scripture. El-Awa 2005 applies principles derived from Relevance Theory to explain the question of Qurʾanic text coherence, while El-Awa 2020 looks at the role of discourse markers in connecting parts of the Qurʾanic sura. Dror 2016 looks at Qurʾanic narrative using William Labov’s model. Mohamed 2017 uses a functional linguistic definition of discourse markers to reinterpret the controversial “Satanic Verses” (Q. 53:19–20). Recent semantic studies of the Qurʾanic language such as Loynes 2021 will likely impact Qurʾanic studies perceptions of key scriptural concepts such as “revelation.” Zammit 2020, Carter 2006, and Pennacchio 2011 are examples of the contemporary developments in the classical philological study of the Qurʾanic lexicon.

  • El-Awa, Salwa. Textual Relations in the Qurʾan: Relevance, Coherence and Structure. Oxford and New York: Routledge, 2005.

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    An application of principles derived from Relevance Theory of communication cognition to Q. 33 and Q. 75. It explains textual relations and functions of the various segments of the Qurʾanic text as interactive interchangeable sources of text and contextual information. The text of the sura is seen to have an interwoven, rather than concentric, thematic structure.

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  • El-Awa, Salwa. “Discourse Markers and the Structure of Intertextual Relations in Medium-Length Qurʾanic Surahs: The Case of Sūrat Ṭāhā (Q 20).” In Structural Dividers in the Qurʾan. Edited by Marianna Klar, 232–263. New York: Routledge, 2020.

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    An interpretation of textual relations in Q. 20 using a functional linguistic definition of pragmatic/discourse markers. The analysis leads to redefining a number of common Qurʾanic expressions as markers of textual relations and speaker’s attitudes.

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  • Carter, Michael. “Foreign Vocabulary.” In The Blackwell Companion to the Qur’ān. Edited by Andrew Rippin, 120–139. Oxford: Blackwell, 2006.

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    A linguistic discussion of lexical elements of foreign origin found the Arabic Qurʾan.

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  • Dror, Yehudit. The Linguistic Features of the Qurʾanic Narratives. Vol. 12 of Wiener Offene Orientalistik. Edited by Gebhard J. Selz. Zurich, Switzerland: LIT Verlag, 2016.

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    An application of Labov’s narrative model, this is a long essay analyzing the narrative modes encountered in the Qurʾan, their functions and linguistic features.

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  • Izutsu, Toshihiko. The Structure of the Ethical Terms in the Koran: A Study in Semantics. Tokyo: Keio University, 1959.

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    A pioneering linguistic study of the semantics of Qurʾanic words, this is one of the earliest works dedicated to applying contemporary linguistic theory to the Qurʾan.

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  • Loynes, Simon P. “Introduction.” In Revelation in the Qurʾan: A Semantic Study of the Roots n-z-l and w-ḥ-y. By Simon P. Loynes, 1–19. Leiden, The Netherlands, and Boston: Brill, 2021.

    DOI: 10.1163/9789004452978_002Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

    An exhaustive semantic analysis of the two words, illuminating the connotations and implications of the words related to “revelation” in the Qurʾan and their comparable occurrences and meanings in the linguistic context of pre-Islamic Arabic poetry.

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  • Madigan, Daniel. Qurʾan’s Self-Image: Writing and authority in Islam’s Scripture. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2001.

    DOI: 10.1515/9780691188454Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

    This is an exhaustive semantic study of the words by which the Qurʾan describes itself. Through analysis of words and concepts pretaining to “writing,” “recitation,” “Scripture,” “book,” etc., the author discusses the scriptural and authorotative nature of the Qurʾan in its own self-portrait.

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  • Mohamed, Emad. “Ara’aytum: The Exegetical Implications of a Qurʾanic Stance Marker.” Albayan: Journal of Qurʾan and Hadith Studies 15 (2017): 1–23.

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    This work overturns the classical discussion and interpretations of the “Satanic Verses” by redefining the Qurʾanic expression “ara’aytum” as a pragmatic marker of the speaker’s attitude rather than part of the semantic content of the verses.

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  • Pennacchio, Catherine. “Lexical Borrowing in the Qur’ān: The Problematic Aspects of Arthur Jeffery’s List.” Bulletin du Centre de recherche français à Jérusalem 22 (2011).

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    A modern linguistic analysis and critique of Arthur Jeffery’s classical work on the foreign words in the Qurʾan.

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  • Zammit, Martin. A Comparative Lexical Study of Qur’ānic Arabic. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2020.

    DOI: 10.1163/9789047400516Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

    This is a contemporary philological study of the Arabic lexicon that uses the Qurʾan as a source of a lexical mass comparison of a number of Semitic languages including, among others, Akkadian, Aramaic, Syriac, and Hebrew. The study sheds light on the internal lexical relations across those languages. The hardback copy was published in Brill in 2002.

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Literary Approaches

The mid-20th-century critique of approaches led to the rise of many textual approaches to analyzing the Qurʾan, including the literary approach. The seminal work Neuwirth 1981 proved how effective literary analysis can be in addressing issues shared with traditional historical-critical approaches. The author’s analysis of the literary forms in the Meccan suras and discovery of their underlying structural patterns, leading to important conclusions about the chronological order of those revelations, is now one of the most cited references in this field. Rippin 1983 is a call for a field of study to reconsider the full plurality of its methodological options, including analyzing the Qurʾan as literature. Mir 1988 provides a helpful and accessible overview of the key topics for studying the Qurʾan as a literary text. With a very broad scope of applications, making use of an equally broad range of theories, from classical to modern and postmodern approaches to literature, the literary study of the Qurʾan branches to all planes of text including sound, meaning, and structure. Analysis of the Qurʾan’s literary structures and their aesthetic and rhetorical functions is covered under Thematic Approaches. Bannister 2014 analyzes formulaic oral structures in the Qurʾan, while Neuwirth 2006 looks at oral features within wider scriptural traditions. Sells 1993 offers an analysis of the sound and meaning in Q. 40. Hoffmann 2020 is one of the author’s multiple applications of postmodern literary theories to the Qurʾan, while Haleem’s works (e.g., Haleem 1992) bring to the contemporary discussion principles of the classical Arabic disciplines of balāgha and maʿāni to explain some of the Qurʾan’s unfamiliar literary forms. Notably, there is a great deal of overlap between approaches, as the line separating what is linguistic from what is literary sometimes is a very fine one. In Hoffmann 2009, a cognitive linguistics theory is applied to explain the poetics of the text. On the other hand, the literary discussion often leads to unraveling historical truths as seen, for example, in Neuwirth 1981 and Flowers 2018.

  • Bannister, Andrew G. An Oral-Formulaic Study of the Qurʾan. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2014.

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    An application of oral-formulaic theory in the form of a detailed analysis of repeated materials and formulae in the Qurʾan as the product of an oral text-culture.

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  • Flowers, Adam. “Reconsidering Qurʾanic Genre.” Journal of Qurʾanic Studies 20.2 (2018): 19–46.

    DOI: 10.3366/jqs.2018.0336Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

    Based on genre theory, this analysis of the literary genres identified in Q. 3 aims to make the case for a possible chronology of the Qurʾan based on a genre-critical analysis of the text.

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  • Haleem, Muhammad Abdel. “Grammatical Shift for Rhetorical Purposes: Iltifāt and Related Features in the Qur’ān.” Bulletin of the School of Oriental & African Studies 55.3 (1992): 407–432.

    DOI: 10.1017/S0041977X00003621Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

    An explanation of the rhetorical functions of the unusual pronoun dynamics in the Qurʾan in light of the classical Arabic rhetorical tool of iltifat.

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  • Hoffmann, Thomas. “The Moving Qurʾan: A Cognitive Poetic Approach to Qurʾanic Language.” In Modern Controversies in Qur’ânic Studies: Bonner Islamstudien. Edited by Mohammed Nekroumi and Jan Meise, 141–152. Berlin: EB-Verlag, 2009.

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    An aesthetic reinterpretation of “movement” in the Qurʾan through an application of cognitive linguistics and poetics.

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  • Hoffmann, Thomas. “The Appealing Qurʾan: On the Rhetorical Strategy of Vocatives and Interpellation in the Qurʾan.” Journal of Qurʾanic Studies 22.1 (2020): 5–30.

    DOI: 10.3366/jqs.2020.0409Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

    An application of Althusser’s interpellation theory to analyze the function of the Qurʾanic linguistic-rhetorical vocative techniques.

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  • Mir, Mustansir. “The Qurʾan as Literature.” Religion & Literature 20.1 (1988): 49–64.

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    A helpful survey of the basic literary features of the text and key topics for a literary study of the Qurʾan. Electronic copy available on JSTOR.

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  • Neuwirth, Angelika. Studien zur Komposition der mekkanischen Suren: Die literarische Form des Koran—ein Zeugnis seiner Historizität? Berlin: De Gruyter, 1981.

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    One of the most influential contemporary works on the Qurʾanic text offering a new understanding of the structure of Meccan Qurʾanic suras and thus their chronology. This important work set the scene for a new approach to the Qurʾan text in its literary, structural, and linguistic features as the basis for a better understanding of its history. A later edition (2007) was expanded by a historical introduction to Koranic studies. The e-book version was published in 2012.

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  • Neuwirth, Angelika. “‘Oral Scripture’ in Contact: The Qurʾanic Story of the Golden Calf and Its Biblical Subtext between Narrative, Cult and Inter-communal Debate.” In Self-Referentiality in the Qurʾan. Edited by Stefan Wild, 71–91. Berlin: Harrassowitz Verlag, 2006.

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    An analysis of the development of the Golden Calf story and its political implications in Medina, comparing the Qurʾanic story to its biblical equivalent. It combines a diachronic and textual reading of the story as well as a comparative religion perspective.

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  • Rippin, Andrew. “The Qurʾan as Literature: Perils, Pitfalls and Prospects.” Bulletin (British Society for Middle Eastern Studies) 10.1 (1983): 38–47.

    DOI: 10.1080/13530198308705361Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

    This is an early work on the issues involved in developing a literary approach to the Qurʾanic text. It provides an interesting insight into some of the ongoing debate in the field at the time.

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  • Sells, Michael. “Sound and Meaning in Sūrat al-Qāriʿa’.” Arabica 40 (1993): 403–430.

    DOI: 10.1163/157005893X00183Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

    A linguistic and literary study of the relation between sound and meaning in Q. 101, moving the discussion of those textual elements from their usual field in tafsir to the area of the literary study of the Qurʾan.

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Historical-Critical Approaches

Historical-critical approaches to the Qurʾan have long focused on reaching a new historiography of the Qurʾanic text more consistent than the Muslim account is with the book’s chronology of revelation and stylistic features. In the contemporary era, research within this approach represents continued revisions and developments of Nöldeke’s (b. 1836–d. 1930) and Bell’s (b. 1876–d. 1952) chronological work based on stylistic observations and historical data. In Wansbrough 1977 and Crone and Cook 1977, the methodologies of current Qurʾanic studies were criticized and an argument presented that the Qurʾan attained its current canonical form two centuries after Muhammad’s time. Advocating the literary approach as the viable alternative, Rippin 1992 described the historical-critical approaches as insufficient and outdated. Neuwirth’s many works on the Qurʾanic text, including Neuwirth, et al. 2010, contribute toward establishing the use of literary and linguistic textual analysis as key components of an effectual contemporary historical-critical approach. Neuwirth 2007 is an important overview and criticism of those approaches, particularly the revisionists. The article concludes with a list of suggestions for reforming Western Qurʾanic studies. Contemporary historical-critical works on the Qurʾan show more awareness of the linguistic and literary dimensions of the text as well as the contextual influences during the process of text development. Sinai 2010 lays the foundation for an intratextual chronological approach to the Qurʾan, examining and reaffirming Nöldeke’s methods. The work of the Iranian scholar, Bazargan 2007, combined a chronological rearrangement of the Qurʾanic text with an awareness of the suras’ thematic unity but was primarily based on stylometric analysis. Behnam Sadeghi later published an assessment of Bazargan’s chronology. In Sadeghi and Goudarzi 2012, an analysis of texts from an early Qurʾan manuscript found in San’a in 1972 (“Codex San’a’ 1”), in comparison with the standard Qurʾanic text, concluded that sura structures stabilized from a very early date. To answer compositional and chronological questions, El-Awa 2020 (cited under Linguistic Approaches) examines the rhyme, rhythm, and grammatical parallelism in parts of the Qurʾanic text, arguing that they provide evidence of structural connectivity beyond the apparent thematic lack of coherence. Riddell 2017 looks at the chronological approach as an aid to the thematic and structural study of the text. A good summary of issues and scholarly research in this approach can be found in Sinai 2017.

  • Bazargan, Mehdi. Sayr-i Taḥawwul-i Qurʾān. 2 vols. Vol. 1. Tehran, Iran: Shirkat-i Sahāmī-i Intishār, 2007.

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    An Iranian work (1386) dividing and rearranging Qurʾanic suras diachronically, taking into consideration verse length and some thematic considerations.

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  • Bell, Richard. The Qurʾan Translated: With a Critical Rearrangement of Surahs. 2 vols. Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1937–1939.

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    A critically edited version of the Qurʾan which remained largely unpopular. The contents of the suras are rearranged chronologically, based on some philological observations and historical reports from sīrah and tafsir, varied in their degrees of authenticity. The reconstructed text is divided into passages with headings indicating their topics. It maintains the traditional order of the Qurʾan, but uses indentations, dotted lines, columns, etc., to show the changes it suggests the original text had undergone.

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  • Bell, Richard. A Commentary on the Qurʾān. 2 vols. Edited by C. Edmund Bosworth and M. E. J. Richardson. Journal of Semitic Studies, Monograph 14. Manchester, UK: University of Victoria, 1991.

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    This work complements Bell’s critical translation of the Qurʾān and, although the commentary was published decades later, the first volume of the translation includes the indication that it had already been in existence. The commentary is a good source of information on the complexity of difficulties faced by scholars in analyzing the composition of the Qurʾān from a historical point of view.

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  • Columbia University Libraries, 2007. JPEG use copy available via the World Wide Web. Master copy stored locally on DVDs: ldpd_6233186_000, 01, 02. Columbia University Libraries Electronic Books, 2006.

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    This is an electronic copy of the original work (Nöldeke, Theodor, Geschichte des Qorâns. Göttingen, Germany: Verlag der Dieterichschen Buchhandlung, 1860. Electronic reproduction, New York). The electronic copy is available at Colombia University’s Libraries E-Books.

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  • Crone, Patricia, and Michael Cook. Hagarism: The Making of the Islamic World. Edited by M. A. Cook. Cambridge, UK, and New York: Cambridge University Press, 1977.

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    A key reference in early contemporary Islamic historiography which suggested that the Qurʾan attained its current form under al-Hajjaj b. Yusuf (661–714 CE), i.e., 7th–8th century.

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  • Nöldeke, Theodor. Tārīkh al-Qurʾān. Translated by Georges Tamer. Baghdad, Iraq: Manshūrāt al-Jamal, 2008.

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    This is the Arabic translation of the three books in one volume. The translation was first published in Beirut by Konrad-Adenauer Stiftung in 2004. The 2008 version is a reprint of the first edition.

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  • Nöldeke, Theodor, Friedrich Schwally, Gotthelf Bergsträsser, and Otto Pretzl. The History of the Qurʾān. Edited and translated by Wolfgang H. Behn. Leiden, The Netherlands, and Boston: Brill, 2013.

    DOI: 10.1163/9789004228795Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

    This is the first complete English translation of the revised and expanded version of Nöldeke’s classic, Geschichte des Qorâns. The work, which has formed the basis of many scholarly works and debates, is a rearrangement of the suras based on stylistic and historical remarks. Friedrich Schwally, Gotthelf Bergsträsser, and Otto Pretzl revised and expanded Nöldeke’s work and published it gradually between 1909 and 1938; then the three works were published together in 1970 by G. Olms in Hildesheim.

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  • Riddell, Peter G. “Reading the Qurʾān Chronologically.” In Islamic Studies Today. Edited by Majid Daneshgar and Walid Saleh, 297–316. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2017.

    DOI: 10.1163/9789004337121_016Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

    A discussion of the issues and difficulties arising from the absence of a chronological arrangement of the Qurʾānic text, especially those that affect non-Muslim and non-Arabic-speaking readers.

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  • Sadeghi, Behnam, and Mohsen Goudarzi. “Ṣanʿāʾ 1 and the Origins of the Qurʾān.” Der Islam 87 (2012): 1–129.

    DOI: 10.1515/islam-2011-0025Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

    An analysis and edition of one of the oldest Qurʾan manuscripts available to us (“Codex San‘a’ 1”), shedding light on the history of the composition of the text and the manner in which it was transmitted.

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  • Sinai, Nicolai. “The Qurʾan as a Process.” In The Qurʾan in Context: Historical and Literary Investigations into the Qurʾānic Milieu. Edited by Angelika Neuwirth, Nicolai Sinai, and Michael Marx, 407–439. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2010.

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    This reexamination of Nöldeke’s methodology argues that the text of the Qurʾan is best understood as a diachronic process involving a series of individual texts within a historical context, rather than one monolithic corpus. Examples are derived from the story of Abraham in Q. 51 and Q. 37.

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  • Sinai, Nicolai. The Qurʾan: A Historical-Critical Introduction. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2017.

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    This is a useful and comprehensive introduction to the key issues, approaches, and methods of analysis in the historical-critical study of the Qurʾan. It addresses historical, thematic, and textual questions. The book can serve as a good starting point for students and researchers.

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  • Wansbrough, John. Quranic Studies: Sources and Methods of Scriptural Interpretation. London Oriental Series 31. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1977.

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    A controversial critique of the methodologies of contemporary Qurʾanic studies at the time, using historical data, stylistic observations, and comparisons with biblical materials to conclude that the Qurʾan was authored by an unknown individual in the Abbasid times in Mesopotamia centuries after Muhammad’s life.

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Hybrid Approaches

Several of Neuwirth’s and Hoffman’s works mentioned in literary approaches fall on the borders between literary and linguistic analysis. Other examples of combined approaches are found in Ernst 2011 and Klar 2017 (cited under Thematic Approaches) where the structural approaches have been combined with the historical-critical approach. In Schmid 2010, a quantitative analysis of the Qurʾan as a literary text is utilized to examine the validity of Bell’s conclusions about sura structures. El-Awa 2020 provides a contemporary linguistic analysis of previous thematic structural studies of Q. 2. Such works stand in evidence that no one approach is sufficient alone to address the complex issues Qurʾan scholars find themselves faced with when trying to resolve the mysteries of the text. They demonstrate that there is much scope for the future development of a new genre of hybrid approaches to Qurʾanic studies as well as a wider collaboration across the disciplines informing it.

  • El-Awa, Salwa. “Discourse Markers as Indicators of Text Division in the Multiple-Topic Qurʾanic Suras: A Meta-Analysis of Q 2.” In Understanding and Believing: A Comparative View of Theological Scriptural Hermeneutics. Edited by Mohammed Nekroumi and Lutz Edzard, 158–195. Berlin: EB-Verlag, 2020.

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    A discussion of the role of discourse markers as key linguistic elements to a theoretically sound interpretation of the structure of Q. 2 in ten recent studies.

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  • Ernst, Carl W. How to Read the Qurʾan. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2011.

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    This work proposes a literary approach to the text of the Qurʾan but one that combines historical and structural analysis. It concludes with three helpful appendices on reading Meccan suras, structural analyses of Madinan suras Q. 2 and Q. 5, and a practical model for reading the text chronologically and structurally.

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  • Schmid, Nora K. “Quantitative Text Analysis and Its Application to the Qurʾan: Some Preliminary Considerations. In The Qurʾan in Context: Historical and Literary Investigations into the Qurʾānic Milieu. Edited by Angelika Neuwirth, Nicolai Sinai, and Michael Marx, 441–460. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2010.

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    Adopting Wilhelm Fücks’s method of quantitative analysis of literature, this study seeks to use mathematical calculations of linguistic elements in an attempt to draw objective conclusions regarding the chronology of the revelations and the literary structures of suras.

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Qurʾanic Translation Studies

Works analyzing issues in Qurʾan translation(s) into the languages of the world vary in their approaches, but the majority of them share an interest in evaluating the impact of translators’ decisions on theme and/or language. In the study of theme, the focus is on analyzing how certain Qurʾanic themes are presented in its translations, for example where translator decisions seem to be consistently in favor of certain ideologies. Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) approaches and translation theories are often used as theoretical tools to analyze Qurʾan translations in contemporary research. Robinson 1997 examines ideological bias in Qurʾan translations, while Sideeg 2015 looks for the same issue by applying CDA to twenty English translations. Engagement of the translation with sociopolitical issues or the mutual influence between the two is also a point of interest in many writings in this area. In the study of language, the focus is primarily on linguistic issues arising from the translation process. The term “untranslatability” emerges in this context, as the undogmatic translation studies equivalent of “inimitability” of the Qurʾanic text. For example, Hassanein 2017 analyzes some “limitations” and “challenges” facing Qurʾan translators from a lexical semantic point of view. Under the broader umbrella of discourse, text, and exegesis, Abdul-Raof 2001 examines a myriad of linguistic translational challenges posed by the Qurʾanic language. Al-Ali and Al-Zoubi 2009 is a shorter work focusing on how translators of the Qurʾan deal with translation of syntactic ambiguity. Mustafa 2019 treats both linguistic and thematic issues simultaneously. Pink 2017 examines a topic less visited by authors in this field; how the layout and typesetting of Qurʾan translations is influenced by the source language, but also other nonlinguistic factors such as publishing and reader target groups. Issues of reception of translation in various parts of the world are also of interest to contemporary authors in Qurʾanic translation studies. Wild 2015 discussed several English Qurʾan translations showing how historical, social, and political settings in which those translations are received propel the meanings of the English Qurʾan far beyond the original Arabic text. Eith 2015 examines popular and elite responses to Qurʾan translations in Turkey. In Farghal and Al‐Masri 2000, a reader-response approach is combined with linguistic analysis.

  • Abdul-Raof, Hussein. Qurʾan Translation: Discourse, Texture and Exegesis. Surrey, UK: Curzon Press, 2001.

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    A detailed categorized study of the linguistic issues involved in and arising from translating the Qurʾanic text.

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  • Al-Ali, Mohammed Nahar, and Mohammad Qasem Al-Zoubi. “Different Pausing, Different Meaning: Translating Qurʾanic Verses Containing Syntactic Ambiguity.” Perspectives 17.4 (2009): 227–241.

    DOI: 10.1080/09076760903359213Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

    A linguistic analysis of the impact of syntactic ambiguity on meaning in translation of the Qurʾan from Arabic into English. The study draws on fifty excerpts from the Qurʾan and compares meanings across translations as well as a number of classical tafsir sources.

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  • Eith, Kathrin. “The meâl Trend: The Rising Popularity of Qurʾan Translations in Turkey in the 1990s and the Reactions of Turkish Academic Theologians.” Journal of Qurʾanic Studies 17.3 (2015): 183–195.

    DOI: 10.3366/jqs.2015.0216Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

    This article offers an overview of the understudied area of Turkish translations of the Qurʾan and analyzes the academic and theological debate arising from them.

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  • Farghal, Mohammed, and Mohammed Al‐Masri. “Reader Responses in Quranic Translation.” Perspectives: Studies in Translation Theory and Practice 8.1 (2000): 27–46.

    DOI: 10.1080/0907676X.2000.9961370Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

    A reader-response linguistic examination of referential gaps affecting communication of meaning in English translations of the Qurʾan. Available for purchase online.

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  • Hassanein, Hamada S. A. “Translating Aspects of Lexical-Semantic Opposition from Qurʾanic Arabic into English: A Cross-Linguistic Perspective.” Perspectives: Studies in Translation Theory and Practice 25.1 (2017): 137–156.

    DOI: 10.1080/0907676X.2016.1159236Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

    An examination of how the styles of tibaq (antonymy) and muqabala (opposition) are rendered by translators of the Qurʾan into English and the resulting loss of meaning. Available for purchase online.

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  • Mustafa, Burçin K. “Ambiguity, Ideology, and Doctrine Propagation in Qurʾan Translation.” Journal of Qurʾanic Studies 21.1 (2019): 21–49.

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    A discussion of how the challenge posed by ambiguous words in the source text can be utilized by the translator to impose one doctrinal point of view on the reader of the translated Qurʾan. The focus of the study is English translations with examples drawn from a number of theologically and ideologically problematic terms.

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  • Pink, Johanna. “Form Follows Function: Notes on the Arrangement of Texts in Printed Qurʾan Translations.” Journal of Qurʾanic Studies 19.1 (2017): 143–154.

    DOI: 10.3366/jqs.2017.0274Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

    An examination of how the translation of the Qurʾan is manifested in its printed form (in typesetting and layout). Examples are drwan from Indonesian, English, and German Qurʾan translations. The article includes images of printed translations as well as manuscripts from several languages including Persian and Ottoman.

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  • Robinson, Neal. “Sectarian and Ideological Bias in Muslim Translations of the Qurʾan.” Islam and Christian–Muslim Relations 8.3 (1997): 261–278.

    DOI: 10.1080/09596419708721126Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

    This article sheds light on translators’ sectarian biases as identified and categorized in a number of Qurʾan translations by Muslim translators. The article compares translations showing traces of the following ideologies: Shiʿite, Mu’tazilite, scientific rationalism, and traditionalist and modern approaches to Sharia.

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  • Sideeg, Abdunasir I. A. “Traces of Ideology in Translating the Qurān into English: A Critical Discourse Analysis of Six Cases across Twenty Versions.” International Journal of Applied Linguistics and English Literature 4.5 (2015).

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    The article examines twenty translations of the Qurʾan using CDA tools and establishes that the translations have been used to pursue political and gender agendas through translators’ choices, leading to what the author describes as “radical” and “alien” readings of the Qurʾan. Available online.

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  • Wild, Stefan. “Muslim Translators and Translations of the Qurʾan into English.” Journal of Qurʾanic Studies 17.3 (2015): 158–182.

    DOI: 10.3366/jqs.2015.0215Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

    A recent examination of Muslim translators’ tendencies in English translations of the Qurʾan and how they are used in different parts of the world by Muslims and non-Muslims alike. In this global context, the author argues, Qurʾan translations which are no longer read only for religious reasons have become more important than the Arabic original text.

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Dedicated Journals

Journals such as Arabica, Der Islam, Journal of the American Oriental Society, Journal of Near Eastern Studies, Bulletin of the School of Oriental & African Studies, etc., have long published research into the Qurʾan among other areas of Middle East and Arabic studies. However, a number of fairly recent academic journals now dedicate their space exclusively to scholarly research in the field of Qurʾanic studies. The Journal of Qurʾanic Studies (JQS), published by Edinburgh University Press, was the first academic periodical to be dedicated to Qurʾanic studies. JQS’s editorial board is chaired by Mohamed Abdel Haleem, Professor of Islamic studies at SOAS University of London. It was initially published in 1999 in print but is now available to subscribers both in print and online. JQS has played a vital role in promoting excellence in academic research in the field in the last few decades. More recently in 2016, the International Qurʾanic Studies Association launched the Journal of the International Qurʾanic Studies Association (JIQSA), published by Lockwood Press. JIQSA is edited by Nicolai Sinai, Professor of Islamic Studies at Oxford University. It is available to subscribers both in print and online. Both JQS and JIQSA publish research in Arabic and English. The academic publishing house Brill also publishes a specialized academic journal combining Qurʾan and Hadith studies under the name Al-Bayan: Journal of Qurʾan and Hadith Studies. Al-Bayan’s editor-in-chief is Dr. Ishak Sulaiman, Associate Professor of Qurʾan and Hadith at University Malaya. It publishes research in three languages: English, Arabic, and Urdu.

  • Al-Bayan: Journal of Qurʾan and Hadith Studies.

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    Al-Bayan is a peer-reviewed academic journal published by Brill. It focuses on both Qurʾan and Hadith studies and publishes scholarly articles in the two fields in English, Arabic, and Malay. Available in print and online by subscription.

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  • Journal of Qurʾanic Studies (JQS). 1999–.

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    A peer-reviewed academic journal published by Edinburgh University Press. JQS is considered a key reference for scholarly research into Qurʾanic studies, which has made a significant contribution to the development of approaches in the field since its first publication in 1999. JQS publishes scholarly articles in both English and Arabic. Available in print and online by subscription. Available online by subscription.

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  • Journal of the International Qurʾanic Studies Association (JIQSA). 2016–.

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    As the main publication of IQSA, this is a peer-reviewed academic journal concerned with publication of contemporary scholarly research in Qurʾanic studies in both English and Arabic. Available in print and online by subscription.

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Electronic Resources

With the growing interest in Qurʾanic studies in recent years combined with advances in electronic search tools, a number of online sources on contemporary Qurʾan research have been developed.

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