Help me with a course on the Qur’an Thursday, August 21, 2014Thursday, August 21, 2014 ~ Adam Kotsko Let’s say I were to do a course next semester on the Qur’an only, with some attempt to achieve coverage over the whole of the text and to strike a balance between contemporary and historical commentators. Do you have any recommendations? Share this:FacebookTwitterRedditTumblrPinterestEmail Related Published by Adam Kotsko View all posts by Adam Kotsko
3 thoughts on “Help me with a course on the Qur’an”
I read the Qur’an in the Penguin translation, because I was curious about it; and my main terms of reference were of course the Bible, with which it has some weird similarities and rather more pronounced differences. But because of that, and because I come from a culture (English) so saturated in the KJV, reading it was really quite powerfully dissatisfying. I kept feeling I was glancing off the text at oblique angles. Which is to say: it seems to me a course will need to spend at least some time on cultural contextualisation, and the matter of language. I’m especially engaged by the fact that Muslims are only supposed to read the book in Arabic (rather as if there existed a version of the New Testament written entirely in Aramaic and all Christians understood that that was the only version which they were supposed to read). You probably saw this recent Language Log post on it: http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=14046
I haven’t read them yet, but I just received two new books to review on modern and contemporary Tafsīr. One is Mun’im Sirry’s Scriptural Polemics and the other is Aysha A. Hidayatullah’s Feminist Edges of the Qur’ān. While you might not assign all of them for the course, they seem to be great resources to enter into the discussion and recent (since mid 19th century) interpretation.
OUP published an anthology of Qur’anic commentaries on select verses which seemed to also want to strike a similar balance — volume 1 was “the nature of the divine” or something like that. i don’t think any subsequent volumes are out yet.
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