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 Topic: Qur'anic studies today

 (Read 91757 times)
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  • Qur'anic studies today
     Reply #1380 - February 11, 2017, 05:43 PM

    Teresa Bernheimer and Andrew Rippin on Gerald Hawting
    In a series of articles as well as his 1999 monograph The Idea of Idolatry and the Emergence of Islam: From Polemic to History, Hawting argues for examining Islam’s origins as the formation of a new monotheist religion, with all the implications that this brings. The book examines the religious setting within which Islam emerged, by way of a close analysis of the mushrikūn, the supposed pagan opponents to Muhammad’s message in the Quran. Hawting identifies these mushrikūn as monotheists rather than polytheists in a literal sense, and suggests a separation of the Quranic material from the later Muslim literature which developed to explain the Quran and its context: accordingly, the image of the Quranic pagans and of the jāhiliyya (the period prior to Islam, often translated as “the age of ignorance”) as described in the traditional literature should be read “primarily as a reflection of Islam’s origins which developed among Muslims during the early stages of the emergence of the new form of monotheism”.

    Hawting’s suggestions have significant consequences for our understanding of the origins of Islam, not least because the monotheist environment in which he envisages Islam to have emerged is not likely to be the Hijaz as per Muslim tradition, but an area closer to the monotheist world of the time, such as the Fertile Crescent or Iraq. Whilst some colleagues and students remain to be convinced by the arguments, or even vehemently disagree with the book’s conclusions, The Idea of Idolatry has served as a catalyst for ground-breaking work on the origins of Islam, and has been hugely influential in the study of the context of the Quran.

  • Qur'anic studies today
     Reply #1381 - February 12, 2017, 09:58 AM

    Twitter thread:
    Quote from: Ian David Morris
    In distinct accounts about the slaves taken by early Muslim conquerors, I’m seeing the number 360 and thereabouts.

  • Qur'anic studies today
     Reply #1382 - February 13, 2017, 11:34 AM

    @iandavidmorris How difficult is it for you to do your research when a few times there are multiple versions of one incident? For example...

  • Qur'anic studies today
     Reply #1383 - February 13, 2017, 11:37 AM

    Trying to find solid ground when researching the origins of the Qur'an is a bit like walking across sinking sand...

  • Qur'anic studies today
     Reply #1384 - February 13, 2017, 03:42 PM

    I cant find the page where you posted this article but it has raised an important point.

    While originally a religion and way of life, given the way the term "Islamic" is being tossed around like candy today, one could be forgiven for mistaking Islam for a country. According to particular groups both in the West as well as within the regions in which Islam has a marked presence, such as the Middle East, the people of the "Islamic" world speak the Islamic language, eat Islamic food, make Islamic films, write Islamic literature and produce Islamic art and architecture. In short, they are defined solely by a religion (which may or may not be theirs), their individual cultures and identities amounting to mere afterthoughts. Would it be easier to acknowledge the vast diversity—on every level—of the so-called "Islamic world" and the many peoples that constitute it, rather than use the term "Islamic" in every possible instance? Of course, after all, we don’t exactly use "Christendom" to define Europe and North America. But to ditch the term "Islamic" simply wouldn’t be convenient for certain groups, nor would it serve their interests.

    "I'm standing here like an asshole holding my Charles Dickens"

    "No theory,No ready made system,no book that has ever been written to save the world. i cleave to no system.."-Bakunin
  • Qur'anic studies today
     Reply #1385 - February 13, 2017, 03:56 PM

    I posted the link to that article on the 'random Islamic history' thread, and to be fair the argument also applies to my thread title there. The academics sometimes use 'Islamicate' instead for the wider culture and civilisation, and that might capture my intentions for the thread more accurately. An additional problem with talking about an 'Islamic world' in the early medieval period (perhaps until the Mongol invasions of the 13th century and the end of the Abbasid caliphate) is that in most times and places Muslims weren't in the majority. A comparison with a later period would be the Ottoman Balkans where in most places Muslims were a minority, though there were Muslim majority areas. Early medieval Syria, Egypt or Central Asia might have looked more like this. It's easy to forget that the Church of the East, based in Baghdad, and the Monophysite churches of Armenia, Syria, Egypt, Nubia and Ethiopia accounted for a large part of the early medieval Christian world. Really looking at the period in terms of a Christian world based in Europe vs. an Islamic world based in Africa and Asia is anachronistic and misleading.
  • Qur'anic studies today
     Reply #1386 - February 14, 2017, 11:30 AM

    Call for papers - SBL annual meeting 2017
    This year's sessions will concern the topic of "Jewish-Christianity between Judaism, Christianity, and Islam." We invite proposals for papers revisiting themes related to "Jewish-Christianity" and early Islam, including historical and historiographical perspectives as well as more methodological reflections on the profits and perils of this rubric of comparison. An invited panel will focus on the function of "Jewish-Christianity" as well as Jewish converts in 18th, 19th, and early 20th scholarship on Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. In addition to these two themed sessions, there will also be an open panel; proposals are thus also welcome for papers on any topic pertaining to "Jewish-Christianity" and "Christian Judaism," broadly conceived.

  • Qur'anic studies today
     Reply #1387 - February 16, 2017, 05:32 PM

    Unlocking the Medinan Qur’an / International workshop at Pembroke College, Oxford 19–21 March 2017
    The surahs and passages that are commonly associated with the Medinan period of Muhammad’s life occupy a key position in the formative history of Islam. They fundamentally shaped later convictions about the paradigmatic authority of Muhammad and thereby fuelled the post-Qur’anic emergence of the hadith canon ; they constitute an important basis for Islam’s development into a religion with a strong focus on law ; and it is by and large only in Medinan texts that we find injunctions to militancy and an explicit demarcation of Islam from Judaism and Christianity. A proper comprehension of the Medinan Qur’an is thus crucially important to our understanding of Islamic religious history in general. At the same time, the Medinan surahs have proven much more recalcitrant to scholarly analysis than the texts that are customarily assigned to the Qur’an’s Meccan period. The workshop will assemble an international group of scholarly experts from doctoral students to senior professors to grapple with the Qur’an’s Medinan layer from a variety of methodological vantage points and historical premises.

  • Qur'anic studies today
     Reply #1388 - February 17, 2017, 12:16 PM

    Here is my personal draft summary of Islam's origins. It's not an academic work but sceptical academics are the only people I trust on this topic, so I've jotted down their names for future reference. Over the years I'll add to and edit it, and please feel free to add your thoughts...


    The Qur'an cannot be a record of an entirely oral transmission (Puin, Donner). Some Qur'anic words are appropriated from purely written Syriac language (Luxemberg) and Syriac legends (Tesei). Part of the Qur'an's content originates in Palestinian Christian legends (Shoemaker). Parts originate in Iraq (?), and some parts may originate somewhere in northern Arabia (Crone).  There are at least two variant canonical versions of the Arabic Qur'an in circulation this day (Jay Smith), and we know more variants exist too. The seven oldest extant qur'ans differ from each other (Jay Smith)

    There is evidence of multiple hands compiling the Qur'an (Zaotar, on the conflicting spelling of 'Ibraham/Abraham'). Like the bible, duplicate stories occur that vary slightly in content and more importantly vary in supposedly verbatim utterances of the dramatis personae (eg. Iblis' conversations in heaven). Whether the codex happened earlier, during or later than the traditional timeframe is unclear.

    The Qur'an's audience are overwhelmingly if not entirely Christians and Jews (Crone), because the Qur'an assumes complete familiarity with biblical stories and characters. It is impossible that the Qur'an originated among pagans in Makkah and Madina.

    Islam spread not by "conversion or death", but surrender or death (Hoyland). Contemporary Christian sources attest this (Hoyland) and this was contemporary practice. Slaughter occurred, but slavery and subjugation were far more common. Slavery and preferential treatment increased the Muslim community's size dramatically, contemporaneous with the destruction of Persian Zoriastrian empire and faith. Early rulers were considered Arabs (Hoyland) or believers (Donner), identifying as 'Muslims' only later in time.

    Muhammad was not of primary importance in early Islam (Hoyland, Donner, Crone). The name 'Mhmd' is absent in all early and contemporary papyri documents, coins, and graffito of the early decades of 'Islam'. When the Arab empire conquers Persia and east Byziantium, a Muhammad materializes in the future by projecting a Muhammadan history into the past (Hoyland). This differs from Christianity, whose raison d'être was Jesus.

    Only during an Arab civil war does the name 'Muhammad' explicitly take hold (Hoyland). The earliest biography of Muhammad occurs centuries after his existence, and has "grave weaknesses" in its veracity (Donner). Pre-hijra stories of Muhammad are overwhelmingly legendary in character. The 'sunnah', or instructions of Muhammad, are a collection of accounts of Muhammad with little to no historical reliability.
  • Qur'anic studies today
     Reply #1389 - February 17, 2017, 08:53 PM

    Twitter thread on conference at UCL - The Origins of the Islamic State: Sovereignty and Power in the Middle Ages
  • Qur'anic studies today
     Reply #1390 - February 17, 2017, 11:45 PM

    I mostly agree except here:
    The name 'Mhmd' is absent in all early and contemporary papyri documents, coins, and graffito of the early decades of 'Islam'.

    Mhmd or, more frequently, Mhmt appears in the Chronicle ad 724, quoting Thomas the Priest who was a contemporary; in the Maronite Chronicle which I date to 668 CE; in Pseudo-Sebeos also datable to the early 660s in its final form. And the Khuzistan Chronicle mentions him I think. There is also memory of children born with that name, like Muhammad bin al-Ash'ath al-Kindi.
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