In the latest installment of IQSA’s Review of Qur’anic Research 1, no. 5, Lev Weitz reviews Holger Zellentin, The Qurʾān’s Legal Culture (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2013). In this book, Zellentin considers the apparent affinities between the Qur’an and the Didascalia Apostolorum, a late antique Syriac church order that took shape between the third and seventh centuries CE. The Didascalia records a significant number of the laws promulgated in the Qur’an, and the Didascalia’s legal narratives about the Israelites and Jesus, as well as the legal and theological vocabularies of its Syriac version, show kinship with the Arabic Qur’an. Zellentin argues that the legal tradition evident in the Didascalia was a key element of the “legal culture” of the Qur’an’s seventh-century milieu, and that the Qur’an’s own conception of a prophetically delivered, divine law for Gentiles emerged both in conversation with and against that precedent.
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