Recent Publications on Qur’an-related Themes

Patricia Crone, The Qurʾānic Pagans and Related Matters, E. J. Brill


Patricia Crone’s Collected Studies in Three Volumes brings together a number of her published, unpublished, and revised writings on Near Eastern and Islamic history, arranged around three distinct but interconnected themes. Volume 1, The Qurʾānic Pagans and Related Matters, pursues the reconstruction of the religious environment in which Islam arose and develops an intertextual approach to studying the Qurʾānic religious milieu. Volume 2, The Iranian Reception of Islam: The Non-Traditionalist Strands, examines the reception of pre-Islamic legacies in Islam, above all that of the Iranians. Volume 3, Islam, the Ancient Near East and Varieties of Godlessness, places the rise of Islam in the context of the ancient Near East and investigates sceptical and subversive ideas in the Islamic world.

Table of contents:

Editor’s preface

Author’s preface

1. How did the Qurʾānic pagans make a living?
2. Quraysh and the Roman army: Making sense of the Meccan leather trade
3. The religion of the Qurʾānic pagans: God and the lesser deities
4. Angels versus humans as messengers of God: The view of the Qurʾānic pagans
5. The Qurʾānic mushrikūn and the resurrection (Part I)
6. The Qurʾānic mushrikūn and the resurrection (Part II)
7. The Book of Watchers in the Qurʾān
8. War
9. Jewish Christianity and the Qurʾān (Part I)
10. Jewish Christianity and the Qurʾān (Part II)
11. Pagan Arabs as God-fearers
12. Problems in sura 53
13. No compulsion in religion: Q. 2:256 in medieval and modern interpretation
14. Islam and religious freedom
15. Tribes without saints

List of Patricia Crone’s publications

Index to volume 1

About the author:

Patricia Crone (1945-2015), Ph.D. (1974), School of Oriental and African Studies, was Professor Emerita at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton. Her numerous publications include Meccan Trade and the Rise of Islam (1987); Pre-Industrial Societies (1989); Medieval Islamic Political Thought (2004); and The Nativist Prophets of Early Islamic Iran (2012).

Marcus Milwright, The Dome of the Rock and Its Umayyad Mosaic Inscriptions, Edinburgh University Press


Located on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, the Dome of the Rock was constructed at the end of the seventh century by order of caliph ‘Abd al-Malik. This seminal structure has been much studied but no definitive interpretation yet exists of the meanings conveyed by the Dome at the time of its completion. The recovery of meaning is complicated by the paucity of primary written sources relating to the construction phases of the building and the motivations of its patron. This book concentrates on the most important surviving primary text, the long mosaic inscription running around the interior. Comprising a dedication and date (72/691-92) and material of a religious nature, the mosaic inscription provides vital evidence for the reconstruction of the meanings and functions of the Dome of the Rock. The detailed study of the mosaics helps to place them in the context of Late Antique monumental writing, particularly in Greek. The book makes use of contemporary Islamic coins, graffiti, and other inscribed objects in order to examine the Dome of the Rock in the relation to the ideological concerns of the Umayyad elite during and after the Second Civil War.

Table of contents:


Notes for the Reader

Figure Captions


Chapter 1. The Setting of the Dome of the Rock
Chapter 2. Initial Description of the Mosaic Inscriptions
Chapter 3. Mosaic Scripts in Late Antiquity
Chapter 4. Visual Sources for the Mosaic Script of the Dome of the Rock
Chapter 5. Focus on Details
Chapter 6. Proposing a Sequence
Chapter 7. Symbolic Dimensions of Inscriptions in Late Antiquity and Early Islam
Chapter 8. The Inscriptions of the Dome of the Rock in their Historical Context



About the author:

Marcus Milwright is Professor of Art and Archaeology in the Department of Art History and Visual Studies at the University of Victoria, B.C., Canada. He is the author of The Fortress of the Raven: Karak in the Middle Islamic Period (2008) and An Introduction to Islamic Archaeology (2010).

Angelika Neuwirth and Michael A. Sells (eds), Qur’anic Studies Today, Routledge


Qur’anic Studies Today brings together specialists in the field of Islamic studies to provide a range of essays that reflect the depth and breadth of scholarship on the Qur’an.

Combining theoretical and methodological clarity with close readings of qur’anic texts, these contributions provide close analysis of specific passages, themes, and issues within the Qur’an, even as they attend to the disciplinary challenges within the field of qur’anic studies today. Chapters are arranged into three parts, treating specific figures appearing in the Qur’an, analysing particular suras, and finally reflecting on the Qur’an and its ‘others’. They explore the internal dimensions and interior chronology of the Qur’an as text, its possible conversations with biblical and non-biblical traditions in Late Antiquity, and its role as scripture in modern exegesis and recitation. Together, they are indispensable for students and scholars who seek an understanding of the Qur’an founded on the most recent scholarly achievements.

Offering both a reflection of and a reflection on the discipline of qur’anic studies, the strong, scholarly examinations of the Qur’an in this volume provide a valuable contribution to Islamic and qur’anic studies.

Table of contents:


  1. Wansbrough, Bultmann, and the Theory of Variant Traditions in the Qurʾān – Devin J. Stewart
  2. Lot’s Wife: Late Antique Paradigms of Sense and the Qurʾān – Nora K. Schmid
  3. The Sign of Jonah: Transformations and Interpretations of the Jonah Story in the Qurʾān – Hannalies Koloska
  4. End of Hope: Sūras 10–15, Despair, and a Way out of Mecca – Walid A. Saleh
  5. The Casting: A Close Hearing of Sūrat TāHā 9-79 – Michael A. Sells
  6. Qurʾānic Studies and Historical-Critical Philology: The Qurʾān’s Staging, Penetrating, and Finally Eclipsing of Biblical Tradition – Angelika Neuwirth
  7. The Sunna of Our Messengers: The Qurʾān’s Paradigm for Messengers and Prophet: A Reading of Sūrat ash-Shuʿarāʾ– Sidney H. Griffith
  8. Textual and Paratextual Meaning in the Recited Qurʾān: An Analysis of a Performance of Sūrat al-Furqān by Sheikh Mishari Rashid Alafasy – Lauren E. Osborne
  9. The Qurʾān’s Theopoetic Manifesto – Ghassan el Masri
  10. The Qurʾān between Christianity and Rabbinic Judaism – Holger M. Zellentin
  11. Reinterpreting the Qurʾānic Criticism of Other Religions – Mun’im Sirry

About the editors:

Michael A. Sells is Barrows Professor of the History and Literature of Islam and Professor of Comparative Literature at the University of Chicago.

Angelika Neuwirth is Professor Emeritus of Arabic Studies at the Freie Universität in Berlin.

Peter Webb, Imagining the Arabs: Arab Identity and the Rise of Islam, Edinburgh University Press


Who are the Arabs? When did people begin calling themselves Arabs? And what was the Arabs’ role in the rise of Islam? Investigating these core questions about Arab identity and history through close interpretation of pre-Islamic evidence and the extensive Arabic literary corpus in tandem with theories of identity and ethnicity prompts new answers to the riddle of Arab origins and fundamental reinterpretations of early Islamic history.

It is revealed that the time-honoured stereotypes depicting Arabs as ancient Arabian Bedouin are entirely misleading: the essence of Arab identity was in fact devised by Muslims during the first centuries of Islam. Arab identity emerged and evolved as groups imagined new notions of community to suit the radically changing circumstances of life in the early Caliphate. The idea of ‘the Arab’ was a device used by Muslims to articulate their communal identity, to negotiate post-Conquest power relations, and to explain the rise of Islam. Over Islam’s first four centuries, political elites, genealogists, poetry collectors, historians and grammarians all participated in a vibrant process of imagining and re-imagining Arab identity and history, and the sum of their works established a powerful tradition that influences Middle Eastern communities to the present day.

Table of contents:


Note on the Text


Part 1: The Rise of Arab Communities
1. The Rise of Arab Communities
I. Arabs and pre-Islamic Textual Traditions
II. Arabs in Arabia: ethnogenesis, interpretations and problems
III. An Arabness pretence: pre-Islamic ‘Arab’-cognates reconsidered
2. Pre-Islamic ‘Arabless-ness’: Arabian Identities
I. The Arabic Language: a signpost to Arabness?
II. The search for Arabs in pre-Islamic poetry
III. Contextualising the ‘Arabless’ Poetry: ethnic boundaries in pre-Islamic Arabia
IV. The rise of ‘Arab’ poetry
V. Transition from ‘Maʿadd’ to ‘Arab’: case study of Dhū Qār
VI. Pre-Islamic Arabian identity: conclusions
3. Arabness from the Qur’an to an ethnos
I. ‘Arab’: an ethnonym resurrected?
II. The Qur’an and Arabness
III. Early Islam and the genesis of Arab identity Part Two: The Changing Faces of Arabness in Early Islam
4. Interpreting Arabs: defining their name and constructing their family
I. ‘Arab’ defined
II. Arabness and contested lineage
III. Arab genealogy reconsidered: kinship, gender and identity
IV. The creation of ‘traditional’ Arab genealogy
V. Defining Arabs: conclusions
5. Arabs as a people and Arabness as an idea: 750-900 CE
I. Arabs in the early Abbasid Caliphate (132-193/750-809)
II. Forging an Iraqi ‘Arab Past’
III. al-Jāhiliyya and imagining pre-Islamic Arabs
IV. Arabs and Arabia: changing relationships in the third/ninth century
6. Philologists, ‘Bedouinisation’ and the ‘Archetypal Arab’ after the mid-third/ninth century
I. Philologists and Arabness: changing conceptions of Arabic between the late second/eighth and fourth/tenth centuries
II. The transformation of Arabness into Bedouin-ness
III. Bedouin Arabness and the emergence of a Jāhiliyya archetype
IV. Conclusions Imagining and Reimagining the Arabs: Conclusions


About the author:

Peter Webb is an Arabist specialising in the literatures and cultures of classical Islam and has published a number of scholarly articles and book chapters on Arabic literature and Muslim narratives of pre-Islamic history. He is a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow (2015-18) at SOAS, University of London, and prior to his academic career, he was a solicitor at Clifford Chance LLP.

2 thoughts on “Recent Publications on Qur’an-related Themes

  1. Eine echt interessante Reihe von Studien! Danke für die Auswahl.

  2. Danke sehr! Helmut Waldmann. – Wir sind jetzt für eine Woche in Hamburg bei den Enkeln, machen diesesmal auf der Rückfahrt aber Stopp bei meinem Bruder in München Gladbach.

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