We are proud to announce that on December 10, 2019, IQSA board members Johanna Pink and Holger Zellentin each received a Consolidator Grant from the European Research Council (ERC) for research projects in the field of Qur’anic Studies. ERC Consolidator Grants provide around two million euros over a period of five years to a researcher, allowing them to establish a team dedicated to a specified project. These awards are among the most prestigious research grants in Europe.
In her ERC funded project “The Global Qur’an“ (GloQur), Johanna Pink will be researching the international dimension of Qur’an translations, which have become established as a key medium of Muslim religious practice all over the world since the early 20th century. She will be studying international connections in this field on two levels. First, she will investigate the institutional actors who produce Qur’an translations in many different languages for an international audience. These actors are primarily nation states like Saudi Arabia and Iran, as well as missionary communities such as the Ahmadiyya. Second, she will analyze the complex history and spread of Qur’an translations into the languages of former colonial empires: in other words, English, French, and Russian. Based on this analysis, Pink will address the question of how discussions about interpretation are reflected in the various Qur’an translations – for example, regarding gender, the status of non-Muslims, and the idea of God. She will also be researching how the language, location, producers, and target audiences influence these debates. For example, what happens when a Mauritanian sheikh is commissioned by a Saudi institution to produce a French Qur’an translation? And will that translation be interpreted and received differently by Muslims in France than by French-speaking Muslims in Senegal?
The project led by Holger Zellentin is titled “The Qur’an as a Source for Late Antiquity” (QaSLA). QaSLA’s main innovation consists in turning the table on the predominant hermeneutics of Western approaches to the Qur’an, which tend to focus on the question of how the Qur’an is influenced by Judaism and Christianity. By taxonomizing the religious profiles reflected in the demonstrable interface between the Qur’an and its Jewish and Christian contemporaries, the project first will reorient and then revamp this approach. QaSLA initially analyses the affinity between the Qur’an and known forms of Judaism and Christianity surrounding Arabia in order to identify which biblical, exegetical, homiletic, legal, narrative, ritual, and poetic discourses and practices circulated within the peninsula. It then employs the Qur’an as a new vantage point from which to reconsider broader late antique religious trends across the Middle East. QaSLA combines expertise across disciplines to create a novel local Arabian and an enhanced longitudinal Middle Eastern understanding of Rabbinic Jewish and Syriac, Ethiopic and Arabic Christian cultures. In a final step, the project then returns to portray the Qur’an in sharper contradistinction to more clearly defined forms of Judaism and Christianity.
Once again, IQSA extends a hearty congratulations to Professors Pink and Zellentin and wishes them much success in their research.
© International Qur’anic Studies Association, 2019. All rights reserved.