Recent Publication: “Geography, Religion, Gods, and Saints in the Eastern Mediterranean” by Erica Ferg (Routledge, 2019)

Routledge has recently released a new book, Geography, Religion, Gods, and Saints in the Eastern Mediterranean by Erica Ferg. This book is the ninth volume in the series Studies in the History of the Ancient Near East, edited by Greg Fisher.


Geography, Religion, Gods, and Saints in the Eastern Mediterranean explores the influence of geography on religion and highlights a largely unknown story of religious history in the Eastern Mediterranean.

In the Levant, agricultural communities of Jews, Christians, and Muslims jointly venerated and largely shared three important saints or holy figures: Jewish Elijah, Christian St. George, and Muslim al-Khiḍr. These figures share ‘peculiar’ characteristics, such as associations with rain, greenness, fertility, and storms. Only in the Eastern Mediterranean are Elijah, St. George, and al-Khiḍr shared between religious communities, or characterized by these same agricultural attributes – attributes that also were shared by regional religious figures from earlier time periods, such as the ancient Near Eastern Storm-god Baal-Hadad, and Levantine Zeus. This book tells the story of how that came to be, and suggests that the figures share specific characteristics, over a very long period of time, because these motifs were shaped by the geography of the region. Ultimately, this book suggests that regional geography has influenced regional religion; that Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are not, historically or textually speaking, separate religious traditions (even if Jews, Christians, and Muslims are members of distinct religious communities); and that shared religious practices between members of these and other local religious communities are not unusual. Instead, shared practices arose out of a common geographical environment and an interconnected religious heritage, and are a natural historical feature of religion in the Eastern Mediterranean.

This volume will be of interest to students of ancient Near Eastern religions, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, sainthood, agricultural communities in the ancient Near East, Middle Eastern religious and cultural history, and the relationships between geography and religion.

Want to read more? Purchase the book here, or find a copy at a library near you.

Erica Ferg, PhD is an Assistant Professor of Liberal Arts at Regis University.


© International Qur’anic Studies Association, 2020. All rights reserved.

Corovavirus Health Alert

Dear Colleagues,

The International Qur’anic Studies Association (IQSA) is monitoring the situation closely as the Covid-19 Coronavirus continues to impact communities throughout the globe. Our mission remains to foster Qur’anic Studies, bringing about peace and mutual understanding through scholarship. At this time, the health and safety of our members and friends is our highest priority.

We are aware that our members and their institutions have concerns about the spread of the Coronavirus. Most academic institutions have closed temporarily or moved to online instruction. Colleagues with health concerns are encouraged to follow the directives offered by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC for the US, or their national equivalent elsewhere) and the World Health Organization (WHO).

The restrictions imposed on travel by an increasing number of nations, while unfortunate, are a crucial measure to curb the growth of the virus. That being said travel restrictions do impact the convening of international conferences. Countless spring and summer meetings have been cancelled as a result. We remain in contact with our affiliates, including the Society of Biblical Literature and American Academy of Religion, with whom our annual meetings are convened. Of immediate concern is the November 20-23, 2020 Annual Meeting to be held in Boston, MA, USA.

Registration does not typically open until mid-April. We hope to gain greater clarity on the situation between now and then. Nevertheless, we suggest that you postpone booking airfare that does not have flexible change policies until registration opens.

We hope the virus is contained soon, and urge everyone to exercise the utmost caution meanwhile. Should you have any questions or concerns please write



Holger Zellentin, Chair

Emran El-Badawi, Executive Director

Review of Qur’anic Research, Vol. 6 no. 3 (2020)


In the latest installment of the Review of Qur’anic Research (vol. 6, no.3), Andrea Stanton (University of Denver) reviews Johanna Pink Muslim Qurʼānic Interpretation Today: Media, Genealogies and Interpretive Communities (Sheffield/Bristol, UK: Equinox Publishing Ltd., 2019).

6.3In the review, Stanton writes “Have you ever wondered why Ibn Kathīr’s tafsīr is so ubiquitous online, in multiple languages, and in translations of different lengths? Or, what percentage of Muslims read the Qurʾān in previous centuries, and what “reading” meant? About the proliferation of pious lectures or advice-giving programs on YouTube and the details of the people behind them? Have you wondered about the role of nation-states in the politics of Qurʾān interpretation?

If you have not, Johanna Pink’s expansive, rigorous, and compelling new book on the development and contours of contemporary Muslim interpretations of the Qurʾān will open your eyes to and your understanding of these phenomena and more. If you have, then – like me – you will delight in every page, because this is the book that you have been waiting for…”

Want to read more? For full access to the Review of Qur’anic Research (RQR), members can log in HERE. Not an IQSA member? Join today to enjoy RQR and additional member benefits!

© International Qur’anic Studies Association, 2020. All rights reserved.

New Publication— “Allah: God in the Qur’an” by Gabriel Said Reynolds (Yale University Press)

IQSA’s own Gabriel Said Reynolds, professor of Islamic studies and theology at Notre Dame University, has recently published a new book titled Allah: God in the Qur’an (Yale University Press, 2020)


The theme of God’s mercy runs throughout the Qurʾan, every Sura of which (except Sura 9), begins with the invocation “In the name of God the merciful, the benevolent.”  The Qurʾan, however, also emphasizes God’s justice and even His vengefulness.  The Qur’an has God destroy nations for their rejection of prophets, and oppose unbelievers by sealing their hearts and leading them astray.  It also describes the punishments of hell in gory detail.  Thus the Qur’an does not offer a God who is simply merciful or vengeful. He is both.

The God of the Qur’an transcends any simple classification. He is personal and mysterious. Because of this, no limits can be placed on His mercy. Allah: God in the Qur’an argues that the Qur’an is open to God’s salvation of both sinners and unbelievers.  At the same time, the book argues, Allah can and does lead humans astray.  This paradox reveals the homiletic nature of the Qur’an.

This portrait of the dynamic and personal God in the Qur’an is illuminated with reference to the classical Islamic theological tradition, careful analysis of the Qur’an’s vocabulary, and reference to modern thinkers including Muhammad Ahmad Khalafallah.

While Allah: God in the Qur’an emphasizes the uniqueness of the Qur’an’s God, it also shows how many of His characteristics – including mercy and vengefulness – have antecedents in the Bible.

The epilogue of Allah: God in the Qur’an argues that because Allah demands the right to exact vengeance, humans have no license to do so. The Qur’an provides no justification for religious violence.

Want to read more? Purchase the book at Yale University Press, or find a copy at your local library!

© International Qur’anic Studies Association, 2020. All rights reserved.



Deadline Approaching: IQSA 2020 Annual Meeting Paper Proposals

The deadline is approaching for the International Qur’anic Studies Association’s call for papers for its Annual Meeting to be held in Boston, Massachusetts from November 2023, 2020! Paper proposals should be submitted through the SBL’s automated online submission system under the corresponding “Affiliates” link by March 11, 2020 (note: IQSA membership is required for proposal submission; see below). Submission links can be found below under the respective program units. If you require further information or experience difficulties with the submission process, please contact the chairs of the program unit to which you would like to apply.

Please note that all proposals must include:

  • Author name and affiliation
  • Paper title
  • 400 word paper abstract (written in English)

Eligibility for proposal submissions is contingent upon the following:

  • Active IQSA membership is required at the time of proposal submission for the IQSA Program, and the membership status of all applicants will be checked prior to acceptance
  • Participants must maintain current IQSA Membership through their participation in the Annual Meeting

Please also note that:

  • To ensure equity and diversity amongst participants, participants should submit only one paper presentation per IQSA Annual Meeting
  • All participants must adhere to IQSA’s Professional Conduct Policy
  • Participants will be required to register for the conference by submitting payment through SBL’s online submission system (users are strongly encouraged to take advantage of the “Super Saver” rates which end mid-May)

The Annual Meeting includes panels for each of IQSA’s eight program units:

Linguistic, Literary, and Thematic Perspectives on the Qur’anic Corpus
The Societal Qur’an

The Qur’an and the Biblical Tradition
The Qur’an: Manuscripts and Textual Criticism
The Qur’an: Surah Studies
The Qur’an and Late Antiquity
Qur’anic Studies: Methodology and Hermeneutics
Qur’anic Exegesis: Unpublished and Recently Published tafsīr Studies


Q: How do I register for the IQSA Annual Meeting?
To register for this year’s meeting, visit the SBL Annual Meeting Page and choose Register for the Annual Meeting. Then, complete a New Registration under the Affiliate Members category, and choose International Qur’anic Studies Association when prompted.

Q: What are the dates of IQSA’s Annual Meeting?
The IQSA Annual Meeting begins and ends November 22-25, 2019 one day before the regular SBL/AAR Meeting.

Q: How do I register for the Annual Meeting as an IQSA member?
Register as an AFFILIATE MEMBER on SBL’s Meetings and Events page. Scroll to the bottom of the page for the Affiliate link and choose “International Qur’anic Studies Association” in the drop-down menu.

Q: Do I have to be an IQSA member to register for the Annual Meeting?
YES – current IQSA membership is required and verified by staff upon registration. However, SBL/AAR membership is not required to attend the IQSA Annual Meeting. You can renew your IQSA membership HERE.

Q: I already registered for the Annual Meeting as an SBL/AAR member. Do I have to register again as an affiliate to attend IQSA events?
No – duplicate registration is not required to attend IQSA events if one has already registered as an SBL/AAR member. However, you must register as an active IQSA member if you are presenting at an IQSA session.

Q: Where can I find a schedule of events for the Annual Meeting?
IQSA  and SBL/AAR’s Program Book will be distributed in print and online as the meeting date draws closer. Members can chose to access the Program Book via mobile app, online, or in print while completing the registration process.

Q: Where can I find information about Housing and Travel Accommodations?
A: Visit SBL’s Meetings and Events page and/or choose your hotel during your online registration.

Q: Does IQSA provide funding or reimbursement for its members to attend the meeting?
At this time, IQSA does not have the resources to provide financial assistance for housing and travel at the Annual Meeting. However, IQSA encourages its members to seek financial aid through institutional grants and other funding.

Q: I will be traveling internationally. How do I obtain a non-immigrant Visa Letter?
A: Check the required box during online registration (see below) and email to arrange for a Visa Letter.



© International Qur’anic Studies Association, 2020. All rights reserved