In the latest installment of the Review of Qur’anic Research (Vol. 8, no.5), Joseph E. Lowry (University of Pennsylvania) reviews Structural Dividers in the Qur’an edited by Marianna Klar (Abingdon: Routledge, 2021).
In the review, Lowry writes “More recent efforts in Western scholarship have looked anew at the Qurʾān’s literary structures with both curiosity about and appreciation for their aesthetic, communicative, and compositional dimensions. But the new approaches to form and structure are themselves highly varied and align with some larger tendencies in the field of qurʾānic studies in the West. The editor of the volume under review, Marianna Klar, has offered her own clear-eyed assessment of some recent approaches to the study of qurʾānic structures in two important articles in the Journal of Qur’anic Studies, in which she argued, among other things, that the drive to detect macro- and microsymmetries has led some interpreters to ignore obvious thematic dimensions of the sūrahs they investigate. This is all to say that the edited volume under review, Structural Dividers in the Qur’an (SDIQ), is a timely and welcome—and enlightening—contribution to debates about the Qurʾān’s literary form and how it should be studied…”
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Looking for open access resources to enhance your study of the Qur’an? Check out the recently published Creating the Qur’an: A Historical-Critical Study (University of California Press, 2022) by IQSA member, Stephen J. Shoemaker (Professor and Ira E. Gaston Fellow in Christian Studies, University of Oregon).
Creating the Qur’an presents the first systematic historical-critical study of the Qur’an’s origins, drawing on methods and perspectives commonly used to study other scriptural traditions. Demonstrating in detail that the Islamic tradition relates not a single attested account of the holy text’s formation, Stephen J. Shoemaker shows how the Qur’an preserves a surprisingly diverse array of memories regarding the text’s early history and its canonization. To this he adds perspectives from radiocarbon dating of manuscripts, the linguistic history of Arabic, the social and cultural history of late ancient Arabia, and the limitations of human memory and oral transmission, as well as various peculiarities of the Qur’anic text itself. Considering all the relevant data to present the most comprehensive and convincing examination of the origin and evolution of the Qur’an available, Shoemaker concludes that the canonical text of the Qur’an was most likely produced only around the turn of the eighth century.
Fred M. Donner, Peter B. Ritzma Professor Emeritus of Near Eastern History at the University of Chicago, notes “Stephen Shoemaker leaves no significant aspect of the debate over the Qur’an’s origin and evolution unexamined. His book is a milestone in Qur’anic studies. It is, simply put, the most comprehensive and convincing examination of this subject available. Everyone in the field will have to read it.”
View this book for free online today!