IQSA is excited to share the new publication of a book by Roberto Tottoli, Professor at the University of Naples, L’OrientaleI and QSA member, The Qur’an: A Guidebook (De Gruyter 2023). The essay Reading and studying the Qur’an is an updated English version of the work appeared in Italian (Rome 2021) Leggere e studiare il Corano which deals with the contents of the Qur’an, the style and formal features of the text, the history and fixation of it and an poutline of the reception in Islamic literature.
The aim of the work is to give a reader a description of what he/she can find in the Islamic holy text and the state of the critical debates on all the topics dealt with, focusing mainly on the growing scholarly literature which appeared in the last 30 years. As such, the work is unique in combining the aim to give comprehensive information on the topic and, at the same, time, reconstruct the critical debate in a balanced outline also emphasizing confessional approaches and the dynamics in the study of the Qur’an.
There is nothing similar in contemporary scholarship and the book is a handbook for students and scholars of Islam but also for readers in religious studies who need to know how the main questions related to the Islamic text have been discussed in recent scholarship.
Professor Robert Tottoli has a BA in Oriental Languages and Literatures from Venezia Ca’ Foscari (1988), and a PhD from Napoli L’Orientale (1996). He studied at Hebrew University in Jerusalem under the direction of M.J. Kister (1993-94), and then taught in Turin (1999-2002) and Naples L’Orientale since 2002, where he has worked as full professor in Islamic studies since 2011. He has been Visiting Researcher/Professor at Princeton University (2014), Harvard (2015), EHESS Paris (2016), Institute for Advanced Study Tokyo (2018), University of Pennsylvania (2019) and member of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton in 2016-17. Since 2019 he has been PI in the European project ERC-Synergy EUQU (The European Qur’an – cPI Mercedes Garcia-Arenal, Cisc, Madrid, PIs John Tolan, Nantes, Jan Lopp, Canterbury).
Prof. Tottoli has carried out research on biblical prophets in Islam (Biblical prophets in the Islamic tradition, Brescia, 1999, English translation 2002), he has dealt with Islamic literature in general and, more recently, with editions and translations of the Qur’an in the modern age (Ludovico Marracci at Work, written with R. Glei, Wiesbaden, 2016). He has translated several texts of Islamic literature into Italian (Malik, al-Muwatta’. Manual of Islamic Law, Turin, 2011, with which he won the King Abdullah ibn Abdulaziz International Award for Translation, 8th Section. 2015) and has edited works on Islam in the West (Routledge Handbook of Islam in the West, London, 2015) or on the history of Islamic civilization (The Wiley Blackwell History of Islam, Hoboken, 2018, edited with A. Salvatore, B. Rahimi). Since 2011 he has been writing about Islam for Corriere della Sera.
The International Qur’anic Studies Association has opened its call for papers for its Annual Meeting to be held in San Antonio, Texas from November 17-20, 2023. Paper proposals should be submitted through the SBL’s automated online submission system under the corresponding “Affiliates” link by March 14, 2023 (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
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
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 seven program units:
The Linguistic, Literary, and Thematic Perspectives on the Qur’anic Corpus unit invites proposals for papers that engage with the study of the Qur’an from a literary standpoint and examine aspects such as rhetorical devices, literary motifs, characterization, themes, voices, sound, structure of passages or surahs, etc. While the unit welcomes proposals that explore any of these aspects, this year we particularly encourage papers that utilize linguistic, literary, and thematic perspectives to study the legal and prescriptive material found in Medinan surahs and verses.
The aim of the Qur’an: Manuscripts and Textual Criticism unit is to provide a cross-disciplinary setting for the exploration of the various interconnected issues that arise when questions concerning the Qur’an’s text are investigated through the prism of its manuscript tradition. This latter term encompasses the field of Qur’an manuscripts per se, but also alludes to such information regarding the history of the text that can be gleaned from the citations, marginal notes, and detailed analysis provided in other branches of the Islamic sciences, for example Qur’an commentaries and the qira’at literature. It is hoped that bringing together scholars from a variety of disciplines will serve to enrich and strengthen each of these fields. The Manuscripts and Textual Criticism unit seeks to create a forum for the application of textual criticism to the Qur’anic text attested both in physical manuscripts and within the wider Islamic tradition. It also aims to investigate palaeographic, codicological, and art historical features in the Qur’an’s manuscript tradition. For the 2023 meeting in San Antonio, the unit welcomes papers on any topic within the range of the interests of the Manuscripts and Textual Criticism program unit. For the 2023 meeting in San Antonio, the unit welcomes papers on any topic within the range of the interests of the Manuscripts and Textual Criticism program unit.
The focus of this unit is the Qur’an’s relationship to the Biblical tradition in the broadest sense: the books of the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament in the various languages of their original composition and later translations (regardless of a particular book’s status of canonization within specific Jewish or Christian groups), as well as the exegetical, homiletic, and narrative traditions of the Bible in written or oral form. For the 2023 meeting in San Antonio, the Qur’an and the Biblical Tradition unit welcomes proposals that engage any aspect of the relationship between the Bible and the Qur’an.
The Methodology and Hermeneutics Unit invites proposals for papers that focus on the theological and hermeneutical relationship between the Qur’an and extra-Qur’anic sources of truth or authority, including the prophetic Sunna, communal Sunna, consensus (ijma’), the Shi’i Imams and their Sunna, hadith literature, biographical literature (sira), formative exegetical literature (tafsir), the rulings of Muslim scholars (‘ulama’), the Sufi shuyukh or Sufi poetry, mystical unveiling (kashf), studies of the material universe, intellect, and so forth.
For example, proposed papers could consider:
The hermeneutical relationship between the Qur’an and the prophetic Sunna; for instance, in how hadith, sīra, or “occasions of revelation” (asbāb al-nuzūl) impact exegesis;
How principles from Islamicate philosophy (falsafa) or theology (kalām) are used to exegete the Qur’an, or how specific verses become significant within Muslim ontological and cosmological discourse;
How the idea of the Imams as the authoritative interpreters of the Qur’an influences exegesis in Shiʾī Islam;
How Sufi works of literature like the Mathnawī of Rūmi or Divān of Hāfiz distill the Qur’an for popular audiences;
How Sufi exegetes read the Quran through the lenses of mystical principles and spiritual experience;
Ways in which modern and contemporary Qur’anic interpretation adheres to or departs from influential premodern methods of tafsīr, and so forth.
The Surah Studies Unit invites proposals for individual papers on any of the 37 surahs in the 30th juz’ (Juz’ ‘Amma), viz. from Surat al-Naba’ (78, “The Announcement”) to Surat al-Nas (114, “Humanity”). Proposals about any aspect of any surah—or cluster of surahs—are welcome. Proposals which can take our collective thinking in new directions are especially encouraged. These might broach (1) such general themes as: addressee(s), chronology and dating, the eschaton, oaths and oracular language, rhyme and rhythm, or textual cruxes; (2) topics specific to particular surahs, such as: astral imagery and phenomena in Surat al-Buruj (85, “The Constellations”) or Surat al-Takwir (81, “Rolling Up”), non-human beings in Surat al-Nazi‘at (79, “The Dispatchers”), Surat al-‘Alaq (96, “The Clot”), and Surat al-Fil (105, “The War Elephant”), or the language of commerce and trade and wealth in Surat al-Takathur (102, “Vying”) and Surat al-Ma‘un (107, “Liberality?”); or (3) devotional, liturgical and recitational aspects of the surahs and the juz’. The Surah Studies Unit welcomes diverse methods and new approaches. The raison d’être of the Unit is specifically to bring different perspectives into dialogue with one another.
For the 2023 IQSA Annual Meeting in San Antonio, the Qur’an and Late Antiquity program unit invites proposals that utilize various types of material or evidence—be that literary, documentary, or epigraphic—to illuminate the historical context in which the Qur’an was revealed and the early Islamic polity emerged. We are especially interested in papers that present and discuss new and comparative methodologies to approach the interplay between Late Antique phenomenon and the Qur’an.
The Societal Qur’an unit invites proposals for papers that investigate the Qur’an in its lived and societal contexts throughout history, from Late Antiquity to contemporary Late Modernity. Papers might, for instance, discuss topics such as:(1) ritual uses of the Qur’an; (2) practices of teaching the Qur’an; (3) talismanic and medical uses of the Qur’an; (4) the production of manuscript, print, and new media versions of the Qur’an and their commodification; (5) the role of the Qur’an in public debates, political organisation, and identity building; (6) the Qur’an in arts and media; (7) multilingual representations of the Qur’an. Proposals are encouraged that engage with sociological, anthropological, and political science theories and methods in their pursuit of the societal and lived Qur’an.