New Publication—The Qur’an: A Guidebook

qur'anguideIQSA 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.

Find more information about the book at this link.


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.

A Year in Sum: IQSA 2022

Emerging from the global pandemic crisis with a new vigor, it’s been a dynamic year for the International Qur’anic Studies Association. The year of 2022 included new publications, partnerships, aleadership, and two annual meetings in and outside of the US!

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The 2022 Annual Meeting of IQSA was hosted by the La Pira Library and Research Institute in Palermo, Italy from September 5–7. For the first time, the Annual Meeting took place in Europe as an independent event, thanks to the support of the La Pira Library. Scholars and colleagues from La Pira and IQSA worked jointly to plan and convene this event, gathering scholars of the Qur’an to share current research and to explore new approaches to study of the Qur’an. Nearly one hundred scholars from at least nineteen countries— from Houston, Texas to Diyala, Iraq and Abu Dhabi, UAE—from various backgrounds and disciplines presented papers. Thanks to the contributions and enthusiasm of all speakers who submitted proposal for both panels and single papers, the conference covered a broad range of topics and approaches, from theology and philosophy to the study of visual and material culture, as well as philology, linguistics, literary studies, translation studies, and gender studies. In all, there were twelve panels of fifty-two papers, plus three lectures, two roundtable sessions, and one read-through session. The enthusiastic and generous support of the whole La Pira team in hosting the conference was fundamental in making the conference in Palermo possible.

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Back state-side, the 2022 North American IQSA Annual Meeting was held in conjunction with the SBL/AAR Annual Meetings in Denver, Colorado from November 18-21, 2022. The Programming Committee led by Andrew O’Connor (St. Norbert College) orchestrated panels based on themes identified in paper submissions. These included The Qur’an and Late Antiquity, Law Beyond Israel, Slavery, Resistance and Freedom, and a final panel presided over by former IQSA Executive Director, Emran El-Badawi. IQSA members and affiliates also met on Saturday evening for it’s annual General Reception, accompanied this year by live music!


IQSA experienced a lot of change in 2022, with Nicolai Sinai (Oxford University) stepping down as Editor of JIQSA and Sean Anthony (Ohio State University) taking his place. We are extremely grateful to Nicolai for his immense contributions to the journal and organization, and we look forward to Sean’s vision for the journal. The ISIQ Monograph Series is currently edited by David S. Powers. As of January 1, 2023 it will be jointly edited by Karen Bauer, Joseph Lowry, and Shawkat Toorawa. We have also ended our publishing arrangement with Lockwood Press and are thankful to Billie Jean and the entire Lockwood Press team for their loyal support of a growing organization. We are extremely pleased to announce a new partnership with De Gruyter, and the availability of Open Access publications for both our journal and book series.


The executive office has been working with a design agency throughout most of 2021-22 to rebuild the IQSA website from the ground up. The new website will be more modern and mobile-friendly. It will feature a new weekly blog, drawing on scholarship from our growing member base. It will also launch with new initiatives including master classes, conference recordings, and webinars—all hosted by leading scholars of qurʾanic studies. The new platform will serve to further IQSA’s mission of advocating for the field of qurʾanic studies in the public square. We hope that the new website will also increase member engagement and add value to an IQSA membership! has all the information necessary for you to benefit from IQSA and for you to get involved. On this site, visitors can familiarize themselves with IQSA’s governance, resources, and programs, as well as learn about its policies, vision, and history.

Online Discussion Group:

Join the IQSA Google Discussion Group to share ideas, discuss, and collaborate with other scholars and members of IQSA. Join by logging in to Google Groups and searching “International Qur’anic Studies Association.” Then click “Apply to Join Group”!

Weekly Blog Updates:

The IQSA blog has attracted widespread international interest and participation of scholars, students, and the general public. The blog includes weekly updates about IQSA, information on its academic meetings (North American and International), schedules for other conferences and colloquia taking place around the world, and various stories and reports on new research. IQSA strongly encourages all those working on new and exciting Qur’anic Studies projects to contribute to the IQSA blog.

Become a Member of IQSA:

Become a member of IQSA – join from the IQSA website, located under “Membership & Governance.” Be sure to follow for updates about this and other matters. Through the website, members will receive access to our publications, including:

  • Review of Qurʾanic Research
  • Membership Directory
  • Bilingual English-Arabic Journal of the International Qurʾanic Studies Association

If you are interested in getting involved, writing for the IQSA blog, or have advertising or other inquiries, please write to Do not forget to find IQSA on Facebook and Twitter!


Consider supporting Qur’anic scholarship with a donation to IQSA. We are a registered 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization eligible to receive tax-deductible charitable contributions. You can donate to IQSA online by clicking HERE.

You have all made IQSA what it is today—a community of scholars and friends. Please help our community during its time of need. If each of you makes a humble donation it will go a long way to supporting our publishing and programming activity for the coming year(s).

On behalf of IQSA, we wish you a very Happy New Year! كل عام وأنتم بخير

© International Qur’anic Studies Association, 2023. All rights reserved.

Review of Qur’anic Research, Vol. 8 no.5 (2022)

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).

structuralIn 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…”

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, 2022. All rights reserved.

New OA Publication: “Creating the Qur’an”

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).

coverCreating 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!

Review of Qur’anic Research, Vol. 8 no.4 (2022)


In the latest installment of the Review of Qur’anic Research (Vol. 8, no.2), Holger Zellentin (University of Tübingen) reviews Simon P. Loynes’ Revelation in the Qur’an: A Semantic Study of the Roots n-z-l and wḥ-y (Leiden: Brilll, 2021).

revIn the review, Zellentin writes “Simon P. Loynes’s monograph, Revelation in the Qur’an, is based on a 2019 PhD dissertation at the University of Edinburgh. In an introduction and six chapters, Loynes argues that the qurʾānic roots n-z-l and w-ḥ-y need to be more carefully distinguished than many translators and commentators tend to do…Loynes’ argument is simple only on the surface, yet the implications of this study for our understanding of the Qurʾān are profound, inviting a careful reconsideration of the Qurʾān’s concept of divine revelation. The volume’s argument is largely compelling, the scholarship flawless, the scope concise, and the presentation impeccable. Some epigraphic and comparative philological considerations, however, are left unexplored, and the study leaves me wanting to learn a bit more about the pagan Arabian as well as the Jewish and Christian context of the Qurʾān’s concepts of Scripture and divine communication…”

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, 2022. All rights reserved.

Review of Qur’anic Research, Vol. 8 no. 3 (2022) 

In the latest installment of the Review of Qur’anic Research (Vol. 8, no.3), Devin J. Stewart (Emory University) reviews George Archer, A Place Between Two Places: The Qurʾānic Barzakh (Piscataway, NJ: Gorgias, 2017).

placeIn the review, Stewart writes “In A Place between Two Places: The Qurʾānic Barzakh, George Archer addresses the term barzakh and the associated conception of an intermediate state between life and death, or life and the afterlife, in Late Antiquity, the Qurʾān, and early Islamic literature. One way to look at this work is as a response to an interpretive problem presented by the term, which occurs in three qurʾānic passages. In the first two passages, Q al-Nūr 25:53 and al-Raḥmān 55:19–20, barzakh designates a barrier—somewhat mystifying to human observers—between fresh and salt water. That the term indicates a barrier is clear from the fact that the two bodies of water are said to meet but remain separate, constituting one of the many signs of God manifested in the wondrous features of the natural world. The setting in the third passage, Q al-Muʾminūn 23:99–100, is entirely different. Here, barzakh also denotes a barrier; a dead man’s request to be returned to the world to rectify his former deeds is categorically denied, and this is declared impossible on account of the barzakh: “A barzakh stands behind such people until the day when they are resurrected.” The barrier in this case separates the realm of the dead from the realm of the living…”

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, 2022. All rights reserved. 

JIQSA Volume 6 (2021) Now Available!

JIQSAv6_front cover

IQSA is thrilled to announce that the sixth volume of the Journal of the International Qur’anic Studies Association (founding editors: Michael Pregill and Vanessa De Gifis) has now been published online, with print copies due to ship soon (see also

The issue’s contents include:

  1. Sinai, Nicolai. Obituary: Alan Jones (1933–2021). JIQSA 6 (2021): 5-7.
  2. Shnizer, Aliza. Obituary: Uri Rubin (1944–2021). JIQSA 6 (2021): 8-11.
  3. Lange, Christian.  Obituary: Josef van Ess (1934–2021). JIQSA 6 (2021): 12-15.
  4. Stewart, Devin. Noah’s Boat and Other Missed Opportunities. JIQSA 6 (2021): 17-67.
  5. Lawson, Todd. Response to Devin Stewart’s 2019 IQSA Presidential Address. JIQSA 6 (2021): 69-85.
  6. van Putten, Marijn. Dissimilation of ē to ā in the Qurʾānic Consonantal Text. JIQSA 6 (2021): 87-105.
  7. Al-Jallad, Ahmad and Ali Al-Manaser. The Pre-Islamic Divine Name ʿsy and the Background of the Qurʾānic Jesus. JIQSA 6 (2021): 107-136.
  8. Griffith, Sidney. The Narratives of “the Companions of the Cave,” Moses and His Servant, and Dhū ’l-Qarnayn in Sūrat al-Kahf. JIQSA 6 (2021): 137-166.
  9. Pregill, Michael. The Two Sons of Adam: Rabbinic Resonances and Scriptural Virtuosity in Sūrat al-Māʾidah. JIQSA 6 (2021): 167-224.
  10. Abdel Raziq, Iqbal. Ismāʿīl, Dhū ’l-Kifl, and Idrīs: A Reading of the Qurʾānic Text and Muslim Exegesis [in Arabic]. JIQSA 6 (2021): 225-253.

Nicolai Sinai and Saqib Hussain (Oxford University), who bore editorial responsibility for the issue, would like to express their gratitude to all authors, peer reviewers, and Lockwood Press.

Member Access

Full online access to the Journal of the International Qur’anic Studies Association is available by signing in to the member portal at HERE. Use the top menu to navigate to “JIQSA” and select the desired volume via the drop-down menu. Online access to JIQSA for IQSA members is NOT available via Lockwood Press’ website.

If you experience trouble logging in, please email to reset your password or confirm your membership.

Renew or sign up for IQSA membership HERE for full access to JIQSA, RQR, and more!

Institutional Access

Institutions wishing to subscribe for print and/or online access should fill out the form HERE. Print subscriptions are also available for individual subscribers via THIS FORM.

© International Qur’anic Studies Association, 2022. All rights reserved.

NEW Review of Qur’anic Research, Vol. 8 no. 2 (2022) 

In the latest installment of the Review of Qur’anic Research (Vol. 8, no.2), Ana Davitashvili (Eberhard-Karls-Universität Tübingen), reviews Joachim Jakob’s Syrisches Christentum und früher Islam: Theologische Reaktionen in syrisch-sprachigen Texten vom 7. bis 9. Jahrhundert (Innsburck: Tyrolia-Verlag, 2021).

jakobIn the review, Davitashvili writes “Joachim Jakob’s book Syrisches Christentum und früher Islam: Theologische Reaktionen in syrisch-sprachigen Texten vom 7. bis 9. Jahrhundert (in English: Syriac Christianity and Early Islam: Theological Reactions in Syriac Written Texts from the Seventh to the Ninth Century) analyzes a wide range of Syriac sources in exploring Christian theological responses to early Islam.   Jakob focuses on the developments of the theological positions of East and West Syrian writers as well as on the connections of the relevant Syriac texts with contemporary Islamic theology. This comprehensive book is essential reading not only for scholars of Syriac Christianity, but also for those interested in interreligious encounters and Christian-Muslim relations more broadly…”

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, 2022. All rights reserved. 


Andrew Rippin Best Paper Prize Winner 2022

rippinThe International Qurʾanic Studies Association is delighted to announce that the fifth annual Andrew Rippin Best Paper Prize (open to papers delivered by early career scholars at the 2021 Annual Meeting) has been awarded to Adi Shiran for her paper: ““Bloody Wrath and Healing Touches: Joseph and his Brothers in Early Twelver Shī‛ī Tafsīr.” The winner of the Andrew Rippin Best Paper Prize receives a cash award. In addition, an expanded and edited version of the winning paper qualifies for publication in the Journal of the International Qur’anic Studies Association.

This award is given in honor of Professor Andrew Rippin (1950–2016), a leading scholar of the Qurʾān and inaugural president of the International Qur’anic Studies Association (2014). Prof. Rippin is remembered as “an esteemed colleague, revered mentor, and scholarly inspiration to many members of the IQSA community.” An announcement regarding submissions for the sixth annual Andrew Rippin Best Paper Prize will follow the 2022 IQSA Annual Meeting.

An abstract of the award winning paper follows:

“Bloody Wrath and Healing Touches: Joseph and his Brothers in Early Twelver Shī‛ī Tafsīr”
The meetings between Joseph and his brothers in Egypt are often portrayed in Qur’ān commentaries as dramatic occurrences. A few early Twelver Shī‛ī commentaries mention a peculiar account that describes the heated clash between the brothers and Joseph following Joseph’s accusation that one of them stole from him. According to this account, the brothers’ wrath triggered unusual physical symptoms, including bleeding from various organs. An examination of the early Muslim exegetical tradition shows that this narrative is unique and that some individual elements in it are generally absent from other Muslim commentaries on the story of Joseph. In this paper, I argue 1) that some of the elements that appear in the story originated in an early Jewish Midrash, and 2) that a comparison between the texts highlights the originality of the Twelver Shī‛ite version.

adiAdi Shiran is a Ph.D. student at the University of Chicago Divinity School. Shiran earned a B.A. and an M.A. in Arabic language and literature from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where she studied in the Mandel Honors Program, and an M.A. from the Freie Universität Berlin. Shiran’s research interests include medieval Islamic, Christian, and Jewish exegesis, Judeo-Arabic literature, and Mu tazilite kalam. In her dissertation, she deals with the notion of the ‘sealing of the hearts’ in tenth-century Qur’an and Bible exegesis. 25 Other current research projects include Islamic and Jewish interpretations regarding the physical appearance of the serpent/Satan, and a translation of Saadia Gaon’s Judeo-Arabic discussion on the suffering of animals in his commentary on Genesis. Shiran earned a teaching certificate in Arabic from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She taught Qur’anic Arabic at the University of Chicago and taught Classical and Modern Arabic in high schools for several years.

Want to try your hand at next year’s Andrew Rippin Best Paper Prize? Submit your proposals for  the 2022 IQSA Annual Meeting in Denver by March 15th, 2022, or for the IQSA 2022 Annual Meeting in Palermo by March 7th, 2022!

© International Qur’anic Studies Association, 2022. All rights reserved.

Reminder: Final Deadline for Andrew Rippin Best Paper Prize

A friendly reminder that the deadline for Andrew Rippin Best Paper Prize submissions has been extended to Monday, January 31, 2022, meaning you still have one week left before the call closes!

In honor of Andrew Rippin, the International Qur’anic Studies Association (IQSA) will award a prize to the best paper delivered at the 2021 hybrid Annual Meeting in San Antonio, TX by a graduate student or early career scholar (Ph.D. awarded 2016 or later). The prize winner will receive $250. In addition, the award committee will provide him/her with detailed feedback and guidance enabling him/her to expand the paper into a scholarly article that qualifies for publication in the Journal of the International Qur’anic Studies Association (JIQSA), subject to peer review. Interested scholars should submit a draft of the paper which they read at the most current Annual Meeting; this draft should be no longer than fifteen double-spaced pages (or 3750 words).

Submissions should be sent to by January 31, 2022. The winner should then be prepared to submit a fully revised version of the winning article by April 1, 2022. Publication of the final version is contingent upon review by the award committee and editorial staff of JIQSA.

© International Qur’anic Studies Association, 2022. All rights reserved.