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The Qur'an and Modern Arabic Literary Criticism: From Taha to Nasr - Suspensions: Contemporary Middle Eastern and Islamicate Thought (Paperback)
  • The Qur'an and Modern Arabic Literary Criticism: From Taha to Nasr - Suspensions: Contemporary Middle Eastern and Islamicate Thought (Paperback)
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The Qur'an and Modern Arabic Literary Criticism: From Taha to Nasr - Suspensions: Contemporary Middle Eastern and Islamicate Thought (Paperback)

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£28.99
Paperback 176 Pages / Published: 28/11/2019
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In The Qur'an and Modern Arabic Literary Criticism, Mohammad Salama navigates the labyrinthine semantics that underlie this sacred text and inform contemporary scholarship. The book presents reflections on Quranic exegesis by explaining - and distinguishing between - interpretation and explication. While the book focuses on Quranic and literary scholarship in twentieth-century Egypt from Taha Husayn to Nasr Hamid Abu Zayd, it also engages with an immense tradition of scholarship from the classical period to the present, including authors such as Abu `Ubayda, Ibn `Abbas, al-Razi, and al-Tabari. Salama argues that, over the centuries, the Arabic language experienced semantic and phonological shifts, creating a lacuna in understanding the Qur'an and bringing contemporary readers under the spell of hermeneutical and parochial interpretations. He demonstrates that while this lacuna explains much of the intellectual poverty of traditionalist approaches to Quranic exegesis, the work of the modern Egyptian school of academics marks a sharp departure from the programmed conservatism of Islamist and Salafi exegetics. Through analyses of the writings of these intellectuals, the author shows that a fresh look at the sources and a revolutionary attempt to approach the Qur'an could render tradition itself an impetus for an alternative aesthetics-contextual, open, and unfolding.

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
ISBN: 9781350141599
Number of pages: 176
Dimensions: 234 x 156 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
This is one of the best studies to appear on the central debate in modern Islam: How should Muslims study the Qur'an? Previous scholarship has approached this question from a theological angle. The fact is that the study of the Qur'an in modern Islam was intimately tied to a debate about literature and the formation of an Arabic literary canon. Salama's study is a brilliant analysis of the literary battles over the nature of the Qur'an and its place in relationship to a literary canon. This is a must read and will change how we understand the very nature of modern Qur'an commentary. * Walid A. Saleh, Professor of Islamic Studies at the University of Toronto, Canada *
Mohammad Salama tells the story of five giants of 20th century Egyptian scholarship who have gone against the mainstream in their inquiries into the Quran. Interestingly, it is through philology that they forge a path of rationalism, challenging essentialisms whether in the form of Islamic fundamentalism or Western Orientalism. Salama reminds us of these voices of reason with a sense of urgency in an era where it seems ever more difficult to hear them. * Lara Harb, Assistant Professor of Near Eastern Studies, Princeton University, USA *
Salama's new book is a perceptive and sophisticated overview of the approaches to the Qur'an by the major, albeit controversial, lights of modern literary criticism in twentieth-century Egypt. More than just another dry academic study, it is a passionate, if occasionally polemical call to appreciate the Qur'an as an eminently rich and linguistically challenging literary masterpiece that bridges the seemingly unbridgeable gap between unfathomable transcendent realities and a limited, and often faulty, human understanding of their true implications. The book also features an ardent and eloquent plea, simultaneously, for emancipating and de-colonizing the study of Islam's foundational text at a time of the severe intellectual and geopolitical crises faced by the Muslims the world over. * Alexander Knysh, Professor of Islamic Studies, University of Michigan, USA *
Through a close examination of the oeuvre of five influential authors who left an astounding input on the study of the Qur'an in relation to literature and literary criticism, the study at hand delves into the major textual, philological, intellectual, and political currents and Islamic discourses in twentieth century Egypt... The book is an important addition that fills a lacuna in 20th-century Arabic and Islamic thought. * Bilal Orfali, Associate Professor of Arabic Studies, American University of Beirut, Lebanon *
"Knowing, subtle, and clear, Mohammad Salama makes powerful and passionate arguments for the relevance and importance of twentieth-century Egyptian philology. He recaptures, recuperates, and critically engages with theories of language and the Quran in the work of four major scholars. He writes an argument against twenty-first-century essentialism that applies across politics, theology, and academia. * Alexander Key, Assistant Professor of Arabic and Comparative Literature, Stanford University, USA *
Salama's timely book analyzes the debate over the interpretation of the Qur'an through the lens of literary criticism, focusing on iconic renovators in twentieth-century Egypt. The historical contexts and the rhetorical strategies past and present are called on to situate the shift in Qur'anic scholarship that four men and a woman contributed to. It is a study that is indispensable not only for Islamic studies but for the intellectual history of modern Egypt. * Ferial Ghazoul, Professor of English and comparative literature, The American University in Cairo, Egypt *

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