The Meaning of the Word Lexicology and Qur'anic Exegesis

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2015-08-04
  • Publisher: OUP in association with the Institute of Ismaili Studies

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The basic intention of Qur'anic exegesis (tafsir) is to understand what the text of the Qur'an means. Before attempting to understand anything of the Qur'anic worldview, its theology and ethical values, there is a need for exegetes to engage with the individual words found in the Qur'an itself. Yet, exegetes and translators, whether medieval or modern, have different theological perspectives, which influence how they do this. Many modern scholars have recognised that lexicology plays an important part in exegesis, but there are few studies of how exegetes use it to develop their interpretations of the Qur'an or that address lexicology in Qur'anic exegesis in any depth. This volume of articles will begin to address this gap in the scholarship.

The Meaning of the Word will provide an overview of the development of lexicological analysis in the tafsir tradition, and examine how exegetes interpreted words in the Qur'an. The contributions reflect on lexicology in Qur'anic exegesis through studies of a wide range of subjects, from linguistics to literary criticism, and law and gender to mysticism; from examinations of the issue of lexicology in the Arab, Persian and Turkish worlds to its examination in the European world; and from studies of the earliest discussions of Qur'anic lexica to those made in twentieth-century Turkey and recent English translations of the Qur'an. This volume will become a subject-specific reference volume for anyone working on the interpretation of the Qur'an, but also in Islamic Studies and the wider field of Religious Studies.

Author Biography

Stephen R. Burge is Research Associate at Institute of Ismaili Studies, London. He is the author of Angels in Islam: Jalal al-Din al-Suyuti's al-Haba'ik fi akhbar al-mala'ik (Routledge, 2012).

Table of Contents

Notes on Contributors
Notes on Transliteration, Conventions, and Abbreviations
Introductory Chapter
1. Words, Hemeneutics, and the Construction of Meaning, S. R. Burge
Lexicology and the Formative Period of Qur'anic Exegesis
2. In Search of Meaning: Lexical Explanation in Early Qur'anic Commentaries, Kees Versteegh
3. Lexicological Hadith and the 'School' of Ibn 'Abbās, Herbert Berg
4. The Interpretation of Three Qur'anic Terms (siyāḥa, ḥikma and ṣiddīq) of Special Interest to the Early Renunciants, Christopher Melchert
Lexical Methodologies in Action: Four Case Studies
5. The Use of Lexicography in the Great Qur'anic commentary of Wāḥidī (d. 468/1076), Claude Gilliot
6. Authority and the Defence of Readings in Medieval Qur'anic Exegesis: Lexicology and the Case of Falaq (Q. 113:1), S. R. Burge
7. Poetic License and the Qur'anic Names of Hell: The Treatment of Cognate Substitution in al-Rāghib al-Iṣfahānī's Qur'anic Lexicon, Devin Stewart
8. Paradoxes in Shahrastānī's Lexicological Methodology, Toby Mayer
Words, Interpretation, and Legal Disputes
9. From Qur'an to Fiqh: Sunni and Shi'i Tafsīr on the Inheritance Verses and the 'Named' Cases (al-masā'il al-mulaqqaba), Agostino Cilardo
10. Marital Discord in Qur'anic Exegesis: A Lexical Analysis of Husbandly and Wifely Nushūz in Q. 4:34 and Q. 4:128, Ayesha S. Chaudhry
11. The Optional Ramadan Fast: Debating Q. 2:184 in the Early Turkish Republic, M. Brett Wilson
The Word in Translation: Medieval and Modern Disputes
12. The Persian Fātiḥa of Salmān al-Fārisī and the Debates over Translating the Qur'an, Travis Zadeh
13. The Qur'an Today: Translating the Translatable, Stefan Wild
Index of Qur'anic Citations
General Index

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