Tafsir and Islamic Intellectual History Exploring the Boundaries of a Genre

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2015-02-27
  • Publisher: OUP in association with the Institute of Ismaili Studies

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How and when did Qur'anic exegesis (tafsir) emerge as a literary genre of its own? To what extent was it influenced by other disciplines, such as law, theology, or philosophy? How did different political or theological agendas shape works of tafsir, and in what ways did the genre develop over time and in different regions? These are some of the major questions which this book seeks to address.

This book constitutes the first comprehensive attempt at describing the genre of Qur'anic exegesis in its broader intellectual context. Its aim is to provide a framework for understanding the boundaries of tafsir and its interaction with other disciplines of learning, as well as the subgenres and internal divisions within the genre. It discusses the emergence of the genre in the beginnings of Islamic history and the changes and potential ruptures it has experienced in later times, the role of hadith, law, language, philosophy, theology, and political ideology for the interpretive process, the regional dimension, the influx of modernist ideas and the process of writing tafsir in languages other than Arabic.

Among the fifteen authors who have contributed to the volume are leading scholars in the field as well as young researchers, which makes for a unique and fresh perspective on a field that has long been reduced to its instrumental value for understanding the Qur'an. Covering the time from the formation of Qur'anic exegesis until the present, it is a valuable resource for advanced students and scholars in the field.

Author Biography

Andreas Görke is Lecturer in Islamic Studies at the University of Edinburgh. He earned his Dr. phil. from the University of Hamburg in 2001 and his Habilitation from the University of Basel in 2010. He has worked as lecturer and researcher at the Universities of Hamburg and Basel, the Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB), Freie Universitat Berlin, and the University of Kiel, and served as acting professor for early and classical Islam at the University of Hamburg. His research interests include early Islamic history and historiography, the life of the Prophet Muhammad, Koran and Koranic exegesis, Hadith, Islamic law, the transmission of Arabic manuscripts, Islam in its late antique environment and the impact of modernity on Muslim thought.

Johanna Pink is Professor of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Freiburg, Germany. She obtained her doctorate from the University of Bonn in 2002 and has since worked as a lecturer, researcher and visiting professor at both the University of Tubingen and the Freie Universitat Berlin. Her research interests include Muslim exegesis and translation of the Qur'an, the relationship between Muslims and non-Muslims, and contemporary developments in Islamic law and thought. She has published books and articles on contemporary Sunni tafs=ir, the status of non-Muslim minorities in Egypt, Muslim mass consumption and internet use, and various modern theological and legal debates.

Table of Contents

Introduction, Johanna Pink and Andreas Gorke
I: The Formation of Boundaries: Early Evolution of the Genre
1. Eve in the Formative Period of Islamic Exegesis: Intertextual Boundaries and Hermeneutic Demarcations, Catherine Bronson
2. Mujāhid's Exegesis: Beginnings, Ways of Transmission and Development of a Meccan Exegetical Tradition in its Human, Spiritual and Theological Environment, Claude Gilliot
3. The Qur'anic Commentary of Muqātil b. Sulaymān and the Evolution of Early Tafsīr Literature, Nicolai Sinai
II: Disciplinary Boundaries and their Permeation: The Place of Tafsīr in Islamic Scholarship
4. Interrelations and Boundaries between Tafsīr and Hadith Literature: The Exegesis of Mālik b. Anas' Muwaṭṭa? and Classical Qur'anic Commentaries, Roberto Tottoli
5. Shāfiʿī Hemeneutics and Qur'anic Interpretation in al-Jāḥiẓ's Kitāb al-ʿUthmāniyya, Ignacio Sanchez
6. Tafsīr between Law and Exegesis: The Case of Q. 49:9, Rebecca Sauer
III: Boundaries of Dogma and Theology: The Expression of Ideas through Tafsīr
7. Al-Jurjānī: Exegesis Theory between Linguistics and Theological Dogma, Nejmeddine Khalfallah
8. Interpretation and Reasoning in al-Qāḍī ʿAbd al-Jabbār's Qur'anic Hermeneutics, Abdessamad Belhaj
9. Tafsīr and The Mythology of Islamic Fundamentalism, Neguin Yavari
IV: Reassessing Conventional Boundaries: Chronology, Geography, Media and Authorship
10. Where Does Modernity Begin? Muḥammad al-Shawkānī and the Tradition of Tafsīr, Johanna Pink
11. Redefining the Borders of Tafsīr: Oral Exegesis, Lay Exegesis and Regional Particularities, Andreas Gorke
12. Tafsīr and the Intellectual History of Islam in West Africa, Andrea Brigagli
V: An Expansion of Boundaries: The Tafsīr Tradition in Modern Times
13. Two Twentieth-century Exegetes between Traditional Scholarship and Modern Thought: Gender Concepts in the Tafsīrs of Muḥammad Ḥusayn Ṭabāṭabā?ī and al-Ṭāhir b. ʿĀshūr, Kathrin Klausing
14. Yaşar Nuri Ozturk: A Contemporary Turkish Tafsīr Theorist, Kathrin Eith
15. The Contemporary Translation of Classical Works Of Tafsīr, Andrew Rippin

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