Revelation in the Qur’an

A Semantic Study of the Roots n-z-l and w-ḥ-y


In Revelation in the Qur’an Simon P. Loynes presents a semantic study of the Arabic roots n-z-l and w-ḥ-y in order to elucidate the modalities of revelation in the Qur’an. Through an exhaustive analysis of their occurrences in the Qur’an, and with reference to pre-Islamic poetry, Loynes argues that the two roots represent distinct occurrences, with the former concerned with spatial events and the latter with communicative. This has significant consequences for understanding the Qur’an’s unique concept of revelation and how this is both in concord and at variance with earlier religious traditions.

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Simon P. Loynes, Ph.D. (2019), University of Edinburgh, is an independent researcher residing in Edinburgh, Scotland.
List of Figures and Tables
Note on Transliteration, Conventions, and Abbreviations

 1 The Roots n-z-l and w-ḥ-y in Previous Scholarship
 2 Overall Approach of the Study

1 Divine Sending Down (tanzīl) I: Actors, Spatiality, and Interaction
 1 Overview of the Root n-z-l
 2 Spatial Implications of the Root n-z-l and the Author of the Act
 3 The Divine Sending Down of Non-revelatory Things

2 Divine Sending Down (tanzīl) II: The Revelatory Message
 1 The Celestial Scripture
 2 The Divine Sending Down of the Celestial Scripture
 3 The Relationship of the Celestial Scripture to the Qur’anic Revelations
 4 The Primary Celestial Event

3 God’s Esoteric Communication (waḥy)
 1 The Root w-ḥ-y in Pre-Islamic Poetry
 2 The Root w-ḥ-y in the Qur’an
 3 Adopting a Translation for the Root w-ḥ-y

4 The Chronological Distribution and Literary Contexts of the Roots n-z-l and w-ḥ-y
 1 The Chronological Distribution of the Roots n-z-l and w-ḥ-y
 2 Form-Critical Analysis of the Roots n-z-l and w-ḥ-y
 3 Addressing the Chronological Distribution of the Roots

5 The Principal Rhetorical Functions of Divine Sending Down and Divine Communication
 1 The Principal Rhetorical Function of Divine Sending Down
 2 The Principal Rhetorical Function of Divine Communication
 3 The Dynamic Nature of the Qur’an’s Self-Referentiality

6 The Qur’anic Concept of Revelation
 1 From Divine Sending Down (tanzīl) to Divine Communication (waḥy)
 2 Implications of the Study

Appendix 1: Verses with the Root n-z-l Classified according to Formal Type
Appendix 2: Verses with the Root w-ḥ-y Classified according to Formal Type
All interested in the history and language of the Qur’an, concepts of revelation, and self-referentiality; also, its relationship to pre-Islamic poetry.
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