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Politico-Cultural, Philosophical, and Religious Forms of Critical Conversation
In Intolerance, Polemics, and Debate in Antiquity scholars reflect on politico-cultural, philosophical, and religious forms of critical conversation in the ancient Near Eastern, Biblical, Graeco-Roman, and early-Islamic world. They enquire into the boundaries between debate, polemics, and intolerance, and address their manifestations in both philosophy and religion. This cross-cultural and inclusive approach shows that debate and polemics are not so different as often assumed, since polemics may also indicate that ultimate values are at stake. Polemics can also have a positive effect, stimulating further cultural development. Intolerance is more straightforwardly negative. Religious intolerance is often a justification for politics, but also elite rationalism can become totalitarian. The volume also highlights the importance of the fluency of minorities in the dominant discourses and of their ability to develop contrapuntal lines of thought within a common cultural discourse.

Tafsīr sūrat al-baqara by Sayyid ʿAlī Muḥammad Shīrāzī, The Báb (1819-1850)
In Tafsir as Mystical Experience, Todd Lawson shows how the Quran may be engaged with for meaning and understanding, the usual goal of mystical exegesis, and also how it may be engaged with through tafsīr in a quest for spiritual or mystical experience. In this earliest of the Báb’s extended works, written before his public claim to be the return of the hidden Imam, the act of reading is shown to be something akin to holy communion in which the sacred text is both entrance upon and destination of the mystic quest. The Quran here is a door to an “abode of glory” and an abiding spiritual encounter with the divine through the prophet, his daughter Fāṭima and the twelve Imams of Ithna-ʿasharī Shiʿism who inhabit the letters, words, verses and suras of the Book.

Cover calligraphy by Burhan Zahrai of Quran 53:11
The Teaching of Yusuf al-Qaradawi
In Rethinking Islamic Legal Modernism Ron Shaham challenges the common opinion that Islamic legal modernism, as represented by Rashid Rida (d. 1935), is of poor intellectual quality and should not be considered an authentic development within Islamic law. The book focuses on the celebrated Sunni jurist, Yusuf al-Qaradawi (b. 1926), whom Shaham perceives as a close follower of Rida.

By studying the coherence of Qaradawi's Wasati theory of ijtihad and the consistency of its application in his legal opinions (fatwas), Shaham argues that Qaradawi, by means of eclecticism and synthesis, conducts a bold dialogue with the Islamic juristic heritage and brings it to bear on modern developments, in particular the institutional framework of the nation-state.
A Rereading of the Classical Genre of Qurʾān Commentary
A number of classical Sunnī Quran commentaries quote several different types of exegetical materials attributed to a few female figures from the first century A.H/seventh century C.E.—āthār, ḥadīths, legal opinions and variant readings, as well as lines of poetry. In Gender and Muslim Constructions of Exegetical Authority, Aisha Geissinger provides a comprehensive introduction to such quotations, and offers an analysis of their place and significance within the pre-modern genre of Quran commentary, demonstrating that key hermeneutical concepts in classical quranic exegesis ( tafsīr) are gendered. Bringing together materials which have not previously been examined in detail and utilising gender as a lens through which to study them, this work provides a new approach to the study of pre-modern tafsīr.
The Yemeni Manuscript Tradition contributes to the study of the manuscript codex and its role in scholastic culture in Yemen. Ranging in period from Islam’s first century to the modern period, all the articles in this volume emerge from the close scrutiny of the manuscripts of Yemen. As a group, these studies demonstrate the range and richness of scholarly methods closely tied to the material text, and the importance of cross-pollination in the fields of codicology, textual criticism, and social and intellectual history.

Contributors are: Hassan Ansari, Menashe Anzi, Asma Hilali, Kerstin Hünefeld, Wilferd Madelung, Arianna D’Ottone, Christoph Rauch, Anne Regourd, Sabine Schmidtke, Gregor Schwarb and Jan Thiele.
Vocabulaire et argumentation du discours coranique autoréférentiel
Dans Le Coran par lui-même, Anne-Sylvie Boisliveau livre une analyse passionnante de la manière dont le Coran est l’architecte de sa propre image. Loin d’être un texte sans relief, celui-ci utilise un vocabulaire, des procédés rhétoriques et une argumentation soigneusement choisis pour orienter l’image qu’auditeurs ou lecteurs se feront de lui.
Une analyse serrée du vocabulaire autoréférentiel montre que le Coran se décrit lui-même comme Ecriture « façon judéo-chrétienne » représentant un enjeu de communication. Mais surtout, par un triple discours – sur les actions divines, sur les Ecritures révélées antérieurement, telles la Bible, et sur la fonction prophétique –, le Coran se confère à lui-même le monopole de l’autorité issue de la révélation divine et pousse l’auditeur/lecteur à s’y soumettre.

In Le Coran par lui-même, Anne-Sylvie Boisliveau provides a ground-breaking analysis of the way the Qurʾān is the architect of its own image. Far from being a flat text, the Qurʾān uses carefully chosen vocabulary, rhetorical tools and argumentation to direct the image that listeners or readers will then have in mind. A close analysis of its self-referential vocabulary shows that the Qurʾān describes itself as a Scripture “in a Judeo-Christian style” which communicative function is stressed. By a triple discourse (on divine actions, on previous Scriptures such as the Bible and on prophethood), the Qurʾān grants itself the monopoly of divine authority through revelation and pushes the listener/reader into a decisive submission.

Winner of the I. R. Iran World Award for the Book of the Year 2014