Muslim Exegesis of the Bible in Medieval Cairo

Najm al-Dīn al-Ṭūfī’s (d. 716/1316) Commentary on the Christian Scriptures. A Critical Edition and Annotated Translation with an Introduction


Author: Lejla Demiri
Najm al-Dīn al-Ṭūfī’s (d. 716/1316) extraordinary commentary on the Christian scriptures has not received the scholarly attention it deserves. Illustrating the way in which the Bible was read, interpreted and used as a proof-text in the construction of early 14th century Muslim views of Christianity, his al-Ta‘līq ‘alā al-Anājīl al-arba‘a wa-al-ta‘līq ‘alā al-Tawrāh wa-‘alā ghayrihā min kutub al-anbiyā’ (Critical Commentary on the Four Gospels, the Torah and other Books of the Prophets) is an invaluable treasure for the study of Muslim-Christian dialogue and its history. In Muslim Exegesis of the Bible in Medieval Cairo, Lejla Demiri makes this important and unusual work available for the first time in a scholarly edition and English translation, with a full introduction that places Ṭūfī in his intellectual context.

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Lejla Demiri, Ph.D. (2008), University of Cambridge, is Professor of Islamic Theology at the University of Tübingen.
''......Lejla Demiri’s work is an admirable contribution that makes available an unusual and important work. To the field of Muslim–Christian polemics (for which it was primarily intended) al-Tūfī’s Commentary contributes an innovative commentarial format and several unusual ideas about Christ, but the reader who continues to the end will also find much that is of great interest for the study of qur’anic exegesis, the Tales of the Prophets, and the Bible itself''.

David Vishanoff, University of Oklahoma, in Islam and Christian–Muslim Relations, 25.1 (2013), pp. 138-139.

''.....The volume has many merits and deserves to be commended: not only does the lucid study of al-Ṭūfī succeed in providing a genuine sense of the scale of his legacy, but it also serves as a valuable introduction to the commentary. Its publication with the translated text will allow a wider readership to engage with and appreciate the fascinating debates which were a predominant feature of medieval Muslim-Christian discourses, thereby helping to shed light on how the Bible was read and expounded upon as a proof text by Muslim scholarship''.

Mustafa Shah, School of Oriental and African Studies, in Journal of Near Eastern Studies, 73.2 (October 2014), pp. 378-381.

“…this is a valuable edition of a fascinating text that significantly broadens our appreciation of Muslim approaches to the Bible and the Qurʾān”.

Andrew Rippin in Ilahiyat Studies 5.1 (2014), pp. 122-125.
All interested in the history of Christian-Muslim relations, theological interactions and inter-faith encounters, and anyone concerned with Muslim exegesis of the Bible and Muslim perceptions of Christianity.