Interpreting the Qurʾān with the Bible (Tafsīr al-Qurʾān bi-l-Kitāb)

Reading the Arabic Bible in the Tafsīrs of Ibn Barraǧān and al-Biqāʿī

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In Interpreting the Qurʾān with the Bible, R. Michael McCoy III brings together two lesser known yet accomplished commentators on the Qurʾān and the Bible: the muʿtabir Abū al-Ḥakam ʿAbd al-Salām b. al-Išbīlī (d. 536/1141), referred to as Ibn Barraǧān, and qāriʾ al-qurrāʾ Ibrāhīm b. ʿUmar b. Ḥasan al-Biqāʿī (d. 885/1480). In this comparative study, comprised of manuscript analysis and theological exegesis, a robust hermeneutic emerges that shows how Ibn Barraǧān’s method of naẓm al-qurʾān and al-Biqāʿī’s theory of ʿilm munāsabāt al-qurʾān motivates their reading and interpretation of the Arabic Bible. The similarities in their quranic hermeneutics and approach to the biblical text are astounding as each author crossed established boundaries and pushed the acceptable limits of handling the Bible in their day.

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R. Michael McCoy III, DPhil. (2021), University of Oxford, was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Notre Dame. He has published various articles on the reception of the Arabic Bible in tafsir literature and quranic exegesis, including a recent contribution to Georges Tamer’s (ed.) The Handbook of Qurʾānic Hermeneutics (forthcoming).
Preface
Acknowledgments
Abbreviations

1 Introduction
 1 Methodology
 2 Reading Someone Else’s Kitāb
 3 Ibn Barraǧān: Life and Career
 4 Al-Biqāʿī: Life and Career

2 An Historical Survey of the Bible in Muslim Tradition
 1 Taḥrīf al-maʿnā and Taḥrīf al-naṣṣ
 2 Biblical Quotation in the Muslim Tradition
 3 Conclusion

3 Identifying the Arabic Versions of the Bible Used by Ibn Barraǧān and al-Biqāʿī: A Comparative Analysis
 1 The Torah Manuscripts
 2 The Gospel Manuscripts
 3 The Diatessaron Manuscripts for Ibn Barraǧān and al-Biqāʿī
 4 A Verse-by-Verse Analysis of Arabic Bible Manuscripts and Biblical Quotations in the Tafsīrs of Ibn Barraǧān and al-Biqāʿī

4 The Scriptural Hermeneutics of Ibn Barraǧān and al-Biqāʿī
 1 Al-Biqāʿī’s Defense of the Bible: The Aqwāl
 2 Reception History of Sūrat Āl ʿImrān (Q3:7)
 3 Ibn Barraǧān’s and al-Biqāʿī’s Scriptural Hermeneutics of the Qurʾān and Bible
 4 Conclusion

5 Adam in the Gardens of Paradise: Tafsīr al-Qurʾān bi-l-Kitāb in Ibn Barraǧān’s and al-Biqāʿī’s Exegesis of Genesis 1–3
 1 Adam’s Garden Interpreted
 2 The Garden Narrative in Ibn Barraǧān’s Tafsīr
 3 The Garden Narrative in al-Biqāʿī’s Tafsīr
 4 Conclusion

6 The Parable of Muḥammad’s Vineyard: Tafsīr al-Qurʾān bi-l-Kitāb in Ibn Barraǧān’s and al-Biqāʿī’s Exegesis of Matthew 19–20
 1 Ibn Qutaybah’s Matthean Quotations
 2 Ibn Barraǧān’s and al-Biqāʿī’s use of the Inǧīl
 3 The Parable of Muḥammad’s Vineyard in Ibn Barraǧān’s Tafsīr: Surahs al-Nisāʾ (Q4:85–7) and al-Ḥadīd (Q57:26–9)
 4 The Parable of Muḥammad’s Vineyard in al-Biqāʿī’s Tafsīr: Sūrat al-Aʿrāf (Q7:157)
 5 Conclusion

7 Conclusion
 1 Contexts for Biblical Engagement
 2 The Interpretive Tradition
 3 Arabic Versions of the Bible
 4 Scriptural Hermeneutics
 5 Case Studies
 6 Avenues for Future Research

Appendix I Table of the Arabic Bible Quotations (Genesis 3:1–7 & Matthew 19:30–20:9) from the Tafsīr of Ibn Barraǧān and the Tafsīr of al-Biqāʿī

Appendix II Table of the Arabic Bible Quotations (Genesis 3:1–7 & Matthew 19:30–20:9) from the Manuscripts Chosen for Comparison with Ibn Barraǧān and al-Biqāʿī
Bibliography

Index of Names and Subjects
Index of Bible References
Index of Qurʾān References
All interested in the history of the Arabic Bible, the reception of biblical texts in Islam, and anyone concerned with Muslim biblical scholarship in medieval Islam from the 6th/12th-9th/15th c.     
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