An Oral-Formulaic Study of the Qur'an

An Oral-Formulaic Study of the Qur'an

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This unique book uses innovative computerized oral-formulaic analysis of the Arabic text of the Qur'an to demonstrate that much of the Qur'an was composed live in oral performance. It explores the rich oral culture that both predated and preceded the Qur'an's formative period, and shows that only by viewing the Qur'an through an oral lens can one begin to properly understand the process by which it first coalesced.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 332 pages
  • 154.94 x 231.14 x 30.48mm | 589.67g
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • 134 Tables, unspecified
  • 0739183575
  • 9780739183571
  • 1,431,342

Table of contents

Chapter 1: The Qur'an and Narrative Biblicist Traditions Chapter 2: The Narratival Roots of the Islamic Tradition Chapter 3: The Development of Oral Literary Theory Chapter 4: The Application of Oral-Formulaic Theory to Pre-Islamic Arabic Poetry Chapter 5: Mapping the Landscape: A Computerised Formulaic Analysis of the Qur'anic Text Chapter 6: Digging Deeper: Verse-Level Formulaic Analysis Chapter 7: Searching for Formulaic Systems Chapter 8: Iblis and Adam: A Comparative Application of Computerised and 'Manual' Methods of Formulaic Analysis to the Seven Retellings Chapter 9: Conclusion: The Qur'an and Orality Appendix: The Seven Iblis and Adam Stories and an English Translation
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Review quote

This book's success resides in its methodology...This book will be beneficial to both Islamic scholars and in particular to students of orality. Journal of Folklore Research An Oral-Formulaic Study of the Qur'an is a thought-provoking work which presents a serious challenge to the field of Qur'anic Studies. In a rigorous and thoughtful manner Bannister illustrates how computerized analysis and oral literary theory raise new questions about the Qur'an's origins and development. -- Gabriel Said Reynolds, University of Notre Dame The nature and identity of the Qur'an as text is much contested. Received Muslim views of the Qur'an as the direct word of Allah transmitted through Muhammad have been challenged for many years by the revisionist approaches of some non-Muslim scholars. In this book by Andrew Bannister, we are treated to a highly original and much needed fresh approach to the study of the Qur'an. Though scholars, both Muslim and non-Muslim, have long recognised the importance of oral transmission in the Qur'an story, none has ever subjected that oral dimension of the Qur'anic text to rigorous analysis. Dr. Bannister's work is therefore ground-breaking, exciting, and long overdue. This well-written and incisive study will undoubtedly open fresh windows into Islam's most sacred text, and will trigger much subsequent scholarly enquiry. -- Peter G. Riddell, SOAS, University of London, Melbourne School of Theology This is a breakthrough book opening new ground amidst traditionalist and critical approaches to Qur'anic studies, and between written and oral paradigms for Qur'anic origins. It is a must-read for anyone interested in issues of intertextuality, orality, the Qur'an's internal structure, and computerised analysis of the Qur'anic text. -- Keith E. Small, London School of Theology, Oxford University This is an outstanding, highly original contribution to the field of Qur'anic studies. Using a mode of interpretation derived in part from Milman Parry and Albert Lord's famous work on the poems of Homer, and employing sophisticated digital tools, Bannister shows how the Qur'an is best understood as an oral document. The author breaks free of the constraints of "traditionalist" approaches to the Qur'an which resist the implications of literary and historical analysis. While he draws upon the work of "revisionist" Western scholars, he goes beyond a simple focus on the origins of Qur'anic material to look at the Qur'anic text itself, arguing that it is best understood as the product of a process of oral performance. The result is a compelling account of the Qur'an's composition and early redaction. -- Jonathan Berkey, Davidson College
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About Andrew Bannister

Andrew G. Bannister is adjunct research fellow at the Centre for the Study of Islam and Other Faiths, Melbourne School of Theology, and visiting lecturer at the Centre for Islamic Studies and Muslim-Christian Relations, London School of Theology.
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