Structure and Qur'anic Interpretation

Structure and Qur'anic Interpretation : A Study of Symmetry and Coherence in Islam's Holy Text

4.52 (25 ratings by Goodreads)
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The Qur'an, Islam's holy book, is widely misunderstood because it is a difficult book to engage. The Qur'an is not written as a straightforward narrative like the Christian Gospels but is composed of discontinuous revelations that are often unclear in placing in an overall context. Structure and Qur'anic Interpretation, aimed both at readers familiar with the Qur'an and at those opening it for the first time, differs from other books on the Qur'an in that it reveals the text's fundamental symmetrical organization. Moreover, through readings of key Qur'an chapters, Farrin shows how structure serves as a guide to interpretation. Indeed, one finds that the Qur'an's structure again and again points to universal messages of an ethical nature, rather than to messages whose application may be limited to a specific context. In addition, the book makes a contribution to Qur'anic studies by highlighting literary evidence indicating that the Qur'an was compiled by one author (in all probability, the Prophet Muhammad) and not by an official committee.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 160 pages
  • 153 x 229 x 15.24mm | 312g
  • Ashland, United States
  • English
  • 1935952986
  • 9781935952985
  • 161,155

Table of contents

Introduction One: Framing the Qur'an Two: The Chapter as Unity Three: Chapter Pairs I Four: Chapter Pairs II Five: Chapter Groups Six: The Central Group Conclusion Appendix A: Structural Summaries Appendix B: Chapter Pairs Appendix C: Chapter Groups Notes Bibliography Index
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Review quote

"Farrin applies to the Qur'an critical tools such as ring composition to argue that the received text of the Qur'an is not a jumble of revelations collected in the years or decades after the death Muhammad, but a carefully composed text filled with deep structural parallels. Scholars will be challenged by this book to pay far more attention to the Qur'an as a whole instead of working on individual suras or even passages with no further context. Not every reader will likely become a "partisan of coherence" (as Farrin clearly is), but all will put down this book with greater respect for the structural unity of the Qur'an and the way this unity can serve as a guide for interpretation." --Martyn Smith, Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Lawrence University and author of Religion, Culture, and Sacred Space "Raymond Farrin conducts his research with brilliance and great clarity. Despite the arduous nature of the subject, this book reads with ease and pleasure. It avoids overly specialized language, relegating the most technical aspects to the notes and appendices. Structure and Qur'anic Interpretation incontestably constitutes an important step in the research on the structure of the Qur'anic text." --Michel Cuypers, author of La Composition du Coran "Structure and Qur'anic Interpretation draws on social anthropology, literary analysis, and a wide reading of predecessors and contemporaries to offer an engagingly readable account of how structure relates to content in Islam's key text. Simultaneously emphatic and critical, Farrin's new book invites readers to understand the Qur'an from a fresh perspective." --Dale F. Eickelman, Ralph and Richard Lazarus Professor of Anthropology and Human Relations, Dartmouth College
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About Raymond Farrin

Raymond Farrin is an associate professor of Arabic at the American University of Kuwait. He studied Arabic in Cairo and received a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Studies from the University of California, Berkeley. He is author of Abundance from the Desert: Classical Arabic Poetry (Syracuse UP, 2011).
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Rating details

25 ratings
4.52 out of 5 stars
5 68% (17)
4 24% (6)
3 4% (1)
2 0% (0)
1 4% (1)
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