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Encyclopaedia of the Qur'an: SI-Z Volume 5: SI-Z v. 5 Hardcover – 29 Dec 2005


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Review

"'McAuliffe's encyclopedia promises to become the central English-language reference work for qur'anic studies' P. S. Spaulding, Illinois College, Choice, 2002 'The first volume fulfills the project's aim to summarize recent decades of scholarship and will without doubt fulfill another aim, to inspire new work in the decades to come. Enthusiastically recommended for all readership levels.' P. S. Spaulding, Illinois College, Choice, 2002 'The Encyclopaedia of the Qur'an is an higly prestigious and competent volume from a superb publisher with contributions by the world's leading experts. If readers were to own one volume on this topic, this work would be the encylopedia to own. The first volume is carefully and masterfully crafted and provides the expectation of valuable work to come...the scholarly community looks forward to future volumes.' Linda L. Lam-Easton, American Reference Book Annual, Vol. 34. 'The Encyclopaedia of the Qur'an is a masterful, comprehensive book...' Discourse, 2001. 'The Encyclopaedia of the Qur'an will be a truly collaborative enterprise, carried out by Muslims and non-Muslims, and its articles will present multiple approaches to the interpretation of the Qur'an... A turn-of-the-millennium summative work for the state of qur'anic scholarship.' Atlantic Monthly, 1999"

About the Author

Jane Dammen McAuliffe, Ph.D. (Georgetown University, Washington) is Professor of History and Professor of Arabic.

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Amazon.com: HASH(0x9d961edc) out of 5 stars 1 review
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9a362930) out of 5 stars Various aspects of Qur'an: Serious, Responsible, yet Innovative, & Accessible 29 Oct. 2006
By Didaskalex - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Library Binding
"The need for a large-scale reference text that covers the various aspects of their scripture in a serious and responsible yet innovative and broadly accessible way is an obvious one, and is superbly well served by this fine encyclopaedia." Lawrence Conrad.

"The Qur'an is a text, a literary text, and the only way to understand, explain, and analyze it is through a literary approach. This is an essential theological issue." Nasr H. Abu Zayd

The Holy Qur'an:
The Qur'an, also spelled Koran is the "holy book of Islam, regarded by believers as the true word of God as revealed to the Prophet Muhammad. In its written form it is accepted as the earthly reproduction of an uncreated and eternal heavenly original, according to the general view referred to in the Qur'an itself as 'the well-preserved tablet' (al-lawh al-mahfuz*; Sura 85:22)." Encyclopædia Britannica
The Qur'an (literally, 'Recitation') is believed to be the word, or speech, of God delivered to Muhammad by the angel Gabriel. The Qur'anic text revealed to Muhammad is considered to be an earthly manifestation of the eternal and uncreated original in heaven, a parallel to the Ten Commandments of Judaism. Divided into 114 chapters (surahs) of diverse subjects and varying length, is the fundamental source of Islamic teaching. The early Meccan surahs, are concerned mostly with moral, and spiritual teachings and warnings about the last Day (of Judgment.) The later surahs revealed at Medina are concerned mainly with social legislation and the politico-moral principles for constituting and ordering the community.

A Qur'an For Muslims:
Today, Muslims constitute about a sixth of the world's population, only second to Christians, numbering about one billion inhabitant. The great majority of Muslims do neither read nor understand Arabic, the language of the Qur'an, depriving them of a first hand evaluation of the source of their own faith. Encyclopaedia of the Holy Qur'an stresses that "Reading, reciting and learning of the Qur'ân by heart are not the ways of real approach to it. By approach we mean that we should understand what the Qur'ân says to us, what message it conveys to us, and what demand it makes from us."

Islamic Thought:
Islamic teachings, law, and thinking in general are based upon four sources, or fundamental principles : a. the Qur'an, b. the Prophet's Islamic and social traditions (sunnah), c. Islamic consensus (ijma' ), and d. individual scholarship (ijtihad). For Muslims, the Qur'an is the uncreated word of God, that contains the ultimate truth, and whatever is revealed in it has been the object of meditation and explanation through the centuries. Thus, since the nineth century, commentators on the Qur'an have been by far the most important witnesses for Islamic 'mythology.' They relied heavily on Jewish tradition, and wove into their explanations various strands of ancient oriental lore and Persian fables. Jewish converts, brought much of their Jewish literature (Isra'iliyat) into Islamic tradition. Later on, the mystics' commentaries expressed some Apophatic (Mystic), dualistic Gnostic views, and Hellenistic concepts (idea of the Perfect Man, personified in Muhammad) was to gain greatest prominence. Commentaries written in the border areas of Islamic countries now and then accepted a few popular traditions from their respective areas; however, the formative period was finished quite early.

Modern Islamic Scholarship:
The plight of Nasr Abu Zayd, an unassuming Egyptian professor of Arabic who sits on the encyclopedia's advisory board, illustrates the difficulties facing Muslim scholars trying to reinterpret their tradition. For more than a century there have been public figures in the Islamic world who have attempted the revisionist study of the Qur'an and Islamic history, the recently exiled Egyptian professor Nasr Abu Zayd is not unique. Perhaps Abu Zayd's most famous predecessor was the prominent Egyptian government minister, university professor, and writer Taha Hussein. A determined modernist, Hussein in the early 1920's devoted himself to the study of pre-Islamic Arabian poetry and ended up concluding that much of that body of work had been fabricated well after the establishment of Islam in order to lend outside support to Qur'anic mythology. A more recent example is the Iranian journalist and diplomat Ali Dashti, who in his Twenty-Three Years: A Study of the Prophetic Career of Mohammed, 1985, repeatedly took his fellow Muslims to task for not questioning the traditional accounts of Muhammad's life, much of which he called "myth-making and miracle-mongering."

Encyclopedia of the Qur'an:
Brill's Encyclopaedia of the Qur'an is the first comprehensive reference work on the Qur'an to appear in any Western language. It assembles an encyclopaedic dictionary of Qur'anic terms, concepts, personalities, place names, cultural history and exegesis with essays on the most important themes and subjects within Qur'anic studies, integrating alphabetically-arranged entries of articles about the contents of the Qur'an. With some thousand entries in five volumes. This Encyclopedia is a genuine collaborative enterprise, carried out by Muslims and non-Muslims alike; its articles present multiple approaches to the interpretation of the Qu'ran, some of which are likely to challenge traditional Islamic views. The time may be less ripe for a revisionist study of the Qur'an, but decidedly necessary in clearing moderate Islamic Fiqhe from allusion of violence. The articles, that widely range in length, discuss the themes found in the Qur'an. Both Muslim and non-Muslim approaches to the holy text are featured, and extensive reference is made to the classical, and contemporary Islamic exegetical tradition. The choice of English text, helps to make the Encyclopaedia accessible to non Arabic-reading specialists.

Contributing Writers:
Edited by Jane McAuliffe, of Georgetown University, the Encyclopaedia relies mostly on U.S. authors, together with other Westerners and Middle Eastern contributors. Over 200 scholars from around the world have contributed the approximately 1,000 articles in these five volumes. Their willingness to contribute their range of expertise has made the work both a summative enterprise and one which highlights potential future directions of Qur'anic studies. The contributing writers, Muslims and non-Muslims alike, including the progressive Egyptian Scholar Nasr Hamid Abu Zayd. Professor Abu Zayd studies modern Islamic thought by critically analyzing classical and contemporary Islamic discourse in the field of theology, philosophy, law, politics and humanism. The aim of his research is to suggest a theory of hermeneutics that might enable Muslims to build a bridge between their tradition and the modern world.

General Editor:
Georgetown University professor Jane McAuliffe, recently published the fifth, concluding volume of the Encyclopaedia of the Qur'an (Brill, 2001-2006). McAuliffe served as the general editor of the collection, multi-volume reference work on the Muslim scripture to appear in a Western language. The editor takes up a methodology of what she calls "two parallel conversations" about the Qur'an, between Muslim and non-Muslim scholarship on the holy book, which existed in separate sources, one pious, the other inquisitive; she also acknowledges that some authors found her concept of the project tainted and chose to stay away from it. Muslim critic S. Parvez Manzoor, in a cautionary preview, stated, that "The Orientalist enterprise of Qur'anic studies, whatever its other merits and services, was a project born of spite, bred in frustration and nourished by vengeance: ... the vengeance of the 'orthodox' against the 'nonconformist.' "
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