News and Publications

14 May 2020: QuCIP researchers Klar and Sinai have just published two chapters in the Oxford Handbook of Quranic Studies, entitled “Qur’anic Exempla and Late Antique Narratives” (by Marianna Klar) and “Inner-Qur’anic Chronology” (by Nicolai Sinai).

11 February 2020: Nicolai Sinai has just published an article analyzing the Qur’anic food taboos, entitled The Qurʾān’s Dietary Tetralogue: A Diachronic Reconstruction” and available in Jerusalem Studies in Arabic and Islam 46 (2019).

7 December 2019: Behnam Sadeghi gave a paper entitled “An Apocryphal Hadith from the Mid-First Century AH (AD 650–693) Illuminates the Kūfan Qurrā’, Vindicating the Historical Sources” at the workshop The Transmission and Reception of the Qurʾān in Light of Recent Scholarship at Harvard University. A video recording of the presentation can be found here.

22–25 November 2019: QuCIP researchers Saqib Hussain, Nora K. Schmid, Nicolai Sinai, and Holger Zellentin presented aspects of their ongoing research on the Qur’an in papers read at the Annual Meeting of the International Qur’anic Studies Association (IQSA) in San Diego. Saqib Hussain spoke about “Q 56 as a Group-closing Surah.” In the Panel The Qur’an and the Biblical Tradition, Nora K. Schmid read a paper on “The Embodied Appropriation of God’s Word in the Qur’an and in Ascetic Circles” and Nicolai Sinai on “The Qur’an on Divine Embodiment.” Holger Zellentin’s paper focussed on “The Qur’anic Community, Their Prophet, and Their Personal Encounters with Jews and Christians.”

17 November 2019: QuCIP researcher Behnam Sadeghi served as a chair and discussant for the panel Women as Patrons and Producers of the Islamic Sciences at the Annual Meeting of the Middle East Studies Association (MESA).

4–6 November 2019: QuCIP member Nora K. Schmid has co-convened the conference “Prophetic Knowledge – Figurations of Prophecy and Transfer of Divine Knowledge in Premodern Traditions” together with Anne Eusterschulte, Nora Schmidt, and other members of the Collaborative Research Center 980 “Episteme in Motion: Transfer of Knowledge from the Ancient World to the Early Modern Period” at Freie Universität Berlin. The programme can be found here.

4 October 2019: Nicolai Sinai has just published an essay entitled Rain-Giver, Bone-Breaker, Score-Settler: Allāh in Pre-Quranic Poetry (New Haven: American Oriental Society), which presents some preliminary findings of his research as part of the QuCIP project. The essay attempts to reasses how poetry, and more briefly the epigraphic record, can help us reconstruct pre-Quranic Arabian notions of the deity whose name is allāh. After some reflections on the relationship between the word allāh and the expression al-ilāh, “the god” or “the deity,” the essay succinctly examines what we can learn about Allāh’s status and functions from our chronologically earliest sources, Ancient North Arabian inscriptions, which are conventionally, though uncertainly, estimated to take us up to ca. 400 ce. Allāh’s relative lack of prominence in the epigraphic record is thrown into particular relief when juxtaposed with the beliefs about Allāh that the Quran ascribes to its pagan opponents. The study then turns to evidence from pre-Quranic poetry, which in many respects aligns with the beliefs about Allāh that were held by the Quran’s pagan adversaries. Such mutual corroboration confirms that the poetic record does in fact provide us with nonanachronistic insights into pre-Quranic notions of Allāh. The concluding section considers the historical context that may help us explain Allāh’s significant surge in prominence between the Ancient North Arabian inscriptions, on the one hand, and poetry and the Quran, on the other.
1 October 2019: The initial proclamation of the Qur’anic texts is plausibly reported to have taken the form of oral recitation, and oral delivery has continued to be a crucial dimension of the way in which the Qur’anic corpus has functioned in the subsequent Islamic tradition. How are the various compositional devices structuring Qur’anic discourse geared to speak to aural recipients? How do these devices resemble and differ from those characterizing two other bodies of literature that were orally performed in the Qur’an’s milieu of origin, namely, ancient Arabic poetry and the Psalms? These questions were at the heart of QuCIP’s first workshop, entitled “Approaching the Qur’an as an Orally Structured Text” and convened by QuCIP researcher Marianna Klar. A report can be found here.

18 July 2019: Nicolai Sinai gave a lecture entitled “Regenspender, Knochenbrecher, Tatvergelter: Allāh in vorislamischer Zeit” at the University of Bamberg.

3 July 2019: Saqib Hussain presented a paper entitled “Q 38 as Re-written Bible” at the International Meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature (SBL) in Rome.

26 June 2019: Nora K. Schmid gave a paper on “Louis Cheikho and the Christianisation of Pre-Islamic and Islamic Ascetic Poetry” at the workshop The Early Modern Christian Cultural and Literary Heritage in the Eyes of Nahḍa Scholars, convened by Feras Krimsti at Balliol College, Oxford.

12–15 May 2019: Holger Zellentin spoke about “Gentile Purity in Judaism and Christianity” at the conference Negotiating Identities: Conflict, Conversion and Consolidation in Early Judaism and Christianity (200 BCE–400 CE), convened at Lund University.

10 May 2019: Holger Zellentin gave a guest lecture on the topic “Circumcision in Late Antiquity: the Ethnic and Ritual Context in Judaism, Christianity and Islam” at the University of Oslo.

5 April 2019: Holger Zellentin has just published the edited volume The Qur’an’s Reformation of Judaism and Christianity: Return to the Origins (Routledge). The volume explores the relationship between the Qur’an and the Jewish and Christian traditions, considering aspects of continuity and reform. Its twelve chapters include contributions by QuCIP researchers Zellentin (“Gentile Purity Law from the Bible to the Qur’an: The Case of Sexual Purity and Illicit Intercourse”) and Sinai (“Pharaoh’s Submission to God in the Qur’an and in Rabbinic Literature: A Case Study in Qur’anic Intertextuality”).

18 March 2019: Marianna Klar spoke about “Major Qur’an Translators and Their Strategies” at the workshop Making Sense of the Qur’an in Translation, hosted by Bruce Lawrence at the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies at the University of Exeter.