Qur’anic Studies, a Political Philology?


Cover of Koranforschung – eine politische philologie? (Walter de Gruyter, 2014)

In the latest installment of the Review of Qur’anic Research 2 no. 5, Mareike Koertner reviews Angelika Neuwirth’s Koranforschung – eine politische Philologie? (Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 2014). In this book Neuwirth presents a concise work of her larger theories of contextualizing the qur’anic text within the intellectual framework of Late Antiquity. She suggests that the study of the reception of biblical materials in the Qurʾan must be analyzed by considering the cultural and religious context in which the Qurʾan emerged and evolved. The qur’anic text heavily interacted with its audiences and is a result of a process of cultural re-negotiation that included elements from the environment in Mecca, the living heirs of the biblical traditions who resided in Medina, and, Muhammad and his community. In answering her question of if the qur’anic studies is a political philology, Neuwirth explains the various meanings of “political.”

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