Encyclopaedia of the Qur’an Volume Five: Si-Z by Jane Dammen McAuliffe, ed. (Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2006. 576 pages.)

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Noga Hartmann



The Encyclopaedia of the Qur’an (hereinafter EQ) is a multi-volume collection
of reference texts on the holy book of Islam that appeared in western
languages from 2001 until 2006. The Qur’an (lit. “the Recitation”), which
Muslims believe to be the word of God delivered to Muhammad by the
angel Gabriel, is systematically analyzed by the diverse contributing writers
according to its different layers.
The different Qur’anic strata embrace numerous themes, among them
theology, Islamic jurisprudence, Biblical narratives, primary figures in
Islamic history (e.g., the Prophet’s Companions and adversaries), historical
events, rituals and customs, polemics, and the Qur’an’s literary structure and
literary language, which combines poetry with rhymed prose. Each level is
carefully examined and explored by leading scholars of Islamic studies.
Therefore, this work is highly significant for those who wish to learn about
the Qur’an’s different aspects from a reliable objective source.
Jane Dammen McAuliffe, the general editor, has focused on two parallel
spheres: Muslim traditional scholarship and non-Muslim inquisitive
research. This approach enables the potential audience to gain Qur’anic
knowledge from the scholarship of pious Muslims, although the scientific
character of this academic work prevails. The articles vary widely in length
and discuss diverse themes. Both Muslim and non-Muslim approaches, as
well as traditional Islamic and modern investigative attitudes to the holy
text, are introduced. Extensive reference is made to the classical and contemporary
Islamic exegetical traditions. Written in English to make the EQ ...

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