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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures : Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies

Undergraduate Course: The Qur'an - Islam's Holy Book (IMES10086)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Literatures, Languages and Cultures CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 4 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThe Qur'an is the central text of Islam. Perceived as being as God's unchangeable and final word, it has had a huge influence on the development of Islamic thought, amongst others in theology, law, and Sufism. This course provides an analytical overview of the origins of the Qur'an, its structure and content, and approaches to its interpretation. Through the lecture of key passages of the Qur'an and selected commentaries, the course illustrates the significance of the text for Islamic thought and the diversity of the interpretations it has generated. The course is jointly taught with PG students.
Course description The course will offer short introductory presentations to the individual topics and will then focus on the discussion of selected readings from primary and secondary sources. The core element of the course is an individual research project that will lead to the final essay. This essay is supposed to discuss in detail one aspect of Qur'anic research. It should make an argument rather than just providing a survey of a topic. The literature review forms the basis for this research project and is intended to provide a critical assessment of the relevant literature for the final essay. The students will present a preliminary version of their research projects in a class presentation which is intended to outline the main argument of the research project and put it in its scholarly context. The feedback they receive on their presentations and on the literature review should in turn inform their final essay.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students should have at least 3 courses in a suitable subject area at grade B or above (or be predicted to obtain this). Only University/College level courses will be taken into consideration. This will be checked by the Visiting student office.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  15
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 196 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Class presentation and participation: 10%
1,500-word literature review: 25%
2,500-word essay: 65%
Feedback The students will present outlines of their projects and discuss them in the seminar in the second half of the semester. They will also hand in literature reviews discussing and assessing the relevant literature for their projects. The feedback they receive will help them to improve and finalise their major essays. They will also receive detailed written feedback on their major essays.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. use the scholarly terminology and know the most important concepts related to the Qur'an, Qur'anic studies and exegesis of the Qur'an;
  2. find and critically assess scholarly literature on the Qur'an and its exegesis;
  3. pursue a research question related to the Qur'an and its exegesis and present their argument in a structured piece of writing;
  4. demonstrate the significance of the Qur'an for key areas of Islamic thought;
  5. understand the chronology of the Qur'anic text and explain the emergence and significance of different interpretations of the Qur'anic text.
Reading List
Translations of the Qur'an:
* Arthur J. Arberry, The Koran Interpreted, London: Allen & Unwin, 1955.
* Abdullah Yusuf Ali, The Holy Qur'an: Translation and Commentary, Jidda: Dar al-Qiblah for Islamic Literature, 1992.
* M. A. S. Abdel Haleem, The Qur'an: An English Translation with Parallel Arabic Text, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004.
* Alan Jones, The Qur'an, Cambridge: Gibb Memorial Trust, 2007.

* Campanini, Massimo, The Qur'an: The Basics, transl. Oliver Leaman, London and New York: Routledge, 2008.
* Cook, Michael, The Koran: a very short introduction, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000.
* Gade, Anna M., The Qur'an: An Introduction, Oxford: Oneworld 2010.
* Mattson, Ingrid, The Story of the Qur'an: Its History and Place in Muslim Life, Malden: Blackwell, 2008.
* Robinson, Neal, Discovering the Qur'an: A Contemporary Approach to a Veiled Text, London: SCM Press, 1996.
* Saeed, Abdullah, The Qur'an: An Introduction, London and New York: Routledge, 2008.
* Watt, William Montgomery and Richard Bell, Introduction to the Qur'an, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press 1970.

Select Bibliography:
* 'Abd Allah, Ahmad Ali Muhammad, Variant readings of the Qur'an: a critical study of their historical and linguistic origins, Herndon: International Institute of Islamic Thought, 1995.
* Ayoub, Mahmoud, The Qur'an and its Interpreters, 2 vols. Albany, State University of New York Press, 1984-92.
* A'zami, Muhammad Mustafa, The history of the Qur'anic text: from revelation to compilation: a comparative study with the Old and New Testaments, Leicester: UK Islamic Academy, 2003.
* Baljon, Johannes M. S., Modern Muslim Koran Interpretation (1880-1960), Leiden: Brill, 1968.
* Bar-Asher, Meir M., Scripture and Exegesis in Early Imami Shiism, Leiden: Brill, 1999.
* Bauer, Karen (ed.), Aims, Methods and Contexts of Qur'anic Exegesis (2nd/8th-9th/15th c.), Oxford: Oxford University Press in association with the Institute of Ismaili Studies, 2013.
* Beeston, A. F. L., Baidawi's Commentary on Surah 12 of the Qur'an: Text, Accompanied by an Interpretative Rendering and Notes, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1963.
* Bellamy, James A., 'The Mysterious Letters of the Koran: Old Abbreviations of the Basmalah', Journal of the American Oriental Society 93 (1973), 267-285.
* Bewley, Aisha (tr.), Tafsir al-Qurtubi: Classical Commentary of the Holy Qur'an, London: Dar al-Taqwa, 2003.
* ___ (tr.), Tafsir al-Jalalayn, London: Dar al-Taqwa, 2007.
* Burton, John, The collection of the Qur'an, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1977.
* Caetani, Leone,'Uthman and the recension of the Koran', Muslim World 5 (1915), 380-90.
* Calder, Norman. 'Tafsir from Tabari to Ibn Kathir: Problems in the Description of a Genre, Illustrated with Reference to the Story of Abraham', in: Gerald R. Hawting and Abdul-Kader A. Shareef (eds), Approaches to the Qur'an, London: Routledge, 1993, pp. 101-40.
* ___, Jawid Mojaddedi and Andrew Rippin (eds), Classical Islam: A Sourcebook of Religious Literature, 2nd ed., London: Routledge, 2013.
* Cooper, J. The Commentary of the Qur'an by Abu Ja'far Muhammad b. Jarir al-Tabari: Being an Abridged Translation of Jami' al-bayan 'an ta'wil ay al-Qur'an, with an Introduction and Notes by J. Cooper, W. F. Madelung and A. Jones, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1987.
* Cuypers, Michel, The Banquet: A Reading of the Fifth Sura of the Qur'an, Miami: Convivium Press 2009.
* Farrin, Raymond K., 'Surat al-Baqara: A Structural Analysis', in The Muslim World 100 (2010), 17-32.
* Fudge, Bruce, 'Qur'anic Exegesis in Medieval Islam and Modern Orientalism', Die Welt des Islams 46 (2006), 115-47.
* Gätje, Helmut, The Qur'an and its Exegesis: Selected Texts with Classical and Modern Muslim Interpretations, translated from the German by Alford T. Welch, London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1976.
* Geiger, Abraham: 'What did Muhammad borrow from Judaism', in Ibn Warraq (ed.), On the Origins of the Koran, Amherst: Prometheus Books, 1998, 165-226.
* Gleave, Robert: 'Early Shi'i Hermeneutics. Some Exegetical Techniques Attributed to the Shi'i Imams', in: Karen Bauer (ed.), Aims, Methods and Contexts of Qur'anic Exegesis (2nd/8th-9th/15th c.), Oxford 2013, 141-72.
* Goldziher, Ignaz, Schools of Koranic Commentators, ed. and tr. Wolfgang H. Behn, Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2006.
* Görke, Andreas and Johanna Pink (eds), Tafsir and Islamic Intellectual History. Exploring the Boundaries of a Genre, Oxford: Oxford University Press 2014.
* Griffith, Sidney: 'Christian Lore and the Arabic Qur'an. The Companions of the Cave in Surat al-Kahf and in Syriac Christian Tradition', in: Gabriel Said Reynolds (ed.): The Qur'an in its Historical Context, Abingdon und New York 2008, 109-37.
* ___, The Bible in Arabic: The Scriptures of the 'People of the Book' in the Language of Islam, Princeton: Princeton University Press 2013.
* Hamza, Feras (tr.), Tafsir al-Jalalayn, Louisville, KY: Fons Vitae, 2008.
* ___ and Sajjad Rizvi, with Farhana Mayer, eds., An Anthology of Qur'anic Commentaries, Volume I: On the Nature of the Divine, Oxford: Oxford University Press in association with the Institute of Ismaili Studies, 2008.
* Hawting, G.R. and A. Sharif, Approaches to the Qur'an, London: Routlege, 1993.
* Ibn Warraq (ed.), The Origins of the Koran: Classic Essays on Islam's Holy Book, Amherst: Prometheus, 1998.
* ___, What the Koran Really Says: Language, Text and Commentary, Amherst: Prometheus, 2002.
* ___ (ed.), Which Koran? Variants, Manuscripts, and the Influence of Pre-Islamic Poetry, Amherst: Prometheus, 2007.
* Izutsu, Toshihiko, God and Man in the Qur'an: Semantics of the Qur'anic Weltanschauung, Tokyo: Keio Institute of Cultural and Linguistic Studies, 1964.
* Jansen, J. J. G., The Interpretation of the Koran in Modern Egypt, Leiden: Brill, 1974.
* Jeffery, Arthur, Materials for the History of the Text of the Qur'an, Leiden: Brill, 1937; repr. New York: AMS Press, 1975.
* Kinberg, Leah, 'Muhkamat and Mutashabihat (Koran 3/7): Implication of a Koranic Pair of Terms in Medieval Exegesis', Arabica 35 (1988), 143-71.
* Körner, Felix, Revisionist Koran Hermeneutics in Contemporary Turkish University Theology: Rethinking Islam, Würzburg: Ergon, 2005.
* Lüling, Günter, A challenge to Islam for reformation: the rediscovery and reliable reconstruction of a comprehensive pre-Islamic Christian hymnal hidden in the Koran under earliest Islamic reinterpretations, New Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass Publishers, 2003.
* Luxenberg, Christoph, The Syro-Aramaic reading of the Koran: a contribution to the decoding of the language of the Koran, Berlin: H. Schiler, 2007.
* Madigan, Daniel, The Qur'an's Self-Image: Writing and Authority in Islam's Scripture, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2001.
* Mahmoud, Mohamed, 'To Beat or Not to Beat: On the Exegetical Dilemmas Over Qur'an 4:34', Journal of the American Oriental Society 126 (2006), 537-50.
* Massey, Keith, 'A New Investigation into the "Mystery Letters" of the Qur'an', Arabica 43 (1996), 497-501.
* McAuliffe, Jane Dammen, Qur'anic Christians: An Analysis of Classical and Modern Exegesis, New York: Cambridge University Press, 1991.
* Mingana, Alphonse, 'The Transmission of the Kur'an', Journal of the Manchester Egyptian and Oriental Society 5 (1915-16), 25-47.
* Motzki, Harald, 'The collection of the Qur'an. A reconsideration of Western Views in Light of Recent Methodological Developments', Der Islam 78 (2001), 1-34.
* Neuwirth, Angelika, Nicolai Sinai and Michael Marx, The Qur'an in context: historical and literary investigations into the Qur'anic milieu, Leiden, Boston: Brill, 2010.
* Nöldeke, Theodor and Friedrich Schwally, Geschichte des Qorans, vol. II: Die Sammlung des Qorans. Leipzig, Dieterich'sche Verlagsbuchhandlung, 1919.
* Pink, Johanna, 'Tradition and Ideology in Contemporary Sunnite Qur'anic Exegesis. Qur'anic Commentaries from the Arab World, Turkey and Indonesia and their Interpretation of Q 5:51', Die Welt des Islams 50 (2010), 3-59.
* ___, 'Tradition, Authority and Innovation in Contemporary Sunni tafsir: Towards a Typology of Qur'an Commentaries from the Arab World, Indonesia and Turkey', Journal of Qur'anic Studies 12 (2010), 56-82.
* Rahman, Fazlur, Major Themes of the Qur'an, Minneapolis: Bibliotheca Islamica, 1980.
* Reynolds, Gabriel Said, The Qur'an in its historical context, London: Routledge 2008.
* Rippin, Andrew, 'The Present Status of Tafsir Studies', Muslim World 72 (1982), 224-38.
* ___ (ed.), The Blackwell Companion to the Qur'an, Malden: Blackwell, 2006.
* ___ (ed.), The Qur'an and its Interpretative Tradition, Aldershot: Ashgate Variorum, 2001.
* ___ (ed.), Approaches to the History of the Interpretation of the Qur'an, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1988.
* ___, 'The Function of asbab al-nuzul in Qur'anic Exegesis', Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies 51 (1988), 1-20.
* Sadeghi, Behnam, 'The Chronology of the Qur'an. A Stylometric Research Program', Arabica 58 (2011), 210-99.
* ___ and Uwe Bergmann, 'The Codex of a Companion of the Prophet and the Qur'an of the Prophet', Arabica 57 (2010), 343-436.
* ___ and Mohsen Goudarzi, 'San'a' 1 and the Origins of the Qur'an', Der Islam 87 (2012), 1-129.
* Saeed, Abdullah, Interpreting the Qur'an: Towards a Contemporary Approach, London: Routledge, 2006.
* Saleh, Walid A., The Formation of the Classical Tafsir Tradition. The Qur'an Commentary of al-Tha'labi (d. 427/1035), Leiden: Brill, 2004.
* ___, 'The Last of the Nishapuri School of Tafsir: Al-Wahidi (d. 468/1076) and his Significance in the History of Qur'anic Exegesis', Journal of the American Oriental Society 126 (2006), 223-43.
* Silverstein, Adam, 'The Qur'anic Pharaoh', in: Gabriel Said Reynolds (ed.), New Perspectives on the Qur'an. The Qur'an in Its Historical Context 2, London: Routledge 2011, 467-477.
* Smith, David E., 'The Structure of al-Baqarah', The Muslim World 91 (2001), 121-136.
* Wansbrough, John, Quranic Studies: Sources and Methods of Scriptural Interpretation, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1977.
* Wheeler, Brannon M., Prophets in the Quran. An Introduction to the Quran and Muslim Exegesis, London, New York: Continuum, 2002.
* Witztum, Joseph, 'Joseph Among the Ishmaelites. Q 12 in Light of Syriac Sources', in: Gabriel Said Reynolds (ed.), New Perspectives on the Qur'an. The Qur'an in Its Historical Context 2, London: Routledge 2011, 425-48.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Simon Loynes
Course secretaryMiss Kara McCormack
Tel: (0131 6)50 3030
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