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Approaches to the Qur’an in Contemporary Iran by Alessandro Cancian -Ed.-(June 2019)

Approaches to the Qur'an in Contemporary Iran by Alessandro Cancian (…)

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Editor & contributors

Alessandro Cancian is a Research Associate in the Department of Academic Research and Publications at the Institute of Ismaili Studies.

Alice Bombardier, Nicholas Boylston, Rainer Brunner, Alessandro Cancian, Giovanni De Zorzi, Ingvild Flaskerud, Niloofar Haeri, Seyfeddin Kara, Leonard Lewisohn, Banafsheh Madaninejad, Yaser Mirdamadi,
Nacim Pak-Shiraz, Sajjad Rizvi, Reza Tabandeh, Liyakat Takim, Anna Vanzan, Neguin Yavari


Approaches to the Qur’an in Contemporary Iran explores the importance of the Qur’an in the religious, artistic, political, and intellectual discourses in modern and contemporary Iran from the nineteenth century to the present. The chapters included in the volume have been written by some of the most authoritative specialists in the modern history of Iran. Their contributions span a wide range of subjects and themes, covering such varied ground as the examination of the trends in Qur’anic exegesis that are currently prominent in Iran, the use of Qur’anic themes in contemporary Iranian cinema, the concept of revelation as the basis of diverse political trends in the Islamic Republic of Iran, Sufi mystical interpretations of the Qur’an the use of the Qur’an in the arts, the Qur’an as a living scripture in specific intellectual and social circles, and case studies of individual intellectuals.

Through this wide-ranging survey, the book aims to become a reference for anyone interested in the Qur’an’s imprint on the religious, political, cultural, and anthropological history of modern and contemporary Iranian society. The maps serve to situate the reader geographically and a careful selection of photographs bring a flavour of Iranian religious culture during this period.


Notes on Contributors
Note on Transliteration, Conventions and Abbreviations

Section I: Power, Authority and Exegesis

1: The Rational-analytical tafsīr in modern Iran: The influence of the Uṣūlī School of Jurisprudence on the Interpretation of the Qur’an, Seyfeddin Kara
2: Striving Beyond the Balance (al-mīzān): Spiritual Practice and the Qur’an in the Ṭabāṭabā’ī ṭarīqa, Sajjad Rizvi
3: Privileging the Qur’an: Divorce and the Hermeneutics of Ayatollah Ṣāniī, Liyakat Takim
4: Qur’anic Sanction and the Semiotics of Sovereignty in Contemporary Iran, Neguin Yavari
5: The Limits of a ’Fixed’ Qur’an: The Iranian Religious Intellectual Movement Pushes Beyond the Historical Contextualization Method, Banafsheh Madaninejad
6: Divine Inspiration and Mystical Experience: Abdolkarim Soroush’s Theory of Qur’anic Revelation: A Historical-Philosophical Appraisal, Yaser Mirdamadi

Section II: Alternative Approaches: Between Marginality and Legitimacy

7: A Sufi Defence of the Qur’an: Ḥusayn ’Alī Shāh’s Rebuttal of Henry Martyn and Sufism in Early Nineteenth-Century Iran, Reza Tabandeh
8: Abrogation and Falsification of Scripture according to Shi’i Authors between Iraq and Iran (19th-20th Centuries), Rainer Brunner
9: Speaking the Secrets of Sanctity in the Tafsīr of Ṣafī ’Alī Shāh, Nicholas Boylston
10: Shi’i Sufism and Qur’anic Exegesis Early Modern Iran: Sulṭān ’Alī Shāh Gunābādī and his Bayān al-sa’āda, Alessandro Cancian
11: In the Company of the Qur’an by Muḥyī al-Dīn Ilāhī Ghomshei, Leonard Lewisohn

Section III: The Arts, Material Culture and Everyday Life

12: Rediscovering a Contemporary Illustrated Qur’an: Charles-Hossein Zenderoudi’s Illustrations of Jean Grosjean’s Translation (1972), Alice Bombardier
13: Women, Qur’an and the Power of Calligraphy in Contemporary Iran, Anna Vanzan
14: The Divine Word on the Screen: Imaging the Qur’an in Iranian Cinema, Nacim Pak-Shiraz
15: qunūt Verses from Inside and Outside of the Qur’an: Sources of Variability in the Performance of Namāz, Niloofar Haeri
16: The Qur’an as an Efficacious Text: Contemporary Iranian Twelver Shi’i Women and the Oral Qur’an as Living Text, Ingvild Flaskerud
17: The Qur’an as an Aesthetical Model in Music? The Case of 20th-Century Iran,

Giovanni De Zorzi
General Index

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