Johanna Pink received her MA degree from the University of Bonn in 1998 and her PhD from the same university with a dissertation on new religious communities in Egypt in 2002. She held positions as a postdoctoral fellow, researcher and lecturer at the University of Tübingen and the Free University Berlin from 2002 to 2009. Between 2009 and 2011 she acted as a visiting professor at these two universities and was then granted a Heisenberg fellowship by the German Research Foundation (DFG). She has been Professor for Islamic Studies and the History of Islam at the University of Freiburg since 2012. Her research interests include early modern and modern Qur‘anic exegesis, Qur‘an translations with a special focus on Indonesia, the status of non-Muslims in Muslim majority societies and religious discourses, and the recent history of Egypt.
Muslim Qurʾānic interpretation today is beset by tensions: tensions between localising and globalising forces; tensions between hierarchical and egalitarian social ideals; tensions between the quest for new approaches and the claim for authority raised by defenders of exegetical traditions. It is this complex web of power structures, local as well as global, that this book seeks to elucidate.
This book provides a fresh perspective on present-day Qurʾānic interpretations by analysing the historical, social and political dimensions in which they take place, the ways in which they are performed and the media through which they are transmitted. Besides discussing the persistence of exegetical traditions and the emergence of new paradigms, it examines the structural conditions in which these processes occur. Languages, nation states, global human rights discourses and intra-Islamic divisions all shape the nature of interpretive endeavours and frequently fuel conflicts over the correct understanding of the Qurʾān.
The book contains more than twenty detailed case studies of recent Qurʾānic interpretations, based on translated texts that cover a variety of languages, regions, media, genres, approaches, authors and target groups. They are integrated into the chapters, bring their arguments to life and stimulate fundamental reflections on the authority of the text and the authority of its interpreters.
Prologue: The Contested Qur’an
Chapter 1 The New Centrality of the Qur’anic Message
Chapter 2 Reconstituting the Exegetical Tradition
Chapter 3 Media
Chapter 4 Modernism and its Paradigms
Chapter 5 In Defense of a Perfect Scripture: The Qur’an as a Holistic System
Chapter 6 The Global Qur’an in a Diverse World
Chapter 7 Clashes and Fault Lines
Epilogue The Qur’an, Textual Interpretation and Authority