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"Scripture, Poetry, and the Making of a Community. Reading the Qur’an as a Literary Text’’ par Angelika Neuwirth (decembre 2014)

"Scripture, Poetry, and the Making of a Community. Reading the (…)

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Angelika Neuwirth est docteure en islamologie depuis 1972. Elle fit ses études d’arabe et de philologie sémitique dans les universités de Berlin, Téhéran, Paris, Jérusalem, Munich. Elle acquière son Habilitation en 1977. Elle fut Professeure invitée à l’Université de Jordanie (1977-83) ; Professeure à l’Université de Bamberg (1984-91), Professeure invitée à l’Université d’Ayn Shams du Caire (1988, 1989) ; professeure à l’Université libre de Berlin depuis 1991 et directrice de l’Institut oriental allemand entre 1994-1999. Elle coordonne aujourd’hui le projet ’’Corpus Coranicum’’.


We are used to understanding the Qur’an as the ’Islamic text’ par excellence, an assumption which, when viewed historically, is not evident at all. More than twenty years before it rose to the rank of Islamic Scripture, the Qur’an was an oral proclamation addressed by the Prophet Muhammad to pre-Islamic listeners, for the Muslim community had not yet been formed. We might best describe these listeners as individuals educated in late antique culture, be they Arab pagans familiar with the monotheistic religions of Judaism and Christianity or syncretists of these religions, or learned Jews and Christians whose presence is reflected in the Medinan suras. The interactive communication process between Muhammad and these groups brought about an epistemic turn in Arab Late Antiquity: with the Qur’anic discovery of writing as the ultimate authority, the nascent community attained a new ’textual coherence’ where Scripture, with its valorisation of history and memory, was recognised as a guiding concept. It is within this new biblically imprinted world view that central principles and values of the pagan Arab milieu were debated. This process resulted in a twin achievement: the genesis of a new scripture and the emergence of a community. Two great traditions, then, the Biblical, transmitted by both Jews and Christians, and the local Arabic, represented in Ancient Arabic poetry, appear to have established the field of tension from which the Qur’an evolved; it is both Scripture and Poetry which have produced and shaped the new Muslim community.

Table des matieres


I: Frameworks

1: Not Eastern and not Western (lāsharqīyyatan wa-lāgharbīyyatan, Q. 24:35): Locating the Qur’an within the History of Scholarship

2: The Discovery of Writing in the Qur’an: Tracing an Epistemic Revolution in Late Antiquity

3: A Religious Transformation in Late Antiquity. From Tribal Genealogy to Divine Covenant: Qur’anic Refigurations of Pagan-Arab Ideals Based on Biblical Models

4: Glimpses of Paradise in the World and Lost Aspects of the World in the Hereafter: Two Qur’anic Re-readings of Biblical Psalms

II: The Liturgical Qur’an and the Emergence of the Community

5: Images and Metaphors in the Introductory Sections of the Early Meccan Suras

6: From Recitation through Liturgy to Canon: Notes on the Emergence of the Sura Composition and its Dissolution in the Course of the Development of Islamic Ritual

7: Referentiality and Textuality in Sūrat al-Hijr (Q. 15): Some Observations on the Qur anic Canonical Process and the Emergence of a Community

8: Sūrat al-Fātiha: Opening of the Textual Corpus of the Qur’an or Introit of the Prayer Service?

9: From the Sacred Mosque to the Remote Temple: Sūrat al-Isrāʾ, between Text and Commentary

10: The Discovery of Evil in the Qur’an?: Revisiting Qur’anic Versions of the Decalogue in the Context of Pagan-Arab Late Antiquity

III: Narrative Figures between the Bible and the Qur an

11: Crisis and Memory: The Qur’an’s Path towards Canonisation as Reflected in its Anthropogonic Accounts

12: Narrative as a Canonical Process: The Story of Moses Seen through the Evolving History of the Qur’an

13: Imagining Mary, Disputing Jesus: Reading Sūrat Maryam and Related Meccan Texts within the Qur’anic Communication Process

14: Mary and Jesus: Counterbalancing the Biblical Patriarchs: A Re-reading of Sūrat Maryam in Sūrat Āl ʿImrān (Q. 3:1 62)

15: Oral Scriptures in Contact: The Qur’anic Story of the Golden Calf and its Biblical Subtext between Narrative, Cult, and Inter-communal Debate

16: Myths and Legends in the Qur’an: An Itinerary through its Narrative Landscape