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The Qur’an between the Ottoman Empire and the Turkish Republic. An Exegetical Tradition par Susan Gunasti (December 2020)

The Qur'an between the Ottoman Empire and the Turkish Republic. An (…)

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Susan Gunasti is an associate professor of religion at Ohio Wesleyan University. She obtained her doctorate from Princeton University from the Department of Religion. Her research interests are Qur’an commentary, Islam in the Ottoman Empire, and Islamic political thought.


The Qur’an Between the Ottoman Empire and Turkish Republic is one of the few book-length studies on an Ottoman Qur’an commentary. Its premise is that "the Ottoman Empire" did not come to an end until 1950 so far as Islam was concerned in Turkey. 

The work explores the relationship between Elmalılı’s Qur’an commentary and the intellectual trends of the period, including the impact of materialism, the sciences, notions of civilizational progress, and philosophy. In doing so, this study emphasizes the "local" aspect of the Qur’an commentary, through a sustained focus on the Istanbul context in which it was written. This work demonstrates that Elmalılı’s Qur’an commentary is a product of and reaction to the religious, intellectual, political, and social trends of the period. This work, in considering all the factors that led to the commissioning of Elmalılı’s Qur’an commentary, also contributes to our understanding of the history of Islam in early to mid-twentieth century Turkey. 

This intellectual history of modern Islamic thought contributes to our understanding of the genre of Qur’an commentary in the early twentieth century. It is a key text for students and scholars interested in Islam in the Ottoman Empire and Turkey, modern Islamic thought and the Middle East.


1. A Religious Scholar’s Life in a Tumultuous Period
2. Qur’ān Commentary in the Nineteenth Century
3. Commissioning a Qur’ān Commentary Suitable for the Modern Period
4. The Philosophical Context of Elmalılı’s Religious Understanding
5. Hak Dîni and Its Contemporary Concerns Conclusion

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