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Muslim Qurʾānic Interpretation Today

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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.

Published: Jan 25, 2019

Book Contributors


Section Chapter Authors
Acknowledgements Johanna Pink
Prologue: The Contested Qur'an Johanna Pink
Introduction Johanna Pink
Chapter 1
The New Centrality of the Qur'anic Message Johanna Pink
Chapter 2
Reconstituting the Exegetical Tradition Johanna Pink
Chapter 3
Media Johanna Pink
Chapter 4
Modernism and its Paradigms Johanna Pink
Chapter 5
In Defense of a Perfect Scripture: The Qur'an as a Holistic System Johanna Pink
Chapter 6
The Global Qur'an in a Diverse World Johanna Pink
Chapter 7
Clashes and Fault Lines Johanna Pink
The Qur'an, Textual Interpretation and Authority Johanna Pink
End Matter
Bibliography Johanna Pink
Index Johanna Pink
Index of Qurʾānic Citations Johanna Pink


This is an ambitious book that asks trenchant questions about Qur’anic interpretation in the contemporary world. Given the massive production of such texts around the globe in the past two decades, it is a very welcome and much needed contribution to the field of Qur’anic studies. It is to be praised for its breadth in that it explores a broad array of interpretations in various geographies, languages, and media, providing – better than any other book – a map of the very terrain of recent Qur’anic exegesis as well as an incisive examination of the debates, traditions, and power-structures that shape it. Without question, this book will be an invaluable resource for scholars, students, and curious minds for years to come.
Brett Wilson, Associate Professor of History, Central European University