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Book: Philosophical Perspectives on Modern Qur'anic Exegesis

Chapter: 9: The Translation of the Qur’ān as Hermeneutical Exercise

DOI: 10.1558/equinox.32126


Translating is a highly hermeneutical activity. Translating is always interpreting. The problem is: When we are translating the Qur’an, are we “betraying” its meanings? Discussing the topic of the Qur’an’s translation is then a very difficult task. On the one hand, the Qur’an is not a normal literary text; and, on the other, Muslims do not accept the translation into another human language of the direct speech of God who spoke in Arabic. This chapter focuses on Nasr Abu Zayd’s, Fazlur Rahman’s and other commentators’ approach to understand how it is possible to convey to all human beings, who speak many languages, the meaning of a message originally expressed in Arabic. The problem of the Qur’an’s inimitability (i‘jaz) is crucial.

Chapter Contributors

  • Massimo Campanini ( - mcampinini) 'University of Trento'