An Oral-Formulaic Study of the Qur'an by Andrew G. Bannister

By Andrew G. Bannister

The Qur’an makes vast use of older non secular fabric, tales, and traditions that predate the origins of Islam, and there has lengthy been a fierce debate approximately how this fabric came upon its approach into the Qur’an. This specified booklet argues that this debate has principally been characterised through a failure to completely enjoy the Qur’an as a predominately oral product.

Using leading edge automated linguistic research, this learn demonstrates that the Qur’an screens some of the symptoms of oral composition which have been present in different conventional literature. while one then combines those automated effects with different clues to the Qur’an’s origins (such because the demonstrably oral tradition that either predated and preceded the Qur’an, in addition to the “folk reminiscence” within the Islamic culture that Muhammad was once an oral performer) those a number of strains of proof converge and aspect to the belief that enormous parts of the Qur’an must be understood as being developed reside, in oral performance.

Combining old, linguistic, and statistical research, a lot of it made attainable for the 1st time as a result of new automatic instruments constructed particularly for this publication, Bannister argues that the results of orality have lengthy been missed in reports of the Qur’an. by way of moving the Islamic scripture firmly again into an oral context, one earnings either a clean appreciation of the Qur’an by itself phrases, in addition to a clean knowing of ways Muhammad used early non secular traditions, retelling outdated stories afresh for a brand new audience.

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40. , 99. 41. , 108–128. 42. , 100–107. 43. , The Blackwell Companion to the Qur’an (Oxford: Blackwell, 2006) 323–337. 44. Muḥammad Muṣṭafā Al-A‘ẓamī, The History of the Qur’ānic Text: From Revelation to Compilation (Leicester: UK Islamic Academy, 2003). 45. , 318. indb 36 3/24/14 6:46 AM The Qur’an and Narrative Biblicist Traditions 37 46. , 13. , Approaches to Islam in Religious Studies (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1985) 189–202, citing 189–192. 47. Ahmad Von Denffer, ‘Ulūm al-Qur’ān, Rev.

But the journey begins with the first step, the archaeological dig with the first spadeful. Indeed, the archaeological analogy is a helpful one, for in archaeology, context is vital: if one uncovers a beautiful earthenware pot while digging in rural Oxfordshire, it is crucial to first consider it in context. Too often the Qur’an has been ripped from context, to be read through the lens of much later Islamic tradition, or shattered into pieces and atomically analyzed, or strapped to the Procrustean bed of whichever scholarly theory is currently in vogue.

67 Although both Crone and Cook have, in their more recent writings, drawn back from some of their more radical conclusions in Hagarism, both are still committed to the critical approach to the Qur’an. As Cook put it: [It is] a question of method. Should we simply accept the historicity of one element in our source material—say the standard account of ‘Uthmān’s establishment of the canonical text—and interpret or reject the other elements accordingly? 68 While, Crone, responding to criticisms of her later Meccan Trade, complained that: Western Islamicists frequently sound like Muslims, usually of the Sunni variety, not only in the sense that they accept Sunni information, but also in that they revere it in a manner incompatible with the question mark to which they have in principle committed themselves.

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