by KRISTIAN PETERSEN for NEW BOOKS IN ISLAMIC STUDIES on SEPTEMBER 19, 2012:

The Qur’an is filled with stories. It chronicles the lives of prophets, the stories of believers and non-believers, and lays out the creation of the cosmos. However, the Qur’an’s narrative qualities are often overlooked. Recently, there has been an increasing turn to literary models for approaching scripture by academics.

Whitney S. Bodman, Professor of Comparative Religion at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, explores the narrative of Iblīs in his new book, The Poetics of Iblīs: Narrative Theology in the Qur’an (Harvard University Press, 2011). Iblīs was a character who refused to bow to Adam and obey God’s command and has been associated with Satan. FULL POST AND KRISTIAN PETERSEN AUDIO INTERVIEW WITH DR. BODMAN

Kristian Petersen is a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Religion at Gustavus Adolphus College. His research interests include Theory and Methodology in the Academic Study of Religion, Critical Islamic Thought, Muslims in the West, Literary and Institutional Sufism, Chinese Religions, Human Rights, Media Studies and Comparative Religions. He specializes on the development of Islam in China and Sino-Islamic intellectual history.

 

by JAMES ROBINSON for SIGHTINGS (UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO DIVINITY SCHOOL) on SEPTEMBER 13, 2012: 

In the past few months several news agencies have reported on a new publication of Judah Halevi’s Kuzari, a classic of Jewish thought written in Judaeo-Arabic (Arabic written in Hebrew characters). Completed in 1140, the Kuzari is an apologetic defense of “the despised faith” framed as a dialogue about the conversion of the Kazar kingdom to Judaism.

The king of the Kazars, tormented by a recurring dream which tells him his thoughts are pleasing but his actions are not, interviews in succession a philosopher, a Christian, a Muslim, and a Jew, the latter converting him—along with his entire kingdom—to Judaism. Much of the book is focused on the dialogue between the King and the Jew, including an argument for the superiority of the Hebrew language written in fine classical Arabic! The dialogue ends with the Jew’s departure from the Jewish kingdom for the Holy Land—reflecting Halevi’s own migration East from Islamic Spain.  Continue reading

edited by KECIA ALI, JULIANE HAMMER, and LAURY SILVERS in 2012:

Excerpt from the Introduction:

It all started with a workshop fittingly titled: “Constructing Muslim ‘Feminist Ethics: Gendered power Relations in the Qur’an and the Prophetic Example.” In October 2010, the three of us, Kecia Ali, Laury Silvers and Juliane Hammer, along with Fatima Seedat, invited a group of Muslim women scholars to George Mason University in Fairfax, VA, to discuss our shared and longstanding interests in questions of Qur’anic hermeneutics, gender roles, and the ethics of rethinking both. We invited Hina Azam, Aysha Hidayatullah, and Saadia Yacoob. Amina Wadud was our guest of honor. Our conversations were honest, wide-­ranging, and productive. And it was at the end of the workshop that the idea for this volume was born. Continue reading

By UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN LIBRARY, in AUGUST, 2012:

The (University of Michigan) Library has been awarded a CLIR-sponsored, Mellon-funded “Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives” grant to support our “Collaboration in Cataloging: Islamic Manuscripts at Michigan” project. Continue reading

by PEW FORUM ON RELIGION AND PUBLIC LIFE on AUGUST 9, 2012:

Excerpt from the Executive Summary — The world’s 1.6 billion Muslims are united in their belief in God and the Prophet Muhammad and are bound together by such religious practices as fasting during the holy month of Ramadan and almsgiving to assist people in need. But they have widely differing views about many other aspects of their faith, including how important religion is to their lives, who counts as a Muslim and what practices are acceptable in Islam, according to a worldwide survey by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life. Continue reading