The Qur'an and its Biblical Subtext

By Gabriel Said Reynolds

© 2010 – Routledge

308 pages

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Paperback: 9780415524247
pub: 2012-03-01
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Hardback: 9780415778930
pub: 2010-05-27
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About the Book

This book challenges the dominant scholarly notion that the Qur’an must be interpreted through the medieval commentaries shaped by the biography of the prophet Muhammad, arguing instead that the text is best read in light of Christian and Jewish scripture. The Qur’an, in its use of allusions, depends on the Biblical knowledge of its audience. However, medieval Muslim commentators, working in a context of religious rivalry, developed stories that separate Qur’an and Bible, which this book brings back together.

In a series of studies involving the devil, Adam, Abraham, Jonah, Mary, and Muhammad among others, Reynolds shows how modern translators of the Qur’an have followed medieval Muslim commentary and demonstrates how an appreciation of the Qur’an’s Biblical subtext uncovers the richness of the Qur’an’s discourse. Presenting unique interpretations of 13 different sections of the Qur’an based on studies of earlier Jewish and Christian literature, the author substantially re-evaluates Muslim exegetical literature. Thus The Qur’an and Its Biblical Subtext, a work based on a profound regard for the Qur’an’s literary structure and rhetorical strategy, poses a substantial challenge to the standard scholarship of Qur’anic Studies. With an approach that bridges early Christian history and Islamic origins, the book will appeal not only to students of the Qur’an but of the Bible, religious studies and Islamic history.


"This is a serious and well-argued book, it presents a powerful thesis which if it is true will have important implications for how we study the Qur'an. It is consistent throughout and the author's use of sources is invariably judicious and intelligent." - Oliver Leanman, Department of Philosophy, University of Kentucky, USA; Journal of Shi'a Islamic Studies Spring 2011: Vol. IV No.2

"Another timely scholarly contribution as a part of the Routledge Studies in the Qur’an series… This book would be a great resource for scholars of Western religious traditions, graduate and or upper level undergraduate students." - Majid Daneshgar; Al Bayan, VOLUME 11, NUMBER 1, JUNE 2013

Table of Contents

Introduction: Listening to the Text 1. The Crisis of Qur’anic Studies. Excursus: Regarding the Dates of Jewish and Christian Texts 2. Qur’anic Case Studies 3. Qur’an and Tafsir 4. Reading the Qur’an as Homily

About the Author

Gabriel Said Reynolds is Associate Professor of Islamic Studies and Theology at the University of Notre Dame (USA). He works on Qur’anic Studies and Muslim-Christian Relations and is the author of A Muslim Theologian in the Sectarian Milieu, the translator of ‘Abd al-Jabbar’s A Critique of Christian Origins, and the editor of The Qur’an in Its Historical Context.

About the Series

Routledge Studies in the Qur'an

In its examination of critical issues in the scholarly study of the Qur'an and its commentaries, this series targets the disciplines of archaeology, history, textual history, anthropology, theology and literary criticism. The contemporary relevance of the Qur'an in the Muslim world, its role in politics and in legal debates are also dealt with, as are debates surrounding Quranic studies in the Muslim world.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
RELIGION / Islam / General
RELIGION / Islam / Koran & Sacred Writings
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Regional Studies