Bible and Quran: Essays in Scriptural Intertextuality

Bible and Quran: Essays in Scriptural Intertextuality

Bible and Quran: Essays in Scriptural Intertextuality

Bible and Quran: Essays in Scriptural Intertextuality


The Bible and the Qur n share a common layer of discourse based on stories and legends associated with certain paradigmatic characters like Noah, Abraham, and Moses. Yet most biblical scholars are unfamiliar with the rich contents of Islamicate scriptural lore. The nine essays in the present volume, all from scholars who center their research on the intersections of Jewish, Christian, and Islamic literary traditions, explore various aspects of the textual and behavioral connections discernible among these three major Near Eastern religious communities. The book will appeal to students and scholars of Bible and biblical lore, particularly in diverse exegetical contexts; Biblicists interested in the reception history of Bible within the Islamicate cultural sphere; specialists in ancient and medieval Jewish literary history and folklore; scholars of eastern Christian history and literature; Islamicists with an interest in the Jewish and/or Christian textual and exegetical elements visible in early and medieval Islam. Contributors include Fred Astren, Reuven Firestone, Sidney H. Griffith, Brian M. Hauglid, Kathryn Kueny, Jane Dammen McAuliffe, Gordon D. Newby, John C. Reeves, Vernon K. Robbins, and Brannon M. Wheeler. Paperback edition is available from the Society of Biblical Literature (


This volume owes its genesis to a series of conversations transpiring during the fall and winter months of 2001 between myself and Kent H. Richards, the executive director of the Society of Biblical Literature. Conducted under the black shadow of September 11 and distilled to their essence, our discussions centered on the disturbing lack of “official” attention granted to the biblical currents visible in the Qur'ān and its allied traditions by the Society and its constituent research, program, and publication units. Given the copious and well-attested historical, literary, and cultural linkages connecting the scriptural libraries of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, one would anticipate encountering among the Society's proceedings a respectable number of paper proposals, article submissions, or funded research projects actively or at least tangentially exploring qur'ānic and later Islamic readings and representations of biblical characters, narratives, and themes.

We soon discovered this was not the case. There was, for example, no active program unit among those annually convened at the Society's national meetings (nor at the subsidiary regional conferences) whose defining rubric would invite such proposals. a cursory search through the titles and abstracts of papers presented by Society members within these venues during the past decade uncovered almost no examples that addressed any aspect of this type of study. An inspection of the published contents of the Society's principal organ, the Journal of Biblical Literature, over an analogous period of time produced similar results. While the examined evidence demonstrates that many of the Society's members are heavily involved in the comparative study of biblical literature within both its ancient Near Eastern and Greco-Roman cultural contexts, it also shows that very few members today concern themselves with the Bible's (and its allied literature's) reception and reconfiguration within Islam and its world of discourse.

Things were not always this insular within the guild of biblical scholarship. Barely over a century ago, “giants” such as Goldziher, Nöldeke,

One successful by-product of the efforts expended in producing the present
volume was the formation and approval of a “Bible/Qur'ān” program unit whose
initial sessions will take place at the 2003 annual meeting in Atlanta.

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