How to Read the Qur'an: A New Guide, with Select Translations

By Carl W. Ernst | Go to book overview

Appendix A
Reading the Structure of the Meccan Suras
The following notes are designed to provide readers of the Qurʾan with access to a chronological reading of the Meccan suras using the tools of literary analysis, from a precanonical and pre-exegetical perspective. This is a brief summary of the extensive and meticulous analysis provided by Angelika Neuwirth in Studien zur Komposition der mekkanischen Suren (most of which is available online at books.google.com). Readers interested in the details and justifications for these readings should consult that pathbreaking work. Meccan suras are grouped below into three periods (early, middle, and late) and are listed by the canonical numerical order within each of those divisions. No attempt has been made to perform the same summation for the Medinan suras, since scholarly research has not yet advanced to that point.The notations given below describe the structure of each sura according to Neuwirth’s literary analysis. The first line of each entry provides the following information:
The number and the Arabic name of each sura are given in bold.
An outline of the sura is provided in parentheses, broken down into sections indicated by Roman numerals (except for very short suras lacking strong section divisions).
The Roman numeral for each section is followed by a comma and then by the verses that are included within that section, numbered according to the Egyptian edition of the Qurʾan.
Sections are marked off by a semicolon.

Thus, sura 51 is listed as follows:

51. al-Dhariyyat (I, 1–23; II, 24–46; III, 47–60)

-213-

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