This course seeks to introduce students to the Qur'an. Emphasis will be placed on the rhetoric and literary dimensions of the Qur'an, such as form, content, and structure, as understood by Muslims, past and present, particularly through the doctrine of divine inimitability. We will contextualize our readings from the Qur'an by exploring the various branches of Qur'anic studies as they developed over time. Topics include the collection and transmission of the Qur'an; the relationship to Jewish and Christian traditions; the nature of divine speech; the debates concerning the translation of the Qur'anic; ritual intersections with scripture; material culture; the development of exegetical traditions; gender and the Qur'ān; and contemporary approaches by both Muslims and non-Muslims to the study of the Qur'an. In addition to primary and secondary literature, this course will also explore various artistic means of venerating the Qur'an through such forms as recitation and calligraphy.
This course overs a detailed presentation of the Qur'an as text, exploring how it has been used and interpreted over time. Students will acquire a broader understanding of problems related to the study of religion, while developing analytical skills applicable to other fields of inquiry.