Nottingham hosts conference on the Quran

PA 16/13

Scholars from around the globe are to travel to Nottingham for an international colloquium dedicated to the Qur’ān, the Muslim Scripture.

The event, Return to the Origins: The Qur’ān‘s Reformation of Judaism and Christianity, has been organised by the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at The University of Nottingham and runs from Sunday January 20 to Monday January 21.

Supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the School of Humanities at the University, the conference will centre on the question of how the Qur’ān relates to forms of Judaism and Christianity of its time.

Holger Zellentin, lecturer in Jewish studies in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies, who has organised the conference, said: “In several ways, the Qur’ān presents itself within a true Abrahamic tradition that has been compromised. It accuses Gentiles, Jews, and Christians respectively, individually as well as summarily, of a series of transgressions whose precise nature has been subject to much recent discussion.

“It also portrays its religious criticism in terms of a return to the Abrahamic origins of true monotheism. Finally, it repeats and reshapes traditional material. Understanding the Qur’ān therefore necessitates an appreciation of how it balances continuity and change in what it negates and in what it affirms.

“In modern scholarship, efforts to portray the Qur’ān as in dialogue with the religious traditions of its time have yielded important insights. Likewise, scholars continue to emphasise correctly that one must understand the Qur’ān on its own terms and in clear distinction from contemporary traditions.”

Among the speakers attending the conference will be Nicolai Sinai from the University of Oxford who will talk on “Pharao’s Repentance in the Qur’ān and in Rabbinic Literature: A Case Study in Qur’ānic Intertextuality,” while Islam Dayeh from the Free University Berlin will speak on the “Qur’ānic Polemic Against Animal Sacrifice.”

Other topics being covered will include the context of Qur’ānic ritual law, and anti-Jewish polemic in the Qur’ān.

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