The Vernacular Quran: Translation and the Rise of Persian Exegesis

Hardcover | April 26, 2012

byTravis Zadeh

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This book examines how early juridical and theological debates on the translatability of the Qur'an informed the development of Persian translations and commentaries of the Qur'an. While it is generally believed that Muslims in the eighth to twelfth centuries were disdainful of translating theQur'an, the historical record proves to be much more nuanced. Although the philosophy of some schools of law was that the divine nature of the Qur'an could not be conveyed in a language other than Arabic, the reality was that Persian exegetical translations were considered acceptable for use by new converts to Islam. These translations preserved the Arabictext of the Qur'an and, interlinearly, wove Persian commentaries between its lines and verses, thereby preserving the sacred script while expanding on and making the text available to a wider audience. The author gives a thorough overview of the development of Persian exegetical writing, fromrhyming translations to major commentaries, starting with the emergence of New Persian literature in the tenth century and continuing on until the institutionalisation of Persian as a language that rivalled Arabic in courts and educational institutions. Through a series of detailed case studies, this book offers new insight into the development of Qur'anic hermeneutics and its relationship to vernacular cultures, religious elites, institutions of education, and dynastic authority. Presented for the first time to an English readership is a broadarray of archival material, spanning five centuries and drawn from across the Middle East, Central Asia and South Asia.

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This book examines how early juridical and theological debates on the translatability of the Qur'an informed the development of Persian translations and commentaries of the Qur'an. While it is generally believed that Muslims in the eighth to twelfth centuries were disdainful of translating theQur'an, the historical record proves to be ...

Travis Zadeh is Assistant Professor in the Department of Religion at Haverford College, Haverford PA.

other books by Travis Zadeh

Format:HardcoverDimensions:600 pagesPublished:April 26, 2012Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:019726512X

ISBN - 13:9780197265123

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Table of Contents

IntroductionI: Theoretical Implications1. Early Juridical Considerations2. Recitations, Codices, and Juridical Authority3. Scriptural Communities and Heavenly Messengers4. Divine Speech in Human Language5. Translation and the Inimitability of the Qur'anII: Models for Translation6. Early Translations of the Qur'an7. Court Culture and Persian Exegesis8. Urban Networks and the Religious Elite9. Minbars and Madrasas10. Sectarian Divisions, Scriptural Authority11. Transmission and RoutinizationConclusion