Chapter

An Introduction to Medieval Interpretation of the Qurʼān

Jane Dammen McAuliffe

in With Reverence for the Word

Published in print January 2003 | ISBN: 9780195137279
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199849482 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195137279.003.0020
An Introduction to Medieval Interpretation of the Qurʼān

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Commentary on the Qurʼān, as both activity and achievement, has been a remarkably stable enterprise over the long centuries of its production. The tradition of Qurʼānic exegesis continues to occupy a prominent place within contemporary Muslim intellectual life. In general, the extant commentaries on the Qurʼān represent a large and sustained range of literary output from at least the 9th to the 12th centuries with certain seminal works that predate even that span. The Qurʼān was so central to the intellectual life of medieval Islam that its verses and their interpretation appear in virtually all forms of Islamic literature. This chapter presents an overview of medieval interpretation of the Qurʼān, the chronology and classification of Qurʼānic commentary, varieties of exegetical material, questions posed by the commentators of the Qurʼān (for example, abrogation and applicability), and the continuity of Qurʼānic commentary.

Keywords: Qurʼān; commentaries; exegesis; abrogation; applicability; Islam; medieval interpretation; Islamic literature

Chapter.  4947 words. 

Subjects: East Asian Religions

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