Weaknesses in the Arguments for the Early Dating of Qurʼānic Commentary

Herbert Berg

in With Reverence for the Word

Published in print January 2003 | ISBN: 9780195137279
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199849482 | DOI:
Weaknesses in the Arguments for the Early Dating of Qurʼānic Commentary

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Medieval and even modem exegeses of the Qurʼān are heavily indebted to the commentary purporting to come from the first three centuries of Islam. At an early stage, many Muslim exegetes attempted to limit the scope of possible meanings of the Qurʼān by demanding that exegesis be based on the received tradition, and not on personal opinion. Thus, most early and medieval Qurʼānic exegesis comes in the form of hadīths—the same form that dominates Islamic legal and historical writings. Skepticism regarding the authenticity of hadīths was first expressed by Ignaz Goldziher, who was backed by Joseph Schacht. Together, Goldziher and Schacht seem to undermine the very foundation upon which Muslim law and history as well as Qurʼānic interpretation have been built. Nabia Abbott, Fuat Sezgin, and Mohammad Azami, however, have each argued for a continuous written and oral transmission of hadīths. Other scholars who have addressed the authenticity of hadīths are John Wansbrough, Heribert Horst, and Georg Stauth.

Keywords: Qurʼān; exegesis; hadīths; authenticity; Islam; Ignaz Goldziher; Joseph Schacht; John Wansbrough; Heribert Horst; Georg Stauth

Chapter.  8930 words. 

Subjects: East Asian Religions

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