Studying the Qur’an in English

I’m very pleased to announce that, this fall, I’ll be teaching a section of Arabic 467R (“Topics in Middle East Studies”) devoted to the Qur’an at Brigham Young University.

In this particular course, which will be taught on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4:00  to 5:15 PM, a knowledge of Arabic will not be required.  (I teach a course on reading the Qur’an bi-al-‘Arabi during winter terms now.)  We’ll be reading and discussing the Qur’an in English.  (Don’t worry.  I understand and will discuss the limits, theological and practical, of reading the Qur’an in translation.  Technically, according to Muslim belief, it’s not even possible — which is a richly instructive fact in and of itself.)

Given the importance of Muslims and Islam in current events, as well as their vital role in world history and culture overall — and granted the absolute centrality of the Qur’an to Islam and the life of Muslims — the value of better understanding the Qur’an seems quite obvious.

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