A History of the
Classical Middle East
What is the nature of the Qur'an? It might seem a straightforward question, but there is no consensus among modern communities of the Qur'an, both Muslim and non-Muslim, about the answer. And why should there be?
On numerous occasions throughout history, believers from different schools and denominations, and at different times and places, have agreed to disagree. The Qur'anic interpreters, jurists and theologians of medieval Baghdad, Cairo and Cordoba coexisted peacefully in spite of their diverging beliefs. Seeking to revive this ‘ethics of disagreement' of Classical Islam, this volume explores the different relationships societies around the world have with the Qur'an and how our understanding of the text can be shaped by studying the interpretations of others. From LGBT groups to urban African American communities, this book aims to represent the true diversity of communities of the Qur'an in the twenty-first century, and the dialogue and debate that can flow among them.
This book is a study of related passages found in the Arabic Qur’ān and the Aramaic Gospels, i.e. the Gospels preserved in the Syriac and Christian Palestinian Aramaic dialects. It builds upon the work of traditional Muslim scholars, including al-Biqā‘ī (d. ca. 808/1460) and al-Suyūṭī (d. 911/1505), who wrote books examining connections between the Qur’ān on the one hand, and Biblical passages and Aramaic terminology on the other, as well as modern western scholars, including Sidney Griffith who argue that pre-Islamic Arabs accessed the Bible in Aramaic.
The Qur’ān and the Aramaic Gospel Traditions examines the history of religious movements in the Middle East from 180-632 CE, explaining Islam as a response to the disunity of the Aramaic speaking churches. It then compares the Arabic text of the Qur’ān and the Aramaic text of the Gospels under four main themes: the prophets; the clergy; the divine; and the apocalypse. Among the findings of this book are that the articulator as well as audience of the Qur’ān were monotheistic in origin, probably bilingual, culturally sophisticated and accustomed to the theological debates that raged between the Aramaic speaking churches.
Arguing that the Qur’ān’s teachings and ethics echo Jewish-Christian conservatism, this book will be of interest to students and scholars of Religion, History, and Literature.
Books and Research
Dr. Emran El-Badawi writes books and articles on the classical as well as modern Middle East. His academic research interests include Liberalism, Qur'an and Bible, and the classical heritage of Islamic tradition and its relationship with Christianity and Judaism. His research and opinions have also appeared in Arabic, Turkish, Kurdish, German, French and Italian
Dr. El-Badawi is writing a book on the power of pre-Islamic Arabian queens and how they delegated power to male prophets. The book is tentatively titled, Vanished Queens: Power Prophecy & Betrayal in Arabia (in progress). His next set of project examines how Judeo-Christian tradition fundamentally shaped Arabia on the eve of Islam, and how medieval Islam developed in parallel to Christendom/Europe. His first book on The Qur'an and the Aramaic Gospel Traditions (Routledge Press, 2013) was nominated for the British-Kuwait Friendship Society Book Prize 2014. An Arabic translation is forthcoming.
He has also written dozens of articles, both English and Arabic, for peer reviewed journals and books, as well as editorials for newspapers, magazines on online publications. For a complete list of his publications please see Dr. El-Badawi's Curriculum Vitae.
“Will the U.S. go to war with Iran? Americans can’t afford to tune out,” Houston Chronicle, May 20, 2019.
“Intellectual freedom and the study of the Qur’an,” Oasis: Christians and Muslims in the Global World 26 (2018): 42-50
“Conflict and Reconciliation: ‘Arab liberalism’ in Syria and Egypt,” Egypt and the Contradictions of Liberalism Illiberal Intelligentsia and the Future of Egyptian Democracy. Eds. Dalia Fahmy and Daanish Faruqi. London: OneWorld, 2017.
“When the largest oil exporter quits the game,” Forbes, October 10, 2016.
“Religious violence in the Middle East: Military intervention, Salafi-Jihadism and the dream of a Caliphate” Journal of Cultural and Religious Studies 4.6 (2016): 396-409.
“Muslims should welcome a new, modern perspective on prophet’s sayings,” Christian Science Monitor, August 7, 2013.
For a complete list of his publications please see Dr. El-Badawi's Curriculum Vitae.
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