Following the successful inaugural Contemplating the Qur’an conference of 2013, Howard Divinity School and the Ali Vural Ak Center for Global Islamic Studies at George Mason University organized “The Qur’an and the Reading of History” Conference, hosted on April 20-21, 2015 at Howard Divinity School.
This conference examined the Qur’anic approach to telling the story of the past, and to defining the relationship between the past and the present. Presentations by local, national, and international scholars addressed the Qur’anic conception of history and its significance for understanding the Qur’an’s view of the human condition. The conference further examined the ways in which attempts to historicize or rehistoricize the Qur’anic verses as found in the classical tafsir literature or in contemporary Muslim and Western scholarship have affected the reading of both the Qur’an and religious history.
Opening Remarks: Zainab Alwani (Howard Divinity School)
Panel 1, "Stylistic and Narrative Features of Sacred History in the Qur'an"
Sarra Tlili (University of Florida), “The Canine Companion of the Cave”
Devin Stewart (Emory University), “Qur’anic Typology, the Sermon within a Sermon, and Generic Punishment Narratives”
Issam Eido (University of Chicago Divinity School), “Different Readings of the Abrahamic Response to Divine Commands”
Panel 2, "Qur'anic Views of History"
Maria Dakake (George Mason University), “Cyclical and Linear Conceptions of History in the Qur’an”
Amr Osman (Qatar University), “Modern Arab Historians and the Qur’an”
Sayed Hassan Akhlaq Hussaini (Catholic University), “The Existential Dialectics of the Qur’an Regarding History”
Panel 3, "Textual and Contextual Readings of Qur'anic Verses"
Emmanuelle Stefanidis (Universite-Paris Sorbonne), “‘Even if men and jinn joined efforts to assemble it according to its original sequence, they would not succeed’: Reflections on the Distinction between tartib al-nuzul and tartib al-mushaf”
Mahan Mirza (Zaytuna College), “From General to Specific: A Thematic Reading of the Sword Verse”
Panel 4, "Qur'anic 'History' As Spiritual Anthropology"
Jawad Anwar Qureshi (University of Chicago Divinity School), “‘The Fairest of Stories’: Ring Structure, Virtues, and the Spiritual Path in Surat Yusuf (Q. 12)”
Mohammed Rustom (Carleton University), “Surat Yusuf as a ‘History’ of the Human Soul”
Alan Godlas (University of Georgia), “Constructions of Intelligence and Affect in the Context of Qur’anic Histories”
Panel 5, "Reading the Life of Muhammad, the Early Community, and its Arabian Context in the Qur'an"
Zainab Alwani (Howard Divinity School), “Muhammad in the Qur’an: Building a Community”
Joseph Lumbard (Brandeis University), “Muhammad in the Qur’an: Historicity and Stylometry”
George Archer (Georgetown University), “A Sign on the Horizon: A Reconstruction of the Solar Mythology of the Qur’an’s Primal Audience”
Panel 6, "Reading the Qur'an on Gender Through a Historical Lens"
Taraneh Wilkinson (Georgetown University), “Debates on the Authority of Tafsir on Gender Issues in Contemporary Turkey”
Hadia Mubarak (Georgetown University), “Modern Approaches to Classical Texts through the Lens of Gender”
Masyithah Mardhatillah (Islamic State University of Sunan Kalijaga Yogyakarta), “Female Characters in Qur’anic Stories and Contemporary Contextualization”
Closing Remarks: Maria Dakake (George Mason University)