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Ramifications of the Literary Qur'an

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Organizer: Mohammad Salama

Co-Organizer: Christopher Livanos

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Comparative scholarship on the Qur’an has often focused on affinities with its predecessors in the Abrahamic tradition: historical, linguistic, and eschatological. The literary and figurative aspects of the Qur’an remain largely understudied and have come to constitute a lacuna in the field of Qur’anic Studies. This panel invites papers that focus on the literariness of the Qur’an text, the translatability of its language, its narrative dynamics, its tropes, affect, and aesthetic qualities. We welcome papers that range from broader analysis of literary and critical tendencies to in-depth close readings of verses,  long/short suras, or literary works directly inspired by the Qur’an,  or even ones that bring together the Qur’an’s artistic influence on Arabic literature and other medieval, modern, and contemporary literatures and related critical and rhetorical traditions, opening new horizons in Qur’anic interpretation, whether by drawing on modern/contemporary literary theory, or uncovering older understudied theories. How does the Qur’an’s literariness interrupt/ redefine the poetics of the Arabic classical Qasida? How does i‘jaz (miraculous and linguistic brilliance of the Qur’an text) define and manifest itself in the text of the Qur’an? What tropes and stylistic compositions allow the Qur’an text to stand out distinctively in the entire oeuvre of Arabic literature? Is the Qur’an indeed the mother of all untranslatables? If so, how have translators of the Qur’an overcome this linguistic challenge?

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