Origins and Sources of the Islamic Psalms of David

My first visit to the British Association for Islamic Studies was a rich feast of papers, discussions, and conversations with colleagues old and new. Thanks to the BRAIS team for welcoming me into their midst!

My presentation asked what sources the 8th-century author of the Islamic Psalms might have drawn upon for his compilation, and considered several possibilities: Christian monasticism, Biblical paraphrases, the Qur’an, ḥadīth qudsī, other pseudo-scriptures, Tales of the Prophets, wisdom literature, and the literature of Islamic asceticism (zuhd). I concluded, however, that rather than looking for sources I should be looking for inspirations; and the ensuing discussion showed me that I should also be looking for the afterlife of these psalms in other literature.

“Origins and Sources of the Islamic Psalms of David.” British Association for Islamic Studies, April 15, 2019, Nottingham.

Here are the paper and the slides in pdf form.

The Ascetic Piety of the Prophet David in Muslim Rewritings of the Psalms

At the American Oriental Society’s 229th meeting, on St. Patrick’s Day in Chicago, I was part of a fascinating paper session on early forms of Islamic piety, along with Ursula Bsees and Antonio Musto. I presented my new understanding of the origins of the Islamic Psalms of David, arguing that they originated among ascetic Muslims of the 2nd/8th or early 3rd/9th century.

“The Ascetic Piety of the Prophet David in Muslim Rewritings of the Psalms.” American Oriental Society, Islamic Near East Section, March 17, 2019, Chicago.

Here are the paper and the slides in pdf form.

Psalms of the Muslim Prophet David: Rewritten Bible in a Qur’anic Idiom

Many thanks to Sam Ross and Sajida Jalalzai for organizing a panel on Islamic approaches to scripture (with special attention to the Bible) at the Southwest regional meeting of the AAR in Dallas. It proved to be a perfect confluence of interests! My contribution was:

“Psalms of the Muslim Prophet David: Rewritten Bible in a Qur’anic Idiom.” American Academy of Religion, Southwest Region, March 10, 2019, Irving, Texas.

Here are the paper and the slides in pdf form.

Visualizations from a Digital Humanities Tinkerer

I presented a synopsis of the various types of text visualization efforts I have tinkered with over the last few years, including new discourse mapping software developed with Exaptive (an Oklahoma City software firm), at a University of Oklahoma Research Discussion Series panel hosted by Georgia Kosmopoulou and the College of Arts & Sciences:

“Mapping Global Intellectual Networks in Qur’anic Hermeneutics: Visualizations from a Digital Humanities Tinkerer.” College of Arts & Sciences Research Discussion Series panel on Network Structure, Visualization and Analysis across Scholarly Domains. University of Oklahoma, Norman, November 30, 2018.

My slides, including presenter notes, are available here as a PowerPoint file.

I used the same slides in a joint presentation with Josh Southerland, a data scientist and programmer at Exaptive, about the discourse mapping software:

David Vishanoff and Josh Southerland. “Termscapes Can Change the Landscape of Text Analysis.” Data+Creativity meetup. Exaptive, Oklahoma City, December 6, 2018.

I also presented the discourse mapping software at OU’s Academic Tech Expo:

“Distant Reading: A Program to Map out the Contents of All Those Texts You Don’t Have Time to Read.” Academic Tech Expo, University of Oklahoma, Norman, January 11, 2019.

An update will be posted here on vishanoff.com when the discourse mapping software is ready to accept new users.

Between Qur’an and Psalmody: How Medieval Muslim Piety Integrated Two Notions of Scripture

Congratulations to IQSA on a very rich 2018 annual meeting, held in Denver in conjunction with the SBL and AAR. I offered a paper on the Islamic psalms and their relationship to the Bible on the one hand and the Qur’an on the other:

“Between Qur’an and Psalmody: How Medieval Muslim Piety Integrated Two Notions of Scripture.” International Qur’anic Studies Association, program unit 5, The Qur’an and the Biblical Tradition, November 18, 2018, Denver.

Here are the slides (as a pdf file) from the presentation.

This paper is being submitted for publication in a volume of essays in the Biblia Arabica series from Brill, to be edited by Camilla Adang, Meira Polliack, and Benjamin Hary.