Tag Archives: Muslim Biblical Studies

An Early Recension of the Islamic Psalms of David

Juan Pedro Monferrer Sala and the Biblia Arabica team put on a delightful conference on the transmission of the Arabic Bible among Jews, Christians, and Muslims from April 26 to 28, 2017, in Córdoba, at Casa Árabe, whose jasmine-filled courtyard is pictured above. My contribution was:

“An Early Recension of the Islamic Psalms of David: The Koranic Style and Content of Istanbul Fatih 28 and Madrid 5146.” Biblia Arabica conference on Translators, copyists and interpreters: Jews, Christians and Muslims and the transmission of the Bible in Arabic in the Middle Ages, Cordoba, Spain, April 28, 2017.

The slides from the presentation are available as a pdf here.

Images of David in several Muslim rewritings of the Psalms

A very rich conference on King David was held in the elegant setting of the Institute of History at the University of Warsaw from October 26 to 28, 2016. Many thanks and congratulations to Marzena Zawanowska for organizing such a splendidly comparative and interdisciplinary gathering! My presentation updated my earlier mapping of the manuscript families of the Islamic Psalms (see An Imagined Book Gets a New Text: Psalms of the Muslim David) and explored how the figure of David was reshaped by the editors of the various recensions:

“Images of David in Several Muslim Rewritings of the Psalms.” Warrior, Poet, Prophet and King: The Character of David in Judaism, Christianity and Islam, University of Warsaw, Poland, October 28, 2016.

Here is a pdf of the paper, as delivered, and here is a pdf of the slides presented, which include the quotations discussed in the paper as well as several visualizations of the relationships between the various recensions of the psalms (produced from my database of notes using Gephi graph visualization software and the amazing RAW visualization tool by Density Design). The paper was written for oral presentation, without documentation; I plan to expand and document it for the volume of essays that is expected to result from the conference.

Other Peoples’ Scriptures: Mythical Texts of Imagined Communities

In 2011 the Comparative Studies in Religion section of the American Academy of Religion hosted a memorable panel on “Other Peoples’ Scriptures: The Use of Sacred Texts across Religious Boundaries,” to which I offered a response. Two of those papers, by Ryan Szpiech and Nate Hofer, along with a contribution from Gary Sparks, were then published in Numen 61.4 (2014) as a special issue on the theme of using scriptures across religious lines. I served as guest editor for that issue, and wrote the introduction, which reflects on how religious people reimagine religious others and their sacred texts when they read scriptures across religious lines:

“Other Peoples’ Scriptures: Mythical Texts of Imagined Communities.” Numen: International Review for the History of Religions 61.4 (2014): 329–333.

Here is a pdf of the article text as accepted by Numen, but without the publisher’s formatting. It is posted here for personal use, following the publisher’s two-year embargo period. The published Version of Record of this article may be obtained at the journal’s web site.

Review of Lejla Demiri, Muslim Exegesis of the Bible in Medieval Cairo

Here is my review of a fascinating Muslim commentary on the Bible, edited and translated by Lejla Demiri.

David R. Vishanoff. Review of Lejla Demiri, Muslim Exegesis of the Bible in Medieval Cairo: Najm al-Din al-Tufi’s (d. 716/1316) Commentary on the Christian Scriptures (Leiden: Brill, 2013). Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations 25.1 (2014): 138–139.

Permanent link to the published article (Version of Record), with PDF for those whose institutions subscribe to the journal: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09596410.2013.853452

For scholars whose institutions do not provide access to the journal, a limited number of free downloads are available at http://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/W2wbnPfyXYZ8h7n7mCGu/full

PDF of the pre-print Accepted Manuscript

Review of Todd Lawson, The Crucifixion and the Qur’an

The Qur’an’s statement that the Jews “did not kill [Jesus], nor did they crucify him, but it was made to appear [so] to them” (4:157) has often been interpreted to mean that someone else was crucified in his place, but in his book The Crucifixion and the Qur’an Todd Lawson shows that this interpretation is neither inevitable nor universally accepted by Muslim exegetes. Here is my review of the book:

David R. Vishanoff. Review of Todd Lawson, The Crucifixion and the Qur’an: A Study in the History of Muslim Thought (Oxford: Oneworld, 2009). Review of Middle East Studies 47.1 (2013): 69–71.

Permanent link to the published article (Version of Record): DOI 10.1017/S2151348100056366

Unfortunately, the review is rather critical, so I do not wish to distribute it widely, and will not post the full text here. It is important only for those scholars who are considering making serious use of the book.