Regular price: $17.50
Buy Now with 1 Credit
Buy Now for $17.50
"It is surely a noble Koran in a hidden Book - none but the purified touch it - a sending down from the Lord of all Being."
I've been thinking of reading/listening to the Koran for a couple years now. I've read various Sura before, and have a fair working knowledge of the book, but have never approached it from beginning to end. Recently, with the publication of The Study Quran: A New Translation and Commentary, I'm close to taking the plunge. Because of the strong oral tradition of the Koran, however, I also wanted to listen to it. Listening to it in Arabic presents the obvious issue: I don't understand Arabic, so I found a good Modern English reading based on interpretations of the meaning by Dr Muhammad Taqi-ud-Din al-Hilali and Dr Muhammad Muhsin Khan. I've also got a version the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia sent me (I actually have an English AND Turkish translation) once when I wrote requesting it. This translation is fairly dominant in English and from what I've read has a fairly conservative, dare I say fundamentalist, bent to it. Again, I don't read Arabic so when I eventually approach the book I will ALWAYS be dependent on others for their scholarship, interpretation, and thus biases.
That is part of the reasons I wanted to read Cook's VSI to the Koran before I started reading the Koran itself. In broad strokes, I knew much of what he spoke about before, but his details were interesting. I was hoping for more of an overview of the text itself, but Cook's introduction mainly sets the table for reading the text by explaining (going backwards in time): The Koran in the Modern world, the Koran in the traditional Muslim world, and the formation of the Koran. The most interesting part to me was the middle section, which delved into the Koran in the tradition Muslim world. In this section he explored the Koran as codex, text, worship, truth, and object of dogma. That said, I also liked the first section's exploration of the idea of scripture (which extends, obviously beyond the Koran) and the dissemination, translation, and interpretation of the Koran.
So, in many ways this book didn't give me all of what I wanted, but it did give me much that I think I will need to read and better understand the Koran.
14 of 18 people found this review helpful
This is, as promised, only a short introduction. Even so, it covers the major areas of the historic transmission of the Koranic texts which was what I was looking for.
2 of 3 people found this review helpful
Coming to this already having a good overview of Islamic theology and history I found this a helpful and interesting closer look at the Koran itself. It was beyond me in parts and quite technical and without having an existing overview would have found it hard to follow. His dry sarcastic humour was quite likeable although some m ay find it inappropriate. He seems to have a warmer attitude to Islam than to Christianity to which he from time to time draws comparisons and to which he seems quite happy to quote without nuance and takes certain theories of higher criticism as absolute facts. Beyond his introduction itself he gives plenty of quotation of sources with which someone could study further. Overall I would recommend this for people with at least some existing knowledge of the Koran