Congrès Mondial des Études sur le Moyen-Orient et l'Afrique du Nord

Barcelone du 19 au 24 Juillet 2010


Qur’anic Temporality (143) - Panel

· Institution: IREMAM, Université Aix-Marseille /FIIRD (France)

· Organisateur: Anne-Sylvie Boisliveau / Emmanuelle Stefanidis

· Langue: English/Français

· Description: If the Qur’anic text and its units are available to the reader simultaneously and in their totality, Qur’anic discourse took place, prior to its traces in the text and like all oral performances, in an irreversible temporality, which still needs to be surveyed. When the Qur’an is considered as an open-ended discourse and its evolution is traced back, taking into account intermediate forms, eventual deviations and adjustments, new research perspectives are opened. This panel explores the possibility of discerning the evolution of the Qur’anic message, unfolding in its immediate context, responding to and reflecting the ongoing negotiations between the main actors of earliest Islam – and suggests using this evolution as a reading code. While the Qur’anic “milieu” is notoriously difficult to characterize, and remains an issue of dispute among scholars, the perspective adopted here is that many formal and thematic characteristics of the Qur’an are best explained in a diachronic model. The recognition that there is a development within the Muslim scripture entails a shift in perspective which underlines the immediacy of the Qur’anic interpellation, and allows the reader to witness what Angelika Neuwirth has called the “qur’an in statu nascendi”. In practice, however, difficulties arise, and crystallize mainly around the methodological issue of chronology. On what criteria can such a re-ordering be based? What is the risk of circularity? What critical evaluation can be made of existent chronologies? How does a diachronic study of the Qur’an proceed? What tools (such as a computer database) can be used to deal with chronological hypotheses when analyzing a theme? In this panel, case studies will be presented, as well as an inquiry into the methodology, difficulties and criticism of such a diachronic approach.

Chair: Prof. Carole Hillenbrand (University of Endinburgh)

Discussant: Dr. Omar Ali-de-Unzaga (Institute of Ismaeli Studies, London)

Paper presenter: Emmanuelle Stefanidis (Université Paris 8), “Western Chronological Reorderings of the Qur’an”
The question of the chronology of the Qur’an, first addressed in some Muslim exegetical traditions, has captivated Orientalist scholarly attention for over a century. This presentation will critically examine three important chronological re-orderings of the Muslim sacred text, namely that of Theodor Nöldeke and Friedrich Schwally (1860/1917), that of Richard Bell (1937-39) and that of Régis Blachère (1949-50). Taking into account more recent work which has problematized the issue of chronology, their respective assumptions and methodologies will be compared, and conclusions will be drawn regarding general difficulties encountered in any chronological enterprise.

Paper presenter: David Kiltz (Corpus Coranicum, Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften), „On qur’anic furqân and the internal theological chronology of the Qur’ân”
The Qur’anic term furqân – variously translated as “decision, distinction,” “guidance,” “salvation,” etc. – has recently been discussed anew by scholars such as F. Donner and U. Rubin. This paper will explore both its etymology and examine the chronological order of passages employing the concept throughout the Qur’an’s genesis, and in doing so will pay particular attention to its theological significance. As a starting point, I will present pre-Qur’anic uses of Jewish and Christian texts, and then attempt to trace its semantic evolution within the Qur’an. It will be seen that the Qur’an references earlier usage but, at the same time, by working step by step through this conceptual matrix, goes beyond it and displays its own use and interpretation of the notion of furqân.

Paper presenter: Mehdi Azaiez (IREMAM - Université Aix-Marseille), «Argumentation et temporalité coranique»
Loin d'être phénomène sans évolution, le travail de persuasion du discours coranique répond tant à des permanences qu'à des ruptures significatives. On s'interrogera alors sur la nature de ces modifications. Quels thèmes, quelles formes de discours peut-on voir évoluer ? A quels indices d'historicité peut nous conduire une telle recherche à la fois limitée et délicate ? Après avoir défini ce que l'on entend par argumentation coranique et à partir d'un exemple précis, on s'efforcera enfin à interroger l'articulation entre argumentation, ordre de la révélation supposée du Coran (tartīb al nuzūl) et ordre du corpus actuel (tartīb al mushaf)

Paper presenter: Anne-Sylvie Boisliveau (IREMAM - Université Aix-Marseille), “Chronological Development of Self-Referentiality in the Qur’anic Text”
Self-referentiality is widely present in the Qur’anic text – as “what the Qur’an says on the Qur’an. Adopting a diachronic perspective, this paper will try to show how self-referentiality develops in the frame of the growing corpus. I will distinguish two intertwining layers in the text: text α: the text considered to be the “recitations” (qur’ân) pronounced by Muhammad, and text β: the commentary made inside the text on text α. Text β gradually grants text α with an authoritative status. From the analysis of later period surahs, I will analyze how, on the one hand, text α progressively includes items which are designated to support the logic of text β, and, on the other hand, how text β implies in the end to be referring to the whole corpus.