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"How to Read the Qur'an"

Part of the lecture series: "The Qur'an and the World"

Carl Ernst, William R. Kenan, Jr., Distinguished Professor (2005- ) and Co-Director of the Carolina Center for the Study of the Middle East and Muslim Civilizations, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
This presentation offers a non-theological way to read the Qur'an from a literary and historical perspective. The main characteristics of this approach are 1) a chronological reading of the text in the order of its original delivery, rather than the current canonical order; 2) close attention to inter-textual connections to earlier religious writings; and 3) exploration of ring structure or symmetrical composition as a way of locating central passages. These techniques offer readers new ways to understand a text that often has proved to be baffling and forbidding.

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