The Qur’an contains many miracle stories, from Moses’s staff turning into a serpent to Mary’s conceiving Jesus as a virgin. In Understanding the Qur’anic Miracle Stories in the Modern Age, Isra Yazicioglu offers a glimpse of the ways in which meaningful implications have been drawn from these apparently strange narratives, both in the premodern and modern era. It fleshes out a fascinating medieval Muslim debate over miracles and connects its insights with early and late modern turning points in Western thought and with contemporary Qur’anic interpretation. Building on an apparent tension within the Qur’an and analyzing crucial cases of classical and modern Muslim engagement with these miracle stories, this book illustrates how an apparent site of conflict between faith and reason, or revelation and science, can become a site of fruitful exchange.
This book is a distinctive contribution to a new trend in Qur’anic Studies: it reveals the presence of insightful Qur’anic interpretation outside of the traditional line-by-line commentary genre, engaging with the works of Ghazali, Ibn Rushd, and Said Nursi. Moreover, focused as it is on the case of miracle stories, the book also goes beyond these specific passages to reflect more broadly on the issue of Qur’anic hermeneutics. It notes the connections between literal and symbolic approaches and highlights the importance of approaching the Qur’an with an eye to its potential implications for everyday life.
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Isra Yazicioglu is Assistant Professor of Theology and Religious Studies at St. Joseph’s University.
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