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Friday, July 6, 2018

An Update from Mark Durie

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Over the past ten or so years I have blogged around 150 times on issues to do with religion, mostly to do with Islam.  The challenge of Islamic resurgence continues all around, and will do so for many, many years to come.  The Islamic Awakening may be faltering in places, such as Iran or Syria, but its impact is deep and wide, all over the world, and it has a great deal of momentum, including in Western nations.

Over the past year or two I have been blogging less.  This is not because I lack things to write about. On the contrary.  The truth is, for years I have been working on a book on the Qur'an and its origins, and it has all come to a head and will soon be released. The book is called The Qur'an and its Biblical Reflexes: Investigations into the Genesis of a Religion.  It's listed on Amazon as to appear on October 15 2018.  I hope it will make a useful contribution, even if it is not wildly entertaining. 

 Here's the publisher's blurb:

The Qur’an is a book which throws up obstacles to anyone who would delve into its secrets. One puzzle is its relationship to the Bible. Why are there so many Biblical references in the Qur’an and how did they get there? Another puzzle is why there seem to be two Qur’ans: the “Meccan” and “Medinan”? And can we rely on the traditional account, handed down by Muslim scholars from generation to generation, that the Qur’an was first recited by Muhammad in Mecca? This path-breaking book sets aside the traditional story of the life of Muhammad, and inquires into the internal history of the text itself. Drawing on fresh insights from linguistics and theology, Durie puts forward a new and very different explanation for the “Mecca-Medina” division, attributing the internal division to a theological crisis which arose in the Qur’anic community. Through careful investigation of theologically charged topics such as prophecy, Satan, sin, the oneness of God, covenant, warfare, divine presence, and holiness, Durie questions whether the Qur’an and Bible really do share a deeper connection. He invites the reader to set aside the frames through which the Qur’an has been viewed in the past, whether Biblical or Islamic, and invites us to attend to the Qur’an’s distinctive and unique theological vision, in its own terms.
Re the price, USD$120 may seem a lot, but at 380 or so pages, it's not too bad for academic books in Qur'an studies.  At least it's not USD $240, like Boisliveau's sumptuously produced Le Coran par Lui-Mème.

When I'm not writing I lead a 'normal' life as the vicar of an Anglican church. This keeps me busy, most of the time.  However, in the coming months, once I've washed that book right out of my hair, I'm going to be redoing my websites to make my writing and audiovisual resources more available, and getting back to more regular blogging and webinar-ing. Stay tuned! I haven't gone away, just temporarily faded out.

Finally, I understand that all sorts of people read my blogs: of all faiths or none. Perhaps you love my writings, or perhaps you subscribe because you hate them.  I don't know. If you are of a Christian persuasion and could make use of a weekly Bible study, you could do worse than subscribing to my weekly study, which I send out to my flock, and to anyone else who wants it. The link to these studies, including a way to sign up to the weekly emails, can be accessed here.

Dr. Mark Durie is an academic, human rights activist, Anglican pastor, a Shillman-Ginsburg Writing Fellow at the Middle East Forum, and Adjunct Research Fellow of the Arthur Jeffery Centre for the Study of Islam at Melbourne School of Theology.

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