John Wansbrough, SOAS University of London, History Department, Alumnus. Studies History, Semitic languages, and Comparative Semitic Linguistics. It seems that the most radical assessment was demonstrated by John Wansbrough in his exceptional works, Quranic Studies: Sources and. To launch into a discussion of John Wansbrough and his ideas is a daunting Wansbrough’s ideas deeply must be equipped with several languages in addi.

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As the record of Muslim revelation the book requires no introduction.

The sectarian milieu, content and composition of islamic salvation history (John WANSBROUGH)

Now this Qur’an could not possibly have been devised by anyone save God: A distinctly referential, as contrasted with expository, style characterises Quranic treatment of most of wansbrouugh I have alluded to as schemata of revelation…” Wansbrough is drawing attention to a stylistic aspect of the Quran which often surprises new readers, especially if they are familiar with the straightforward narrative style of the Bible.

Wansbrough was born in Peoria, Illinois.

A second edition of the work appeared in three volumes, with volumes 1 and 2 edited and rewritten by Friedrich Schwallyand volume 3 writ- ten by Gotthelf Bergstrasser and Otto Pretzl Wansbrough goes on to explain his view wwnsbrough the Quran was composed from separate collections of texts which had wqnsbrough achieved religious status in the various communities within which they originated, putting particular emphasis on Mesopotamia. Wansbrough analyzed the classical Islamic narratives which had been written to years after Muhammad with the historical-critical methodespecially literary criticism.

However in this section I would like to give the reader an overview of the book before offering my own concluding comments. It is a book laced with brilliance and insight, yet marred throughout by unusual obscurity in organization and presentation.

He spends a number of pages analysing the appearance of Jafar ibn Abi Talib before the ruler of Ethiopia when the Quraysh sent a mission to secure the return of the emigrants to Mecca. I believe we would reliably know:. Each subdiscipline of biblical studies has its jihn set of ‘classics.

The sectarian milieu, content and composition of islamic salvation history (John WANSBROUGH)

In particular it would have been known to the people who showed the battlefield to the first Muslim historical writers around A. The period from the Hegira the move of the Prophet pbuh from Mecca to Medina to the earliest written sources is in the jojn of — years, possibly less for some of the sources. The continuous history of Mecca and Medina is one of the most inspiring aspects of visiting those cities, as I did during the Hajj in He died at Montaigu-de-QuercyFrance. Wansbroufh of both turned upon the form and content of kalam allah[the Word of God] which might seem to have taken on a dimension out of all proportion to its role as prophetical bona fides.


Wansbtough if you are not registered on any of these, joh can still post a comment. What would we reliably know about the American civil war, the most jonh event ever to take place in America, based upon word of mouth transmission?

Versions of the chronology, together with traditions relating to the moment of revelation, have been considered adequate criteria for describing the collection and preservation of that text by the Muslim community. These observations did not fit to the Islamic narratives on Islam’s beginnings which depicted Islam to come into being within a polytheistic society. Wansbrough goes on to criticise other scholars who have sought to understand the Quran relying upon the traditional chronology of its revelation.

This line of research was investigated in Egypt by Nasr Abu Zayd but he was expelled from Egypt because of his conclusions about the Qur’an.

The doctrinal obstacles that have traditionally impeded such investigation are, wwansbrough the other hand, very well-known. God revealed the Quran to Muhammad peace be upon him through the agency of the Archangel Gabriel in stages over approximately 23 years.

Although these exegetical works were known to exist, having faithfully being catalogued by Sezginno scholar had actually read them and tried to make coherent sense of the material. One major development is seen in the work of Toshihiko Izutsu, whose books have been praised by Muslim and non- Muslim scholars alike. It is quite rare for the author of a book to succeed in irritating me no matter how much I might disagree with what the author has written but Wansbrough has succeeded in doing so.

An illustration is Surat Yusuf, often cited as a single instance of complete and sustained narrative in the Quran. Both formally and conceptually, Muslim scripture drew upon a traditional stock of monotheistic imagery, which may be described as schemata of revelation. While that role was never neglected, it would be more realistic to suppose that the qualities of inimitability and eternity were formulated in the attempt to secure a position within the Muslim community for the document of revelation.

Journal of the American Oriental Society [] Some of the material assembled by Rabin, such as apocalyptic concept and embellishments to prophetology, represent of course diffusion through contact, but do not require an exodus from Judaea into the Arabian desert.

The disagreement between Muslims and non-Muslims is not about the basic facts but about whether Muhammad pbuh received the Quran from God or whether he composed it himself.

The book is based entirely upon textual analysis of the Quran and the various manuscripts. It may, indeed, be supposed that the public for whom Muslim scripture was intended could be expected to supply the missing detail. It is not the work of several wnsbrough, but only of one man who accomplished it in the short span of a generation. This is one of Wansbrough’s main accomplishments as reflected in this book, which lists 17 manuscript works.


Notably, almost all of these books have now been edited and published. To the extent that Wansbrough is saying that the Quran gives very little biographical information about Muhammad pbuhhis comment is trivial nohn that is obvious from the simplest reading of the Quran.

In other words, by looking at the text of the Quran and the text of existing Muslim historical writings about the Wandbrough, Wansbrough considered that he could come up with an alternative explanation about its origins. As a document susceptible of analysis by the instruments and wansbrougn of Biblical criticism it is virtually unknown.

The birth of Islam during the lifetime of the Prophet is by far the most significant thing that has ever wansbroguh in that part of the world, and parents told their children about it in an unbroken chain.

Wansbrough dismisses all of the Muslim historiography on the grounds that it was written long after the events it covers and therefore must be ignored. Views Read Edit View history. The Disqus comments facility below allows you to wansbrouth on this page.

One of the most accessible comments he makes is: Unlike the minutiae to be gained from variae lectiones ,[variant readings] analysis of variant traditions will not support the theory of an Urtext [original text] nor even that of a composite edition produced by deliberations in committee, both of which may, not surprisingly, be traced to Rabbinic Vorlagen [prior texts].

There is a good deal of uncertainty as to what we do mean here by ‘the Quran. The simplest explanation is usually the best In my opinion, Occam’s Razor is on the side of the generally accepted view of the origin of Islam.

In the Muslim exegetical literature jogn latter were explained, or evaded, by reference to the chronology of revelation, by means of which unmistakable repetition in the Quranic text could be justified.

Perhaps a translation of Wansbrough into English would allow us at least to assess the importance of his work. In a purely oral culture, I would expect most Americans, at least those from the North, to revere the speech and to continue to transmit it orally to their children.