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      Text-Critical Approaches to Sura Structure: Combining Synchronicity with Diachronicity in Sūrat al-Baqara. Part Two


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          This article is an exploratory attempt to rationalise a combination of seemingly disparate strands of current thought on sura structure into a workable, if tentative, system. Despite the number of unknowns in this area, the overlapping structures that are posited by thematic concerns, semantic repetitions, sura rhythm, rhyme patterns, and variations in verse length, would seem to highlight the possibility of a fusion of synchronic and diachronic elements in sura composition.

          The present essay divides into two parts, and four main sections. Part One, published in JQS 19:1, contrasted five scholarly analyses of the structure of (largely) Sūrat al-Baqara in order to highlight the differences and overlaps between them. It then built upon the work of Neuwirth and Stewart, and looked at the rhyme patterns in Sūrat al-Baqara in an attempt to achieve a closer definition of what should be considered anomalous within the context of this sura, and what the structural significance of this could be. Part Two, published in this volume, first considers Bazargan's system for the internal division of suras into diachronic layers (‘Sura Structure III: Chronological Markers’), contrasting this to the schemes proposed by Nöldeke and Bell, and making a preliminary attempt at assessing the extent to which apparent chronological markers within al-Baqara can be utilised alongside synchronic approaches to the corpus, in order to attain a more precise understanding of sura structure. Finally, ‘Sura Structure IV: Exploring the Potential for Synthesis’ further investigates the possibility that the structural markers identified by the various hermeneutical systems need not be applied in isolation of one another, and looks at compositional paradigms for the Qur'anic corpus with specific reference to Medinan material.

          Most cited references78

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          The Chronology of the Qurān: A Stylometric Research Program

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            Quranic Studies: Sources and Methods of Scriptural Interpretation

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              The Codex of a Companion of the Prophet and the Qurān of the Prophet


                Author and article information

                Journal of Qur'anic Studies
                Edinburgh University Press ( 22 George Square, Edinburgh EH8 9LF UK )
                June 2017
                : 19
                : 2
                : 64-105
                SOAS, University of London
                © Centre of Islamic Studies, SOAS
                Page count
                Tables: 5, References: 46, Pages: 42
                Articles in English
                Islamic Studies

                Political science,Literature of other nations & languages,Art history & Criticism,Religious studies & Theology,Arab world & Islam,History
                ring theory,sura-as-a-unity,sura structure,diachronicity,Qur'anic rhyme,sura composition,Medinan suras,Mehdi Bazargan,Sūrat al-Baqara


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