Abstract and Keywords
The message of the Qur’an is carried by a large cast of dramatis personae, the majority of whom have counterparts in the Bible. They include humankind (foremost among them the Prophets), angels, and jinn. The Qur’an has long been regarded as an epigone, lacking internal coherence, and the roles played by its characters of minor interest. The chapter outlines the stages by which it has become recognized as a definite and defining discourse in its own right, using the cultural language of late antiquity in its own way, and shaped by its interaction with the community to whom it was first revealed. The prophets and personalities known from other traditions accordingly have refashioned roles in a new framework. This shift in approach has generated new ways of viewing the Qur’anic discourse, and uncovering layers of meaning within it. These contrast with and sometimes challenge the insights of the classical tradition of exegesis.
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