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date: 18 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The article discusses Muslim attempts to develop innovative hermeneutical models for understanding the Qurʾān. It analyses the beginnings of reform in the eighteenth and mid-nineteenth centuries and the sustained efforts, starting in the late nineteenth century, to bring the interpretation of the Qur’an in line with ideas of rationalism and modernism. On this basis, the chapter presents an overview of the most important modern hermeneutical approaches to the Qur’an, some of which focus on its literary qualities, its historical context, its major themes, or its main goals, while others emphasize the Qurʾān’s inimitability in new ways or seek to expose its immediate relevance for contemporary believers. The development of these new ideas, which have often provoked severe criticism, is situated in the structural context of the emergence of colonial and nation states, mass alphabetization, and new media.

Keywords: Qurʾān, exegesis, hermeneutics, modernity, reform

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