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The Story of the Qur'an: Its History and Place in Muslim Life 1st Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1405122580
ISBN-10: 1405122587
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Editorial Reviews

Review

?Ingrid Mattson has written a stimulating and scholarly account of Islam, focusing on the Quran. She has a gift for condensing complex material without oversimplifying and her approach, although scholarly, is far from being a dry analysis of well-known historical events and religious debates.? ( Journal of Islamic Studies, September 2009)

?This well-researched, informative, carefully written introduction to the Qur'an by a young Muslim scholar is a sign of the times. Mattson (Hartford Seminary) brings to her work an impressive set of credentials. Readers of whatever stripe will find her introduction a welcome addition to the academic literature on the Qur'an. This is an ideal undergraduate text, but also a useful resource for a general audience. Highly recommended.? (Choice Reviews, October 2008)

?A balanced, academically-based, and well-documented introduction ? Mattson throws a much-needed light on what it means to be a Muslim.? (Islamic Horizons)

Review

“It takes rare skill to make an introduction to scripture compelling, but Mattson has done it. Students will find the text fascinating, a delicate balance of highly scholarly material and inviting anecdotes. Scholars will also find the text of interest, particularly its deft compilation of a remarkable breadth of scholarship. Perhaps most importantly, this text is the first full introduction to the study of the Qur’an from the perspective of a Western Muslim woman, bringing the Qur’an alive in ways only someone fully engaged in and sensitive to twenty-first century realities can do.” –Tamara Sonn, College of William & Mary

“The author has been entirely successful in accomplishing her aims: she has written an academically-based, well-documented introduction to the Qur'an which will find wide readership.”
–Andrew Rippin, University of Victoria

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell; 1 edition (December 10, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1405122587
  • ISBN-13: 978-1405122580
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #773,838 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
If you are among the fortunate ones to read Dr. Mattson's book before your first encounter with the Qur'anic narrative, I envy you. As a prison chaplain I offer that this book will be very pivotal in helping to broaden the frame of reference of new Muslims with limited access to traditional sources. Moreover, as a graduate student in seminary I suggest this introduction to the Qur'an will develop your intellectual capacity to hear God's Voice in the most subtle and generous ways possible. The Story of the Qur'an takes into account where mainstream America is and graciously extends an invitation to sit and engage the divine narrative in the classroom of Dr. Mattson. The normal patriarchal Qur'anic history meets herstory's narrative in this book and an absolutely inspiring transformation occurs to those who suffered from gender tone deafness. Read it for yourself and I guarantee you will never read the Qur'an the same way thereafter. First time readers of Qur'an will be enriched by the supportive and diverse resources to help novices be engaged intimately with the scripture. More seasoned Qur'anic readers are challenged to listen deeper and more affectionately to the Voice of God, so I envy the novices who will be able to listen to the Qur'an almost as if they were with the Prophet Muhammad and the first community of revelation both males and females.
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Format: Paperback
I am a Christian pastor and high school Religion teacher, and I'm currently using "The Story of the Qur'an" as part of a course for Juniors and Seniors on Islam. It's an excellent resource: deeply scholarly, but also user-friendly. It's technical, but absolutely approachable. Even those just beginning to learn about Islam and the Qur'an will be able to get it.

For teachers: Mattson's book occupies a niche that others don't cover. It explains "what's in the Qur'an," to be sure, but also questions including: "how did the Qur'an take shape?" and "what role(s) does it play within Muslim culture throughout history and today?" and "how have Muslims interpreted the Qur'an?" (Note: these are my summaries, not its chapter headings, per se.)

It's really the last three questions that set the book apart from other introductory texts. Most of these will tell you THAT the Qur'an is important, and many will tell you WHY, at least in a general way. But none I know offer the same nuanced view of HOW the text evolved and how its reception and interpretation have also evolved.

Why does that matter? Well, I've found that my students come to the Qur'an with a great deal of interest, but also suspicion. They are attracted to its emphasis on social justice and are often surprised by its beauty, but put off by its eschatology (which, in fairness, they have only just begun to learn). They struggle mightily to understand the authority of a text -- a struggle that is made harder by the general distrust of any authority that is typical of their age, but also compounded by the media treatments of Islam which are often all they know of the faith.

Mattson is brilliant in giving them ways to understand that authority as the product of revelation, but also history.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
An outstanding book addressing the commonly asked questions--is Quran really word of God, how was it compiled, who is the author, have no changes been incorporated etc.The book describes in detail the importance of oral traditions and how they are continued in 21st century--chap 3 describes the journey of a 17yr old American teenager-Reem- in ensuring the continuation of the oral traditions.
Reader will also learn about the role played by some women and Jews during the life of the prophet. A great book written by a practicing Muslim female adresses most of the commonly asked questions regarding Quran and Muslims. Highly recommend it.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Story of the Qur'an, Its History and Place in Muslim Life, Dr. Ingrid Mattson, 2008, Oxford UK, Blackwell Publishing, 262 pages.
This work is written by Dr. Mattson as a result of teaching introductory Qur'an to graduate students. She wanted an academic book that served as a starting point for those who will pursue this subject further. This book details Dr. Mattson's own perspective on the Qur'an, which is the perspective of a western academic who is a practicing Muslim. As the author admitted, an introductory book on the Qur'an can only scratch the surface of the subject and has to be selective in what it chooses to cover from verses and sources.
The book is comprised of the following Chapters: God Speaks to Humanity; The Prophet Conveys the Message; The Voice and the Pen; Blessed Words: The Qur'an and the Culture; What God Really Means: Interpreting the Qur'an and finally; Conclusion: Listening for God
In reviewing this book, I will look at it as a text book for mainly non-Muslims who are attempting to get a handle on this complex Book (the Qur'an). I believe that Dr. Mattson managed to achieve most of what she set out to achieve. I do recommend this book to its intended reader group as well as to anyone who is new to the subject of Qur'anic Studies (Muslim or Non-Muslim.)
The book has a very easy eloquence about it. In many parts it reads like a novel. I found myself unable to put it down even with tired eyes. Some of the explanations in this book regarding the meaning of the Qur'an to non-Muslims are among the best I have read.

This is an excellent book for anyone who wishes to learn about the Qur'an in a holistic fashion. In my opinion it has achieved its goals as stated in the preface.
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