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What the Qur'an Meant: And Why It Matters Hardcover – October 3, 2017
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"Wills has written perhaps the best introduction to the Quran that I know of: elegant, insightful, even at times joyful...his encounter with it is a pleasure to read for anyone as open to discovery as he is."
—The New York Times
“A useful and worthy interpretation that non-Muslims will find illuminating...Best-selling Wills’ stature will draw many readers.”—Booklist
“A work of intimate and charitable interreligious dialogue.” –Publishers Weekly
Additional Praise for Garry Wills:
“Garry Wills is not only one of the country’s most distinguished intellectuals but also one of its most provocative, bringing his learning to bear on great questions of history and contemporary politics.” —The New York Times Book Review
“America’s greatest public intellectual.” —Chicago Tribune
“Garry Wills is simultaneously one of this country’s leading public intellectuals and American Catholicism’s most formidable lay scholar. . . . What makes Wills’s contribution unique in a country whose shelves of religious books these days overflow with vitriol, bombast and treacle is his singular combination of intellectual integrity and authentically unsentimental spirituality.” —Los Angeles Times
About the Author
Garry Wills is a Pulitzer Prize–winning historian and the author of The New York Times bestsellers What Jesus Meant, Papal Sin, Why I Am a Catholic, and Why Priests?, among others. He studied for the priesthood, took his doctorate in the classics, and taught ancient and New Testament Greek at Johns Hopkins University. Professor of history emeritus at Northwestern University, he lives in Evanston, Illinois.
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Overall this book is a very good example of what can be achieved when Western intellectuals seek to honestly confront and grapple with their own ignorance regarding Islam and the Quran. Many conservatives from multiple sides will no doubt decry this book, and use some of his blatant errors, such as referring to the Prophet's wife Zaynab as Zayda, to cast the whole book in a negative light. But Wills has done an admirable job of reaching beyond his own comfort zone (the Western cannon and the Christian tradition) to examine material that is not so foreign as some would make it out to be.
For non-Muslims, this is an excellent book to try to better understand the Quran, though as Wills recommends, one should go to The Study Quran: A New Translation and Commentary for deeper investigation, or perhaps to Ingrid Mattson's The Story of the Qur'an: Its History and Place in Muslim Life. Muslims who have already had some exposure to the Quran and wish to know more about their own tradition will not find much material here. They will, however, find it to be useful for understanding how to present Islam and the Quran to non-Muslims.
My only major criticism would be the use of Abdal Haleem's translation for most citations. Though it is smooth in English, it has many minor inaccuracies which do lead to slight misinterpretations on Wills's part.
Most recent customer reviews
Another liberal arts education in a short book
The most recent book by Garry Wills takes off from where he...Read more