Early Islamic sciences of the Qurʾān in light of late antique commentary cultures
The research project investigates processes of knowledge transfer in the Qurʾān and in the process of establishing the “sciences of the Qurʾān” (ʿulūm al-Qurʾān) in communication with other late antique commentary cultures. The project investigates the question of how truth claims are produced, postulated or modified in and via the medium of commentaries. Objects of interest are exegetical works on the Qurʾān proper (tafsīr) and on those Quranic texts that already employ strategies resembling the “commentary”. The project builds on the assumption that the establishment of institutionally stabilized and authoritative branches of knowledge in Arabic mirror a process of social differentiation in Arabic-Islamic society. The use of media, particularly of script and the codex, plays a major role in this process. The project shall explore the impact of early Islamic textual and linguistic scholarship on these processes of differentiation. More precisely: How are the establishment of text genres, historiographical categories and forms of interpretation part of the formation of a canon that was itself crucial for the process of forming an Arab identity and tradition.