How to Read the Qur’an, by Carl W. Ernst

In the decade since 9/11, it seems as though every trade publisher and university press has brought forth a volume like this one: a guide to the Qur’an for the perplexed. Carl Ernst, a professor of religious studies at the University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill, eschews the usual method for books of this sort. He contends that guides to the content, themes and teachings of the Qur’an prematurely iron out the tensions and conflicting statements in the text. Instead, he appeals to us as readers and teaches us how to make sense of the text, because in order to understand what the text says, we need to understand how it says it.


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