Raymond Farrin

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Interest in the structure of the Qur’an has its beginnings in the ninth century CE with Muslim scholars. Since that time, Muslim and Western scholars have debated the coherence of the Qur’an’s structure. Raymond Farrin, professor of Arabic at the American University of Kuwait, opens his newest book, Structure and Qur’anic Interpretation: A Study of Symmetry and Coherence in Islam’s Holy Text (White Cloud Press, 2014) with a historical synopsis of the views adopted by the two primary camps regarding the structure of the Qur’an and the development of the study of the Qur’an’s constitution. Following in the footsteps of Muslim scholars and Western scholars of Islam who acknowledged and demonstrated patterns of connectivity between verses and chapters, Farrin argues that the entirety of Qur’an is organized according to three common patterns of symmetry: parallelism, chiasm, and, the most ubiquitous of three, concentrism. As the reader moves form chapter to chapter, Professor Farrin explores how these patterns of symmetry are found in the individual chapters, chapter pairs, groupings of chapters, systems of chapters, and then the entire corpus. This structural analysis provides Farrin the opportunity to explore the overall connectivity of messages throughout the Qur’an. Accompany this study, Farrin provides multiple appendixes providing structural analysis of selected chapters, a complete listing of chapter pairs and groups, a “Reading Group Guide” of revelations mentioning prophets, and a chronological listing of chapters based on the work of Nöldeke. Professor Farrin’s work is a significant contribution to the field. It is of great value to scholars of Islam but written in terms accessible to all interested in exploring the Qur’an.

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