Gender Studies

The Qur’anic Talut (Saul) and the Rise of the Ancient Israelite Monarchy: An Intertextual Reading

Using contemporary ideas of intertextuality, this study investigates the Qur’anic story of Talut (2:246-51), the first Israelite monarch, as it is set against the background of the Biblical account. A verse-by-verse analysis yields the Qur’anic sequence of events, which includes Talut’s nomination, the Ark’s appearance, crossing the river, Goliath’s defeat, and David’s succession. The Biblical counterparts, located within the books of Joshua, Judges, and I Samuel, feature such characters as Joshua, Gideon, Samuel, and Saul. The Qur’an is thereby reading the books of Joshua, Judges 6-8, I Samuel 1-7, and I Samuel 8-31 synoptically, and the Talut story is a harmonized account of these narratives. Reading between the two texts enhances the Qur’anic story, showing how it functions as a blueprint for the synoptic reading, in addition to furthering our understanding of Talut, who provides a typological prefiguration for Muhammad. However, the synoptic reading also enhances the Biblical story, showing the skill with which the multiple consecutive narratives implicitly argue for judgeship as opposed to kingship in the post-exilic context. 

Women in the Mosque: Historical Perspectives on Segregation

This paper deals with the issue of women’s full or partial access to the mosque from 610-925. This period is divided into two timeframes. The first, 610-34, consists mainly of the time in which the Prophet was active in Makkah and Madinah. The second, 634-925, is the period beginning with `Umar’s reign to the time when the Hadith literature was written down and set into the well-known compilations. Two types of evidence are examined for both periods: material and textual records. Material records consist of the layout of the various mosques, where the existence or absence of dividing walls or separate entrances could be important clues. Textual records consist mainly of the Qur’an and Hadith literature.

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