The Enlightenment Qur'an

The Politics of Translation and the Construction of Islam

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About The Book

Iconoclastic and fiercely rational, the European Enlightenment witnessed the birth of modern Western society and thought. Reason was sacrosanct and for the first time, religious belief and institutions were open to widespread criticism. In this groundbreaking book, Ziad Elmarsafy challenges this accepted wisdom to argue that religion was still hugely influential in the era. But the religion in question wasn’t Christianity – it was Islam.

Charting the history of Qur’anic translations in Europe during the 18th and early 19th Centuries, Elmarsafy shows that a number of key enlightenment figures – including Voltaire, Rousseau, Goethe, and Napoleon – drew both inspiration and ideas from the Qur’an. Controversially placing Islam at the heart of the European Enlightenment, this lucid and well argued work is a valuable window into the interaction of East and West during this pivotal epoch in human history.

About The Author

Ziad Elmarsafy is Senior Lecturer in the Department of English and Related Literature at the University of York, UK.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Oneworld Publications (October 1, 2014)
  • Length: 336 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781780744858

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Raves and Reviews

“This is an important work for students of the Qur’an in the non-Muslim world.” “an intelligent book, superbly precise and both meticulously and generously documented”

– Muslim World Book Review

"Insightful, convincing and eloquent. Readers will gain a new appreciation of the complex background to our current intellectual and political reality."

– Andrew Rippin - Professor of History at University of Victoria, Canada

"A fine demonstration of the Koran and the figure of Prophet Muhammad as central sources to the Western thought."

– Bernard Heyberger - Universit

Erudite, subtle and profound. Stylishly written and a pleasure to read.

– Robert Irwin - Author of For Lust of Knowing: The Orientalists and Their Enemies

"Exquisitely persuades and provokes. Beautifully written and marvelously learned."

– Thomas Burman - Associate Professor of History, University of Tennessee