The Interreligious Context of Qurʾān Interpretation: Early Arabic Christian and Muslim Exegesis of the Qurʾān, 8th-10th Centuries CE

Doctoral Dissertation


This dissertation is a study in the history of the reception of the Qurʾān in the early Islamic centuries using material from this period, in particular writings by Muslim and Arabophone Christian writers. Simply put, my main hypothesis is that regardless of the authors’ intentions and the overall agenda of their works, writings from the early Islamic centuries that invoke the Qurʾān tell us something about the reception of the Qurʾān during this early period. To this end, I investigate four key qurʾānic passages—Q 112; 4:171; 3:45-51; and 5:116-120—which are among the loci of Arabophone Christian and Muslim debates in the early centuries, and are therefore frequently cited and studied in theological writings early on. In each case study I employ a two-tiered comparative structure: first, comparing early theological Muslim and Arabophone Christian approaches, and then comparing the interpretative approaches and priorities in these theological texts to those presented in select works of early classical Tafsīr. The picture we have is one of an exegetical feedback loop, with Christians relying on, as well as reacting to, Muslim data, and vice versa. Contra allegations of instrumentalist usages of the Qurʾān in apologetics, I contend that the sacred text left a deep imprint on Arabophone Christians and their theological enterprise. Incorporating Arabic Christian readings of the Qurʾān inevitably enriches our understanding of the reception of the sacred text, and indeed helps us better capture the dynamism characteristic of the interreligious context of Qurʾān interpretation in the early Islamic centuries.


Attribute NameValues
Author Mourad Takawi
Contributor Gabriel Said Reynolds, Research Director
Degree Level Doctoral Dissertation
Degree Discipline Theology
Degree Name Doctor of Philosophy
Banner Code

Submission Date 2019-06-21
  • Tafsīr, Qurʾān, Early Islam, Arabic Christianity, Christian-Muslim Relations

Record Visibility Public
Content License
  • All rights reserved

Departments and Units
Catalog Record


Please Note: You may encounter a delay before a download begins. Large or infrequently accessed files can take several minutes to retrieve from our archival storage system.