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by Lawson, Todd
Suppose our knowledge of the Quran began only recently with the discovery of mysterious scrolls in a desert cave. Suppose there was no Islamic history and no Muslim community to help us understand this book. Is it conceivable, then, that we might mistake it for the central text of a long-vanished apocalyptic community whose ideas about the next world, colorful and extraordinary as they appear, nonetheless make perfect sense in the context of perhaps the most pervasive literary genre of late antiquity, the epic?
How do people understand the Quran to be divine revelation? What is it about this book that inspires such devotion in the reader/believer? Todd Lawson explores how the timeless literary genres of epic and apocalypse bear religious meaning in the Quran, communicating the sense of divine presence, urgency and truth. Grounding his approach in the universal power of story and myth, he provides a unique appreciation of the unparalleled status and unique charisma of the Quran as a religious text and monument of world literature.