Holistic Approaches to the Qur’an: A Historical Background

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Abstract

Holistic and other coherence-related approaches have a long history in tafsir– the tradition of Qur’an exegesis; however, it is only in the twentieth century that they have experienced widespread dissemination. This article explores their history from the early eighth century to the modern age, addressing developments both in western and in traditional Muslim scholarship. It begins with the early discourses on the Qur’an’s style and organization (nazm) and the immediate connections between its suras and verses (munasaba). It then covers the modern revival of the nazm genre and the appearance of the literary and thematic approaches.

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