Synopses & Reviews
Books of Divine Encounter, Keith E. Small has written a rich visual history of the Qurand#39;an focused on more than fifty manuscripts in the collection of the Bodleian Library, University of Oxford. One of the oldest and finest collections of Qurand#39;an in the English-speaking world, it includes treasures from parchment pages from Islamandrsquo;s earliest centuries to a highly adorned copy of the Qurand#39;an that once belonged to Tipu Sultan, the eighteenth-century ruler of the Islamic Kingdom of Mysore. Beginning with a brief introduction, Small takes readers through the Qurand#39;anandrsquo;s origins. The book then follows the development of the Qurand#39;an chronologically and geographically, treating in each chapter the themes of textual development, divine presence, and political and religious identity. A wealth of full-color illustrations facilitates an examination of the artistic legacy of the Qurand#39;an, including the beautiful calligraphy that became the foundation of Islamic visual culture for centuries to come.
A lavishly illustrated historical overview,Qurand#39;ans: Books of Divine Encounter brings together in one volume a magnificent range of Qurand#39;ans, bearing singular insight into these beautiful and significant sacred texts.
andquot;Small presents a beautiful array of Qurand#39;an manuscripts from different periods and with different technical and aesthetic qualities. This work offers readers an extraordinary introduction to the ways in which Muslims have preserved and ornamented their scripture through the centuries.andquot;
andquot;This magnificent survey of Qurand#39;anic manuscripts provides a vivid illustration of Muslim devotion to the text of the Qurand#39;an.andquot;
andquot;Truly a feast for the eyes, with many beautiful illustrations that one lingers over with pleasure.and#160; But it is also a joy to read Smalland#39;s fascinating text, which introduces the astonishing diversity of ways the Qurand#39;an has been rendered for nearly a millennium and a halfandmdash;from sumptuous luxury editions for kings, to workaday and quirky regional editions for personal use, to tiny miniature editions and even talismanic shirts.andquot;
This book provides a unique visual history of the Qurand#8217;and#257;n using fifty-five rare, beautiful, and significant Qurand#8217;and#257;n manuscripts.
A general introduction guides the reader through the Qurand#8217;and#257;n's entry into the world of late near eastern antiquity, a world where books of scripture were inextricably bound to the political and religious identities of empires. Books of scripture, as well as being visible statements of divine majesty, personal piety, and religious identity, were viewed as providing a point of contact with the divine. In this setting the Qurand#8217;and#257;n came to be viewed by Muslims as the point of divine contact without peer, and the calligraphy of its text became the foundation of Islamic visual culture for centuries to come. From this beginning, the development of the Qurand#8217;and#257;n in book form is followed chronologically and geographically, and the themes of textual development, art, identity, and divine presence are highlighted in each chapter.
This book draws mainly from the collection of Qurand#8217;and#257;ns in the Bodleian Library, one of the oldest collections in the English speaking world and one of the finest collections internationally. Manuscripts are featured from every major chronological period of the Qurand#8217;and#257;n's history, and most of the Qurand#8217;and#257;ns pictured have never appeared in print before.
About the Author
Keith E. Small is Qur'anic manuscript consultant to the Bodleian Library, University of Oxford, and a research fellow at the London School of Theology. He is the author of Textual Criticism and Qur'an Manuscripts.