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The Emotive Qur’an in its Late Antique Context, part 1: Context

  • Karen Bauer
Tuesday 20 March 2018
Free to visit
LUCIS Spring Fellow 2018: Karen Bauer
Cleveringaplaats 1
2311 BD Leiden
Depiction of pre-Islamic poet Antarah ibn Shaddad

Emotion in pre-Islamic Arabia

The Qur’an did not emerge in a vacuum: its emotional appeal was oriented to a particular audience, who had their own values and ideas. This lecture is an attempt to recover an understanding of a Late Antique, pre-Islamic emotional norms through a constellation of emotions (fear, grief, love, and compassion), as they appear in pre-Islamic poetry, selected Syriac homiletic poems, and other sources. Drawing on recent theories from the field of emotions history, Bauer focuses particularly on how these emotions were expressed or controlled. Emotional control and expression sheds light on the power relations between the different actors in these texts, and the gendered dynamics of emotion. Bauer also argues that descriptions of emotional control, or lack thereof, are related to a text’s function and genre.

About Karen Bauer

Dr. Karen Bauer (PhD, Princeton, 2008) is a Senior Research Associate in the Qur’anic Studies Unit at the institute of Ismaili studies. She specialises in Islamic social and intellectual history; her specific interests include the Qur’an and Qur’anic exegesis, emotions and emotional rhetoric in Islamic history, and gender in Islamic history and thought. Her research centers on medieval texts, but she occasionally ventures into modern territory, such as when she interviewed religious scholars (ʿulamaʾ) in Iran and Syria for her book Gender Hierarchy in the Qur’an. She has published on subjects such as emotional rhetoric in the Qur'an, women’s right to be judges in medieval Islamic law, the potential and actual audiences for medieval tafsīr, and the formula pertaining to kindness in marriage present in both tafsīr and the documentary evidence of contracts of marriage. She is active in the International Qur’anic Studies Association (IQSA).

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