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The nature of Qur’anic emotion, where it is felt, and how it is expressed

  • Karen Bauer
Tuesday 10 April 2018
Free to visit
LUCIS Spring Fellow 2018: Karen Bauer
Cleveringaplaats 1
2311 BD Leiden

The nature of emotions

This lecture addresses the very nature of emotions and the way that they are physically felt and expressed in the Qur’an. Physical manifestations include shaking, weeping, laughing, and falling prostrate. But what do these expressions mean? Recent theories from scholars of the Bible have called into question the nature of emotions in that text. In this lecture, we compare such perspectives with the descriptions of emotion in the Qur’an and in select pre-Islamic texts to shed light on what emotions are, when, why, and how they are felt, and where they reside in the body. This lecture pays particular attention to the heart as a locus of both feeling and understanding in the Qur’an, and relates this Qur’anic conception of heart to ancient ideas of the body, mind, and feelings.

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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