Medieval Studies Faculty Colloquium: Tehseen Thaver | Engaging the Sensoria in Premodern Qur’an Commentary

Dec 6, 2023, 12:00 pm1:20 pm
209 Scheide Caldwell


Event Description

What is the relationship between Qur’an exegesis, ritual practice, and the formations of religious identities and communities? This is the central question this presentation will address by focusing on the first complete and extant Persian Qur’an commentary to have been composed by a Twelver Shi‘i scholar, Shaykh Abu al-Futuh Razi (d. 1157), titled The Cool Breeze of Paradise and Breath for the Soul. Through a close reading of Razi’s exegesis I show the interaction of Qur’an exegesis, Shi’i rituals of remembrance and the cultivation of distinct sensorial reactions and capacities – an important medium for the narration, transmission, and indeed determination of religious identities. I argue that Razi’s commentary served the dual role of “explanatory written text” and “oral ritual telling,” while establishing its authority in each of these contexts.