John Edward Wansbrough fut professeur d’études sémitiques et co-directeur de l’École d’études orientales et africaines (SOAS) de Londres. Il fit ses études à l’Université de Harvard. Il est l’auteur de deux ouvrages fondamentaux dans l’histoire de l’islamologie contemporaine : Qur’anic studies et Sectarian Milieu. Leur thèse, fort débattue encore aujourd’hui dans les cercles des spécialistes, postule que l’émergence de l’Islam est le fruit d’une mutation d’un judéo-christianisme "sectaire" qui se propagea dans les terres arabes. Selon lui, l’islam des origines ne fut qu’une élaboration hagiographique rétroactive.
One of the most innovative thinkers in the field of Islamic Studies was John Wansbrough (1928-2002), Professor of Semitic Studies and Pro-Director of London University’s School of Oriental and African Studies. Critiquing the traditional accounts of the origins of Islam as historically unreliable and heavily influenced by religious dogma, Wansbrough suggested radically new interpretations very different from the views of both the Muslim orthodoxy and most Western scholars.
Originally published in 1977, Quranic Studies presents an in-depth textual exegesis of the Quran based on form analysis. Noting the persistent use of monotheistic imagery stemming from Judeo-Christian sources, he interpreted the rise of Islam as the development of what was originally a Judeo-Christian sect. As this sect evolved and differentiated itself from its Judeo-Christian roots, the Quran also evolved and was continuously in flux for over a century. Wansbrough concluded that the canonization of the text that we today call the Quran, and even the emergence of the concept of “Islam,” probably did not occur till the end of the eighth century, more than 150 years after the death of Muhammad.
Although his work remains controversial to this day, his fresh insights and approaches to the study of Islam continue to inspire scholars. This new edition contains a valuable assessment of Wansbrough’s contributions and many useful textual notes and translations by Andrew Rippin (professor of history, University of Victoria).
John Wansbrough (1928-2002) was Professor of Semitic Studies and Pro-Director of London University’s School of Oriental and African Studies. Besides Quranic Studies, he also published The Sectarian Milieu (1978), Lingua Franca in the Mediterranean (1996), and many scholarly articles
(Source : Prometheus Books)
Table des matières
Manuscripts utilized in Quranic studies
I Revelation and canon 1
II Emblems of prophethood 53
III Origins of classical Arabic 85
IV Principles of exegesis 119
Compte rendu (par Carool Kersten)