By Bruce Lawrence
(Atlantic Monthly Press, Hardcover, 9780871139511, 256pp.)
Publication Date: February 2007
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Few books in history have been as poorly understood as the Qur’an. Sent down in a series of revelations to the Prophet Muhammad, the Qur’an is the unmediated word of Allah, a ritual, political, and legal authority, an ethical and spiritual guide, and a literary masterpiece. In this book, one of the launch titles in Atlantic Monthly Press’ Books That Changed the World” series, the distinguished historian of religion Bruce Lawrence shows precisely how the Qur’an is Islam. He describes the origins of the faith and assesses its tremendous influence on today’s societies and politics. Above all, Lawrence emphasizes that the Qur’an is a sacred book of signs that has no single message. It is a book that demands interpretation and one that can be properly understood only through its history. Bruce Lawrence’s work is a beautifully written and, in these increasingly troubled times, invaluable introduction to and exploration of the core sacred text of Islam.