The Muslim community gives its scripture a “degree of authority… to determine faith and life… perhaps greater than in any other religion. However, the Qur’an also comes with unique challenges of comprehension. Muslim scripture is a ‘text without context,’ assumed by Muslim and non-Muslim scholars alike to be non-chronological in its arrangement. The Qur’an offers no narrative setting for the collection of prophetic materials—the ‘recitations’—which it offers. Its verses contain many pronouns but few explanations of the identity of subject and object, few contemporary historical references, few place names and locations. Large parts of the Qur’an seem simply meaningless without interpretive complement.”
— Gordon Nickel
The Qur’an’s interpretive context is found in the story of Islam’s founding, complemented by some grasp of the chronology of the Qur’an.
 Gordon Nickel, “Conquest and Controversy: Intertwined Themes in the Islamic Interpretive Tradition,” Numen 58 (2011) 233.
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