ProjectQaSLA – The Qur'an as a Source for Late Antiquity

Basic data

The Qur'an as a Source for Late Antiquity
01/10/2020 to 30/09/2025
Abstract / short description:
The Qur’an’s message to the populations of Mecca and Medina can only be fully understood in the context of its sustained and critical engagement with the Jewish and the Christian traditions. QaSLA complements and redevelops this approach from the ground up by utilizing the Qur’an across disciplines as witness to the history of Judaism and Christianity. Its innovation is twofold. The Qur’an, firstly, will become the primary literary source allowing us to sketch the religious landscape of the Arabian Peninsula, for which no comparable late antique witness exists. Secondly, the Qur’an’s testimony to the religious culture of its contemporaries will enable us to approach the development of Jewish and Christian traditions throughout Late Antiquity from a new perspective.

QaSLA’s main innovation consists in turning the table on the predominant hermeneutics of Western approaches to the Qur’an, which tend to focus on the question of how the Qur’an is influenced by Judaism and Christianity. By taxonomizing the religious profiles reflected in the demonstrable interface between the Qur’an and its Jewish and Christian contemporaries, the project first reorients and then revamps this approach. QaSLA initially analyses the affinity between the Qur’an and known forms of Judaism and Christianity surrounding Arabia in order to identify which biblical, exegetical, homiletic, legal, narrative, ritual, and poetic discourses and practices circulated within the peninsula. It then employs the Qur’an as a new vantage point from which to reconsider broader late antique religious trends across the Middle East. QaSLA combines expertise across disciplines to create a novel local Arabian and an enhanced longitudinal Middle Eastern understanding of Rabbinic Jewish and Syriac, Ethiopic and Arabic Christian cultures. In a final step, the project then returns to portray the Qur’an in sharper contradistinction to more clearly defined forms of Judaism and Christianity.
late antiquity

Involved staff


Institute for the Study of Religion and Jewish Studies (Institutum Judaicum)
Faculty of Protestant Theology

Local organizational units

Institute for the Study of Religion and Jewish Studies (Institutum Judaicum)
Faculty of Protestant Theology
University of Tübingen



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