Solomon and the Ant

Solomon and the Ant

by David Penchansky
Solomon and the Ant

Solomon and the Ant

by David Penchansky


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Solomon and the Ant, using the Bible as a dialogue partner, examines stories from the Qur'an, their drama, characters, and meaning. Although some qur'anic stories have close biblical parallels, here Penchansky examines stories without biblical precursors. Qur'anic narratives in dialogue with biblical texts enhance understanding. Penchansky chooses biblical stories that address similar questions about the nature of God and God's interaction with people. Solomon matches wits with an ant, a bird, and the queen of Sheba. Magical creatures, the jinn, are driven out of heaven by fiery meteors. Moses, on a quest, meets a mysterious stranger. The Bible offers parallels and connections. Genesis, Exodus, Isaiah, Matthew, and other biblical books, contrast with the qur'anic text, comment on the qur'anic story, and supplement it. - Separated by space and time, the Bible and the Qur'an faced similar issues. - Both the Bible and the Qur'an adapted material from their surrounding culture while at the same time distinguishing themselves from that culture. - Rather than addressing this cultural confrontation with rigid certainty, the Bible and the Qur'an are ambiguous and multivocal. - The Bible and the Qur'an are layered, containing stories within stories, fragments, and structural abnormalities. These features contribute to meaning. Penchansky's analysis of these stories makes the Qur'an accessible and compelling to nonspecialists and students.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781725288683
Publisher: Cascade Books
Publication date: 07/30/2021
Pages: 202
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.47(d)

About the Author

David Penchansky is Professor Emeritus at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota. He is the author of Twilight of the Gods (2005), What Rough Beast? (1999), and Understanding Wisdom Literature (2012).

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

“This is a conversation between the Qur’an and the Bible as serious as it is simple. Applying a wealth of scholarly experience, Penchansky engages the holy texts both thematically and thoughtfully. Using his mastery of post-biblical and Islamic traditions, the author ensures a robust discussion about how readers wrestle with God through the stories of Scripture.”

—Emran El-Badawi, University of Houston

“Some of the most obscure Qur’anic passages that seem to discuss fantastical realms, such as the jinn or demons, speaking animals, magical worlds of angels or deities, and mystical journeys have no recognizable biblical counterparts. Yet Penchansky is so well-versed in biblical literature that he brings a genuine voice artfully and skillfully mirroring Qur’anic narratives with similitudes in biblical literature. Away from any polemics, this is brilliantly an honest and sympathetic reflection that would undoubtedly enlighten and enrich any reader of the Qur’an.”

—Abdulla Galadari, Khalifa University of Science and Technology

“This book makes a unique and important contribution to the study of the relationship between the Bible and the Qur’an. Adopting a thematic approach, Penchansky offers a set of insightful and creative studies that explore how the two texts address the topics of polytheism, theodicy, and revelation. Readers will come away with a deeper appreciation of the fascinating interconnections that exist between the scriptures of the monotheistic traditions.”

—John Kaltner, Rhodes College

“The Qur’an’s narrative extension of the biblical tradition has been the subject of much scholarly discussion. While most scholars who engage in this field are trained in Qur’anic studies, Penchansky’s training in the Hebrew Bible makes Solomon and the Ant an important and unique contribution. Through a careful analysis of parallel stories in the Bible and the Qur’an, this book demonstrates how the two scriptures share the same cultural milieu, without losing sight of the Qur’an’s theological peculiarity, and it does so with commendable clarity.”

—Mun’im Sirry, author of Controversies over Islamic Origins

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