My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I remember reading about this book while in Amman, Jordan in 2006. Bruce Lawrence mentions that he was assisted by Dr Ibrahim Abu Nab of Amman in the beginnings of this book. I have had it on my "reading now" shelf for years, and despite being half-way though, I started from the beginning yesterday and finished it today. I think the problem with my earlier attempt at reading the work was my lack of historical, geopolitical, and theological knowledge at the time. So this reading I found rather gripping. The book is a chronological biography of the Qur'an, and is part of a series of "Books that Shook the World". If this book is the standard for the series, then I will invest in some of the other books. What I like about Lawrence's work is that it is scholarly, contemporary, and pragmatic all at once. The fifteen chapters each present a different story about the Qur'an, in chronological order, and from various cultures and geographical locations. It might have been useful to read this book before I read Pioneers of Islamic Scholarship by Adil Salahi, and I may now revisit this work to pick up on many of the names and chronologies that I struggled with on my first reading. I do not think this is a book for beginners, although it is easy enough to read, but much would be lost without a basic understanding or a willingness to undertake background study while reading the book. While it took me a long time to read, I am glad I had put it off for so long, otherwise I would have missed a good deal from my lack of background knowledge.
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