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Distributed for Bodleian Library Publishing


Books of Divine Encounter

With Qur'ans: Books of Divine Encounter, Keith E. Small has written a rich visual history of the Qur'an focused on more than fifty manuscripts in the collection of the Bodleian Library, University of Oxford. One of the oldest and finest collections of Qur'an in the English-speaking world, it includes treasures from parchment pages from Islam’s earliest centuries to a highly adorned copy of the Qur'an that once belonged to Tipu Sultan, the eighteenth-century ruler of the Islamic Kingdom of Mysore. Beginning with a brief introduction, Small takes readers through the Qur'an’s origins. The book then follows the development of the Qur'an chronologically and geographically, treating in each chapter the themes of textual development, divine presence, and political and religious identity. A wealth of full-color illustrations facilitates an examination of the artistic legacy of the Qur'an, including the beautiful calligraphy that became the foundation of Islamic visual culture for centuries to come.

A lavishly illustrated historical overview,Qur'ans: Books of Divine Encounter brings together in one volume a magnificent range of Qur'ans, bearing singular insight into these beautiful and significant sacred texts.

176 pages | 58 color plates | 7 1/2 x 7 1/2 | © 2015

Religion: Islam

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"Small presents a beautiful array of Qur'an manuscripts from different periods and with different technical and aesthetic qualities. This work offers readers an extraordinary introduction to the ways in which Muslims have preserved and ornamented their scripture through the centuries."

Gabriel Said Reynolds, University of Notre Dame

"This magnificent survey of Qur'anic manuscripts provides a vivid illustration of Muslim devotion to the text of the Qur'an."

Andrew Rippin, Institute of Ismaili Studies, London

"Truly a feast for the eyes, with many beautiful illustrations that one lingers over with pleasure.  But it is also a joy to read Small's fascinating text, which introduces the astonishing diversity of ways the Qur'an has been rendered for nearly a millennium and a half—from sumptuous luxury editions for kings, to workaday and quirky regional editions for personal use, to tiny miniature editions and even talismanic shirts."

Fred M. Donner, University of Chicago

Table of Contents

A Pictorial History of the Qur’an
From Preaching to a Divine Book
The Transition from Parchment to Paper
The Majestic Heights of Qur’anic Art
European Renaissance Encounters with the Qur’an
Global Dissemination of the Qur’an
Personal Manuscripts of the Qur’an

Recommended Reading
Index of Manuscripts

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