Though exegesis of the Qur’an is a crucial feature of many types of Islamic literature, Qur’anic commentary (tafsir) is distinctive in its dedication to explaining the Qur’an verse by verse. Considering the audience of tafsir is an essential part of understanding why the author chose to include certain content and to write in a particular style. Few scholars have studied the intended or actual audience of tafsir in the pre-modern period or attempted to develop a typology of tafsir that relates to its style, purpose and audience. Dr Bauer’s paper is a preliminary assessment of the audiences of works of tafsir from the 11th-13th centuries.


Dr Bauer’s work is part of the Qur’anic Studies project at the IIS, which has recently published a book titled An Anthology of Qur'anic Commentaries that analyses the works of twenty selected Sunni, Shi‘i, Ibadi, Mu‘tazili and Sufi commentators on six different Qur'anic verses, revealing varied approaches to the scripture and its meaning.