In her talk, Dr. Bauer explored the methods of interpretation as developed by pre-modern interpreters, and contrasted them with their actual practice in interpreting specific verses. As an illustration, she focused on a portion of Quranic verse 4:34, deemed ambiguous by pre-modern exegetes (mufassirun), that deals with an aspect of the relationship between men and women. Because the interpreters disagree about the meaning of the phrase in question, they critique each other’s interpretations, providing valuable insight into what they consider to be proper methods of interpretation (tafsir).


The talk was well attended and generated a lively discussion on the diverse modes of interpretations of the Quran.