Following on from the pre-conference workshop at the American Academy of Religion’s Annual Meeting in October, the Qur'anic Studies Lecture Series, entitled The Meaning of the Word Lexicology and Tafsir, has been launched at the IIS. This series of lectures organised by Dr Stephen Burge, aims to explore the relationships between Qur'anic tafsir and lexicology, which is the study of the meanings of words and their semantic relations.

Toby Mayer and Reza Shah Kazemi participating in lecture

Dr Toby Mayer opened the series with a lecture discussing "Paradoxes in Shahrastani's Lexicological Methodology". Dr. Mayer argued that Shahrastani employs two types of lexical analysis in his tafsir. The first is standard or 'traditional' lexicology, which is used in contrast to a more esoteric approach, including ‘letter mysticism’, and semantic etymologies, both of which can at times appear to be in conflict.

Alena Kulinich

The second lecture was given by Alena Kulinich of SOAS. Ms Kulinich presented a paper on "Lexicological materials in al-Jami‘ fi tafsir al-Qur’an of ‘Ali ibn ‘Isa al-Rummani (d. 384/994)". Al-Rummani was a Mu‘tazili exegete, whose work was often cited by al-Tusi. The work is only extant in a number of partial manuscripts, which Ms Kulinich has studied. Her paper examined the use of tadmin (implication of meaning) in al-Rummani’s exegesis.

Participants in lecture

The lecture series will continue until May 2011 and will include lectures by Dr Christopher Melchert (Oxford), Dr Stephen Burge (IIS), Prof. Agostino Cilardo (Naples), Prof. Kees Versteegh (Nijmegen), Prof. Stefan Wild (Bonn) and Prof. Claude Gilliot (Aix-en-Provence).

The next lecture will be given by Dr Christopher Melchert, who will discuss the use of lexicology by early renunciants (zuhhad).