• Sort All Books
  • Information

Qur'an in Conversation

By Michael Birkel

Qur'an in Conversation
Paperback, 292 pages $29.95
Published: 1st November 2014
ISBN: 9781481300988
Format: 9in x 6in

Subjects: Islam, World Religions

The Qur’an is God’s verbatim speech for most traditional Muslims. Qur’an in Conversation reflects how this sacred text of Islam comes into dialogue with the contemporary world through the voices of the eloquent interpreters gathered in this volume.

In Qur’an in Conversation, author Michael Birkel engages North American Muslim religious leaders and academics in conversations of scriptural interpretation. Scholars, practicing imams, and younger public intellectuals wrestle with key suras of the Qur’an.

Qur’an in Conversation demonstrates a wide spectrum of interpretation and diversity of approaches in reading Islam’s scripture. The discussions directly address key issues in Muslim theology—good versus evil, the nature of God, and the future of Islam. Younger North American Muslims read the Qur’an in varied ways; this is analogous to the diverse ways in which Jews and Christians have interpreted their own holy books.

Michael Birkel welcomes people of goodwill into a public conversation about the current role of Western Muslims in Islam. Qur’an in Conversation encourages non-specialists and Muslim scholars alike to imagine how the Qur’an will be interpreted among North American Muslims in years to come.



1. Knowledge Hidden and Manifest

2. Close Readings, Old and New

3. Living Tradition

4. Encountering Others

5. Contemporary Contexts

6. Justice

7. The Journey Inward

Concluding Reflections

List of Arabic Terms

Further Reading on Interpretation of the Qur’an

List of Participants

"This fine book encourages non-specialists and Muslim scholars alike to imagine how the Qur'an will be interpreted among North American Muslims in years to come."
Bible Review Journal

“Though many of the writers are scholars, the text is accessible and at times remarkable for its heartfelt candor. Birkel’s book comes at a fine time, when serious critical study of the Qur’an is gaining momentum in the Western religion academy—it is groundbreaking."

Publishers Weekly (July 2014)

“A unique contribution to the growing area of works accessible to learned nonspecialists of the Qur'an"

—Lauren E. Osborne, The Journal of Religion

"The Qur’an is more than merely the holy book of Muslims. It is a book read, debated, memorized, critiqued, emulated, internalized, and expounded upon by various Muslims. Here for the first time we have the Qur’an being read by a wide range of contemporary American Muslim leaders and intellectuals. It provides us with a rich opportunity to see the Qur’an become an American's scripture."

—Omid Safi, Professor of Islamic Studies, University of North Carolina  

"A critically important contribution to academic library Islamic Studies, reference collections, and supplemental studies lists..."

—James A. Cox, The Midwest Book Review (December 2014)

"Birkel’s work is distinctive and easy to read, and will aid the curious learner who is suspicious of Islam to hear and listen to what Muslim scholars have to say about how the Qur’an should be discerned and interpreted in contemporary society. It provides both Muslims and non-Muslims with an opportunity and encouragement to respectfully engage each other on a personal, religious and academic level to an extent that has not been achieved before."

—Blake Campbell, Moody Bible Institute, Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations

"Qur’an in Conversation presents an outstanding collection of interviews giving voice to a wide range of diverse contemporary North American Muslim individuals as they speak—often with great passion, warmth, and conviction—about passages from their sacred text that hold special meaning for each of them. The book is both accessible and engaging to a wide audience, and will hopefully open a channel of communication between contemporary Muslims and non-Muslims that is desperately needed."

—Frederick S. Colby, Associate Professor of Religious Studies, University of Oregon, and Co-Chair, Study of Islam Section of the American Academy of Religion

"In Qur’an in Conversation, Michael Birkel introduces us to a well-chosen diversity of interpreters of the Qur’an. Birkel’s volume presents Muslim teachers in their own words, with enough commentary to satisfy scholarly questions, but in a form that is accessible to beginners. I highly recommend this book to all who want to know how Muslims in North America are thinking about the Qur’an in this time and place."

—Rev. Dr. Jay T. Rock, former Director of Interfaith Relations at the National Council of Churches and Coordinator of Interfaith Relations for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

"Qur’an in Conversation is a remarkable, well-written journey of interfaith sharing."

—Laleh Bakhtiar, Ph.D.

Michael Birkel is Professor of Religion at Earlham College.

Silver Medal in Religion for Independent Publisher Book Awards - 2015 - - Winner

Publication Details:

 Paperback , 292 pages
 9in x 6in

  REL000000, REL037000, REL041000
 Baylor University Press

Other visitors also viewed:

The Old Testament in Archaeology and History Star, Circle, Baylor Faith, Hope, and Love Peter Divine Humanity