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The Qur'an: A Biography

3.20  ·  Rating Details  ·  147 Ratings  ·  30 Reviews
Few books in history have been as poorly understood as the Qur'an. Sent down in a series of revelations to the Prophet Muhammad, the Qur'an is the unmediated word of Allah, a ritual, political, and legal authority, an ethical and spiritual guide, and a literary masterpiece.
Published July 13th 2006 by Atlantic Books (first published 2006)
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Nov 14, 2012 Ilya rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Over the past few years, I have read about a dozen popular books on the Hebrew Bible. All or almost all of the authors are Jews; one is a convert to Judaism; yet they are not fundamentalists. In their books, they explain why scholars now think that the first five books of the Hebrew Bible were written not by a single person at once, but by different people over centuries in different dialects of Hebrew; that the story of the Exodus is wildly anachronistic, and is supported by absolutely no arche ...more
Nazmul Ahsan
A good collection of a wide range of references for interested people to investigate further. Obviously the first few chapters are very familiar to most Muslims, later chapters discuss a lot of different perspectives, and views and interpretations of various scholars. Not surprisingly, the name of Osama Bin-Laden seemed light to some readers, but it was an example how anything can be used out of context to fool people. Overall, I find this books is a good index of topics for more readings.
Northman 737
This book was downright aggravating. The author basically told of the origins of the Koran and all it's beginnings. What was irritating was the attempt at making an idiotic religion based as much around violence as anything else seem like it was in fact a good thing. He managed to strategically leave out pretty much all of the details that make Islam look bad. When the author did put in any information that could cast Islam in a negative light he made his best attempt to apologetically explain i ...more
Clif Hostetler
I read this book to give myself some background in the history of the Koran (Qur’an) before reading it. I would never read the Koran (Qur’an) on my own, but a book discussion group I belong to selected it for reading. This book, (The Qur'an: A Biography) kept using terms and expressions that were unfamiliar to me. I was expecting a biography to explain things better and not create needless additional questions.

To start off: - Who came up with the spelling of Qur’an? I thought the correct spellin
Feb 27, 2015 Greg rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lawrence has, in this book, attempted to provide an overview of the history of the Qur’an, along with its various interpretations throughout its history to the present day. He is a scholar, and this is a short book. It is a summary, so for those looking for deeper insights and knowledge, this is not the book for you. His prose is highly readable, and despite the reviews of others, I fully believe that Lawrence has attempted to provide an accurate accounting in this book. Unfortunately, to me he ...more
Aditya Hadi
Mar 15, 2011 Aditya Hadi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Why i read this book? First, is because i have to translate this book into Indonesian. Yup, i'm the translator of this book in Indonesia.

This book told us about how Western's scholar think about this holy book of Islam. It summarize how moslem interpret they own holy book, which is so different from one moslem with another.

If you want to know deeper about Islam and its Qur'an, please read this book and be fun with it :)
May 13, 2011 Cris rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I was looking for an exegetic historical explanation of the Qur'an. This is not it. It addresses the current concerns about Islam as a violent religion in its preface and throughout, but it only addresses the 'ideal' as opposed to the schools of thought. Overall I learned something, even if predigested, about the family of The Prophet. This is not a book for historical understanding.
Mar 21, 2009 Kataklicik rated it did not like it
Yes, the Quran is a book that shook the world. But THIS book by Bruce Lawrence, well, it won't move the world a whit. Not even ruffle any feathers at that.

Sorry Mr. Lawrence, your book had no impact. It didn't even live up to the title of being a biography. As an introduction to the Quran, your book fails abyssmally.

Frankly Mr. Lawrence, I don't get it.
Jun 21, 2008 Jesse rated it liked it
Lawrence, the author of this Quran biography obviously knows his stuff. But I can't help wondering 'who is this book for'? The history is simple enough that any Muslim would already know it, and yet for those of us not muslim I was left wanting for more information.
Khairul H.
Aug 03, 2009 Khairul H. rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: religion
A short primer on the history of Islam and the Quran. Good for those unfamiliar with Islam but want to learn but people who are already knowledgeable on the subject may want to skip this book.
No heavy lifting here. So far, this is the weakest I have read in Atlantic's "Books That Changed the World" line, however it is an adequate, light read for a holiday morning.
Nov 17, 2009 Ibrahim rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The book does not serve the purpose of introducing the Quran especially to the non-muslims, who have a very worng undersatnding of THE BOOK THAT CHANGED THE WORLD.
Dec 20, 2008 Damarindah rated it liked it
Shelves: religious
My expectation when I took this book off the shelf was finding more about the Holy Qur'an contents. Not sure what I was looking for, but this book gave a view from a different angle than I would expect. It contains stories of 13 persons and how Al Qur'an had dominated their actions and decisions in an important stage of their lives. Included in the book were Prophet's life, Aishah, Taj Mahal and Osama bin Laden.

It didn't really serve the purpose of introducing Al Qur'an, especially to a beginner
Brady Postma
May 18, 2013 Brady Postma rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Brady by: Riaz Syed
Shelves: religion-myth
I found this book tremendously informative and uplifting. The many different interpretations of the Qur'an are really fascinating! It includes perspectives from Muhammad himself (Muslims traditionally follow his name with a showing of reverence, such as "Peace Be Upon Him" or "PBUH" for short), to great poets, the architectural masterpieces of the Dome of the Rock and Taj Mahal, Islamic rationalists, the American post-racial Muslim leader W. D. Mohammed, and even the fringe violence of Osama bin ...more
Nazim Suzaly
Sep 18, 2013 Nazim Suzaly rated it it was ok
If the purpose of this book was to give readers a glimpse of what the quran is all about then to me it was not that clear. However since I am a little familiar with the history and contents of the Quran therefore I could understand the views it was trying to give from how the islamic figures use the Quran as a book that co-relates with their thinking.

But for someone who just wants to know what the Quran is all bout without having to read it, I wouldn't recommend this book since it can be quite
Nura Yusof
A balanced account of the different interpretations of the Quran through out the ages.

There is danger in entrusting the interpretation of the Holy Book in the hands of psychopaths the likes of Bin Laden, who picks and chooses the verses that suits his evil purpose. The same applies in trusting those interpreters who seek to subjugate women.

The problem is never the Holiest of Books. It is always these mad interpreters, who cannot keep their warped interpretations to themselves and instead preferr
Aug 07, 2013 J. rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I learned a lot from this book, but it did feel very whitewashed at times. It sort of feels like the author is an extremely fundamentalist Muslim, because he really tries to make everything rainbows and puppy dogs, but I don't think it can possibly be that simple. So, while the book is quite insightful, and I learned a lot about the Qur'an throughout history, I fear all my new information might be biased. [Part of this might just be the period in which it was written, when anti-Muslim sentiment ...more
This book could have been wonderful and instead (to me) was simply average. The opportunity to provide Westerners with a comprehensive view of the Qur'an, and by extention Islam, was unfortunately lost here, but worth a look nevertheless. The author does mention the many different versions of the Qur'an floating around prior to the collection being put together officially (just like the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament), but does not explore the canonization of Mohammad's revelations and sayin ...more
I struggled with this book a bit. I thought it would be at a more intro level than it was, so I didn't get as much out of it as I would have liked. Listening to it rather than reading it compounded this fact, as you really needed to catch everything the first time you heard it.

However, it was definitely worth my time. Perhaps I'll find something that assumes even a bit less knowledge of the Qur'an than this did and try that.
Jan 24, 2009 Sam rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Didn't know much about the Qur'an before I read this. Great primer on the books' origins, central themes and messages. I guess now I better read the actual book, eh?

I figure with about 1.5 billion people on the earth basing their lives and faith in this book it might be worth a read.
Jun 21, 2007 Ruby rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is part of a series entitled "Books that Changed the World." The author discusses various peoples' interpretations of the Qur'an, thus portraying how exactly the Qur'an has influenced intellectuals, poets, kings, and everyday people.
Feb 22, 2010 Anthony rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A topical approach to the Qur'an that explains important themes and context for Qur'anic teaching. A useful antidote to the simple-minded anti-Muslim bigotry that passes for "expertise" these days. See also my review of "Idiot America."
Ricc Del
it was all fine and i've been feeling all drunk and drugged with sufism and rumi until Global Accents. what the heck is that Bin Laden chapter? it seems that Lawrence has got some agenda behind all this.
Although I find the logic behind many of his arguments faulty, this was a good introduction to the Qur'an in that it provided different perspectives from which to view it.
Tom Schulte
A nice, fairly comprehensive overview of the Koran and Islam. The book lends a good, pracical knowledge of the cultural inclinations present today that descend from this religion.
Aug 02, 2011 Ahmad added it
A few good chapters and a couple of uninmaginative ones as well. Non the less, a worthwhile read.
Mar 18, 2016 Sarah rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book is incredibly disrespectful and prejudiced.
I good starting point for learning about Islam.
A brief but concise biography of the Qur'an
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Madison Mega-Mara...: The Qur'an: A Biography 1 3 Jan 19, 2012 06:33AM  
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