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The Koran in English - From Yusuf Ali to Sandow Birk
For millions of Muslims, the Qur’an is sacred only in the original Arabic. Revealed to an Arab merchant Muhammad in 7th century Arabia, it calls itself “an Arabic Qur’an”. At once lyrical and adamantine, it resists translation into any other language. Yet scholars have tried to cross the barrier, rendering it into numerous classical and modern languages, including English.

The most adventuresome 20th century translator, Yusuf ‘Ali, a British civil servant in India, even strove to make English itself an Islamic language, while a recent American voyager—at once surfer and artist—Sandow Birk created an American Qur’an in the 21st century, post 9/11.

In this talk, Bruce Bennett Lawrence will connect to many translators but he especially prizes the link between Yusuf Ali and Sandow Birk. While Yusuf Ali wants to make English an Islamic language, Sandow Birk hopes to make the Koran an American text/resource, a compass for post-9/11 Americans.

A virtual presentation by Bruce Bennett Lawrence, author, Marcus Family Humanities Professor of Religion Emeritus, Duke University, and adjunct professor at the Alliance of Civilizations Institute, Ibn Haldun University, Istanbul.

Jan 23, 2023 05:00 PM in Pacific Time (US and Canada)

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