Covenant and Covenants in the Qur'an: The Inherent Pluralism of Islam's Sacred Scripture

The HDS Society for Comparative Theology presented this lecture by Joseph Lumbard, Assistant Professor of Classical Islam in the Department of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies at Brandeis University.

The question of the covenant in the Hebrew and Christian scriptures was among the most fertile topics for critically engaged Jewish-Christian dialogue in the twentieth century and has given rise to more pluralistic readings in both, but such developments have not occurred in the field of Qur'anic studies. Nonetheless, the idea of the covenant is central to the Qur'anic conception of humanity and of religious history. Discussions of the covenant are prevalent in the text itself and in the commentary tradition, where many issues and concepts central to Islam are linked to the covenant. This lecture will examine the manner in which the Qur'an and the commentary tradition treat the idea of the covenant ('ahd or mīthāq). It will demonstrate how the Qur'anic presentation of the covenant is central to the Qur'anic understanding of human history, the human condition, and the relationships among different religious traditions.

This event is part of the series Comparative Theology: Lectures and Conversations, coordinated by CSWR Junior Fellow Axel Takacs.