"How to Read the Qur'an" offers a compact introduction and reader's guide for anyone, non-Muslim or Muslim, who wants to know how to approach, read, and understand the text of the Qur'an.
Using a chronological reading of the text according to the conclusions of modern scholarship, Carl Ernst offers a nontheological approach that treats the Qur'an as a historical text that unfolded over time, in dialogue with its audience, during the career of the Prophet Muhammad. Ernst explores the history of the text and its development in the Meccan and Medinan periods; the Qur'an's important structural features, including symmetrical or ring composition; recent revisionist challenges to its textual integrity; and intertextual references in the Qur'an that relate to earlier works, such as the Bible. Featuring Ernst's illuminating new translations of 725 Qur'anic verses, close studies of numerous key passages, and appendices with tools to help readers work their way through the entire text, "How to Read the Qur'an" not only summarizes historical and literary issues but also engages with the religious and political context of understanding the Qur'an today.