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A Place Between Two Places (paperback)


The Quranic Barzakh


For believers in a resurrection of the body, there arises the question of what happens after death but before the Last Day: the intermediate state. For most Muslims, the intermediate state is the barzakh. It is a fantastical and frightening time in the grave. The present study will examine where the belief in the barzakh comes from through a study of the Qur'an.
Publisher: Gorgias Press LLC
Availability: In stock
SKU (ISBN): 978-1-4632-3987-9
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Publication Status: Forthcoming

Publication Date: Nov 13,2019
Interior Color: Black
Trim Size: 6 x 9
Page Count: 480
Language: English
ISBN: 978-1-4632-3987-9
$75.00
$45.00
What happens after death but before the final resurrection? This is the intermediate state. For most Muslims, it is called the barzakhand it is a fantastical and frightening time in the grave. Throughout history and today this belief has been discussed and expressed in many forms: from Ṣūfī dreamscapes to theological tests of orthodoxy. But where does the barzakh come from first?

In A Place Between Two Places: The Qurʾānic BarzakhGeorge Archer reconstructs the barzakh's early history. Analyzing sixteen of the Qurʾān's sūras in search of oral formulae, subtextual hints, and concentric parallelisms, the early barzakh is exposed as a response to the saint cults of late antiquity, and most especially, the cult of the divine Christ. From here, the Qurʾānic vision of the barzakh is traced forward through later prophetic biographies, Islamic architecture, and the ḥadīth literature in order to show how the barzakh developed into the distinctive eschatological claims of the Islamic Middle Ages.

What happens after death but before the final resurrection? This is the intermediate state. For most Muslims, it is called the barzakhand it is a fantastical and frightening time in the grave. Throughout history and today this belief has been discussed and expressed in many forms: from Ṣūfī dreamscapes to theological tests of orthodoxy. But where does the barzakh come from first?

In A Place Between Two Places: The Qurʾānic BarzakhGeorge Archer reconstructs the barzakh's early history. Analyzing sixteen of the Qurʾān's sūras in search of oral formulae, subtextual hints, and concentric parallelisms, the early barzakh is exposed as a response to the saint cults of late antiquity, and most especially, the cult of the divine Christ. From here, the Qurʾānic vision of the barzakh is traced forward through later prophetic biographies, Islamic architecture, and the ḥadīth literature in order to show how the barzakh developed into the distinctive eschatological claims of the Islamic Middle Ages.

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Contributor Biography

George Archer

George Archer is a professorial lecturer at Georgetown University, where he received his doctorate. He was recently appointed assistant professor in the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies at Iowa State University. He is the author of several articles on the Qurʾān and early Islam.

Acknowledgments (vii)

Conventions (ix)

Chapter I. Introduction, or "That Second Kingdom" (1)

Chapter II. Method, or "The Barrier Between Us and Our Ancestors" (63)

Chapter III. An Excavation of the Cave (107)

Chapter IV. Sleep Cycles: The Intra-Qurʾānic Development of the Barzakh (193)

Chapter V. Dreams of Muḥammad: the Medieval Barzakh (291)

Chapter VI. Orality Translation, Soul-Sleep, and the Monothteistic Imagination (387)

Bibliography and Works Cited (425)

Index (449)

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