International Colloquium 

QLAMA: The Qur’an between Late Antiquity and Middle Ages: Form, Structure, Comparative Studies

Siena, 20-22 May 2015

Organized by the Dipartimento di Ateneo per la Didattica e la Ricerca of the University for Foreigners of Siena and the Dipartimento di Lingue, Letterature e Culture Straniere of Roma Tre University. 




Linguistical and exegetical studies in the last few years have increasingly shown a great interest in the inner structure of the Qur’anic text alongside historical questions about its formation and authorship. The study of style and structure of the Qur'an, focused at the beginning solely on Meccan surahs (Neuwirth, 1981; Crapon De Caprona, 1981) has, during the nineties, seen the emergency of a marked interest in the study of all Qur'anic surahs viewed as literary, rhetorical or structural unities (see mostly Mathias Zahniser, 1991 and 1997; Sells, 1991; Cuypers, 1995; Robinson, 1996; but also Mir, 1993 and Rippin, 2013), and according to a methodology that one of the pioneers of the literary analysis of the Qur'an explicitly claimed to be inductive (Mathias Zahniser, 1991, p. 80). Over the last few years, the general results, namely the study of the overall structure of the Qur'an, that, right on the basis of the alleged inductive methodology that was invoked on the theoretical level, could be therefore expected on a practical level, are finally emerging in the works of scholars as Cuypers (2007 and 2012), Farrin (2014) and others. The aim of this conference is therefore to bring together scholars and researchers interested in the study of style, rhetoric, form and structure of the Qur'an, in the study of the relationship between micro and macro structures in the Qur'an, in the study of the reception of Qur'anic form and structure by readers and interpreters of all times, in the study of coherence and cohesion of the Qur'an, in the new possibilities arising from the application of computer technologies to the study of style and structure of the Qur'an and, finally, in the study of the formal and structural relationships between the Qur'an and other religious texts from Late Antiquity.


Papers related to all topics mentioned are welcomed.


Ph.D. students and young researchers working on innovative approaches to these same topics are particularly encouraged to apply.


300-500 word proposals for 30 minutes communications (in English and Arabic) should be sent to not later than 1st April 2015


Acceptance of proposals will be confirmed by  10 April 2015 on the conference website


                                                Giuliano Lancioni                                                                 Akeel Almarai

                                            (Roma Tre University)                                           (University for Foreigners of Siena)


Please contact us to confirm your participation at:




Short Bibliography

  • P. Crapon De Caprona, Le Coran: aux sources de la parole oraculaire. Structures rythmiques des sourates mecquoises, Paris, 1981
  • M. Cuypers, Structures rhétoriques dans le Coran. Une analyse structurelle de la sourate “Joseph” et de quelques sourates brèves, in 'Mélanges de l'Institut Dominicain d'Études Orientales' 22 (1995), pp. 107-195
  • M. Cuypers, Le Festin. Une lecture de la sourate Al-Mā'ida, Paris, 2007
  • M. Cuypers, La composition du Coran, Pendé, 2012
  • R. Farrin, Structures and Quranic interpretation. A Study of Symmetry and Coherence in Islam's Holy Text, Ashland, 2014
  • A. H. Mathias Zahniser, The Word of God and the Apostleship of ʿĪsā: A Narrative Analysis of Āl ʿImrān (3): 33-62, in 'Journal of Semitic Studies' 37 (1991), pp. 77-112
  • A. H. Mathias Zahniser, Sūra as Guidance and Exhortation: The Composition of Sūrat al-Nisā', in A. Afsaruddin - A. H. Mathias Zahniser (eds.), Humanism, Culture and Language in the Near East. Studies in Honor of Georg Krotkoff, Winona Lake (Indiana), 1997, pp. 71-85
  • M. Mir, Coherence in the Qur'ān, Indianapolis, 1986
  • M. Mir, The sūra as a unity. A twentieth-century development in Qur'ān exegesis, in G. R. Hawting – A. A. Shareef (eds.), Approaches to the Qur'ān, London, 1993, pp. 211-224
  • A. Neuwirth, Einige BemerKungen zum besonderen sprachlichen und literartischen Charakter des Koran, in 'Deutscher Orientalistentag' 1975, Stuttgart, 1977, pp. 736-739 [engl. transl. Ead., Some Remarks on the Special Linguistic and Literary Character of the Qur'ān, in A. Rippin (ed.), The Qur'an. Style and Contents, Aldershot, 2001, pp. 253-257]
  • A. Neuwirth, Studien zur Komposition der Mekkanischen Suren, Berlin, 1981 A. Neuwirth, Vom Rezitationstext über die Liturgie zum Kanon. Zu Enstehung und Wiederauflösung der Surenkomposition im Verlauf der Entwicklung eines islamischen Kultus, in S. Wild (ed.), The Qur'an as Text, Leiden, 1996, pp. 69-105
  • A. Rippin, Contemporary scholarly understanding of Qur'anic Coherence, in 'Al-Bayān', vol. 11, n. 2 (December 2013), pp. 1-14
  • N. Robinson, Discovering the Qur'an. A Contemporary Approach to a Veiled Text, London, 1996
  • M. Sells, Sound, Spirit and Gender in Sūrat al-Qadr, in 'Journal of the American Oriental Society' 111 (1991), pp. 239-259
  • M. Sells, Sound and Meaning in Sūrat al-Qāriʿa, in 'Arabica' XL, 3 (1993), pp. 403-430
  • M. Sells, A Literary Approach to the Hymnic Sūras of the Qur'ān: Spirit, Gender, and Aural Intertextuality, in I. J. Boullata (ed.), 'Literary Structures of Religious Meaning in the Qur'ān', London, 2000, pp. 3-25  
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