A Qur'anic Apocalypse
A Reading of the Thirty-Three Last Surahs of the Qur'an
After having explored the structure of the long sura 5 in his book The Feast (2007), Michael Cuypers applies the same rhetorical analysis to the thirty-three small suras (81 to 114) of the end of the Qur'an. Reading the text using the principles of Semitic rhetoric makes it possible to grasp the internal coherence of each of these suras, and also the semantic links that link them together.
These suras (chapters), usually treated as small independent textual units, actually form a semantically coherent set composed of several hierarchical subsets. This results in new interpretations for suras, of which more than one raises questions because of their extreme brevity. Two major themes dominate: eschatology (Day of Judgment and resurrection) and the life of the Prophet, evoked by small discontinuous touches, from the awakening of his prophetic mission to the triumph of his preaching.
The rhetorical analysis is enriched by intertextuality, confronting the Koranic text with the sacred literature circulating in late antiquity: the Bible, in the first place, but also several intertestamental writings, the Book of Enoch, the Testament of Moses and others. The image that emerges from these suras, dating from the Meccan era, is that of a messenger in charge of announcing the Day of Judgment.
Lexicon of Technical Terms
A Brief Overview of the Thirty-Three Sourates
The First Section
The Announcement of the Day of Judgment (Suras 81 To 92)
The First Subsection (Sourates 81 To 84)
The Second Subsection (Sourates 85 To 92)
Between the Two Subsections of Section 1
The Advent of an Arab Prophet (Suras 93-112)
The First Subsection (S. 93-98) A Prophecy in Crisis
The Second Subsection (S. 99 To 104)
The Third Subsection (S. 105 To 112) A Brief Biography of the Prophet
The Third Section
Two Prophylactic Prayers (Suras 113 And 114)
Correspondence Between the Beginning and the End of Quran
Michael Cuypers is a Catholic monk, a member of the Brotherhood of Little Brothers of Jesus (Father de Foucauld). He lived in Iran for twelve years, working for his PhD in Persian Studies at the University of Tehran, and then working at the University Press of Tehran, where he pursued studies in Persian literature. He now lives in Cairo and is a member of the Dominican Institute of Oriental Studies, focusing his research on the rhetoric analysis of the Qur'an.