Prominent scholar of Islam will decode ancient text for UI audiences Nov. 1-2
Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Carl W. Ernst will discuss strategies for making sense of the Qur’an’s complex text during a lecture from 5-7 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 1, in room E105 of the University of Iowa Adler Journalism Building. The talk is titled, “How to Read the Qur’an” and the event is free and open to the public.

For many Americans, the Qur’an is difficult to read, its organization obscure, its messages cryptic or even threatening. This presentation is based on a new book of the same title. Chronological readings of the original sequence of its delivery, exploration of its links to earlier writings, and clarification of the central points of its symmetrical compositions all provide interested readers with new tools for comprehending an undeniably important religious document.

Portrait of Professor Carl W. Ernst
Carl W. Ernst

Ernst is the William R. Kenan, Jr. Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill. He was a recent Guggenheim Fellow and recipient of awards from scholarly foundations in Turkey, Egypt, and Iran. He is the author of nine books, including Following Muhammad (2003) and Guide to Sufism (1997).

Ernst will also hold an open conversation with religious studies faculty and students at 12:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 2, in the third floor atrium of Gilmore Hall. This discussion on religious studies and academic freedom in public universities will focus on the 2002 UNC Qur'an Controversy. In addition, Ernst will read from and sign copies of his book at 7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 2, at Prairie Lights Bookstore, 15 S. Dubuque St, Iowa City.

Sponsors of these events are the Department of Religious Studies in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the South Asian Studies Program, and International Programs. For accommodations to attend, contact Philip Lutgendorf,