Dundes and Folklore in the Qur’an A Review

Fables of the Ancients? Folklore in the Qur’an is Alan Dundes’ first published work on an Islamic subject. The author introduces “Oral-Formulaic” theory and uses it to examine the Qur’an from a literary point of view with primary emphasis on oral and verbal (as distinct from written) aspects of language. Dundes uses general concepts of oral literature such as narration, transmission forms, recitation, divine origin and revelation. In Dundes’ account, there are specific features of oral literature, which can verify the folkloric nature of the Qur’an. These features include: proverbs, folk tales and ancient myths. The advantages of Dundes’ work as discussed in this article include: a new approach to understanding the terms “folklore” and “myth”, high accuracy in locating the repetitions in the Qur’an, accurate references to the similarities between the Qur’an and the Christian holy scripture and using the right order of chapters (Surahs) and Verses. The disadvantages of the book consist of: numerous typographical errors, wrong or incomplete references, insufficient use of Muslim writers’ works, incorrect interpretations, bringing up unnecessary theological subjects, making inconsistent statements, comparing three Qur’anic tales with Aarne -Thompson index and ignoring certain Islamic premises.

Article Type:
Research/Original Article
Linguistic Research in the Holy Quran , Volume:8 Issue:1, 2019
1 - 12
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