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It begins where time begins, with the creation of the world; it ends where time ends, with the Apocalypse, and it surveys human history in between, or the aspect of history it is interested in, under the symbolic names of Adam and Israel.

There is also a body of concrete images: city, mountain, river, garden, tree, oil, fountain, bread, wine, bride, sheep, and many others, which recur so often that they clearly indicate some kind of unifying principle.

Much of my critical thinking has turned on the double meaning of Aristotle's term anagnorisis, which can mean "discovery" or "recognition," depending on whether the emphasis falls on the novelty of the appearance or on its reappearance.

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Part of the continuing relevance of the Quran in translation is that it does not permit itself to be read literally or passively.

It challenges its readers actively to confront the problem of the relation between revelation and interpretation and breaks down conventional boundaries between scripture and tradition amidst the language divide that will always exist between Arabic and, for example, English.

The Council appointed a committee of scholars to have charge of the text of the American Standard Version and to undertake inquiry concerning the need for further revision.

After studying the questions whether or not revision should be undertaken, and if so, what its nature and extent should be, in 1937 the Council authorized a revision.

For Muslims it is the infallible Word of God, a transcript of a tablet preserved in heaven, revealed to the Prophet Muhammad by the Angel Gabriel.

The Quran in itself is a literary masterpiece, but is also one of the most influential books in the history of prophetic literature.

The Bible can be read as literally as any fundamentalist could desire, but the real literal meaning is an imaginative and poetic one, brought forth through myth and metaphor.

The Bible's deep influence on Western literature makes it one of the first literary classics, but my own reading of the Bible is expansive, open to resonances of contextual meaning.

My effort here, with the aid of several Arabic scholars, is to provide a meaningful translation of the Quran for the modern English reader, written in standard (American) English.

More often than not, when reading English translations of the Qur'an, one gets the sense of reading a foreign language translated literally, and thus sentences come across in English in strange contortions, leading the reader to scratch his head and reread the surah over and over in frustration.

The book is a double mirror, revealing a unified structure of narrative and recurrent imagery that ultimately reflects itself: the old is transformed and given new meaning; and the story ends back where it all began.

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