Between Myth-Making and Shiite Exegesis: Nasnās and Qurʾān 2:30

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This paper explores the role that the myth of the Nasnās, a pre-Adamic humanlike creature, plays in the Shiite exegesis of Qurʾān 2:30. It aims to shed light on the blurry line between myth-making, fiction and Quranic commentary. Of a cosmological nature, this verse has long provoked speculation by Muslim exegetes about universal history. Nevertheless, the Shiite evocation of the Nasnās in this context is unique and reflects a somewhat different cosmological perception. Whether this perception is the result of commentators’ endeavors to tackle some of the theological difficulties posed by this verse or a mere reflection of their heretofore existing cosmological notions, is an additional tension to be addressed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)281-299
Number of pages19
JournalIntellectual History of the Islamicate World
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2018


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