PhD Candidate in Quranic Studies: Choices of the Quranic Readers

Leiden University
June 19, 2023
Offerd Salary:€2,541
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Contract Type:Other
Working Time:Negotigation
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The Faculty of Humanities, Leiden University Centre for Linguistics (LUCL) is looking for a PhD candidate to research the motivations behind the choices for reading debated Quranic passages as part of the ERC Consolidator Grant project “QurCan – The Canonization of the Quranic Reading Traditions”.

Project Description The canonisation of the Quranic reading traditions (qirāʾāt) goes back to the 10th c. scholar ibn Mujahid who established the canon. Up until recently, it was thought that his work functioned as our historical horizon— everything we can know about the pre-canonical situation is filtered through his choices and thinking. However, there are hundreds of Quranic manuscripts from the time preceding the canonisation stretching back at least to the beginning of the 8th c. that make use of diacritics to instruct the reader. These pre-canonical reading traditions provide a vista into the pre-history of Quranic recitation, yet they have so far gone almost entirely unstudied. The ERC Consolidator grant project QurCan aims to mine these rich historical sources to understand what Quran recitation was like before ibn Mujahid, how the reading traditions developed, and how this led to the crystallized canon that we know today.

Key Responsibilities The PhD candidate will examine the canonical Kufan readers (qurrāʾ) Ḥamza, al-Kisāʾī and Khalaf and the nature of their different readings of the Qur'an. The different reading traditions in the traditional literature are often presented as synoptic – all representing essentially the same view of the meaning of the text although sometimes highlighting different perspectives. However, the reading traditions that we have belong to specific historical figures, who made explicit choices to read in one way or the other; their motivations – and thus the reasons for differences and changes in readings over time – are almost entirely unexplored. The three Kufans Ḥamza, al-Kisāʾī and Khalaf are especially apt for research of this kind, as their readings are well-evidenced, they share a common domicile, a teacher-student relationship links them, and their reading choices demonstrate considerable similarities while also noticeable differences.. This research project will give insight into the reasons and motivations for such changes to appear.

Selection Criteria

  • MA in a relevant field (e.g. islamic studies, religious studies, Arabic language & linguistics) or a letter of proof that you will acquire it soon.
  • Demonstrable affinity with research into the Quran.
  • Good command of English
  • Good command of Classical Arabic
  • Knowledge of the Quranic reading traditions is not required but is advantageous.
  • Our Organization Leiden University Centre for Linguistics (LUCL) is one of seven Institutes that falls under the Faculty of Humanities. With over 120 linguists working at the Institute, it is a rich research environment that prides itself on fostering scientific excellence. At LUCL we offer extensive research support to our researchers. For example, our in-house grant officer will advise and help you apply for grants, a dedicated project officer will guide you with project finances and a communications advisor is on hand to assist you in publicising your research. LUCL has a longstanding tradition in the study of the world's languages and features unique linguistic expertise. Current theoretical insights are combined with modern experimental methods in its research profile area ‘Language Diversity in the World'. Researchers from our six umbrella research groups are experts in their respective fields but equally find innovative ways of collaborating with other fields and disciplines. The Faculty of Humanities is rich in expertise in fields such as philosophy, religious studies, history, art history, literature, linguistics and area studies covering nearly every region of the world. With its staff of 995, the faculty provides 27 master's and 25 bachelor's programmes for over 7,000 students based at locations in Leiden and in The Hague. For more information: https: // www.

    Terms and Conditions Appointment will be according to the terms of the Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities (CAO Nederlandse Universiteiten). The employment will be for a period of four years (first a contract of 18 months with an extension of 30 months after positive evaluation of capabilities and compatibility), starting 1 January 2024. You are expected to work in Leiden. The appointment must lead to the completion of a PhD thesis.

    The salary range for a PhD candidate is from €2,541.- to €3,247.- gross per month (pay-scale PhD candidates in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities), with substantial additional holiday and end-of-year bonuses. Candidates from outside the Netherlands may be eligible for a substantial tax break.

    Diversity Fostering an inclusive community is a central element of the values and vision of Leiden University. Leiden University is committed to becoming an inclusive community which enables all students and staff to feel valued and respected and to develop their full potential. Diversity in experiences and perspectives enriches our teaching and strengthens our research. High quality teaching and research is inclusive.

    Information Enquiries can be made to Dr. Marijn van Putten, e-mail: [email protected].

    Applications Please submit your application online no later than 19 June 2023 via the blue button in our application system. Your application should include: ● A detailed Curriculum Vitae; ● A motivation letter (max. 1 page); ● A short description of your research plan (max. 1 page); ● A PDF of your MA Thesis or a term paper whichever is more relevant to the project; ● Names, positions and contact information of two referees (no reference letters). Enquiries from agencies are not appreciated.

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