The Qurʾānic Doublets A Preliminary Inquiry

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Gabriel Said Reynolds



The present study involves a presentation and analysis of repeated phrases, or doublets, in the Qurʾān. I identify twenty-nine doublets of at least nine words (allowing for minor variation), the great majority of which are complete verses, found in different sūrahs. To provide a methodological framework for the analysis of these doublets I consider the history of scholarship on doublets in the Synoptic Gospels, distinguishing between harmonizing interpretations and the classifications of redactional and source doublets. With four exceptions (Meccan-Medinan doublets), the units making up qurʾānic doublets are both found within sūrahs traditionally identified as Meccan (Meccan-Meccan doublets) or both found within sūrahs traditionally identified as Medinan (Medinan-Medinan doublets). This distribution suggests the existence of pre-canonical texts, most likely one with Meccan material and one with Medinan material, which produced the doublets within each qurʾānic subcorpus. That Meccan-Medinan doublets are so rare suggests that repeated material in the Qurʾān is not always due to a process of repeating or re-composition (where an earlier qurʾānic phrase is redeployed, and possibly reshaped, for a later passage) but instead due to the redaction of discrete, pre-canonical texts.


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