Inquiring of Joseph: Getting to Know a Biblical Character Through the Qurʼan
The account of Joseph that is found in Genesis 37-50 is one of the most well-known stories in the Bible. Its classic rags-to-riches plot explores themes that have intrigued people throughout history: murder, betrayal, sibling rivalry, greed, natural disaster, and mistaken identity. In Inquiring of Joseph, John Kaltner shows there are two ways to tell this story, and both are worth reading.
Inquiring of Joseph puts the biblical Joseph in conversation with his Qur'anic self. The Islamic text is a clear parallel to the biblical story in the events of Joseph's life, but there are some important differences between them that result in two distinct versions of the tale. This interface allows for a new understanding of the familiar biblical tradition as aspects that are often missed become more prominent and puzzling elements are seen in a new light.
Chapters are "Introduction," "Beginnings: Joseph and his Family (Genesis 37; Qur'an 12:1-20 )," "The Narrators and Characters: Joseph and Potiphar's Wife (Genesis 39:1-20; Qur'an 12:21-34;)," "Events: Joseph and the Prisoners (Genesis 39:21-40:23; Qur'an 12:35-42)," "Repetition: Joseph and Pharaoh (Genesis 41:1-45; Qur'an 12:43-57)," "Gaps: Joseph and His Brother (Genesis 42:1-44:17; Qur'an 12:58-86)," and "Endings: Joseph and His Family (Genesis 44:18-50:21; Qur'an 12:87-101)."
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John Kaltner, PhD, is associate professor of religious studies at Rhodes College, Memphis, Tennessee. He is the author of Ishmael Instructs Isaac: An Introduction to the Qur'an for Bible Readers of the Connections series published by the Liturgical Press.