This introduction lays out the key issues at stake in the study of medieval exegesis and in the comparative study of Jewish, Christian, and Muslim traditions of scriptural commentary. It frames the studies in this book not as parts of a comprehensive overview or introduction to medieval exegesis, but rather as a series of interconnected studies on different aspects of scriptural commentary in different faith traditions. It probes the conceptual foundation of such a comparative approach, criticizing any appeal to a shared “Abrahamic” tradition (also rejecting notions such as “religions of the book” and “the three cultures”). Rather than following a theologically based model in which Jewish, Christian, and Muslims traditions are linked according to a shared history of prophecy or an overlapping concept of historical revelation, the chapters in this book are linked according to concrete historical circumstances in which authors and texts circulated. Exegesis is thus proposed as a point of contact between historical communities as well as a discourse by which those communities sought to differentiate themselves from one another.
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