Friday, December 28, 2007

Thomas Cleary on the Quran

Well-known translator Thomas Cleary had this to say about the Quran in his introduction to his abridged translation of the Book. I like Cleary's full translation quite a bit. It's not for everyone, I know. But his minimalist style appeals to me, though you have to overlook some "things" like a word choice or two. I wish that he would have included an introduction in the full translation, but he was adamant about not doing so. He wanted the reader to have an immediate experience with the translation. This quote is well-worded. It does show that he did engage the Quran at a deep, if not profound, level. To attempt any study or translation of the Quran requires an understanding of its place in the history of scriptures.
The Koran is undeniably unique in [sacred] tradition, indeed unique in the entire context of classical sacred tradition throughout the world, in having been revealed in the full light of history, through the offices of a Prophet who was well known. As the last link in a chain of revelation going back to time immemorial, even to the very origin of humankind, the Koran has the special function of recollecting the essential message of all the revealed Books. -- The Essential Koran: The Heart of Islam

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