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Grant number like: FEL-257599-18

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David Reeves Vishanoff
University of Oklahoma, Norman (Norman, OK 73019-3003)

Research Programs

[Grant products]

$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
7/1/2018 – 6/30/2019

Psalms of the Muslim Prophet David: Arabic Edition and English Translation

The book of Psalms, long associated with King David, was rewritten by several medieval Muslim authors to sound more like the Qur’an than the Bible. The Islamic versions combine wise sayings, exhortations, laws, proverbs, and parables, all spoken by God himself, who urges a very Muslim–sounding Prophet David to repent of his sins, pray late into the night, and flee the pleasures of this world. Once dismissed as mere forgeries, these foreign yet hauntingly familiar psalms have never been published and remain virtually unknown even to scholars of Islam. At a time when both scholars of religion and the American public are reassessing the relationship between western and Islamic civilizations, I wish to publish a critical Arabic edition and translation of the earliest surviving version of these psalms, as well as a mass–market English–only version, as a concrete illustration of the contested but interwoven moral landscape shared by the Jewish, Christian, and Muslim traditions.