Public defence: Serena Norlemann Baldari

Serena Norlemann Baldari will be defending the thesis: Towards Relational Scripture Studies: A Case Study of Italian and Scandinavian Translations of the mā adrāka mā Passages in the Qur’an for the degree of Philosophiae Doctor (PhD) at the Faculty of Theology.

Serena Norleman Baldari. Photo

Trial Lecture – time and place

See Trial Lecture.

Adjudication committee

  • Professor Mona Siddiqui, University of Edinburgh (1.opponent)
  • Professor Shawkat Toorawa, Yale Universtiy (2.opponent)
  • Anne Hege Grung, Faculty of Theology, University of Oslo

Leader of the disputation

Dean of Studies, Associate Professor Nina Hoel. Faculty of Theology, University of Oslo


  • Nora S. Eggen, Guest researcher at the Faculty of Theology, University of Oslo
  • Oddbjørn Leirvik, Professor Emeritus, Faculty of Theology, University of Oslo


The aim of this thesis is to shed critical light on the role that translation plays in mediating the relationship between the Qur’an and Europe: through a case study based on my own context, as reader of the Qur’an in Italy and Scandinavia. The study consists of a close reading of the twelve occurrences of the formula mā adrāka mā in the Qur’an and their rendition in thirteen Italian and twelve Scandinavian translations. By focusing on the more subtle aspects of imagery in the texts, such as sound-meaning connections, intra- and intertextual parallels, grammatical gender charges and conceptual metaphors, I draw attention to the transformative character of translation, considering both its limitations and its potential. The comparative case study method allows me to address the topic from within a specific, but diverse European context and with particular concern for the premises of the lingua-cultural and socio-religious encounter that the translations represent. Approaching the Qur’an as scripture from an interreligious studies perspective, I propose the term Relational Scripture Studies (RSS) to frame the study of this encounter. In extension, I ask whether the notion of scriptural literacy can be useful as a starting point for the development of an ethics of Qur’an translation in Europe that addresses broader and incessantly relevant socio-ethical issues related to religious identity and relationality.

Published Nov. 15, 2022 1:47 PM - Last modified Nov. 24, 2022 10:45 AM