Determining the Intended Meaning of Words in a Religious Text: An Intertextuality-Oriented Approach
The aim of the present study was to show how intertextuality could be a viable approach to determine the intended meaning of words in religious texts such as the Holy Quran. In order to do just this, the researcher selected two Quranic words to be the data of the study. These were al-gibaal (Arabic: ) and al-rawasi (Arabic: يساورلا )1. As for the machinery, a three-level analysis was attempted. At the first level, the denotational and connotational meanings of the two lemmas (dictionary entries) as illustrated in some major Arabic dictionaries are provided. At the second, the meanings of these words were sought in the interpretations of some major Muslim expositors. Finally, some attempts were made to provide alternative explanations by bringing out the local and global intuitions that the words invoke in the Quranic text as a coherent whole. The analysis of data revealed that al-gibaal and al-rawaasi are both not part of the Earth; al-gibaal is different form al-rawaasi in that whereas al-rawaasi is the main part of a mountain digging deep in the earth, al-gibaal is the outside part; al-gibaal serve a different function as compared with that of al-rawaasi; and finally, unlike al-rawaasi, there are three kinds of al-gibaal.
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