Hannelies Koloska

Hannelies Koloska

Hannelies Koloska

Qur'anic Studies
Cultural Studies


Current Projects: 

My work focuses on historical and literary studies on the Qur’an, Islamic exegesis and visual culture studies. Primarily focusing on the transitional age from Late Antiquity to Islam, I am working to reconstruct processes of communication and knowledge transfer in single texts, between different texts, and between texts and images. I also study how cultural, religious, and aesthetic norms are established and subverted. Hence, the analysis of texts from this period but also of later Islamic sources, in particular the relation between literary expression, schemes of persuasion, and theological concepts is one of the focal points in my research. Additionally, I am interested in problems arising from the encounter of different cultural hermeneutics in past and present and about gender-related question (e. g. the depiction of women in legal Islamic writings).

My current projects continue my work on the Qur’an, and its interpretation. I am currently preparing studies of contextual reading of surahs and literary and thematic developments of so called Late Meccan surahs. I am also preparing an article about material culture in the Qur’an, particularly concerning the references to ships and seafaring. Besides, I work on a review article on form-critical studies on the Qur’an and the preliminary considerations for the establishment of a comprehensive register of text-types in the Qur’an. Following my German translation of Ibn al-Jawzi’s Aḥkām al-nisāʾ (Legal Treatise for women) from the 12th century C. E., I am working on an introductory article to the work in English.

Curriculum Vitae: 


  • PHD (2012), Arabic Studies, Free University Berlin, Germany

  • MA (2007), Arabic Studies and Protestant Theology, Free University Berlin, Germany

Previous Positions

  • Research Associate (on temporary leave) Corpus Coranicum Project, Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities, Berlin/Potsdam, Germany (http://www.bbaw.de/forschung/Coran/uebersicht) (since 2011)

  • Research Associate, Collaborative Research Centre 626 (“Aesthetic Experience and the Dissolution of Artistic Limits”), Free University Berlin, Germany (2007-2010)

Fellowships and Scholarships

  • 2016-2020 Post-Doctoral Fellow Martin Buber Society of Fellows in the Humanities and Social Sciences (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem)

  • 2003-2004 DAAD Scholarship (Birzeit University, Palestine)


  • 2018 – 2019    Graduate Seminars: “The Historical-Critical Approach to the Qur’an,” “Writings about Women in Classical Arabic Literature”, Department of Arabic Language and Literature, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel. (In English)

  • 2016    Summer-School (co-teaching): “The Historical Approach to Holy Scriptures,” “The Chronological Approach to the Qur’an,” “Close Reading of Surah 15”, Berlin – Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities. (In German)

  • 2008    Graduate Seminar (co-teaching): “Book and Art:  Calligraphy, Illumination, and Illustration in Islamic Manuscripts,” Seminar for Semitic and Arabic Studies, Free University Berlin, Germany. (In German)

  • 2005 – 2007    Teaching assistant for undergraduate seminars “Qur’an and Early Islam,” Seminar for Semitic and Arabic Studies, Free University Berlin, Germany. (In German)



  • Offenbarung, Ästhetik und Koranexegese. Zwei Studien zu Sure 18 (al-Kahf), Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz 2015.

Translation and Annotation

Articles and Chapters

  • “Ephesos und seine schlafenden Märtyrer in islamischer Tradition“, in: Tobias Georges (ed.): Ephesos. Die antike Metropole im Spannungsfeld von Religion und Bildung, Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck 2017, 361–375.

  • “Spätantikes Bildwissen im Koran: Die Relevanz ikonographischer Darstellungen für das Verständnis des Korans”, in: Angelika Neuwirth, Nora Schmid, Nora K. Schmidt (eds.): Denkraum Spätantike. Reflexionen von Antiken im Umfeld des Koran, Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz 2016, 431–446.

  • “’The Sign of Jonah’ – Transformation and Interpretation of the Jonah-story in the Qur’an”, in: Angelika Neuwirth, Michael Sells (ed.): Qur’anic Studies Today, London/ New York: Routledge 2016, 82–102.

  • “Das Geheimnis der Siebenschläfer: Christliche Heilige und Gleichnisse in Sure 18 („Die Höhle“)“, in: Welt und Umwelt der Bibel 1(2012), 24–27.

  • “Corpus Coranicum Projesi: Kur’an’ı Geç Antik Döneme Ait Bir Metin Olarak Okumak“ with Esra Gözeler, Michael Marx et al., in: Ankara Üniversitesi İlahiyat Fakültesi Dergisi 53/2 (2012), 219–253.

  • “Von den einen gehasst, von den anderen verehrt. Der veraltete Blick aufs Geschlecht: Ibn al-Jauzi“, in: Fikrun wa Fann – Kulturzeitschrift für den Dialog mit der islamischen Welt, 2011 [http://www.goethe.de/ges/phi/prj/ffs/the/ger/de7089011.htm].

  • “Bildmagie zwischen Kunst und Religion: Eine Antwort auf Heike Behrend“, in Ilka Brombach, Dirk Setton, Cornelia Temesvári (ed.): Ästhetisierung. Grenzgänge des Ästhetischen in Politik, Religion und Erkenntnis, Zürich/Berlin 2010, 177–181.

  • “Literatur ohne Heimat. Irakisch-jüdische Schriftsteller in Israel“, in: lamed. Zeitschrift Stiftung Züricher Lehrhaus, 5–6 (2008), 15–20.

  • “Samir Naqqash: Ein Fehltritt der Logik“, in: Angelika Neuwirth, Nesrin Jamoud (eds.): Zieh fort aus der Heimat, dem Land deiner Väter. Arabische Kurzprosa irakisch-jüdischer Autoren in Israel, Berlin: Schiler 2007, 55–80 (co-translation with Rachid Charrak).

  • “Goethe, Scheherazade und die Erzählungen aus Tausendundeiner Nacht“, in: TRANS 16 – Internetzeitschrift für Kulturwissenschaften, http://www.inst.at/trans/16Nr/07_4/koloska16.htm.


Organisation of Conferences and Workshops

  • 2019    Co-Organizer, international conference: “The Qurʾan and Visuality in Late Antiquity and Early Islam,” Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel, http://buberfellows.huji.ac.il/node/513 2020

  • 2016    Co-Organizer, summer school: “Historical Perspectives on the Qur’an: A Possible Approach for Islamic Theology,” Berlin Brandenburg Academy of Science and Humanities, Potsdam, Germany

  • 2014    Organizer, international workshop: “The Religion of the Qur’anic Pagans: Reconstructions by Chronological Reading and Extra-textual Findings,” Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), Paris, France

  • 2010    Co-Organizer, International Conference: “Constructions of History. Aesthetic Transcriptions in Arab Contemporary Arts,” Free University Berlin, Germany

  • 2010    Co-Organizer, international workshop: “Change through Tradition –The Role of Tradition in the Transformation of Knowledge in the Nineteenth Century Levant,” Free University Berlin, Germany


  • 2019

 “Ships in the Desert? Literary Aspects of Material Culture in the Qur’an”,
 International Colloquium: From Jāhiliyya to Islam, The Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, Jerusalem.

“Visuality of the Qur’an and around. Introductory Remarks”,
International Conference: The Qur’an and Visuality in Late Antiquity and Early Islam, Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

  • 2018

              “God’s Word and Abraham’s Progeny: Past in Presence in Islamic Ritual Prayer”,
              The JCM Center 8th Annual International Conference, Open University of Israel, Ra’anana.

              “Perspectives on the Self in the Qur'an: Surat az-Zumar (39) as a Case-Study”,
               Colloquium: The Subject of Antiquity. Contours and Expressions of the Self in Ancient Mediterranean Cultures, Israel Institute of Advanced Studies, Jerusalem.

  • 2017

        “A Manual of Reasoning: A Close Reading of Sūrat al-Jāthiya (Q 45)”,
        Banneth-Kister Seminar, Department of Arabic Language and Culture, Hebrew University Jerusalem.
  • 2016

               “The Qur’an in view of Philology, History and Theology”,
               Colloquium at the Martin Buber Society of Fellows, Hebrew University Jerusalem.

   “The Qur’an as Mirror of religious and cultural Mobility in a Late Antique epistemic Space”,
   Workshop: Mobility 2.0: Aspirations, Challenges, Obstacles, Hebrew University Jerusalem.

  “The Art of Reading slowly. Observations on Late Meccan surahs”,
   International Conference: Aspects of Qurʾānic scholarship. Theology meets Philology, Free University Berlin.

  • 2014

               “Original oder Plagiat? Biblische Traditionen und ihre Reflexionen im Koran“,
                Public Seminar: Der Koran – was steht da eigentlich drin. Entstehung und Inhalte der Heiligen Schrift des Islam sowie deren Bedeutung für muslimische
, Academy “Die HEGGE“, Willebadessen.

               “Der Koran – Gründungsdokument des Islam. Entstehung, Inhalt und Aufbau“,
               Public Seminar: Der Koran – was steht da eigentlich drin. Entstehung und Inhalte der Heiligen Schrift des Islam sowie deren Bedeutung für muslimische
, Academy “Die HEGGE“, Willebadessen.

               “Surah 32: Observations on Disputes and Reasoning in Late Meccan Surahs”,
               International workshop: The Religion of the Qur’anic Pagans: Reconstructions by chronological Reading and extra-textual Findings,
               Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique Paris.

  • 2013

  “Ephesus und seine schlafenden Märtyrer in islamischer Rezeption“,
  Conference: Ephesus: Die antike Metropole im Spannungsfeld von Religion und Bildung, University of Göttingen.

 “Textgenese und Gemeindebildung: Ein Beitrag zur Kontroverse um den chronologischen Ansatz anhand mittelmekkanischer Suren”,
  with Nora K. Schmid, Deutscher Orientalistentag 2013 Münster.

  • 2012

              “Die chronologisch-literaturwissenschaftliche Kommentierung des Korantextes. Herangehensweisen und Beispiele (Sure 37 und 26)“,
               with Nora K. Schmid, Workshop: Corpus Coranicum und CRC EDRIS, Berlin Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities Berlin.

               “’The Sign of Jonah’: Early Christian Readings of the Jonah Story and the Iconography of the Qur’an”,
               Workshop: Religious Narratives at the Crossroads of Scripture, Tradition and Culture: Reflections on the Jonah Story Institute for Advanced Studies Berlin.

                “Christliche Märtyrer im Koran”,
                 public lecture, Lange Nacht der Wissenschaften, Free University Berlin.

  •  2010

              “Introduction to Surat al-Kahf”,
               Workshop: The Qur’an: One Text, Different Approaches: Readings of Surat al-Kahf, Institute for Advanced Studies Berlin.

  • 2009

              “Ornament or Method? Qur’anic Parabolic Speech in Modern Hermeneutical Approaches”,
             Workshop: Allegory and the Plain-sense Meaning of Scripture, Institute for Advanced Studies, Berlin.