Contrastive Lexical Semantics of Biblical Soul and Qur’anic Ruħ: An Application of Intertextuality

Mustafa Ali Harb


The purpose of this paper is to see how two lexical entries (i.e., Biblical soul, and Qur’anic ruħ) are defined in religious discourses, namely, the Holy Book of Quran and the Holy Bible, from which data necessary for this study were collected. Several verses were cited throughout this paper mainly from two corpora: 1) the Qur’anic Arabic Corpus and 2) King James Bible Online. As for machinery, the researcher carried a three-level analysis. In the first level, the detonational and connotational meanings of these lemmas (dictionary entries) in major English and Arabic dictionaries were provided. English dictionaries were Oxford English Dictionary and the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language. Arabic dictionaries were lisaan alʕarab (Lit: the Tongue of The Arabs) and al muћeeţ (Lit: The Ocean). In the second level of analysis, the meanings of these words were sought in the interpretations of major Muslim and Christian scholars. The final level of analysis was an attempt to provide detailed definitions of the words in study from within the Quran and the Bible through invoking what these words mean. The results of this study indicated that each of the studied words has differently distinctive meanings in terms of scope, dimensions, and implications. Accordingly, the study recommends (1) adopting such meanings when interpreting religious discourses (2) accepting intertextuality as an invaluable approach to understanding the meaning of words in the Holy Book of Quran and the Holy Bible.

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International Journal of Linguistics  ISSN 1948-5425  Email:

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