|| This book provides a unique visual history of the Qur'an using fifty-five rare, beautiful and significant Qur'an manuscripts. A general introduction guides the reader through the Qur'an's entry into the world of late near eastern antiquity, a world where books of scripture were inextricably bound to the political and religious identities of empires. Books of scripture, as well as being visible statements of divine majesty, personal piety and religious identity, were viewed as providing a point of contact with the divine. In this setting the Qur'an came to be viewed by Muslims as the point of divine contact without peer, and the calligraphy of its text became the foundation of Islamic visual culture for centuries to come. From this beginning, the development of the Qur'an in book form is followed chronologically and geographically, and the themes of textual development, art, identity and divine presence are highlighted in each chapter. This book draws mainly from the collection of Qur'ans in the Bodleian Library, one of the oldest collections in the English-speaking world and one of the finest collections internationally. Manuscripts are featured from every major chronological period of the Qur'an's history, and most of the Qur'ans pictured have never appeared in print before. 'Qur'ans: Books of Divine Encounter' brings together in one volume a magnificent range of Qur'anic manuscripts, providing a lavishly illustrated historical overview of one of the most influential, most memorized and enduring sacred books in our world.