The last chapter had two main aims. Firstly, I attempted to establish the legitimacy of this study by responding to certain general objections which would apply to any Western critical study of the Qur:>an. Secondly, and more specifically, I outlined how the study would be carried out by explaining various aspects of my approach to the Qur:>an. In this chapter the focus narrows still further as I make some introductory points on the particular group of Qur:>anic passages (the punishmentnarratives) which will then be analysed in detail in the next chapter.