January 28, 2008
The Intrepid Mr. Luxenberg
The notion of textual criticism of the Koran grabbed my attention last week, and then I was put on to the work of Christoph Luxenberg (a pseudonym), who has published an important work on the Qur’an, Die syro-aramaeische Lesart des Koran; Ein Beitrag zur Entschlüsselung der Qur’ānsprache (Berlin, Germany: Das Arabische Buch, 2000). In 2007 it appeared in English translation as The Syro-Aramaic Reading of the Koran: A Contribution to the Decoding of the Language of the Koran (Hans Schiler Verlag). There is a brief interview with Luxenberg here] and a NYT’s article here. I thought there was something vaguely familiar about Luxenberg’s thesis, and my hunch proved right: I had read about it in Jim Davila’s Palaeojudaica blog here and here. The best information I’ve found is an informative review of Luxenberg’s book by Robert R. Phenix Jr. and Cornelia B. Horn in Hugoye: Journal of Syriac Studies, Vol. 6.1, January 2003.
Luxenberg’s book is a sort of interim report on his research, setting out his methods and some of his conclusions. A more complete work is awaited. But the punch line might interest readers of this blog: when he’s done with his textual excavation, beneath the suras of the original Qur’an there emerges what looks like a Syriac Christian lectionary of Old Testament and New Testament readings for the Christian year.Continue reading "The Intrepid Mr. Luxenberg"
January 24, 2008
The Dangerous Science of Textual Criticism
In contrast with the Christian Bible, which has been and continues to be subject to all sorts of searching criticism, the least problematic being textual criticism, textual criticism of the Koran is apparently carried on behind closed doors. Islam regards the Qur'an as “dropped from heaven,” so to speak, revealed in its entirety directly to the Prophet Mohammed. The text, just as it is printed in Arabic today, is reputedly identical with the original text.
I’d heard of Qur'anic textual criticism, but I had never read any account of it. Just today I became aware of the article published in January 1999 Atlantic Monthly, which seems to do a nice job of summing up the situation as it stood nine years ago. I owe this tip to the indispensable blog Get Religion, and its story “Indiana Jones, Da Vinci and the Koran,” which in turn points us to this article in Asia Times Online. Read it. (And note the analogy between the Qur'an and Christ.)Continue reading "The Dangerous Science of Textual Criticism"
Posted by Dan Reid at 7:08 AM