Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Koranic Criticism

A lot of silly tie-ins to the Da Vinci codes, but an interesting article about girsological variance and textual evolution of the Koran. Some excerpts of the article:
It has long been known that variant copies of the Koran exist, including some found in 1972 in a paper grave at Sa'na in Yemen, the subject of a cover story in the January 1999 Atlantic Monthly. Before the Yemeni authorities shut the door to Western scholars, two German academics, Gerhard R Puin and H C Graf von Bothmer, made 35,000 microfilm copies, which remain at the University of the Saarland. Many scholars believe that the German archive, which includes photocopies of manuscripts as old as 700 AD, will provide more evidence of variation in the Koran.
"Paper grave" is presumably akin to a geniza.
It may be a very long time before the contents of the Bavarian archive are known. Some Koranic critics, notably the pseudonymous scholar "Ibn Warraq", claim that Professor Angelika Neuwirth, the archive's custodian, has denied access to scholars who stray from the traditional interpretation.
Presumably either because this will undermine the authority or divine source of the Koran, or because it will give them alternate girsaot to work with to propose interpretations not in line with present-day or traditional Sharia.
Throughout the Internet, Islamist sites denounce the work of a handful of marginalized scholars as evidence of a plot by Christian missionaries to sabotage Islam.

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