Author Topic: Origins of the Koran questioned; for example, the 72 virgins are really raisins  (Read 5978 times)

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Offline Wretched Excess

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Islam watchers blogged all weekend about news that a secret archive of ancient Islamic texts had surfaced after 60 years of suppression. Andrew Higgins' Wall Street Journal report that the photographic record of Koranic manuscripts, supposedly destroyed during World War II but occulted by a scholar of alleged Nazi sympathies, reads like a conflation of the Da Vinci Code with Indiana Jones and the Holy Grail.

The Da Vinci Code offered a silly fantasy in which Opus Dei, homicidal monks and twisted billionaires chased after proof that Christianity is a hoax. But the story of the photographic archive of

the Bavarian Academy of Sciences, now ensconced in a Berlin vault, is a case of life imitating truly dreadful art. It even has Nazis. "I hate those guys!" as Indiana Jones said.

No one is going to produce proof that Jesus Christ did not rise from the grave three days after the Crucifixion, of course. Humankind will choose to believe or not that God revealed Himself in this fashion. But Islam stands at risk of a Da Vinci Code effect, for in Islam, God's self-revelation took the form not of the Exodus, nor the revelation at Mount Sinai, nor the Resurrection, but rather a book, namely the Koran. The Encyclopaedia of Islam (1982) observes, "The closest analogue in Christian belief to the role of the Koran in Muslim belief is not the Bible, but Christ." The Koran alone is the revelatory event in Islam.

What if scholars can prove beyond reasonable doubt that the Koran was not dictated by the Archangel Gabriel to the Prophet Mohammad during the 7th century, but rather was redacted by later writers drawing on a variety of extant Christian and Jewish sources? That would be the precise equivalent of proving that the Jesus Christ of the Gospels really was a composite of several individuals, some of whom lived a century or two apart.

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.

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.snip
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In 2005, Puin published a collection of articles under the title, Die dunklen Anfange. Neue Forschungen zur Entstehung und fruhen Geschichte des Islam ("The dark beginnings: new research on the origin and early history of Islam," Hans Schiller Verlag, 2005). This drew on the work of the pseudonymous German philologist "Christoph Luxenburg", who sought to prove that incomprehensible passages in the Koran were written in Syriac-Aramaic rather than Arabic. Luxenburg's thesis became notorious for explaining that the "virgins" provided to Islamic jihadis in paradise were only raisins. The Koran, according to the research of Puin and his associates, copied a great deal of extant Christian material.

Apart from the little group at the University of the Saarland and a handful of others, though, the Western Academy is loathe to go near the issue. In the United States, where Arab and Islamic Studies rely on funding from the Gulf States, an interest in Koranic criticism is a failsafe way to commit career suicide.

more FASCINATING stuff!

I am sure the islamic fundamentalists will be fine with this. :whatever: :hammer:

Offline Wretched Excess

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apologies for the mispost.  not used to having a Religion Forum, obviously.

Offline Splashdown

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Apart from the little group at the University of the Saarland and a handful of others, though, the Western Academy is loathe to go near the issue. In the United States, where Arab and Islamic Studies rely on funding from the Gulf States, an interest in Koranic criticism is a failsafe way to commit career suicide.



Not to mention the real thing if the Islamic wackjobs get a hold of you. If they want to behead cartoonists, imagine what this'll do?
Let nothing trouble you,
Let nothing frighten you. 
All things are passing;
God never changes.
Patience attains all that it strives for.
He who has God lacks nothing:
God alone suffices.
--St. Theresa of Avila



"No crushed ice; no peas." -- Undies

Offline DixieBelle

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Why were the Nazis so eager to suppress Koranic criticism? Most likely, the answer lies in their alliance with Islamist leaders, who shared their hatred of the Jews and also sought leverage against the British in the Middle East.
The Ronulans are in such good company!  :whatever:

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But that is not the end of the matter. The Islamic world is forced to adopt an openly irrational stance, employing its power to intimidate scholars and frustrate the search for truth. It is impossible for Muslims to propose a dialogue with Western religions, as 38 Islamic scholars did in an October 13 letter to Pope Benedict XVI and other Christian leaders, and rule the subject of text criticism out of the discussion.

Precisely for this reason, Church leaders see little basis for a dialogue with Islam. Jean-Louis Cardinal Tauran, who directs the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, told the French daily La Croix, "Muslims do not accept discussion about the Koran, because they say it was written under the dictates of God. With such an absolutist interpretation, it's difficult to discuss the contents of the faith."
"But, but if we had just kept our damned noses of out the Middle East, 9/11 wouldn't have happened!" We brought jihad upon ourselves with our thirst for oil and American dominance!" :whatever: :hammer:
I can see November 2 from my house!!!

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Forget change, bring back common sense.
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No, my friends, there’s only one really progressive idea. And that is the idea of legally limiting the power of the government. That one genuinely liberal, genuinely progressive idea — the Why in 1776, the How in 1787 — is what needs to be conserved. We need to conserve that fundamentally liberal idea. That is why we are conservatives. --Bill Whittle

Offline jinxmchue

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It's interesting to compare this with the Bible.  After 2000 years, what do the biblical skeptics have to show beyond their personal incredulity?  Not much.  No one 2000 years ago ever recorded that Jesus didn't actually exist or that he never rose from the grave (which would be easy to prove with his body in a guarded tomb).

Offline FlaGator

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It's interesting to compare this with the Bible.  After 2000 years, what do the biblical skeptics have to show beyond their personal incredulity?  Not much.  No one 2000 years ago ever recorded that Jesus didn't actually exist or that he never rose from the grave (which would be easy to prove with his body in a guarded tomb).

There were rumors that are mentioned in the Gospels that the apostles stole the body in order to perpetuate the resurrection story and these stories have echoed through the centuries but there has been no proof (nor will there be) that the believers did anything of the sort.
"My enemy's enemy is the enemy I kill last."
Klingon Proverb.

Offline Wretched Excess

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I found this story fascinating.

Offline DixieBelle

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^me too. The difference in response between Christians and Muslims having their holy word tested is interesting to say the least.
I can see November 2 from my house!!!

Spread my work ethic, not my wealth.

Forget change, bring back common sense.
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No, my friends, there’s only one really progressive idea. And that is the idea of legally limiting the power of the government. That one genuinely liberal, genuinely progressive idea — the Why in 1776, the How in 1787 — is what needs to be conserved. We need to conserve that fundamentally liberal idea. That is why we are conservatives. --Bill Whittle

Offline mamacags

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Incredible article!  I am very surprised that there aren't a lot of fake names in the research.
All the great things are simple, and many can be expressed in a single word: freedom, justice, honor, duty, mercy, hope.
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Offline djones520

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It's interesting to compare this with the Bible.  After 2000 years, what do the biblical skeptics have to show beyond their personal incredulity?  Not much.  No one 2000 years ago ever recorded that Jesus didn't actually exist or that he never rose from the grave (which would be easy to prove with his body in a guarded tomb).

There were rumors that are mentioned in the Gospels that the apostles stole the body in order to perpetuate the resurrection story and these stories have echoed through the centuries but there has been no proof (nor will there be) that the believers did anything of the sort.

About a 2 hour drive from where I am, is the grave of Jesus Christ.   A sect of Christians believe that Jesus did escape persecution, and that one of his brothers took his place on the cross.  Jesus then spent the next several years journying across Asia, eventually arriving BACK in Japan (they say he came here during his younger years and grew to love the place), where he married and had a family and eventually died at something like 102 years old.
"Chuck Norris once had sex in an 18 wheeler. Some of his semen dripped onto the engine. We now call that truck Optimus Prime."

Offline FlaGator

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It's interesting to compare this with the Bible.  After 2000 years, what do the biblical skeptics have to show beyond their personal incredulity?  Not much.  No one 2000 years ago ever recorded that Jesus didn't actually exist or that he never rose from the grave (which would be easy to prove with his body in a guarded tomb).

There were rumors that are mentioned in the Gospels that the apostles stole the body in order to perpetuate the resurrection story and these stories have echoed through the centuries but there has been no proof (nor will there be) that the believers did anything of the sort.

About a 2 hour drive from where I am, is the grave of Jesus Christ.   A sect of Christians believe that Jesus did escape persecution, and that one of his brothers took his place on the cross.  Jesus then spent the next several years journying across Asia, eventually arriving BACK in Japan (they say he came here during his younger years and grew to love the place), where he married and had a family and eventually died at something like 102 years old.

Then, by definition of the Gospels, they are not a sect Christians but probably some form of Gnostics. The Gospels set out a very narrow definition of what it is to be a Christian. One of the main tenets is in having faith that Jesus died on the cross to cover our sins and was in fact resurrected on the third day. For this sect to believe otherwise is to deny the faith that Christ said was necessary for our salvation. I guess any one can call themselves a Christian but are they in fact truly Christian?
"My enemy's enemy is the enemy I kill last."
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Offline djones520

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It's interesting to compare this with the Bible.  After 2000 years, what do the biblical skeptics have to show beyond their personal incredulity?  Not much.  No one 2000 years ago ever recorded that Jesus didn't actually exist or that he never rose from the grave (which would be easy to prove with his body in a guarded tomb).

There were rumors that are mentioned in the Gospels that the apostles stole the body in order to perpetuate the resurrection story and these stories have echoed through the centuries but there has been no proof (nor will there be) that the believers did anything of the sort.

About a 2 hour drive from where I am, is the grave of Jesus Christ.   A sect of Christians believe that Jesus did escape persecution, and that one of his brothers took his place on the cross.  Jesus then spent the next several years journying across Asia, eventually arriving BACK in Japan (they say he came here during his younger years and grew to love the place), where he married and had a family and eventually died at something like 102 years old.

Then, by definition of the Gospels, they are not a sect Christians but probably some form of Gnostics. The Gospels set out a very narrow definition of what it is to be a Christian. One of the main tenets is in having faith that Jesus died on the cross to cover our sins and was in fact resurrected on the third day. For this sect to believe otherwise is to deny the faith that Christ said was necessary for our salvation. I guess any one can call themselves a Christian but are they in fact truly Christian?

*shrugs*  I'm no theology major.  I just tell it how I hear it.  I might take a trip out there this summer though to see it before I leave.
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Offline FlaGator

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Theology is kind of a hobby with me.
"My enemy's enemy is the enemy I kill last."
Klingon Proverb.

Offline Wretched Excess

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Theology is kind of a hobby with me.

as I said, I found this whole story to be fascinating.

and dead, disappointed terrorists who arrived in paradise (give me a little latitude on the afterlife thing :wink:) expecting 72 virgins, only to be granted a handful of raisins strikes me as freaking hilarious.  I think it's the look on their faces that does it for me. :-)


Offline FlaGator

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Theology is kind of a hobby with me.

as I said, I found this whole story to be fascinating.

and dead, disappointed terrorists who arrived in paradise (give me a little latitude on the afterlife thing :wink:) expecting 72 virgins, only to be granted a handful of raisins strikes me as freaking hilarious.  I think it's the look on their faces that does it for me. :-)



I picture the Mohammadens arriving in paradise and being greeted by the California Raisins singing "I Heard It Through the Grape Vine."
"My enemy's enemy is the enemy I kill last."
Klingon Proverb.

Offline Wretched Excess

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Theology is kind of a hobby with me.

as I said, I found this whole story to be fascinating.

and dead, disappointed terrorists who arrived in paradise (give me a little latitude on the afterlife thing :wink:) expecting 72 virgins, only to be granted a handful of raisins strikes me as freaking hilarious.  I think it's the look on their faces that does it for me. :-)



I picture the Mohammadens arriving in paradise and being greeted by the California Raisins singing "I Heard It Through the Grape Vine."



"You ain't never gonna get none . . . . " :-)

Offline The Night Owl

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Well, shoot. I have always thought that the 72 virgins promised to the Muslims are a better deal than the mansions promised to the Christians, but if the virgins are really raisins, then I have to revise my thinking.

Ubi Dubium Ibi Libertas