What the Koran Really Says: Language, Text and Commentary / Edition 1

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Overview

Islam has worldwide influence, and even in the United States is experiencing a period of unprecedented growth. Its sacred book, the Koran, is the subject of voluminous commentary, yet it rarely receives the kind of objective critical scrutiny that has been applied to the texts of the Bible for over a century. To correct this neglect of objective scholarship, this author has assembled an excellent collection of critical commentaries on the Koran published by noted scholars from the beginning of the 20th century to recent times. These important studies, as well as his own lengthy introduction, show that little about the text of the Koran can be taken at face value. Among the fascinating topics discussed is evidence that early Muslims did not understand Muhammad's original revelation, that the ninth-century explosion of literary activity was designed to organize and make sense of an often incoherent text, and that much of the traditions surrounding Muhammad's life were fabricated long after his death in an attempt to give meaning to the Koran. Also of interest are suggestions that Coptic and other Christian sources heavily influenced much of the text and that some passages reflect even an Essenian background reaching back to the community of the Dead Sea Scrolls. This outstanding volume will be a welcome resource to interested lay readers and scholars alike.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"For the professional Islamicist, it is enormously convenient to have all these articles assembled together in a single work. For anyone interested in the Koran, it will be a boon to understanding Islam. …robustly critical scholarship…."
-Times Literary Supplement

"Like Ibn Warraq's earlier (and extraordinary) Why I Am Not a Muslim, this book offers a perspective on Islam and the Koran which demands a wider reading and a wider debate , and not just in the Christian and secular West.... [An] excellent book on a sensitive and under-explored subject."
-Fortean Times

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781573929455
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books
  • Publication date: 10/28/2002
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 600
  • Sales rank: 1,018,836
  • Product dimensions: 6.36 (w) x 9.31 (h) x 1.84 (d)

Meet the Author

Ibn Warraq is the highly acclaimed author of Why I Am Not a Muslim, Virgins? What Virgins?, and Defending the West. He is also the editor of The Origins of the Koran, What the Koran Really Says, Leaving Islam, The Quest for the Historical Muhammad, and Which Koran?.
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Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgments 13
Transliteration and Other Technical Matters 17
Pt. 1 Introduction
1 Introduction 23
2 What Is the Koran? 107
Pt. 2 Background
2 Towards a Prehistory of Islam 131
Pt. 3 A Question of Language
1 Syriac Influence on the Style of the Koran 171
2 Some Additions to Prof. Jeffery's Foreign Vocabulary of the Qur'an 193
3 The Arabic Readers of the Koran 201
4 The Beginnings of Classical Arabic 211
5 The Role of the Bedouins as Arbiters in Linguistic Questions and the Mas'ala Az-Zunburiyya 228
6 Some Suggestions to Qur'an Translators 238
Pt. 4 Sources of the Koran: Essenian, Christian, Coptic
1 Introduction to the Dead Sea Scrolls 245
2 The Qumran Scrolls and the Qur'an 251
3 An Essenian Tradition in the Koran 268
4 A Qumranian Expression in the Koran 283
5 A Possible Coptic Source of a Qur'anic Text 288
6 Introduction to Raimund Kobert 296
7 The Shahadat az-zur: The False Witness 301
8 On the Meaning of the Three Final Words of Sura XXII.30-31 303
9 Early and Later Exegesis of the Koran: A Supplement to Or 35 311
Pt. 5 Suras, Suras, Suras
1 Introduction to Sura IX.29 319
2 Some Minor Problems in the Qur'an 322
3 Koran IX.29 343
4 A Propos de Qur'an IX.29: Hatta Yu'tu L-Gizyata wa-hum Sagiruna 348
5 The Ancient Arab Background of the Koranic Concept al-Gizatu 'an Yadin 350
6 "'An Yadin" (Qur'an IX.29): An Attempt at Interpretation 364
7 Koran and Tafsir: The Case of "an Yadin" 372
8 Koran XXV.1: Al-Furqan and the "Warner" 387
9 The Buddha Comes to China 391
10 The Secret Identity of Dhu l-Kifl 394
Pt. 6 Emendations, Interpolations
1 Studies Contributing to Criticism and Exegesis of the Koran 399
2 A Qur'anic Interpolation 436
3 Regarding Qur'an CI.6 462
4 Three Difficult Passages in the Koran 466
5 A Strange Reading in the Qur'an 481
6 Some Proposed Emendations to the Text of the Koran 488
Pt. 7 Richard Bell: Introduction and Commentary
1 Introduction to Richard Bell 517
2 From Introduction to the Qur'an 524
3 From A Commentary on the Qur'an 553
Pt. 8 Poetry and the Koran
1 The Strophic Structure of the Koran 625
2 On the Koran 647
3 On Pre-Islamic Christian Strophic Poetical Texts in the Koran: A Critical Look at the Work of Gunter Luling 653
Pt. 9 Manuscripts
1 The Problem of Dating the Early Qur'ans 713
2 Observations on Early Qur'an Manuscripts in San'a' 739
App. A: Abbreviations 747
App. B Converting Flugel Koranic Verse Numbers into Standard Egyptian 751
App. C: Glossary 753
App. D The Genetic Relationship among Semitic Languages 763
App. E Semitic Languages Family Tree 764
App. F Origin of the Alphabet 765
App. G Development of Aramaic Scripts 766
App. H A Comparative Table of Hebrew, Syriac, and Arabic Scripts 768
App. I A Comparative Table of Nabataean and Arabic 769
App. J Nabataean and Arabic Inscriptions 770
App. K The Arabic Alphabet 774
App. L A Dot or Two Can Make All the Difference 775
App. M Arabia and the Near East 776
App. N: List of Contributors 777
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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 1, 2003

    This book was horrible

    I really wanted to get something out of this book that I could use in my college class on Islam but the arguments and points the author made were so illogical that I couldnt use any of them. I thought this book would be objective but I guess the guy just is trying to use emotion in most of this. arguments in this book. The book had one or two points I was interested in but overall it was really not even worth the time.

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