Thursday, March 23, 2006

The Real Koran

I have been noodling around the net and have come across some very interesting stuff on the history of the Koran.

By the standards of contemporary biblical scholarship, most of the questions being posed by scholars like Puin and Rippin are rather modest; outside an Islamic context, proposing that the Koran has a history and suggesting that it can be interpreted metaphorically are not radical steps. But the Islamic context -- and Muslim sensibilities -- cannot be ignored. "To historicize the Koran would in effect delegitimize the whole historical experience of the Muslim community," says R. Stephen Humphreys, a professor of Islamic studies at the University of California at Santa Barbara. "The Koran is the charter for the community, the document that called it into existence. And ideally -- though obviously not always in reality -- Islamic history has been the effort to pursue and work out the commandments of the Koran in human life. If the Koran is a historical document, then the whole Islamic struggle of fourteen centuries is effectively meaningless."
So there you have it. The Koran can not withstand real scholarship. I say turn the academics with courage loose. Where is Indiana Jones when you need him? The University of Chicago perhaps?

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Cross Posted at Classical Values


Mr Fox said...

I have a long experience of working on Middle Eastern subjects and have lived and studied in the Middle East. To a certain extent the Koran itself is indeed very hard to second guess becuase its lineage is clearly understood and it was compiled in a very short time. It is therefore difficult to subject the Koran to the same critical analysis that is regularly used to investigate and analyze the Christian gospels or the Jewish scriptures. Added to this the variety of Korans was purposely limited to one 'true copy' during an event in Ilamic history that you can look up. There have been several attempts, however, to look into the Koran and these are relatively easy to find but in the current climate scholars do this work at their peril. If you are interested in this subject I would direct you to look at the various schools of Islam which are fascinating and very diverse. Saudi hegemony over the many of the sacred places of Islam has led to the undermining of many of the competing traditions (seven platforms reduced to one in the main mosque) and the rising tide of Wahhabism. Sufism is a tradition that I found particularly beautiful and rewarding and not dissimilar to the mystical traditions found in Christianity, Judaism, and Buhddism. Omar Kyam and Khalil Gibran are Sufi thinkers/ poets who are widely read in the West.

Mahndisa S. Rigmaiden said...

03 31 06

Sufism is very interesting and beautiful. It is sad that governments are suppressing information that could tell us more about the roots of Islam.