Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Syro-Aramaic Reading of the Quran

From Wikipedia:
Christoph Luxenberg is the pseudonym of the author of The Syro-Aramaic Reading of the Koran: A Contribution to the Decoding of the Language of the Qur'an (German edition 2000, English translation 2007) and several articles in anthologies about early Islam.

Luxenberg came into the public eye in the years after 2000, following the publication of his first book (or at least the first one under this pseudonym), The Syro-Aramaic Reading of the Koran, which asserted that the language of the early compositions of the Qur'an was not exclusively Arabic, as assumed by the classical commentators, but rather is rooted in the Syro-Aramaic dialect of the 7th century Meccan Quraysh tribe, which is associated in the early histories with the founding of the religion of Islam. Luxenberg's premise is that the Aramaic language, which was prevalent throughout the Middle East during the early period of Islam, and was the language of culture and Christian liturgy, had a profound influence on the scriptural composition and meaning of the contents of the Koran.

[...] Luxenberg remarks that the Qur'an contains much ambiguous and even inexplicable language. He asserts that even Muslim scholars find some passages difficult to parse and have written reams of Quranic commentary attempting to explain these passages. The assumption behind their endeavours, however, has always been that any difficult passage is both true and meaningful, and that it can be deciphered with the tools of traditional Muslim scholarship. Luxenberg accuses Western academic scholars of the Qur'an of taking a timid and imitative approach, relying too heavily on the biased work of Muslim scholars.
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