The Lost Koran Archive

    The Lost Archive

*  Missing for a half century, a cache of photos spurs sensitive research on Islam’s holy text

By ANDREW HIGGINS/The Wall Street Journal


During the 19th century, Germans pioneered modern scholarship of ancient texts. Their work revolutionized understanding of Christian and Jewish scripture. It also infuriated some of the devout, who resented secular scrutiny of texts believed to contain sacred truths.

The revived Quran venture plays into a very modern debate: how to reconcile Islam with the modern world? Academic quarrying of the Quran has produced bold theories, bitter feuds and even claims of an Islamic Reformation in the making. Applying Western critical methods to Islam’s holiest text is a sensitive test of the Muslim community’s readiness to both accommodate and absorb thinking outside its own traditions.

“It is very exciting,” says Patricia Crone, a scholar at Princeton’s Institute for Advanced Study and a pioneer of unorthodox theories about Islam’s early years. She says she first heard that the Munich archive had survived when attending a conference in Germany last fall. “Everyone thought it was destroyed.”

The Quran is viewed by most Muslims as the unchanging word of God as transmitted to the Prophet Muhammad in the 7th century. The text, they believe, didn’t evolve or get edited. The Quran says it is “flawless” and fixed by an “imperishable tablet” in heaven. It starts with a warning: “This book is not to be doubted.”

Quranic scholarship often focuses on arcane questions of philology and textual analysis. Experts nonetheless tend to tread warily, mindful of fury directed in recent years at people deemed to have blasphemed Islam’s founding document and the Prophet Muhammad.

* ‘Sensitivity training’, anyone? 

* Stay tuned for ‘Koran Research Project Rage’ 

2 thoughts on “The Lost Koran Archive”

  1. I hear that the Koran is missing a page at the end. That last page said the following “All the previous pages of this book were pure fiction. I, Mohammed made it all up in order to enrich myself. I never heard any voices in a cave- you who believed all this are fools. Now that I’m near death disregard this entire book of lies for only a fool would believe them”.

    Anyone who finds that page please return it to where it belongs-perhaps the madness the Koran has caused for 1400 years will finally end.

  2. Geez, talking about pandering to the islamonazis. This is an interesting project that has the potential to effect great change in the world, providing the jihadis don’t blow up the university or kill the researchers. I look forward to the results.

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