This excellent collection of critical commentaries on the Koran brings together outstanding articles by noted scholars from the beginning of the 20th century to recent times. These important studies, as well as the editor’s 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 valuable compilation will be a welcome resource to interested lay readers and scholars alike.
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“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