Christoph Heger, convinced of the validity of Christoph Luxenberg and Volker Popp's thesis that early documents, inscriptions and coins that contain the terms "muhammad" and " 'ali" should not be understood as proper names of the putatively historical figures of Islamic historiography but as honorific titles of Jesus Christ, argued that confirmation of the said thesis could be found in the old text of an inscription of a talisman in the possession of Tewfik Canaan. The text of the talisman should be read as:
"O healer, O God! Help from God and near victory and good tiding of the believers! O praised one [muhammad], O merciful one, O benefactor. There is no young man like the high one [ 'ali] and no sword like the two-edged sword of the high one. O God, O living one, O eternal one, O Lord of majesty and honour, O merciful one, O compassionate one".
This text should be understood as an invocation of Jesus Christ- the healer, the good tiding, the praised, merciful and high one, the young hero, "out of the mouth [of whom] went a sharp two-edged sword" [Apoc. 1:16], namely “the word of God,” which is “sharper than any two-edged sword” [Hebrews 4:12].
Where Dr. Markus Gross discussed the Buddhist influence on Islam, Professor Kropp explained the Ethiopian elements in the Koran. Independent scholar, traveller, and numismatist Volker Popp argued that Islamic history as recounted by Islamic historians has a Biblical structure –the first four caliphs are clearly modelled on Adam, Noah, Abraham, and Moses. The Muslim historians transformed historical facts to fit a Biblical pattern. Popp also developed a fascinating thesis that Islamic historians had a propensity to turn nomen (gentile) (name of the gens or clan) into patronyms; a patronym being a component of a personal name based on the name of one's father. Thus Islamic historians had a tendency to take, for instance, Iranian names on inscriptions and turn them into Arabic-sounding names. Having turned Iranians into Arabs, the next step was to turn historical events connected with the original Iranians which had nothing to do with Islamic history into Islamic history. For example, Islamic history knows various so called Civil Wars. One of them was between Abd-al-Malik, his governor al-Hajjaj and the rival caliph in Mecca by the name of Abdallah Zubair. The evidence of inscriptions tells us that the name Zubayr is a misreading. The correct reading is ZNBYL. This was made into ZUBYL by the Arab historians. From ZUBYL they derived the name Zubair, which has no Semitic root. The real story is a fight between Abd al-Malik at Merv and the King of Kabulistan, who held the title ZNBYL. This took place between 60 and 75 Arab era in the East of the former Sassanian domains. The historians transferred this feud to Mecca and Jerusalem and then embedded the whole into the structure of a well known story from the Old Testament, the secession of Omri and his building the Temple of Samaria.
The paper delivered by Rainer Nabielek of Berlin provided evidence of a successful application of Luxenberg’s method not only to the Koran but to non-religious texts as well. This was convincingly shown by means of a hitherto unsolved medical term. This medical term can be traced back to Syriac in the same way as many Koranic expressions as demonstrated by Luxenberg. In addition to this Nabielek pointed in his paper to the hitherto overlooked phenomenon of the existence of loan syntax in classical Arabic. His contribution confirms the validity of Luxenberg’s method in general.
Keith Small compared the textual variants in the New Testament manuscripts and Koranic manuscripts. Dr. Elisabeth Puin gave a lucid, and highly original analysis of an early Koran manuscript from Sana, Yemen, [DAM 01-27.1] in part written over a palimpsest Koranic text. Dr. Elisabeth Puin summarized her findings and their implications,
“As for the scriptio superior, the comparison with the Standard text [Cairo 1924/25 Koran] shows that it still contains many differences in orthography and verse counting; there are even minor textual variants, like, for example, singular instead of plural, wa- instead of fa-, and so on. Some - but by far not all - of those differences were at a later stage corrected by erasure and /or amendments. We cannot suppose that all the differences are only due to the calligrapher's inattention, being simply spelling mistakes; there are too many of them on every page, and some of them are found repeatedly, not only in this manuscript but in others too. So we must conclude that at the stage when and in the region where the manuscript was written those variants were not felt to be mistakes but conformed to a specific writing tradition.”
Professor Van Reeth, already much impressed by Luxenberg's thesis and methodology, gave two talks at the conference. The shorter one compared the image of the pearl in four passages in the Koran that refer to a eucharistic prayer, and a parallel image found in the Eucharist of the Manichaeans. The longer talk discussed the similarities of the Islamic vision of the union of Muhammad with his God, and the commentary of Ephrem the Syrian on the union of the believer with God.