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 Topic: Qur'anic studies today

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  • Qur'anic studies today
     Reply #1320 - January 20, 2017, 09:07 PM

    Ian David Morris on Arabian pastoralism: https://mobile.twitter.com/iandavidmorris/status/822546010547322880
  • Qur'anic studies today
     Reply #1321 - January 20, 2017, 09:18 PM

    Thank you Zaotar,

    I would like to continue on your second argument: the graffiti:
    I did read the Ikka text at the time you posted it, interesting.
    The point we are discussing is, that there was this changing popular Christology at the periphery of the church, pre-Quran. That could have been a gradual process, culminating in the Christology from the Quran. Evidence for that could be the graffiti found in the ME.

    I quote Lindsted here:
    Quote
    There is, in the main, also a geographical distance between the ANA and Arabic
    graffiti. Safaitic and Hismaic inscriptions are mostly found in the Ḥarra (the basalt desert in southern Syria and northern Jordan) and the Ḥismā (southern Jordan and northwestern Saudi Arabia), respectively.
    Some Arabic graffiti have been found in the vicinity of these areas, but many of the Arabic graffiti discussed in this article have been discovered in modern Saudi Arabia and the dated graffiti of the first Islamic century come mostly from there.
    This is in contrast with the pre-Islamic inscriptions in Arabic script that all come from sixth-century Syria and Jordan.


    So she says there are no pre-islamic grafitti to be found in Saudi Arabia. But this is just the period we are interested in. We are looking for evidence of the changing Christology preceding the Quran. These are only to be found in Syria and Jordan and Lindsted decided not to study these since there are not enough for a comparison to be possible. So I don´t see how the graffiti help us in investigating this question.
  • Qur'anic studies today
     Reply #1322 - January 20, 2017, 10:05 PM

    There is almost no pre-conquest Arabic graffiti, true, apart from the Safaitic/Hismaic material, which I take to be varieties of Old Arabic, following Al-Jallad, and the Nabatean Arabic material ... all of which is pagan and centuries earlier than Muhammad's time.  But we have to work with what we have.  There are two ways of explaining the strangely generic early conquest era devotional material.  Either it emerged as a sort of bastardized and simplified version of the doctrines that Muhammad and his close companions invented from nothing and popularized as an innovative theology among pagans, Jews, and Christians by his personal authority, or else the radically generalized monotheist theology of these inscriptions represents the continuation of earlier and broader Syrian/Arabian developments, with Muhammad being just one prophetic authority who emerged from those processes and developed one strand of it, a strand which eventually became dominant and displaced the more general earlier forms.  Obviously I favor the latter scenario for a variety of reasons, but it's not the kind of thing we have clear evidence on either way, that's for sure.

    At some level, note that this is a somewhat semantic debate, since the opposing ends of the spectrum (that [1] there was no preexisting form of general monotheist soteriology in Arabian regions, and Muhammad invented/received the idea entirely by himself; or [2] that Muhammad was not a real person who contributed to the growth of conquest era Arabian monotheism) seem pretty clearly false, contradicted by many lines of evidence.  The question is more about his degree of contribution to Arabian monotheism, whether it is more traditional (he did virtually everything) or more revisionist (he probably was important, but perhaps more in connection with inspiring the conquests than as a theological innovator).
  • Qur'anic studies today
     Reply #1323 - January 20, 2017, 10:10 PM

    Reading Frankopan Silk Roads.

    To summarise horrendously he sees various power groups interacting, empires, traders, families, slaves and nomads.

    Religions are kind of secondary, except that xianity has a Jerusalem fetish and believes it is the truth, so has a new  reason to take other peoples' stuff, (possibly invented by Darius) which Islam later copies, but they are all riven by all knds of disputes, about who should reign, who is truthier.

    looking at the effects of a particular religion may be a mistake caused by propagandists of that religion.  

    And Islam may not exist if some Muslim slaves had not revolted and taken over Egypt and then defeated the Khan in Syria.

    When you are a Bear of Very Little Brain, and you Think of Things, you find sometimes that a Thing which seemed very Thingish inside you is quite different when it gets out into the open and has other people looking at it.


    A.A. Milne,

    "We cannot slaughter each other out of the human impasse"
  • Qur'anic studies today
     Reply #1324 - January 20, 2017, 10:37 PM

    Zaotar,

    The ANA inscriptions are disconnected from the Saudi inscriptions in geography and in time (300 years). We can try to work with what we have, but if we use something that is not connected and try to connect it, we make a mistake. Seeing proof in the ANA graffiti of a pre-existing popular monotheistic soteriology in Saudi Arabia doesn´t make sense. First the content of these graffiti doesnt point to any monotheistic inclination, 2nd the graffiti might have been written on a different planet (300 years apart and 1000 km away from our target area).

    It is also very strange. All this time while there was so much activity in Syria and Jordan, there was none in heartland Saudi Arabia as if no  writers were living there...
    And all of a sudden, in the 7th C, there is an explosion of graffiti in Saudi Arabia.  This points not to  continuity in soteriological development but to a discontinuity.Something happened, something changed. Different possibilities:

    1- Saudi Arabia grew more literate immediately after the conquests and it showed in the graffiti. That means it was non-literate before or there would have been graffiti much earlier just like the basalt ones in Syria and Jordan.But this is unlikely because we tend to see the whole of the ME as extremely literate...

    2-The people living in  Saudi Arabia got inspired by the Quran and started writing. Strange they wouldn´t have used that talent before, eg to write their poetry in... And the inscriptions are not very Quranic, doesnt make sense...

    3-Maybe the dating of the early Saudi graffiti is wrong? There are only a few dated graffiti and they are in the heart of Saudi Arabia. I already expressed my skepticism about the Zuhayr inscription, and the more I read about the graffiti (Lindstedt and Imbert) the stranger it gets. Maybe the plethora of graffiti dates from much later than the 7th C, I dont know....

    Sorry for being so skeptical, but it seems to be my nature. Just trying to make the pieces of the puzzle fit in my head...
  • Qur'anic studies today
     Reply #1325 - January 20, 2017, 11:10 PM

    Sorry, to be clear I'm not saying the ANA material evidences monotheistic soteriology because it absolutely does not (although it does seem like it was evolving that way in various aspects, which is why Arabic monotheism retained the pagan name Al-Lah rather than borrowing a monotheist name, but that's a different issue).

    There wasn't *zero* writing in the pre-Islamic Arabian peninsula.  There was bucketloads of South Arabian writing in the pre-Islamic era, and there was at least one example of true Arabic script writing near Najran, as discussed earlier, in a Christian context.  Which is quite close to the Hijaz.  Arabia was filled with monotheists on the North and South.  Ironically people talk about the absence of Jewish and Christian presence in the Hijaz, and one wonders what evidence they could find of *pagan* presence in the Hijaz.  There just doesn't seem to have been much of anything in the Hijaz itself, as far as material culture.  It was a wasteland.

    It is true that the Nabatean-derived Arabic script seems to have long been a northern Arab practice, closely associated with Christianity, and primarily centered in Jordan/Syria, that in the mid 7th century explosively proliferated everywhere across the region ... not just in Saudi Arabia.  It seems to have spread from north to south, ironically.

    If we look at the ANA graffiti material (and on this point I think it can be compared) it suggests that you didn't need much at all for people to quickly learn how to write rudimentary inscriptions in an alphabetic script.  The ANA material seems to have been done by nomadic herders who spread basic writing without formal institutions, and this enthusiasm for writing seems to have gone through waves, focused on different cultural areas in Safaitic and Hismaic.  So it's not terribly surprising that the dislocations and movement of the conquest era might have generated similar enthusiasms for Arabic inscriptions.  No question that Arabic speakers became politically and militarily dominant across a wide range of areas in the mid 7th century, so with the rise of Arabophone power can we be surprised that they asserted their own forms of literacy and theology?  Nobody can doubt that there were dislocations, and that the Hijaz became a center of pilgrimage and Islamic identity over time, the question being what they represent.

    I am not skeptical about the Saudi graffiti btw because it doesn't look like the kind of thing somebody would attempt to fake.  Forgeries are usually obvious in their rationale (like the letters written by Muhammad).  The interesting thing about the early graffiti is it looks exactly like the kind of thing nobody would have attempted to forge, just random references that make no mention of Muhammad or the Qur'an, as you would almost certainly expect from a forgery.  I see no reason to challenge the validity of the Zuhayr inscription, any more than the Najran inscription.
  • Qur'anic studies today
     Reply #1326 - January 20, 2017, 11:44 PM

    Zaotar,

    Zuhayr:
    The description that Ghaban gave of the inscription didn´t hint of any erosion protection. I think that is strange. Sandstone is soft, wind erosion in the desert is strong, only when shielded does an inscription survive. Was the Najran inscription in sandstone or was it basalt? I will check later.

    The presence of diacritical points "just like we use today" is in any case remarkable.

    The mention of Omar is very fitting, the early date (24 AH) proves the early Meccan pilgrimage, it is one of the few dated graffito...  See this article to assess the welcomed importance of the find: http://www.islamic-awareness.org/History/Islam/Inscriptions/kuficsaud.html

    By now there is a whole catalogue of inscriptions, any faker would know how to make one fit in. And by accident, it is the dated ones that show a connection with the islamic tradition (Omar and his modesty).

    Donner says the sandstone inscriptions are easily made (half an hour). Looks to me an ideal candidate to be forged, especially if no one is applying rigorous scientific criteria to check because well... no graffiti are known te be fakes, ... (dixit Lindstet).

    Not saying they are fake, just dont know. I seem to be detecting a graffiti hype coming out of Saudi Arabia, and upto now no critical article examining the veracity in a scientific way.
  • Qur'anic studies today
     Reply #1327 - January 21, 2017, 01:03 AM

    Mundi

    Omar and Othman  were mentioned in documentary evidence by non muslim, it seems we have nothing about abu baker though ( i know zoator  think he is a literally device :-)

    the ommyad dynasty associated themselves with mecca, we have different earliest communities fighting each other but still they have the same sacred place,  I don't really understand why you would think the graffiti are forged ?

    btw, I don't believe the quran is a word of god or anything like that.

  • Qur'anic studies today
     Reply #1328 - January 21, 2017, 08:58 AM

    Hatoush,

    Yes, I agree, I might be too skeptical about the inscriptions. It´s the nature of beast i guess Smiley...

    About Mekka, you know that the earliest source where Mecca is mentioned is the Spanish chronicle from 750 CE, and it situated Mecca in Mesopotamia?
  • Qur'anic studies today
     Reply #1329 - January 21, 2017, 10:56 AM

    Mundi

    you have opposing communities in Early Islam, they had civil wars yet they agree on the sacred place mecca, How they did you explain that ?
  • Qur'anic studies today
     Reply #1330 - January 21, 2017, 12:27 PM

    Philip Michael Forness on his dissertation - Preaching and Religious Debate: Jacob of Serugh and the Promotion of His Christology in the Roman Near East

    http://www.ancientjewreview.com/articles/2017/1/10/dissertation-spotlight-philip-michael-forness
    Quote
    We need to understand the extensive editorial process of homilies before we can use them as sources for social history. Late antique preachers delivered sermons in a variety of liturgical settings. Scribes in the Greek and Latin worlds recorded their words through the development of shorthand. Preachers and others edited these homilies as texts for circulation. Individuals and communities then gathered these edited homilies into collections organized around the biblical text and on specific topics or as the literary corpora of major figures. Homilies that survive from late antiquity bear some relationship to texts preached within liturgical settings during late antiquity. But we also need to account for the imprint that their circulation in late antique manuscripts has left on them.



    This raises the question of whether shorthand was also used by Syriac scribes. From a quick search I only found this reference (footnote 24, in a discussion that suggests that Mani's words would have been recorded in shorthand):

    https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=blLoAY63gyQC&pg=PA29&lpg=PA29&dq=shorthand+syriac&source=bl&ots=tU8dHiWyzK&sig=xkq-zrb3nVSuG9ZC2NEzynOUFc8&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiY763dl9PRAhVkKsAKHTgaCvsQ6AEIHzAC#v=onepage&q=shorthand%20syriac&f=false
    Quote
    Nothing seems to be known about Syriac shorthand in the same century. But the theological and literary activities in Syriac-speaking centres of learning can hardly be accounted for without the existence and extensive use of shorthand systems.


    Has anyone asked the question as to whether scribes in the Qur'anic milieu could have used shorthand? Given that they were likely to have been bilingual in Arabic and Syriac and to have used the same script for writing both then would it be so unlikely that they could have used a Syriac shorthand system for recording Arabic speech?

    The question matters, in part, because this is the only way sermons and the like could be recorded accurately as they happened (rather than by slow dictation or by the preacher writing them out himself). This is the case for example with Augustine, the figure with, I think, the largest corpus of sermons to survive from the ancient world.

    Edit: shorthand in Greek

    http://nttextualcriticism.blogspot.co.uk/2010/12/early-greek-tachygraphy-shorthand-and.html

    https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/classical-review/article/div-classtitlegreek-shorthand-manuals-milneh-j-m-ba-greek-shorthand-manuals-syllabary-and-commentary-pp-viii-78-9-collotype-plates-london-egypt-exploration-society-1934-cloth-4to-42sdiv/9B6C13BE12E52A62E23ED943168BADF8

    https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=uvmOoSFk6hcC&pg=PA12&lpg=PA12&dq=semeiographos&source=bl&ots=7BrLMAQ_2v&sig=zPLcIyVJq4_VweAnz_HI5KbITlg&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiS7aLftNTRAhWqDMAKHRt4AUsQ6AEIIzAC#v=onepage&q=semeiographos&f=false
  • Qur'anic studies today
     Reply #1331 - January 21, 2017, 12:29 PM

    deleted ..yeezevee

    Do not let silence become your legacy  
    I renounced my faith to become a kafir, 
    the beloved betrayed me and turned in to  a Muslim
     
  • Qur'anic studies today
     Reply #1332 - January 21, 2017, 02:39 PM

    Podcast - Robert Hoyland talking about the conquests: http://marginalia.lareviewofbooks.org/first-impressions-28-robert-hoyland/
  • Qur'anic studies today
     Reply #1333 - January 21, 2017, 07:46 PM

    Hi Yeez,

    Here are the references for the Mozarabic chronicle and the translated text in German:

    Quote
    Dort wird erzählt, dass ein Habdemale (’Abd al-malik) gegen einen Habdella (also ’Abdallah) zu Felde zieht; letzteren habe auch schon sein Vater bekämpft " bei Mekka (apud Maccam), Abrahams Haus, wie sie (die Ismaeliten) glauben, das zwischen Ur in Chaldäa und Carras, einer Stadt Mesopotamiens, liegt“ [7]
    [7] Add.(itamenta) IV.V: Continuatio Byzantina Arabica a. DCCXLI, zu: Isidori iunioris episcopi Hispalensis historia Gothorum Wandalorum Sueborum ad a. DCXXIV, in: Monumenta Germaniae historica, tomus XI: Chronicorum minorum saec. IV, V, VI, VII, Vol. II: Chronica minora, edidit Theodorus Mommsen, Berlin 1844 (Add. IV und V ganz: 323-369).


    So it says: A certain Habdemale (Abd al-malik) went to fight against a certain Habdella. The latter also fought his father " close to Mecca, Abrahams house,that the Ismaelites believe is situated between Ur in Chaldea and Carras, a city in Mesopotamia.

    So I got these quotes from : http://inarah.de/bereits-veroeffentlichte-artikel/die-christliche-literatur-unter-arabischer-herrschaft-im-7-und-8-jahrhundert/

    Somewhere must be the complete latin text on the internet, with English translation...
  • Qur'anic studies today
     Reply #1334 - January 21, 2017, 08:18 PM

    Hatoush,

    Concerning Mecca.
    You point out that different competing muslim sects still all recognize Mecca. Yes, that is interesting. From when on is Mecca mentioned in the islamic tradition? Does anyone know? Is there a difference btw Shiite and Sunni sources?
  • Qur'anic studies today
     Reply #1335 - January 21, 2017, 09:02 PM

    deleted ..yeezevee


    Do not let silence become your legacy  
    I renounced my faith to become a kafir, 
    the beloved betrayed me and turned in to  a Muslim
     
  • Qur'anic studies today
     Reply #1336 - January 21, 2017, 11:58 PM

    believe is situated between Ur in Chaldea and Carras, a city in Mesopotamia. That is how far from Mecca?

    When you are a Bear of Very Little Brain, and you Think of Things, you find sometimes that a Thing which seemed very Thingish inside you is quite different when it gets out into the open and has other people looking at it.


    A.A. Milne,

    "We cannot slaughter each other out of the human impasse"
  • Qur'anic studies today
     Reply #1337 - January 22, 2017, 07:02 AM

    Mundi

    the sects in Islam are a post quranic phenomenon,  the main difference is who is the "rightful" caliph after Muhammad,  obviously with time there was some divergence but it is not theological but more in legal matters.

    Look, I don't believe in the traditional accounts it is very easy and consistent in my view,  sometimes it feels like it juxtaposition of two characters in one person, a nice guy married with an older woman, warning people to the end of time, and suddenly he become war lord, telling people how to behave.
    but that does not bother me so much.

    what fascinating me is the history of the Quran, you don't need to be specialist to notice that is rather a compilation of different "parts", sometimes it is a very poetic Surat, and the messenger is barely noticeable,  sometimes he become the most important prophet and we need to obey him beside God.

    I like Wansbrough  hypothesis, although with our recent knowledge, i think the process happen much earlier,much faster, and i have no issue with the idea that some surat were composed post Muhammed in syria.

    but what i think is not useful is the total denial, i can not understand how it works in practice,  how three communities in hijaz, Syria and Iraq which keep fighting yet they manage to agree on the fundamentals.

    bottom line, there is plenty to discover just using the traditional Islamic resources, it is  like a puzzle , but the truth is there somewhere.
  • Qur'anic studies today
     Reply #1338 - January 22, 2017, 07:20 AM

    https://www.academia.edu/30962853/_The_Romans_will_win_A_Qur_%C4%81nic_prophecy_Q_30_2-7_in_light_of_7th_c._political_eschatology._Lecture_given_at_Tel_Aviv_University_Tel_Aviv_17_January_2017

    "As a final remark, I should stress that the dating, the contextualization, and the
    reading of the prophecy in Q 30 proposed in this study imply a revision of the
    historical circumstances usually assumed for the genesis of the Qur’ānic text. It
    implies that the Qur’ān be considered a literary document reflecting not only
    Muḥammad’s prophetic career in Central Arabia, but also the developments of the
    community(/ies) that recognized him as a leader during the first decades of its (/their)
    territorial expansion. It implies a openness from scholars in Qur’ānic and Early
    Islamic studies to consider the Qur’ān as a text composed of different redactional
    strata that can be related to diverse stages of the development of the early Muslim community"
  • Qur'anic studies today
     Reply #1339 - January 22, 2017, 09:47 PM

    Hatoush,

    It´s not because 3 opposing sects agree on the fundamentals of Islam, that these fundamentals were all incorporated in the quranic early 7th C.
    1/It is indeed a good question why they didn´t develop more ideologic variation like Christian sects did. Is it because the Quranic message stresses so much belief without doubt? I dont know, what do you think? Even non-Quranic ideas seem to be "universal" islamic (like veiling women, 5 prayers a day...)
    2/The islamic tradition is very late (150 yrs after Quran), so for studying the early historical origins of Islam it is of limited value.
    3/ Total denial: how can you not ask the question of "Mecca being Mecca" since no early historic sources mention it and the Quranic description doesn´t match reality? If we need to work within the paradigm of islamic tradition, then we are playing a game, not trying to uncover what really happened.
    4/ So, I am still wondering, what are the earliest mentions of Mecca in the islamic traditions?
  • Qur'anic studies today
     Reply #1340 - January 22, 2017, 10:33 PM

    I am not sure that unanimity means much, as (for example) Christian tradition is unanimous on innumerable points that are patently false, such as Jesus being born in Bethlehem.  When Jesus was born, there wasn't even a settlement at Bethlehem.  It didn't exist until later. Religious traditions tend to strive to reach narrative uniformity except where it undercuts arguments about sectarian authority.
  • Qur'anic studies today
     Reply #1341 - January 22, 2017, 11:33 PM

    https://www.academia.edu/30962853/_The_Romans_will_win_A_Qur_%C4%81nic_prophecy_Q_30_2-7_in_light_of_7th_c._political_eschatology._Lecture_given_at_Tel_Aviv_University_Tel_Aviv_17_January_2017

    "As a final remark, I should stress that the dating, the contextualization, and the
    reading of the prophecy in Q 30 proposed in this study imply a revision of the
    historical circumstances usually assumed for the genesis of the Qur’ānic text. It
    implies that the Qur’ān be considered a literary document reflecting not only
    Muḥammad’s prophetic career in Central Arabia, but also the developments of the
    community(/ies) that recognized him as a leader during the first decades of its (/their)
    territorial expansion. It implies a openness from scholars in Qur’ānic and Early
    Islamic studies to consider the Qur’ān as a text composed of different redactional
    strata that can be related to diverse stages of the development of the early Muslim community"


    Thanks hatoush - that article is well worth reading.

    Tommaso Tesei - The Romans will win! A Qur’ānic prophecy (Q 30:2-7) in light of 7th c. political eschatology

    See also this article which has been linked to here before:

    Tommaso Tesei - The prophecy of Ḏū-l-Qarnayn (Q 18:83-102) and the Origins of the Qurʾānic Corpus
  • Qur'anic studies today
     Reply #1342 - January 23, 2017, 04:09 AM

    Mundi

    it seems this is the earliest written documentation , basically 90 HEARS AFTER THE DEATH OF MUHAMMED.

    http://www.islamic-awareness.org/History/Islam/Papyri/OI17653.html


    Zaotar, I hear you, and i have no issue with that,  like muhammed was a Shepard and he got revelation at 40 Smiley, i know it is a topos,

    but can you give a different model, a hypothesis, no need for prove but just something plausible ? even the quran is explicit that at certain point they change the direct of prayer, ok the explanation was weird nevertheless Smiley
  • Qur'anic studies today
     Reply #1343 - January 23, 2017, 06:29 AM

    deleted ..yeezevee

    Do not let silence become your legacy  
    I renounced my faith to become a kafir, 
    the beloved betrayed me and turned in to  a Muslim
     
  • Qur'anic studies today
     Reply #1344 - January 23, 2017, 06:57 AM

    yeezee go u are drunk   Cheesy
  • Qur'anic studies today
     Reply #1345 - January 23, 2017, 07:02 AM

    yeezee go u are drunk   Cheesy

    yes I am hatoush.. but you will see another post ON YOUR POST   after another glass.   

    Do not let silence become your legacy  
    I renounced my faith to become a kafir, 
    the beloved betrayed me and turned in to  a Muslim
     
  • Qur'anic studies today
     Reply #1346 - January 23, 2017, 07:18 AM

    deleted ... yeezevee

    Do not let silence become your legacy  
    I renounced my faith to become a kafir, 
    the beloved betrayed me and turned in to  a Muslim
     
  • Qur'anic studies today
     Reply #1347 - January 23, 2017, 07:38 AM

    Hi Yeez and Hatoush,

    About Sijpesteijn en her funding: I didn´t know even Leiden was gulf financed... Explains a lot...
    We discussed her article some time ago here on the forum. I seem to remember that she doesn´t question the big outlines of the muslim traditions which makes the rest of her analysis interesting but only partly relevant to discover the historical truth.
    Hatoush, the wordt Mecca is not mentioned in your reference, only the word hajj which means pilgrimage, doesnt prove the existence of Mecca, no? Do you have another islamic source that we can use to understand the Mecca enigma?
  • Qur'anic studies today
     Reply #1348 - January 23, 2017, 07:52 AM

    deleted .......yeezevee 

    Do not let silence become your legacy  
    I renounced my faith to become a kafir, 
    the beloved betrayed me and turned in to  a Muslim
     
  • Qur'anic studies today
     Reply #1349 - January 23, 2017, 12:01 PM

    deleted
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