October 13, 2004


After the debate, a second Red Sox loss, and -- oh yeah -- a pile of actual work (the kind I actually get paid for) I'm too tired to finish the post I started tonight about the classics, the one I started a while back about Frances Hill's misrepresentations about Chadwick Hansen's book on Salem, or one on Poe I've been fooling around with. So I'll offer this comment a reader offered on an old post on Christoph Luxenberg -- an alias for a scholar who's applied the tools of textual analysis to the Qur'an with controversial results (mentioned on ideofact here, here and here:

I am an applied linguist teaching language at a university. I did my master's in language teaching from Warwick university U.K.I've studied reviews on his book. I'd like to say that he doesn't possess a deep knowledge of the Quran or Quranic Arabic. He is totally wrong. This isn't any research. It is speclation and conjecture. For example,finding a similarity of words and their meanings today , out of context, dosn't prove anything. A language may borrow words from anothwe language but the words are used in the contexts of sentences and paragraphs differently. It is the use and meaning in the context that proves that words are used for those meanings.The Quran was revealed in pure Arabic as told by God Himself.There is no proof that it was revealed in Syriac Aramaic Arabic. The meanings of Aramaic words in the Quran as beleived by him do not fit into the context of the verses. The reading of the Quran is also right and genuine. A speaker of Arabic, Persian, or Urdu will easily and rightly understand and read written words with correct pronunciation even if there are no diacritical marks or points because the meaning of the sentence will bound him not to make any mistake. For example if you hear a sentence first in English e.g. he is very dear to me , you can't understand deer for dear, because deer is an animal, although the sounds are the same.If hoor means white grapes, it is wrong because there is no word for grapes. Grapes are called a'naab and white is called abyad in Quranic Arabic. Then 'een means eyes. Luxenberge has not given any meaning in Aramaic to give the meaning of the phrase, hoorun 'een. Furthermore, Hoorun maqsooraat is not explained by him.

This book is a misguiding speculation and deserves to be thrown into a trash bin.

I expressed some misgivings about Luxenberg's thesis myself, but as I noted, I haven't read it, nor do I have the requisite specialized knowledge to make up my mind one way or another. Modesty prevents me, at least, from reaching a conclusion based on reviews of the book, as opposed to the work itself.

Posted by Ideofact at October 13, 2004 11:54 PM