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Non-Arabic Quran?

Reader comment on item: Uncovering Early Islam
in response to reader comment: Question about book

Submitted by WmarkW (United States), Jul 12, 2012 at 17:35

Thank you, sara, for your encouragement. This question is specifically about Robert Spencer's Did Muhammad Exist, and related secular history of the Quanic period.

One of the most obvious features of the Quran is how much the Mecca suras differ from the Medina ones in both style and content. They don't seem to represent the same body of thought. A Judeo-Christian reader would have no trouble accepting the former as an implementation of Abrahamic monotheism in a particular cultural setting. The latter is more a political polemic to justify the conquests of the Umayyad Dynasty, and IMO was likely written at that time (~690).

If the above is correct, we should expect the Umayyad material to have been written in modern Arabic; and the issue of awkward Syriac translation that Spencer discusses in the chapter A Non-Arabic Quran should appear primarily in the Mecca suras. Is this correct? That the issue of awkward translation is confined to Mecca suras, as if written by a different people at a different time; and the Medina suras are in a more "pure and clear" Arabic, as if written originally in that language.

Submitting....

Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

Daniel Pipes replies:

Robert Spencer replies:

"Yes, indeed the primary examples of the Syriac substratum are found in the Meccan suras, corroborating this theory."

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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