The dating of the quran bell
or might it even have been written Muḥammad’s lifetime?Guest Christopher Rose (yes, our regular co-host) has been following the headlines and puts the discovery of the Birmingham Qur’ān within the larger field of Islamic and Qur’ānic Studies, and explains how the text might raise as many questions as it answers.This was a very oral culture, pre-Islamic Arabia had a tradition of epic poetry, and, as we’ll see in a bit the Arabic alphabet itself had only been in use for about a century at this time, and had not developed to the point where certain letters could be distinguished from one another.It really sort of took the form of sheet music, writing was supposed to provide a guide for oral recitation.What went into that, and what makes this different?The traditional narrative is that the Qur’ān was revealed by God to Muḥammad during the period of his ministry, 610 to 632 of the Christian Era (CE).However even among the seven copies, there were variant readings. anyone who seen Arabic written knows that some of the letters have dots that are used to distinguish one letter from another. So, at the time, like I said, that the the closest analogy is sheet music; you are already supposed to know the text and you could recite it based on this written prompt.But, even within this there’s room to accidentally mess up some of the consonants in addition to the fact that short vowels are not written in Arabic at all.
There was less control over what was going on out in the provinces.
Similar to what happened in Hebrew with the Jewish scriptures, they developed a system over the next 150 years to demarcate short vowels, but even then there were still seven accepted readings of the Qur’ān.
And even the existence of variant consonantal readings was accepted and commented on throughout Islamic history.
Those dates roughly mirror the lifespan of the Prophet Muḥammad himself.
So, this is really an important find for a number of reasons.
So, that leads me to another question, in speaking about that compilation of traditional narrative about the Qur’ān. And, unfortunately, since 2001 it’s really become political.