CHRISTOPH LUXENBERG PDF

To Muslims the Koran is the very word of God, who spoke through the Angel Gabriel to Muhammad: ''This book is not to be doubted,'' the Koran declares unequivocally at its beginning. Scholars and writers in Islamic countries who have ignored that warning have sometimes found themselves the target of death threats and violence, sending a chill through universities around the world. Yet despite the fear, a handful of experts have been quietly investigating the origins of the Koran, offering radically new theories about the text's meaning and the rise of Islam. Christoph Luxenberg, a scholar of ancient Semitic languages in Germany, argues that the Koran has been misread and mistranslated for centuries.

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Christoph Luxenberg is the pseudonym of the author of The Syro-Aramaic Reading of the Koran: A Contribution to the Decoding of the Language of the Qur'an German edition , English translation [1] and several articles in anthologies about early Islam. His book The Syro-Aramaic Reading of the Koran asserted that the language of the early compositions of the Quran was not exclusively Arabic, as assumed by the classical commentators, but rather is rooted in the Syriac language of the 7th century Meccan tribe of the Quraysh , which is associated in the early histories with the founding of the religion of Islam.

Luxenberg's premise is that the Syriac language, which was prevalent throughout the Middle East during the early period of Islam, and was the language of culture and Christian liturgy, had a profound influence on the scriptural composition and meaning of the contents of the Quran. According to Islamic tradition, the Koran dates back to the 7th century, while the first examples of Arabic literature in the full sense of the phrase are found only two centuries later, at the time of the 'Biography of the Prophet'; that is, of the life of Mohammed as written by Ibn Hisham , who died in We may thus establish that post-Koranic Arabic literature developed by degrees, in the period following the work of al-Khalil bin Ahmad , who died in , the founder of Arabic lexicography kitab al-ayn , and of Sibawayh , who died in , to whom the grammar of classical Arabic is due.

Now, if we assume that the composition of the Koran was brought to an end in the year of the Prophet Mohammed's death, in , we find before us an interval of years, during which there is no trace of Arabic literature worthy of note.

At that time, there were no Arab schools—except, perhaps, for the Christian centers of al-Anbar and al-Hira , in southern Mesopotamia , or what is now Iraq. The Arabs of that region had been Christianized and instructed by Syrian Christians. Their liturgical language was Syro-Aramaic. And this was the vehicle of their culture, and more generally the language of written communication. They pressed on toward distant territories, all the way to the borders of China and the western coast of India , in addition to the entire Arabian peninsula all the way to Yemen and Ethiopia.

It is thus rather probable that, in order to proclaim the Christian message to the Arabic peoples, they would have used among others the language of the Bedouins , or Arabic. In order to spread the Gospel , they necessarily made use of a mishmash of languages. But in an era in which Arabic was just an assembly of dialects and had no written form, the missionaries had no choice but to resort to their own literary language and their own culture; that is, to Syro-Aramaic.

The result was that the language of the Koran was born as a written Arabic language, but one of Arab-Aramaic derivation. The pseudonym "Christoph Luxenberg" may be a play upon the name of Georg Christoph Lichtenberg , the "destroyer of myths," [4] since Lux Latin translates as Licht German. The real identity of the person behind the pseudonym remains unknown. The most widely circulated version [4] [6] [7] claims that he is a German scholar of Semitic languages.

Dutch archaeologist Richard Kroes [11] describes Luxenberg's book in a review article as "almost unreadable, certainly for the layman. A good working knowledge of German, Arabic and Syriac is indispensable to be able to assess the book.

Even his greatest critics admit he touches on a field of research that was touched on by others before and that deserves more attention. However, this needs to be done with a strictly scientific approach. In fact, his investigations should be done again, taking into account all the scholarly work that Luxenberg doesn't seem to know.

Luxenberg, a scholar of ancient Semitic languages , argues that the Koran has been misread and mistranslated for centuries. His work, based on the earliest copies of the Koran, maintains that parts of Islam's holy book are derived from pre-existing Christian Aramaic texts that were misinterpreted by later Islamic scholars who prepared the editions of the Koran commonly read today.

So, for example, the virgins who are supposedly awaiting good Islamic martyrs as their reward in paradise are in reality "white raisins" of crystal clarity rather than fair maidens.

The famous passage about the virgins is based on the word hur, which is an adjective in the feminine plural meaning simply "white. In both ancient Aramaic and in at least one respected dictionary of early Arabic hur means "white raisin. In , The Guardian newspaper published an article which stated:. Luxenberg tries to show that many obscurities of the Koran disappear if we read certain words as being Syriac and not Arabic. We cannot go into the technical details of his methodology but it allows Luxenberg, to the probable horror of all Muslim males dreaming of sexual bliss in the Muslim hereafter, to conjure away the wide-eyed houris promised to the faithful in suras XLIV.

Luxenberg 's new analysis, leaning on the Hymns of Ephrem the Syrian, yields "white raisins" of "crystal clarity" rather than doe-eyed, and ever willing virgins—the houris. Luxenberg claims that the context makes it clear that it is food and drink that is being offered, and not unsullied maidens or houris. In , the Pakistani government banned a issue of Newsweek ' s international edition discussing Luxenberg's thesis on grounds that it was offensive to Islam.

Abid Ullah Jan accused Luxenberg of participating in an "discursive assault on Islam," [16] but he has also been called an enabler of interfaith dialogue ; [4] a "dilettante"; [8] and the writer of "probably the most important book ever written on the Koran" by ibn Warraq , an also unknown anonymous writer.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Christoph Luxenberg. It is written, rather, in the dialect of the Prophet's tribe, the Meccan Quraysh, and heavily influenced by Aramaic.

Luxenberg's premise is that the Aramaic language—the lingua franca of the Prophet Mohammed, the language of culture and Christian liturgy—had a profound influence on the Koran. Extensive borrowing was necessary simply because at the time of the Prophet, Arabic was not yet sophisticated enough for scriptural composition.

Die Zeit. Archived from the original on New York Times. Archived from the original on December 19, Goethe Institute. Livius — Articles on Ancient History. Journal of Qur'anic Studies. Retrieved 26 Mar What virgins? London: The Guardian. Namespaces Article Talk. Views Read Edit View history. Contribute Help Community portal Recent changes Upload file.

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Luxenberg, Christoph

It assumes that the Quran was not written in Arabic but in Syriac-Arabic, which in turn presupposes that there has been a time in which the Quran was not recited, so that the believers could forget the original language. It was not without Schadenfreude that the press published the story: there was no reason for the plane-crashers of 11 September to count on 72 virgins in paradise. They would only find grapes there. The reason for this disappointing news? A simple reading mistake in the text of the Quran.

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Luxenberg Thesis

Christoph Luxenberg is the pseudonym of the author of The Syro-Aramaic Reading of the Koran: A Contribution to the Decoding of the Language of the Qur'an German edition , English translation [1] and several articles in anthologies about early Islam. His book The Syro-Aramaic Reading of the Koran asserted that the language of the early compositions of the Quran was not exclusively Arabic, as assumed by the classical commentators, but rather is rooted in the Syriac language of the 7th century Meccan tribe of the Quraysh , which is associated in the early histories with the founding of the religion of Islam. Luxenberg's premise is that the Syriac language, which was prevalent throughout the Middle East during the early period of Islam, and was the language of culture and Christian liturgy, had a profound influence on the scriptural composition and meaning of the contents of the Quran. According to Islamic tradition, the Koran dates back to the 7th century, while the first examples of Arabic literature in the full sense of the phrase are found only two centuries later, at the time of the 'Biography of the Prophet'; that is, of the life of Mohammed as written by Ibn Hisham , who died in We may thus establish that post-Koranic Arabic literature developed by degrees, in the period following the work of al-Khalil bin Ahmad , who died in , the founder of Arabic lexicography kitab al-ayn , and of Sibawayh , who died in , to whom the grammar of classical Arabic is due.

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The Virgins and the Grapes: the Christian Origins of the Koran

A German scholar of ancient languages takes a new look at the sacred book of Islam. He maintains that it was created by Syro-Aramaic speaking Christians, in order to evangelize the Arabs. But that Syro-Aramaic was also the root of the Koran, and of the Koran of a primitive Christian system, is a more specialized notion, an almost clandestine one. The author of the most important book on the subject - a German professor of ancient Semitic and Arabic languages - preferred, out of prudence, to write under the pseudonym of Christoph Luxenberg.

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Christoph Luxenberg

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