The book by “Christoph Luxenberg” came out in in Germany with the title ” Die Syro-Aramäische Lesart des Koran” (“A Syro-Aramaic Reading of the. Understandably the author’s name ‘Christoph Luxenberg’ is a nom de plume of a professor in Semitic languages at a German university, according to articles in. Christoph Luxenberg: “Die syro-aramäische Lesart des Koran: Ein Beitrag zur Entschlüsselung der Koransprache” [“The Syro-Aramaic Reading of the Koran: a .

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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 chriatoph subject – a German professor of ancient Semitic and Arabic languages – preferred, out of prudence, to write under the pseudonym of Christoph Luxenberg. A luxehberg years ago, one of his colleagues at the University of Nablus in Palestine, Suliman Bashear, was thrown curistoph of the window by his scandalized Muslim students.

In the Europe of the 16th and 17th centuries, mangled by the wars of religion, scholars of the Bible also used to keep a christo;h distance with pseudonyms. But if, now, the ones doing so are the scholars of the Koran, this is a sign that, for the Muslim holy book as well, the era of historical, linguistic, and philological re-readings has begun.

This is a promising beginning for many reasons. It is out of print, and there are no translations in other christtoph. But a new, updated edition again in German is about to arrive in bookstores.

Of these passages it is said that only God can comprehend them. Western research on the Koran, which has been conducted in a systematic manner only since about the middle of the 19th century, has always taken as its base the commentaries of the Christooph scholars.

But these have never gone beyond the etymological explanation of some terms of foreign origin. When the Koran was composed, Arabic did not exist as a written language; thus it seemed evident to me that it was necessary to take into consideration, above all, Aramaic, which at the time, between the 4th and 7th centuries, was not only the language of written communication, but also the lingua franca of that area of Western Asia.


In other words, I kept in mind both Arabic and Aramaic. Thanks to this procedure, I was able to discover the extent of the previously unsuspected influence of Aramaic upon the language of the Koran: 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 inthe founder of Arabic lexicography kitab al-aynand of Sibawwayh, who died luxenbeergto whom the grammar of classical Arabic is due.

Then how did the Koran come to be written?

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

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 christopj 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.

Anyone who wants to make a thorough study of the Koran must have a background in the Syro-Aramaic grammar and literature of that period, the 7th century. Only thus can he identify the original meaning of Arabic expressions whose semantic interpretation can be established definitively only by retranslating them into Syro-Aramaic. One of the most glaring errors you cite is that of the virgins promised, in the Islamic paradise, lluxenberg the suicide bombers.

As for the symbols of paradise, these interpretive errors are probably connected to the male monopoly in Koranic commentary and interpretation.

It is true that, in the Christian tradition, the belt is associated with chastity: Mary is depicted with a belt fastened around her waist. There are clearly many parallels with the Christian faith.


And in your translation of the famous Sura of Mary, her “birthgiving” is “made legitimate by the Lord. Would the Koran, then, be nothing other than an Arabic version of the Christian Bible?

In the second place, one may see in the Koran the beginning of a preaching directed toward transmitting the belief in the Sacred Scriptures to the pagans of Mecca, in the Arabic language.

Its socio-political sections, which are not especially related to the original Koran, were added later in Medina.

At its beginning, the Koran was not conceived as the foundation of a new religion. It presupposes belief in the Scriptures, and thus functioned merely as an inroad into Arabic society. What reactions have you noticed up until now? Otherwise, I must say that, in my encounters with Muslims, I have not noticed any hostile attitudes. On the contrary, they have appreciated the commitment of a non-Muslim to studies chrristoph at an objective comprehension of their sacred text.

My work could be judged as blasphemous only by those who decide to cling to errors in the interpretation of the word of God.

It is an essential element of the Islamic faith that it was always with God and “descended” in its fullness to Mohammed at the moment of his call as a prophet, called the “night of destiny.

luxennerg It is divided into Suras, or chapters, and each Sura is divided into verses. The first Sura, called “the unstopping,” is a brief prayer that plays an important role in worship and everyday life.

Christoph Luxenberg

The following Suras are ordered according to length, from longest to shortest. According to the tradition, Mohammed gradually communicated to his faithful the parts of the Koran revealed to him.

The oldest Suras are called those “of Mecca”; that later ones, “of Medina. A link to the full text of the Koran, in an English translation: The Peaceful Revolution of the Cgristoph Shiites 3. All the articles luxehberg chronological order: In Italian, English, and Spanish.

Sandro Magister, “L’espresso”, via C. Colombo 90, Roma Site design by Theo Nelki. At the top of the page, a detail from the mosaics in the basilica of Saint Mary Major, Rome, fifth century, depicting the heavenly Jerusalem.