Thursday, March 30, 2017

Syriac Influence on the Style of the Kur'an. By The Rev. Alphonse Mingana, D.D.

Syriac Influence on the Style of the Kur'an. By The Rev. Alphonse Mingana, D.D.: THE time has surely come to subject the text of the Kur'an to the same criticism as that to which we subject the Hebrew and Aramaic of the Jewish Bible, and the Greek of the Christian Scriptures. Apart from some stray comparative remarks by a few eminent scholars, the only comprehensively critical work on the subject is still that of Nöldeke, printed in 1860. It is to be regretted that in the new edition of Nöldeke's classical work undertaken by Schwally and Bergsträsser - which contains most useful references to an astounding number of Arabic printed books and MSS. - the editors have not seen fit to multiply the critical and comparative remarks on the sacred text itself. Much useful information can also be gathered from another classical study of Nöldeke : the Neue Beiträge.

A very recent study on the historical narratives of the Kur'an has lately been written by J. Horovitz1. The section dealing with proper names (pp. 85-155) is full of erudition, but I think that in some places he has built too much on the Muslim tradition and on the so-called pre-Islamic or early Arabian poetry. Setting aside as irrelevant the South Arabian and other inscriptions - I believe that we have not a single Arabic page on which we can lay our hands with safety and say that it is pre-Islamic, and I hold with Margoliouth2 that all the edifice of pre-Islamic poetry is shaky and unstable, and that the Kur'an is the first genuine Arabic book that we possess. It is in place here to repeat what I wrote on this subject in 1920:3

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Monastery of the Holy Martyrs - Orthodox Monastery, Syriac Orthodox

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