A Teaching Opportunity Lost
A British university (Birmingham) said on Wednesday that fragments of a Koran manuscript found in its library were from one of the oldest surviving copies of the Islamic text in the world ...
"They could well take us back to within a few years of the actual founding of Islam," said David Thomas, Professor of Christianity and Islam at the university.
Reuters, July 22, 2015
Not likely! And it's not only because "Saud al-Sarhan, the director of research at the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, said he doubted that the manuscript found in Birmingham was as old as the researchers claimed, noting that its Arabic script included dots and separated chapters – features that were introduced later."
No holy book, with which I am familiar has been has heavily revised by a God and men, in a questionable quest to make it make sense and readable including adding the verb "say" everywhere to indicate that it is Allah telling his Messenger what to say not His Messenger ad-libbing.
The University said it hoped to have a public showing of the found pages soon. At the time I wrote:
They may want to avoid providing a translation, as one who commented on the discovery noted; "Interesting that surah 18 was preserved as it contains possibly the most physically absurd passage in the Koran claiming that the sun sets down on the earth in a murky lake", or a spring of mud in my translation.
Possibly as incongruous as the revealed truth (an immutable fact communicated to a mortal by a god) that Paradise is just above the clouds, held up by invisible pillars anchored to a flat earth. But I digress.
The biggest obstacle to non-believers accepting that believers wish them no harm is the lack of acknowledgement that much of the Koran cannot be taken literally, from the patently nonsensical to the incendiary verses that are an incitement to pitiless violence against those who will not do as the Book demands.
In October, Birmingham University held the first public exhibition of the four found pages of the Koran. These pages have been carbon-dated to between 568 and 645 AD; making them the earliest scientifically authenticated written revelations.
As anticipated, no translation was part of the exhibition and a teaching moment was lost.