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The Origins of the Koran: Classic Essays on Islam's Holy Book [Hardcover]

Ibn Warraq
2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Sept. 1 1998
This volume rejects the notion that Islam's sacred text is error free and cannot be critically evaluated. The study of the Koran must develop and mature. Scholars of Islam are of course familiar with the book's many errors and contradictions, but these inherent flaws have rarely been revealed to a wider public. This book is an attempt to remedy this deficiency by bringing together classic critical essays which raise key issues surrounding Islam's holy book. Divided into four parts, this important anthology begins with Theodor Nöldeke's first truly scientific study of the Koran. Part Two focuses on the difficulty of establishing a reliable Koranic text, while Part Three examines the Jewish, Christian, and Zoroastrian sources of Muhammad's "revelation." Part Four is a consideration of the controversial interpretations of contemporary scholar John Wansbrough, who questions the historical reliability of the earliest Islamic sources. This superb collection, which includes additional selections from Leone Caetani, Arthur Jeffery, David Margoliouth, Andrew Rippin, C.C. Torrey, and more, will prove indispensable to scholars and all those interested in the textual underpinning of one of the fastest growing religions in the world.

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Product Details

Product Description


"Recommended to college libraries..." -- Middle East Studies Association Bulletin 35, 2001

About the Author

Ibn Warraq is the highly acclaimed author of Why I Am Not a Muslim, Virgins? What Virgins?, and Defending the West. He is also the editor of The Origins of the Koran, What the Koran Really Says, Leaving Islam, The Quest for the Historical Muhammad, and Which Koran?.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Untold truth about Quran! Oct. 23 2002
By A Customer
Hi, I live in Turkey which is a Muslim country. I was looking for the truth in Quran, and try to find some answers for its contridicting parts. It was not an easy task. It took years to find answers, but at the end I found this book which is convering most of the gaps of my knowledge and most of the things UNTOLD to us by our Muslim leaders and teachers. This is such a religion that even asking such question is SIN.
It is amazing to see that how Arabs mixed the verses in Quran after the death of Propet Muhammed. Although they call Christians and Jews as the destroyer of the original Gospels and books. We have a Turkish saying "Clever thief overcomes the house owner when he is caught!"

As for this book, this is magnificent work and a MUST READ for evey Turkish Muslim, to open their eyes and hearts on the topics that is not told, this will help all of us how we have been lied! I am truly impressed about this courages work.
When I see the average rating for this book which is 3 stars, I suprised because it should be higher than that. Then when I checked the reviews I see the reaon. There are two groups of reviews first one with 5 stars and second with 1 and so the average becomes 3 stars.
Please read and check the readers reviews, this second group with one star is the one that blinded our beliefs and hearts, they are the ones in my country who take us away fom the absolute truth.

Since if we do not know anything, will not suspect anything or think but keep following and respecting them. We will become easier to control and lead! This is what they want!
I am just suprised to see that how they reach so far to this site and TRY to conveince the new buyers NOT TO BUY and READ this wonderful material! Unbelievable!
Please, specially, if you are a Muslim go on an read this book to see the untold truths and do not LET OTHERS THINK FOR YOURSELVES but think with your own heart!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars AN excellent eye-opening Book Sept. 3 2000
By A Customer
I fully agree with Rahman, the other Asian reviewer and give Warraq's book another 5 Stars. As is clearly evident from here, Muslims have litle of no sense of tolerance towards their detractors. That is no surprise because of the blind faith and acceptance with which the majority of them swallow the religion wholesale. Most of the non-arabic adherents manifest next to nothing in understanding when their scriptures are read in the original tongue, and most will never try questioning the text and its meanings critically. But when discrepencies, contradictions and factual errors glaringly evidence themselves, upon closer examination of their scriptures, as Warraq has done, they will be the first to cry 'foul' but to date have failed miserably to offer any rational explanations for these scriptural errors and contradictions,etc. But what Warraq has done is the honest and bold thing, that is to document the reasons why he cannot accept the tenets of his former beliefs and his reasons for rejecting them. Open-minded people will gain a lot from giving his reasons due consideration. Good work ibn Warraq-and for the other two Books as well!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still valuable Aug. 11 2000
By A Customer
It is true that this book contains essays that are not the newewst ones (why, do you think, does it say "Classic Essays" in the title, hm?). But it provides the layman with a good overview about the scientific research about the orgins of the koran of the past 150 years, and that is exactly what this book is supposed to do: to make classical knowledge of orientalists more known and widespread on a popular level. And this purpose it meets very well. Therefore I rate it five stars.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Esoteric, and Limited in Audience June 15 2000
While this volume was a collection of scholarly essays, most over seventy or eighty years old, some parts of the essays have a continued relevance in refuting fundamentalism, besides being a portrait of the state of textual criticism of the Qur'an in the earlier part of the 20th century. The essays taken as a whole provide sufficient evidence to doubt the orthodox account of the Qur'an's origins, even though each individual scholar's take on a sometimes murky subject is open to question. One self-evident shortcoming in the collection is a lack of modern essays (though I suppose the subtitle might have served as a disclaimer) to shed light on the current state of scholarship, but in the Introduction Ibn Warraq does make reference to some of the movers and shakers, so an interested reader can track down works by Cook and Crone, et al. (As I recall there was a Atlantic Monthly article which reported on developments, though I haven't had a chance or desire to seek out the seminal works for myself). But most of the material seems to be from the sources that Ibn Warraq drew upon in composing Why I am not a Muslim, a title echoing Bertrand Russell's enjoyable collection of essays in Why I am not a Christian. In terms of locating the source of some of the obscurer passages in the Qur'an in the Jewish midrash, Christian apocrypha, and even from Zoroastrianism, I found it useful, though not likely to appeal to a very wide audience. Distracting in the collection, however, is the numerous typographical errors that litter the pages, making me increasingly wary of the publisher Prometheus Books, though I have thought of approaching them with my book proposals due to the subject matter. Read more ›
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Most recent customer reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Typical Western perspective?
Capita selacta from western scholarship on Islam, saving the a wider audience to dig their way through university libraries. Read more
Published on March 19 2003 by T. milo
5.0 out of 5 stars Great scholarship
Muslims believe that an angel revealed the Koran to Mohammed and that it is an exact reporduction of a book kept in heaven. Read more
Published on July 24 2002
1.0 out of 5 stars Not Classic... Just Old and Outdated...
The scholarship is so old you can almost smell the mildew when reading the pages. It's all been surpassed by contemporary scholarship, which still oftentimes suffers from... Read more
Published on June 10 2002 by "dathon"
1.0 out of 5 stars Poor and Offensive Scholarship
Put simply, a horrible book. There are clearly reasons nobody has read these essays in 50 years. The scholarship is outdated and the editor is polemically opposed to Islam. Read more
Published on Feb. 13 2002 by "slm303"
1.0 out of 5 stars Ibn Warraq = Propaganda Pigeon
Ibn Warraq has no credibility, he is just some tool of Christians who seek more $$$ via more followers at the expense of Islam. Read more
Published on Aug. 26 2001 by A.R
1.0 out of 5 stars Nice try, to no avail
The worst part about this book is, it is not based on the author's research using the open mind to analyze the situation. It's basically the orientalis' thinking! Read more
Published on March 9 2001 by Fachri
1.0 out of 5 stars "based on polemic" and an uncritical acceptance of sources
See a BOOK REVIEW by Professor Y. Dutton, lecturer in thedepartment of Islamic Studies, University of Edinburgh at [...]%20Articles/1Book%20Review. Read more
Published on Sept. 8 2000
1.0 out of 5 stars Outdated and non-conclusive
A collection of outdated work on the origin of Quran. Apart from Noldeke's article, the whole book is tiresome and non-conclusive at best. Read more
Published on June 22 2000 by R. Aamer
1.0 out of 5 stars This material is long out of date
In brief, Ibn Warraq includes essays from "Orientalists" which are all at least 50 years old. Read more
Published on Nov. 5 1999
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