The Syro-Aramaic Reading of The Koran - His Proposed Methodology

His Proposed Methodology

  • Check whether a plausible, overlooked explanation can be found in Al-Tabari's commentary.
  • Check if there is a plausible explanation in the Lisan al-Arab by Ibn Mandhur, the most extensive Arabic dictionary (this dictionary antedates Tabari, so might contain new material).
  • Check if the Arabic expression has a homonymous root in Syriac or Aramaic with a different meaning that fits the context.
  • Judge whether or not the meaning of the Syriac/Aramaic root word might make better sense of the passage.
  • Check to see if there is a Syriac word which would make sense of the passage.
  • Experiment with different placements of the diacritics (which indicate vowels, etc.) later added to the earliest text, the rasm. Perhaps there is a version of the rasm that will give an Arabic word that makes sense of the passage.
  • If there is no Arabic word that works, repeat the experiment and look for Syriac words.
  • Translate the Arabic phrase into Syriac and check the Syrian literature for a phrase that might have been translated literally into Arabic; the original meaning in Syriac may make more sense than the resulting Arabic phrase (such translated phrases are called morphological calques).
  • Check to see if there is a corresponding phrase in the old Syrian literature, which may be an analog of an Arabic phrase now lost.
  • Check to see if it is a correct Arabic expression written in Arabic script, but in Syriac orthography.

"Plausibility", "judging" and "making sense" of single word involves looking at occurrences of the same word in more obvious Koranic passages, and looking at Aramaic apocryphal and liturgical texts, which were carried over almost verbatim into the Koran.

A review by Prof. Walid Saleh attests that Luxenberg does not follow his proposed rules.

Read more about this topic:  The Syro-Aramaic Reading Of The Koran

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