For anyone with an interest in the early history of Islam, this erudite anthology will prove to be informative and enlightening.
Scholars have long known that the text of the Koran shows evidence of many influences from religious sources outside Islam. For example, stories in the Koran about Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and other characters from the Bible obviously come from the Jewish Torah and the Christian Gospels. But there is also evidence of borrowing in the Koran from more obscure literature.
In this anthology, the acclaimed critic of Islam Ibn Warraq has assembled scholarly articles that delve into these unusual, little-known sources. The contributors examine the connections between pre-Islamic poetry and the text of the Koran; and they explore similarities between various Muslim doctrines and ideas found in the writings of the Ebionites, a Jewish Christian sect that existed from the second to the fourth centuries. Also considered is the influence of Coptic Christian literature on the writing of the traditional biography of Muhammad.
“With this anthology, Ibn Warraq makes accessible to the public a collection of classic and modern articles—many of which have not previously been available in English—that examine Koranic source materials. This volume renders a great service to Islamic studies today.” —Pierre Larcher, professor of Arabic linguistics, Aix-Marseille University
“Ibn Warraq’s anthologies have helped me and many of my colleagues considerably in our work. They have helped advance Koranic Studies for the last fifteen years, and are indispensable research tools for a new generation of scholars. Warraq’s diligence has resulted in the recovery of the works of the great nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century Semiticists and Arabists—especially German and French, almost forgotten, and certainly neglected. His probing questions and general skepticism of sources expressed in his lengthy introductions are worth pondering, and should help refine our methodological principles.” —Christoph Luxenberg, author of The Syro-Aramaic Reading of the Koran