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Corpus Coranicum : Exploring the Textual Beginnings of the Qur’an (6-9 novembre 2005)

Corpus Coranicum : Exploring the Textual Beginnings of the Qur'an (6-9 (…)

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Given the rich calligraphic tradition of the Arabic script and its evolution through
history, it is remarkable that the Cairo edition of the Qur’an appears to break with
this calligraphic tradition in a number of cases. Because of its wide dissemination,
this typeset edition seems to have become the image of the sole, uncreated timeless
text of the Qur’an, as sometimes is claimed by conservative Muslim theology.
Because of this, the complex textual history of the Qur’an manifested in such a rich
cultural heritage of textual variations and manuscripts unfortunately gets sidelined
and neglected
. It is precisely the aim of the project to counter the ahistoric character
of the Cairo edition and to contribute to a reevaluation of its text in its position as the
standard edition of the Qur’an in Islam.

During the workshop, specialists in Arabic palaeography, codicology, and the Qur’an
will discuss issues related to the transmission of the Qur’anic text
. The workshop is
conceived as an interdisciplinary event bringing together scholars from the field of
palaeography, Qur’anic studies, manuscripts, Islamic sources and evolution of
Arabic script. All these different fields of study bearing on the textual history of the
Qur’an will be linked with knowledge about computer technology to bridge the gap
that still exists between philological knowledge and computer techniques. The
desired outcome of a data base prototype to serve as a scientific tool in Qur’anic
studies will be discussed during the workshop. The data base prototype will be
crucial for the larger project on the Qur’an in its textual and manuscript tradition.

The submitted project aims at using modern computer techniques to analyse the
Qur’an. For this purpose it is necessary to bring together specialists in the oldest
manuscript traditions, scholars of palaeography as well as scientists familiar with
modern technology. One of the outcomes will be the creation of a data-base model to
analyse the Qur’an historically. The proposed workshop is linked to a project
(Bergsträsser memorial series: The Qur’an in its manuscript and textual tradition) to
produce a Qur’anic text documented by the oldest available evidence (manuscripts
and variant readings) on the Qur’an, thus offering a historical perspective on the
central document of Islam. The use of modern computer techniques in this field is of
crucial importance for the evaluation of the various historical scripts.
A database
allows further research to handle complex information structures. The issue of
computer technology and philological research is central for the development not
only of Qur’anic but also of Oriental studies in general, since it critically reviews the
computer tools provided by the industry which at present are still incapable of
dealing with the cultural heritage of Arabic script and literature.


Corpus Coranicum (6-9 novembre 2005)