Friday, January 25, 2008

The Lost Quran Archive

"On the night of April 24, 1944, British air force bombers hammered a former Jesuit college here housing the Bavarian Academy of Science. The 16th-century building crumpled in the inferno. Among the treasures lost, later lamented Anton Spitaler, an Arabic scholar at the academy, was a unique photo archive of ancient manuscripts of the Quran.[...] The wartime destruction made the project "outright impossible," Mr. Spitaler wrote in the 1970s.
Mr. Spitaler was lying. The cache of photos survived, and he was sitting on it all along. The truth is only now dribbling out to scholars -- and a Quran research project buried for more than 60 years has risen from the grave."

Wall Street Journal, January 12, 2008

This is a very interesting story in many ways. Firstly, it is great news that historians can get their hands on this. With some research, we'll soon see the same effect that has torpedoed literal reading of the bible for anyone with a minimum of intellect.
Now there's another question: Why did the scholar, Mr Spitaler, hide the photos? This would of course have been tremendous for any scholar to his or her hands on.
"Another possible factor, she adds, was Mr. Spitaler's own deep religious faith. She opens up a copy of a Quran used by the late professor, a practicing Catholic, until his death. Unlike his other Arabic texts, which are scrawled with notes and underlinings, it has no markings at all.
"Perhaps he had too much respect for holy books," says Ms. Müller."
OK, so we've lost 60 years of research thanks to Mr. Spitaler's faith and are now up to our necks with Muslim fundamentalists.

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