Via Jeff Black:
A team of researchers at the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences is preparing to bring out the first installment of Corpus Coranicum – which purports to be nothing less than the first critically evaluated text of the Qur’an ever to be produced. What this means is that the research team is in the process of analysing and transcribing some 12,000 slides of Qur’an mansucripts from the first six centuries of the text’s existence. Once that is complete, the way is open to producing a text that annotates and, presumably, provides some sort of exegesis on the differences found in the early manuscripts. The impact of such a project can hardly be overestimated.
This is indeed an interesting development. So far as I am aware, the Koran has never been subjected to the sort of in-depth critical/historical analysis which the Bible has undergone since the 19th century. It’s important not just because of what may be discovered, but because of the principle that such work establishes: A holy text ought to be judged on more than its own terms.
H/t: Tyler Cowen.