Talk:Christoph Luxenberg

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Controversial subject[edit]

This is a controversial subject, and this article must be careful not to show support nor disparrage Christoph Luxenberg. Words should be chosen carefully so as not to present his claims as anything more than untested theory. It is important to use technical language in places, because Luxenberg is using philological and text-critical methodolgy. To gloss over such things for an easy read is misleading. As Luxenberg's book has not yet been published in English its only official title is in German: the English title is an unofficial translation of it. --Gareth Hughes 17:51, 11 February 2006 (UTC)

Keep it simple and to the facts and lets not get all wrapped up in analysis paralysis , be bold is the directive we follow in wikipedia and keep it readable for the readers who are do not have a clue as to what philolofical and text-critical methodology means. This is English wikipedia thus we do not emphasize titles in German, we emphasize titles in English. There is nothing controversial about this subject, its an article stating facts about this topic of the article.--CltFn 18:39, 11 February 2006 (UTC)
That is not the title of the book: it has no English title. Your version is full of factual errors, overplaying the impact of the work and says nothing of how Luxenberg comes to these conclusions. I have real concerns about he accuracy of the article as it stands, which is less than your quibble over long words. --Gareth Hughes 18:45, 11 February 2006 (UTC)
Well go ahead then and list his methodology , save me the work since that would be the next step in the article. I have sourced various statements and provided direct quotes, I have provided references. But If you see an error , then fix it.I am trying to write an article that provides information on this author , something which is glaringly lacking in the earlier versions. Why is that? Are we so careful that we chose not to develop the article?--CltFn 18:51, 11 February 2006 (UTC)

I have reverted to Garzo's version since not using the technical aspects makes this into a local newspaper and not an encyclopedia. You made the article into a bunch of quotes which is terribly bad style. All in all neither the NYTimes nor the Guardian have any great expertise in ancient languages, they are just restating the thesis simply and there's not real reason not to do that in our own words. Minor things like your bolding and * instead of : needed to be fixed but that's inconsequential. gren グレン ? 15:49, 14 February 2006 (UTC)

I disagree with your revert Gren. We should be trying to build this page up with information and it is not very helpful to keep it to a hard to understand bare minimum. In any case I am doing a major rewrite of the page and will post it when I am done.--CltFn 03:55, 15 February 2006 (UTC)
The issue is that the reviews were greatly redundant and made the page less readable. Having more text isn't necessarily more info... or not that much more info when you keep quotes. Quotes should be integral and when they're not they should be paraphrased. gren グレン ? 05:31, 15 February 2006 (UTC)
Gren , I do not see why quotes have to be paraphrased. A paraphrasing is essentially an alteration of the original statement and prone to misrepresentation. A quote is , well like they say straight from the horse's mouth. Lets take the middle translator out of the picture and get the straight dope. Its a far more accurate that way.--CltFn 05:58, 15 February 2006 (UTC)
I see the 'dumbed down' version has been slipped in again: reverted. Two obvious points that have not received attention: the alt version uses the words 'disproves myths', which is misleading as the book presents a new theory rather than replacing old ones; also, the English name of the book was written by me (it is not the book's real name, the name is in German, and should appear before the one I made up). I feel the alternate version reads little more than popularist anti-Islamic reporting. I agree wth Gren that this article should not be turned into a newspaper column. — Gareth Hughes 16:42, 26 February 2006 (UTC)
How arrogant of you to call the version I added as dumbed down, should I called your version dhimmied down? If you want to make positive contributions to the article then go ahead , otherwise refrain from deleting other people's contributions.--CltFn 17:02, 26 February 2006 (UTC)
Well, you deleted the article that other contributors had written with your own. My complaint is that your version is factually incorrect. You use the wrong name of the book, and you say that it disproves the traditional views about the Qur'an. It challenges them, but does not disprove them. You seem to more interested in arguing against my person than on the actual content of the article. You have raised no explanation to support your version at all. It would be interesting to know what you meant by your use of the word dhimmi above. — Gareth Hughes 17:21, 26 February 2006 (UTC)
CltFn, your version is dumbed down. It is not an insult to you, but your version does put it on a level that can be understand by just about anyone without clicking outside links. The problem with that is that you lose some clarify. When you remove "philology" but say developed over a series of authors it leaves ambiguity as to whether it's an archaeological or literary criticism from the get-go. Also, as Garzo has stated before, there is no book called The Syro-Aramaic reading of the Qur'an. There is a book called Die Syro-Aramäische Lesart des Koran written by Luxenberg which can be translated into English as the former. This is a valid distinction. If there was a translation of the book into English it may be different... but as of now that assertion is plaint incorrect. (We also italicize title, not bold them). Garzo keeps the most important Luxenberg quote but leaves out quoting the silly summary reviews which add nothing by being in their own words. Our words can be better and Garzo's are. I am reverting but I'm trying to add some compromise... CltFn if I missed any information from those quotes that's not redundant add it in but not the whole quote which repeats the main idea which we have already mentioned many times. If there are important cited facts you feel we have left out then mention it here. But the language of philiology and all is very important to this being a good article. That's why we have a link to it... so it can be understand by those who don't right away. Thanks. gren グレン 19:34, 26 February 2006 (UTC)

See also[edit]

Wansbrough and Crone in the see also? They were great critics of hadith. I'm not sure they really fit since their in a different vein. gren グレン ? 15:49, 14 February 2006 (UTC)

I do see the connection more now... with Hagarism and all. But, I'm still not sure they're see also-able. I suppose I don't care so much. gren グレン 19:16, 26 February 2006 (UTC)

Which version?[edit]

Gren asked me to look at this article, since I've been doing a lot of reading in early Islamic history, Quranic studies, etc. I find that I agree with Gren -- not because he's my friend; anyone who knows my work on WP knows that I'm notoriously cantankerous and unpredictable -- but just because the longer, more careful version is a better statement of the facts.

The only change I'd make -- and I'm not sure that I'm up to doing it this morning -- is to make some mention of Fred Donner's argument in Narratives of Islamic Origins that the Qur'an as we have it MUST be early, because its concerns reflect those of what we know of the earliest Islamic community. If it had been assembled after the First and Second Islamic Civil Wars and the Abbasid revolution, it would have reflected that troubled history -- and it doesn't. I find it a compelling argument and think it should be here to offset Luxenbourg's thesis.

We should probably also have links to academic assessments of Luxenbourg's work. I think I have a few of the ones available online bookmarked -- I'll add them when I have the time and energy. Zora 20:28, 26 February 2006 (UTC)

I appreciate your attention to this article , Gren , Zora and Gareth.I have reorganized it a bit to make it clearer withouth really changing your edits. Obviously we are going to have to develop the article, and I will be making further contributions to the text as I find the time.--CltFn 13:31, 27 February 2006 (UTC)

Unwritten language[edit]

C, that is NOT a direct quote from Luxenberg; it is a quote from a Newsweek article purporting to explain Luxenberg's thesis. The article messed up! It said something untrue! The fact checker failed! But don't blame that on Luxenberg. I'm sure he'd be horrified. Zora 05:41, 7 March 2006 (UTC)

Perhaps , its moot at this point but anyway as you can tell there is a lot more to this article that has yet to be added. I am sure we will be discussing this again after more material is added , some of which I am working on .--CltFn 06:02, 7 March 2006 (UTC)

Gol durn it, Cltfn![edit]

You removed a statement saying that Crone had backed down from the views she expressed in Hagarism, saying that this was "false". How do you know? Have you actually read any Crone? I have. In her later works she is willing to accept an earlier date for the Qur'an, though she still believes that the elaboration of Muslim belief and practice into the modern form of Islam was a process of centuries, and that Muslim commentators have consistently misinterpreted their own past by reading the conditions of their own time into the past.

I don't have the time right now to go through all the Crone books that I have, but I'm sure you're wrong. Why do you insist on writing so definitively about scholarly matters when you haven't read any of the authors in question? Zora 01:33, 9 April 2006 (UTC)

Zora, : You would have to be more specific with the exact Patricia Crone statement you seem to be alluding to. In any case , the interresting thing about this body of work is that it does not depend on anybody's opinions , the facts speak for themselves.
I've just spent a fair bit of time flipping through the texts I do have from Crone -- I can't find any passage in which she rejects Hagarism. She refers to it, glancingly, in footnotes, in a non-commital manner. (For other views, see ...) It hasn't been reprinted. She is not currently defending it. She's just ignoring it. So you're right, she hasn't definitively rejected it; she's just pushed it aside, as if it were faintly embarrassing. She doesn't seem to have engaged with any of the more trenchant criticisms of the thesis, either. Usually if a scholar believes in something, he/she will write vigorous rebuttals to criticism. In this case ... she published, she got a firestorm of criticism, and she has retreated into safer waters and more circumscribed topics. Hmmmm .... interesting. Zora 07:43, 9 April 2006 (UTC)
I would call that treading dangerous waters carefully. --CltFn 14:13, 9 April 2006 (UTC)
For instance the methodology that Luxenberg has outlined , can be followed by anyone who cares to do so. Anyone can then make up their own mind as to what they observe. --CltFn 05:11, 9 April 2006 (UTC)

CltFn, eminent scholars have criticized Luxenberg for the sloppiness of his supposed method. You can use it to parse a Quranic verse in any way that seems to "make sense" of the verse -- which is totally subjective.

He brings on a plethora of arguments: first he produces a Hebraism which results in a second alternative translation: When they were finished and he had tied him down as (li-) a burnt offering; a Syriac passage where li is used in the sense of 'on' and finally an Arabic quote from the Qur'an: Q 7:143 When his Lord revealed himself to the mountain.[20] For those who know the biblical story of God's revelation to Moses on mount Sinai, this text seems to need another preposition: When his Lord revealed himself on the mountain. But this explanation presupposes exactly what it tries to prove: namely that the Qur'an had Christian precursors.
One would expect that the correct reconstruction of a mistaken text has a certain self-evidence to it, that it speaks for itself. The philological tugging and squeezing that Luxenberg applies, doesn't plead in favour of that, on the contrary, the three explanations are partky mutually exclusive. It's still unclear whether li- is now Hebrew, Syriac or Arabic. [1]

You seem to have an inflated impression of Luxenberg's importance, when in fact he seems to be regarded as an interesting oddity more than anything else. Zora 07:43, 9 April 2006 (UTC)

I am sure that there will be a lot of attempts from the traditionalist camp to try to shoot holes through Luxenberg's thesis, as with Puin's work and with Crone's. So far these theses have held very well to the onslaught. My personal opinion would be irrelevant in this discussion , I have simply included the statement that is to be found in just about every article written on the topic. --CltFn 14:13, 9 April 2006 (UTC)

Major revision[edit]

The article had been edited to read as if Luxenberg were the toast of academia and that all of his assertions were fact. I think that this grotesquely mis-states the case. The problem is that his methodology -- keep guessing until you get something you like -- could be used to turn the Qur'an into anything you please. Most academics think that he has some good points to make, but distrust his conclusions. Some speculate that he's a Syrian Christian (or was he actually outed?) hitting back at Islam, and that his method is being used in a less than neutral manner.

I rewrote extensively, trying to express his ideas clearly without saying that they were true. There is an enormous problem with the supposed quotes, which aren't referenced at all. I'm leaving them up for now, to give others a chance to source them, but if we can't get some references, they'll have to go. Zora 23:35, 31 May 2006 (UTC)

I don't have the time to read it thoroughly, but hope to do so later. What strikes me is that you changed thesis to claim. I think qualifying his work as a mere claim is POV. I still have not read a critique that effectively falsifies his hypothesis.
I wonder, have you read his book? --Benne ['bɛnə] (talk) 23:43, 31 May 2006 (UTC)
No, because I can't read German. I've read the critiques of his book, by academics, in English, which are on the whole scathing. His claims are controversial and cannot be presented as fact. As long as there's a dispute, even if we don't agree with the other side, we have to step back and say "A believes X and B believes Y." Zora 23:48, 31 May 2006 (UTC)

AHA! The enthusiatic review in the Journal of Syriac Studies is by two people from a Christian theological seminary, one of whom, Robert, has no academic publications -- I think he must be a graduate student -- and one of whom is an assistant professor of theology. I think that they are taking a Christian viewpoint, and that they don't necessarily have any competence in Quranic studies. This is a frail reed upon which to claim an enthusiastic academic reception. Zora 00:01, 1 June 2006 (UTC)

Zora , you are going off on a tangent here . Perhaps you might list the parts of those articles which show a Christian bias? And the no competence in Qu'ranic studies label is a borderline poisoning the well.--CltFn 04:55, 1 June 2006 (UTC)
That isn't a tangent. The second author has published on Byzantine Christianity, not on the Qur'an. Their article is blandly approving, without showing much appreciation of specifically Islamic issues. However, to be fair, the link to the article on the conference mentions one guy who DOES have a track-record in Islamic studies and likes Luxenberg's work, so that should probably be cited. I just need to track it down. Zora 09:52, 1 June 2006 (UTC)

merge from The Syro-Aramaic Reading Of The Koran[edit]

I think The Syro-Aramaic Reading Of The Koran should be merged into this article, because it's in a bad shape, and because I believe there is not much more to tell about the person behind the pseudonym Christoph Luxenberg than the fact that he wrote Die Syro-Aramäische Lesart des Koran. ----Benne ['bɛnə] (talk) 17:41, 15 June 2006 (UTC)

I disagree , it should not be merged. As in many such situations , we have articles on authors and we have articles on individual books, thus the way to go is to develop both the author pages and also develop the book pages. That you might believe there is not much to tell about CL , is an opinion which I do not share with you.--CltFn 04:15, 17 June 2006 (UTC)
I'm talking generally as I have no specific knowledge of the issue (I don't even speak German or Arabic). The principle of distinguishing authors from their works is sound. But it's less useful here because the author is anonymous, so we don't have any information, biographical or whatever, apart from the works. I don't know how important are the 2 later pieces by Luxenberg listed in the bibliography; it's not clear how much of the article's information (if any) is from those rather than the main volume. If those pieces are nothing more than elucidations of the original, or comments on the ensuing debate, than a merger is no harm, because "Christoph Luxenberg", as a public idea, would amount to little more than his one major work. If Luxenberg reveals his identity, or writes another magnum opus, we can always de-merge. jnestorius(talk) 03:33, 26 August 2006 (UTC)

Luxenberg's thesis appeals only[edit]

to those who don't know neither Arabic nor Syriac and with already preformed opinions and prejudices. Those are so many and it is no wonder that such an article is so long. Any one witha good background in semitic languages can refute most of what is in it. The rebuttals against this thesis are plenty but they are no where to be found in the article. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Marwan123 (talkcontribs) 06:31, 12 December 2006 (UTC).

This is utter nonsense. Luxenberg's theory is long attested to by many both before and after the publication of his thesis. The fact that it was taboo to go into in great detail (e.g. verse Crone and Cooks allusion in Hagarism) does not mean it is unreliable thesis 'easily rebutted'.--Ari89 (talk) 07:07, 6 February 2009 (UTC)

Granted the Western scholars (he wishes to be one of them) have misunderstood the Qur'an, let's see how many will (apart from Christian missionaries posing as scholars) will adopt his discoveries. حور عين in Q56:22 means 'grapes "with wide, lovely eyes"'? After all it's a change from one carnal pleasure to another - not a revolution. And asses running from an ass (Q74:51-2)! I am still to see asses running away from such an author (62:5) - do they? While if you understand it as "[wild] asses running away from a lion/lioness" have we not all seen such real-life heart-stopping scenes? --Wadq (talk) 15:08, 28 March 2009 (UTC)

English translation now in, apparently[edit]

  • Luxenberg, Christoph (2007) -- The Syro-Aramaic Reading of the Koran - A Contribution to the Decoding of the Koran. Berlin: Verlag Hans Schiler. 2007 ISBN 3-89930-088-2. 85.178.72.83 01:25, 17 March 2007 (UTC)

De-merge[edit]

I'll try to move the stuff that is concerned with the "the syro-aramaic reading..." into the article about that book, and keep in this one the stuff about the author, as is the the ususal practice on WP. I may change wording here and there, but I promise to keep all external links, and all the pro-and contra poits intact. Please don't complain or revert until I'm done (2 hours?). Thanks. Azate 16:23, 13 April 2007 (UTC) Done. Azate 19:37, 13 April 2007 (UTC)

Although I see you invested some effort on this, the article is now been reduced from what was a very informative article on the author to barebones, leaving mostly trivial info about the pseudonym and hardly any coverage of his work and research. Hopefully you are not done with your editing and you will restore essential content that is now lacking in the aricle.--CltFn 16:59, 14 April 2007 (UTC)
I was moving over everything about the "syro-aramaic-reading" to the article about that book. Everything that is specifically about the book doesn't belong here. I'm not yet done with the other article. Please wait a while until you interfere. Nothing will be lost. Just distributed differetntly. Azate 21:06, 14 April 2007 (UTC)
I see that you are trying to seperate the contents of the book from the authors page but there is a lot of information about Luxenberg which merits to be covered on his page, such as professional position , how he came into prominence and the general theses of his work that he has propounded not only in his books but in many articles and interviews. The author's page should certainly present an overview of his work. Furthermore you have blanked out content which is not part of his book such as a a quote from an interview as a scholar conducted on him , not about his book. Let us know when you are done with your changes and we will see where things stand --CltFn 21:37, 14 April 2007 (UTC)
I re-introduced your amendment to the intro. If you find that interview you mention (and it source, of course) just add it back. I see no reason why we shouldn't be able to work in parallel. Unfortunatly there was a lot of material here that was obviously a quote, but didn't supply a reference. Azate 21:53, 14 April 2007 (UTC)

Introduction and identity[edit]

The introduction is faulty in some ways. Firstly, the identity of Chr. Luxenberg is known. His name can be found on various websites. He's of Lebanese (Christian) extraction and not a professor. He has worked as a lecturer for Arabic at the University of Saarbrücken. You could have met him as recently as the 24.06.2008 at the Auswärtiges Amt in Berlin, Germany. While I respect his desire for anonymity, he (or at least some of his interviewers) falsly claim(s) for him the title of professor among other things and this is simply a lie. If one uses anonymity in order to pretend to be what one is not, I think the right for secrecy is forfeit. Simha (talk) 12:47, 1 July 2008 (UTC)

Now the introduction is more like the German article.--Wadq (talk) 20:53, 25 March 2009 (UTC)

German scholar or pseudonym[edit]

Please don't put back the German scholar bit in the introduction. Such a claim cannot be ascertained for a pseudonym, and there are scholars who deny it.--Wadq (talk) 12:21, 27 March 2009 (UTC)

Revert of Thomas Milo's edits[edit]

"More importantly, Professor Jansen published supporting evidence for the essential correctness of Luxenberg's analysis on his web site: http://www.arabistjansen.nl/rawwahnaahum.pdf"

Do you mean "Luxenberg has suggested that Quranic zawwaǧnāhum (Q 44:54 and Q 52:20) might be a misreading for rawwaḥnāhum. These three Safaitic inscriptions may convince someone who... has doubts about this suggestion that the reading rawwaḥnāhum ... at least deserves serious consideration."?

As for "More importantly, Professor Jansen published supporting evidence for the essential correctness of Luxenberg's analysis on his web site: http://www.arabistjansen.nl/rawwahnaahum.pdf", see these quotes:

One may agree with L.’s new reading of this s¯urah, even though doubts remain on some points, such as his claim that Arabic ¤x¬õ a‘t.¯a ‘to give’ should be derived from Syriac Ytyaayti ‘to bring’. Not only is this particular proposal linguistically problematic, it also fails to lead to a better understanding of the Qur’¯anic text, since the meaning of this Arabic verb is fairly straightforward. The same can be said for L.’s reinterpretation of s¯urah 96 (al-‘alaq,
one is inclined to disagree with some of his conclusions, such as his interpretation of the last word of this s¯urah, ìnj¨HM wa-qtarib, which he translates as ‘and celebrate the Eucharist!’ But the verb ìnj¨H iqtaraba ‘to draw near’ cannot simply be identified, as L. does, with the form ì›nrÆ taqarraba, which is actually the Christian Arabic term for celebrating the Eucharist.
L.’s ‘representation’ of the state of affairs is incomplete.
Sometimes it seems that when L. has found a pair of cognates in Syriac and Arabic, he simply declares the Arabic word to be a loan from Syriac, even when from a historical-linguistic point of view this is not plausible.

--Wadq (talk) 00:20, 30 May 2009 (UTC)

Suliman Bashear wasn't thrown out a window![edit]

This is pure poppycock! He died of a heart atack in 1991. Read it here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suliman_Bashear

Theodore Khoury[edit]

I have a hunch it might be the German-Lebanese scholar Theodore Khoury, a Lebanese German who knows the same rare extinct languages that Luxenberg does. But I have strictly no proof of this and it is only a very vague hypothesis. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 72.53.106.158 (talk) 08:54, 25 February 2015 (UTC)

Christoph Luxenberg is not identical with the very respected and visible German-Lebanese scholar Theodor Abdel Khoury. This can be confirmed by all scholars who have seen Chr. Luxenberg. Prof. Khoury publishes and has published extensively under his own name.Simha (talk) 11:57, 12 March 2015 (UTC)

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