To: JasonC; Nogbad; Angelus Errare
I am still preparing a response, but let me just say that I tend to take most claims of higher criticism and deconstructionism of religious texts (on this I believe that myself and JasonC are on opposite ends of the spectrum) with a whole tanker of salt because I feel that were the same methods applied to say Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time or Tolkien's Lord of the Rings they would yield results several degrees opposite to the facts.
To me, much of this talk about the role of oral tradition, multiple authors, redactors, and editors (who are curiously never identified by name in any of these theories but whose existence and roles are simply taken a priori) in the formation of holy texts outside of the tradition in which they were raised to be purely speculative and based largely upon deconstructionist premises that the traditional sources and story behind a holy text simply cannot be true.
That being said, I believe (and I would really just as soon not get into a long-winded discussion on this) that the traditional origins of the Qur'an are by and large true (which is to say that I believe that Mohammed wrote it, not that it was dictated to him by Gabriel).
Additionally, I think that one of the reasons as to why there was a great deal of resistance to the Qur'an being translated lies in the fact that Arabic is an extremely difficult language to correctly translate (for example, can somebody please give the correct spelling of the Libyan dictator's name?), hence the special precautions to prevent textual errors.
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