Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Ronald Nash, Joseph Trafton, Ron Veenker

Degree Program

Department of Philosophy & Religion

Degree Type

Master of Arts


A brief review of the history of western interest in the Qur'an from Keaton's 1143 C.E. translation to the present and a comparison between the western and traditional views on the Qur'-am's textual history serves to place the western theories on the collection and transmission of the Qur'an in their historical and intellectual context.

The theories of Richard Bell, John Burton, Leone Caetani, Paul Casanova, Arthur Jeffery Alphonse Mingana, Theodor Ntildeke, John Wansbrough and W. Montgomery Watt are given primary consideration; Nabia Abbot, Hartwig Hirschfeld, D.S. Margolicuth, William Muir and Ajmal Khan receive secondary consideration.

The traditional history of the Qur'anic text serves as the outline for the thesis. Theories suggesting that the Qur'an could not have been written down during the life of the Prophet are considered against extant physical evidence in inscriptions and papyrii of early Arabic writing. The questions surrounding the 'personal" or "metropolitan- collections are treated next, followed by two chapters on 'Uthman's recension and the Hajjaj collection. The two most recent studies, Wansbrough's and Burton's, reach opposing conclusions and their theories are considered against the work which preceded them.

The thesis concludes that the morass of conflicting and differing conclusions regarding the history of the Qur'anic text may be the result of subjective analysis and selective use of evidence rather than intrinsic mystery of the subject matter.


Islamic Studies | Religion | Religious Thought, Theology and Philosophy of Religion