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The Chronology of the Qurān: A Stylometric Research Program

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I verify a chronology in which seven groups of passages represent consecutive phases. A proposed chronology is verified if independent markers of style vary over its phases in a smooth fashion. Four markers of style follow smooth trajectories over the seven phases: The first is average verse length. The second encompasses the 28 most common morphemes in the Qurān. The percentages of these morphemes in a text constitute its stylistic profile. The thus-defined stylistic profile is shown to vary in a smooth fashion over “time”, i.e. over the proposed chronological sequence of phases. Third, a similar thing holds for a profile based on the frequencies of 114 other common morphemes. Fourth, similar results are obtained for a list of 3693 relatively uncommon morphemes. In addition to establishing a relative chronology in seven phases, this essay demonstrates the stylistic unity of many large passages. It also shows that the Qurān has one author.

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