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Polemics in the Koran: The Koran’s Negative Argumentation over its Own Origin 1

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Abstract In this article I propose that the polemical passages in the Koran should not be addressed as if they were aiming at narrating a portion of Muḥammad’s life but as parts of the koranic argumentation about its own origin and status. The first part of this paper shows how these polemics convey a religious debate by addressing the question of the sacred origin of the koranic text and the authenticity of Muḥammad’s prophetic role, in parallel. The second part provides an analysis of how the Koran argues about its own religious authority through these polemical passages: by meeting expectations which are described as Jewish and Christian, by refusing any attitude of denial, and by accusing the opponents of forgery. Hypotheses on the type of audiences of these passages are then exposed.

Affiliations: 1: Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies (University of Groningen) & IREMAM (Aix-Marseille University)


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