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On Three Extant Sources of the Qur'an Transcribed in Hebrew

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This paper focuses on three extant sources of transcriptions of the Qur'an into Hebrew characters: manuscript Arab N. 5 found in the library of the Morgenländische Gesellschaft, the fragments of the Qur'an from the Cairo Genizah kept in the Cambridge University Library, and manuscript Vat. Ebr. 357 from the Vatican Library in Rome. The article focuses in particular on the Halle manuscript, a transcription of which is given in the appendix. The transcriptions of the Qur'an examined here show how each one was produced in a different milieu and served specific purposes. The fragments from the Cairo Genizah and the Halle manuscript served similar polemical purposes and were written in countries under Muslim rule, where knowledge of Arabic was important for the relations with the authorities and, certainly in Egypt, was a part of everyday life. By contrast, the Vatican manuscript places itself in a very different context, that of the cultural milieu of Jewish and Christian philosophers and scholars in the period of the Italian Renaissance.


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