Quran from Prophet Muhammad’s time discovery in England?


This video from Britain says about itself:

‘Oldest’ Koran found in Birmingham – BBC News

22 July 2015

What may be the world’s oldest fragments of the Koran have been found by the University of Birmingham. Radiocarbon dating found the manuscript to be at least 1,370 years old, making it among the earliest in existence. The pages of the Muslim holy text had remained unrecognised in the university library for almost a century.

From the BBC today:

‘Oldest’ Koran fragments found in Birmingham University

By Sean Coughlan, Education correspondent

What may be the world’s oldest fragments of the Koran have been found by the University of Birmingham.

Radiocarbon dating found the manuscript to be at least 1,370 years old, making it among the earliest in existence.

The pages of the Muslim holy text had remained unrecognised in the university library for almost a century.

The British Library’s expert on such manuscripts, Dr Muhammad Isa Waley, said this “exciting discovery” would make Muslims “rejoice”.

The manuscript had been kept with a collection of other Middle Eastern books and documents, without being identified as one of the oldest fragments of the Koran in the world.

Oldest texts

When a PhD researcher, Alba Fedeli, looked more closely at these pages it was decided to carry out a radiocarbon dating test and the results were “startling”.

The university’s director of special collections, Susan Worrall, said researchers had not expected “in our wildest dreams” that it would be so old.

“Finding out we had one of the oldest fragments of the Koran in the whole world has been fantastically exciting.”

The tests, carried out by the Oxford University Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit, showed that the fragments, written on sheep or goat skin, were among the very oldest surviving texts of the Koran.

These tests provide a range of dates, showing that, with a probability of more than 95%, the parchment was from between 568 and 645.

“They could well take us back to within a few years of the actual founding of Islam,” said David Thomas, the university’s professor of Christianity and Islam.

“According to Muslim tradition, the Prophet Muhammad received the revelations that form the Koran, the scripture of Islam, between the years 610 and 632, the year of his death.”

Prof Thomas says the dating of the Birmingham folios would mean it was quite possible that the person who had written them would have been alive at the time of the Prophet Muhammad.

“The person who actually wrote it could well have known the Prophet Muhammad. He would have seen him probably, he would maybe have heard him preach. He may have known him personally – and that really is quite a thought to conjure with,” he says.

First-hand witness

Prof Thomas says that some of the passages of the Koran were written down on parchment, stone, palm leaves and the shoulder blades of camels – and a final version, collected in book form, was completed in about 650.

He says that “the parts of the Koran that are written on this parchment can, with a degree of confidence, be dated to less than two decades after Muhammad’s death”.

“These portions must have been in a form that is very close to the form of the Koran read today, supporting the view that the text has undergone little or no alteration and that it can be dated to a point very close to the time it was believed to be revealed.”

The manuscript, written in “Hijazi script“, an early form of written Arabic, becomes one of the oldest known fragments of the Koran.

Because radiocarbon dating creates a range of possible ages, there is a handful of other manuscripts in public and private collections which overlap. So this makes it impossible to say that any is definitively the oldest.

But the latest possible date of the Birmingham discovery – 645 – would put it among the very oldest.

‘Precious survivor’

Dr Waley, curator for such manuscripts at the British Library, said “these two folios, in a beautiful and surprisingly legible Hijazi hand, almost certainly date from the time of the first three caliphs”.

The first three caliphs were leaders in the Muslim community between about 632 and 656.

Dr Waley says that under the third caliph, Uthman ibn Affan, copies of the “definitive edition” were distributed.

“The Muslim community was not wealthy enough to stockpile animal skins for decades, and to produce a complete Mushaf, or copy, of the Holy Koran required a great many of them.”

Dr Waley suggests that the manuscript found by Birmingham is a “precious survivor” of a copy from that era or could be even earlier.

“In any case, this – along with the sheer beauty of the content and the surprisingly clear Hijazi script – is news to rejoice Muslim hearts.”

The manuscript is part of the Mingana Collection of more than 3,000 Middle Eastern documents gathered in the 1920s by Alphonse Mingana, a Chaldean priest born near Mosul in modern-day Iraq.

He was sponsored to take collecting trips to the Middle East by Edward Cadbury, who was part of the chocolate-making dynasty.

The Koran

Muslims believe the words of the Koran were revealed to the Prophet Muhammad by the angel Gabriel over 22 years from 610

It was not until 1734 that a translation was made into English, but was littered with mistakes

Copies of the holy text were issued to British Indian soldiers fighting in the First World War

On 6 October 1930, words from the Koran were broadcast on British radio for the first time, in a BBC programme called The Sphinx

Discover how the Koran became part of British life

The local Muslim community has already expressed its delight at the discovery in their city and the university says the manuscript will be put on public display.

“When I saw these pages I was very moved. There were tears of joy and emotion in my eyes. And I’m sure people from all over the UK will come to Birmingham to have a glimpse of these pages,” said Muhammad Afzal, chairman of Birmingham Central Mosque.

The university says the Koran fragments will go on display in the Barber Institute in Birmingham in October.

Prof Thomas says it will show people in Birmingham that they have a “treasure that is second to none”.

Less study of nazi crimes at German university


This United States government-commisioned video by director Billy Wilder is called Historic Stock Footage: NAZI DEATH MILLSCRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY.

By Marianne Arens in Germany:

Frankfurt university winds down research on National Socialism

21 July 2015

If the Goethe University in Frankfurt gets its way, future teachers will no longer receive instruction in the history of National Socialism. This is the only conclusion to be drawn from the recent attacks by the university’s education department on the Center for Research on National Socialist Pedagogy.

The head of the Education Department has decided that student attendance of lectures on National Socialist pedagogy will receive little or no official recognition. Students in the teacher training program will no longer receive any credit points, while students in the master’s program in education will, in future, receive only half as many credit points as previously. The credit points correspond to the “certificates” that were previously awarded to students as proof of their academic achievement.

The short statement from the department and the Academy for Educational Research and Teacher Education does not deny depriving student teachers of credit points. In a bureaucratic manner, it refers to the “joint agreement of all German states,” produced at the Culture Ministry Conference on Teacher Education. According to this agreement, topics studied have to concentrate on “instruction, training, diagnostics, and school development.” National Socialist pedagogy, which is ascribed the status of a “special topic,” is considered a “requirement neither in Frankfurt nor in other German or international institutions of teacher education,” the statement reads.

The Research Center for National Socialist Pedagogy was set up four years ago as a pilot project at Frankfurt University. By 2013, it had worked out a two-semester course of study aimed at providing all student teachers and pedagogy students with a knowledge of National Socialism, its crimes and ideology. This course of study has now been carried out successfully three times.

The lectures were always well attended and were frequently overflowing. Professor Benjamin Ortmeyer, who leads the research center, made comparative analyses of pedagogical writings during the period of National Socialism, and researched topics such as National Socialist propaganda against the workers movement and the enforced conformity of opinion (Gleichschaltung) of the Frankfurt University during the Third Reich.

Ortmeyer invited Theresienstadt concentration camp survivor Trude Simonsohn to one of his lectures. Another time, he spoke about Josef Mengele, the concentration camp doctor at Auschwitz-Birkenau, who had written his doctoral dissertation in Frankfurt on “race research” and about whom the professor has written a book (Beyond the Hippocratic Oath: Dr. Mengele and the Goethe University).

The past four years have clearly shown that the course of study on National Socialist pedagogy answers a growing demand. The study of the Third Reich by prospective teachers is all the more important, since the German university and media establishment has evinced a clear trend towards downplaying the role of National Socialism and the lessons of the World War II.

This historical revisionism is closely connected with the revival of German militarism and the aggressive foreign policy of the German government. For example, Herfried Münkler, who teaches political science at the Humboldt University in Berlin, said at the beginning of the year in the Süddeutsche Zeitung: “It is barely possible to conduct a responsible policy in Europe based on the notion: We are to blame for everything.” Münkler argues openly for German hegemony in Europe.

Münkler’s colleague Gunther Hellmann is also pushing for a new foreign policy strategy on the part of the German government. He wrote a book for the Munich Security Conference in 2015 and promotes the new white paper of the armed forces on the web site of the Defense Ministry.

Consequently, it cannot be viewed as accidental that the university management refuses to secure the Center for Research on National Socialist Pedagogy in its curriculum. The department has cut even the modest funding that it had previously provided to the academic staff at the research center, who subsist largely on third party funding provided by the Hans Böckler Foundation, which is close to the trade unions. The presidium will temporarily provide funding, but this is only guaranteed until May 2016.

One of the topics that the research center has already examined illustrates how important the continuation of its work would be. This topic is the enforced conformity of opinion (Gleichschaltung) and the role of the university rector, the infamous Ernst Krieck. In 1939, Krieck wrote, “as in the city of Frankfurt, so also at its university, Marxist ideology and the Jews of a foreign type penetrate and advance. During the epoch of systems, ever more Jews and supporters of Marxism gained academic chairs. … All these elements must be wiped out. … At the same time, the student body will also be purified of them.”

The passage can be found on a panel in the exhibit that was created by students at the university for its 75-year anniversary celebration in 1989: “The brown seizure of power. University of Frankfurt 1930-1945.” The exhibit documents the book burning, suppression and expulsions, “race research and hereditary biology,” and every kind of active support that the Goethe University gave to fascism.

The exhibit plates are still hanging in the old cafeteria building at the Bockenheim campus. Their days are numbered, however, since the university moved to a new location at the Westend campus five years ago. Although the hundred year anniversary of the university was celebrated with great pomp last year, there was no comparable effort or expense put into examining its National Socialist past, and no concrete plans have yet been made to move the exhibit to the new location.

Etruscan women exhibition in 2011


This 2014 video is called Etruscan Necropolises of Cerveteri and Tarquinia (UNESCO/NHK)

Lucas Knitel told on 27 November 2011 about the exhibition on Etruscan women at the Antiquities Museum in Leiden.

This exhibition is the counterpart of the present exhibition about Etruscan men, in the Allard Pierson Museum in Amsterdam.

In this culture in ancient Italy, women had a relatively strong position (somewhat like Egypt), if compared to Athens and other Greek states, Rome, and Mesopotamia.

We do not know as much about Etruscan culture as we might like. Much of their temples and other buildings were made of wood, so few of these survive. We also know much more about rich Etruscans than about poor ones. And the Etruscan language is still a problem. Not because of their alphabet, similar to the Greek alphabet; but because their language is unrelated to most European languages in antiquity.

There are varous theories on the origins of Etruscans. Eg, Italian nationalists tend to claim they were “autochthonous” ancient Italians. Another theory claims they were immigrants from Asia Minor. Mr Knitel tended to favour a third theory: that Etruscans were immigrants from central Europe. In what is now Austria, the Rhaetic language was spoken in antiquity. It seems that Rhaetian is related to Etruscan.