Dub Not Dubya

Saturday, August 07, 2004
Check it out: they don't get virgins; they get grapes. For those who don't want to click, here's the deal:

But now the same tools that historians, linguists and archaeologists have applied to the Bible for about 150 years are beginning to be applied to the Koran. The results are explosive.

The Koran is beautifully written, but often obscure. One reason is that the Arabic language was born as a written language with the Koran, and there's growing evidence that many of the words were Syriac or Aramaic.

For example, the Koran says martyrs going to heaven will get "hur," and the word was taken by early commentators to mean "virgins," hence those 72 consorts. But in Aramaic, hur meant "white" and was commonly used to mean "white grapes."

Some martyrs arriving in paradise may regard a bunch of grapes as a letdown. But the scholar who pioneered this pathbreaking research, using the pseudonym Christoph Luxenberg for security reasons, noted in an e-mail interview that grapes made more sense in context because the Koran compares them to crystal and pearls, and because contemporary accounts have paradise abounding with fruit, especially white grapes.

Like modern Bible scholarship, this won't make as much of a difference as it would if people didn't cover their ears and go "LA LA LA LA" whenever the proof was given. But it's a start, and it will help some.

Friday, August 06, 2004
Huh, wonder why no one else put these pictures together before? Anyway, good one. Am slowly catching up on my news reading after the latest trip, so perhaps more to come soon...