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“The Grace of God” as evidence for a written Uthmanic archetype: the importance of shared orthographic idiosyncrasies

  • Marijn van Putten (a1)

Abstract

This paper takes a novel approach to the question of when and how the text of the Quran was codified into its present form, usually referred to as the Uthmanic text type. In the Quran the phrase niʿmat allāh/rabbi-ka “the grace of god/your lord” can spell niʿmat “grace” either with tāʾ or tāʾ marbūṭah. By examining 14 early Quranic manuscripts, it is shown that this phrase is consistently spelled using only one of the two spellings in the same position in all of these different manuscripts. It is argued that such consistency can only be explained by assuming that all these manuscripts come from a single written archetype, meaning there must have been a codification project sometime in the first century. The results also imply that these manuscripts, and by extension, Quran manuscripts in general, were copied from written exemplars since the earliest days.

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Copyright

This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Corresponding author

Footnotes

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I would like to thank Mehdy Shaddel, Sean Anthony, Ilkka Lindstedt, Fokelien Kootstra, Lameen Souag, and Ghilène Hazem for giving valuable input on an earlier version of this paper.

Footnotes

References

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