I have been reading this interesting piece in TheAtlantic.com which dates from 1999 and discusses the discovery of fragments from early versions of the Qur'an and suggests that the Qur'an is no different from other religious texts. Specifically, the claim seems to be that further academic study of these fragments will lead to an ability to place the Qur'an into a historical context...
Interestingly, there appears, at least to the author of the article, similarities between the Qur'an and the Bible. Of particular note is that the Qur'an was not in a written form at the time of the Prophet's death and that there are Suras that were not included (kind of like the "missing" gospels - Dan Brown and the Da Vinci Code anyone?).
Unfortunately, further Internet search has only turned up minimal articles and comments on this of note. I will do more reasearch and perhaps post again.
The idea of frank, open, transparent debate on this subject is intriguing. I just do not see how serious academic debate can be had without it being labelled anti-Islam or some kind of Zionist conspiracy to belittle Islam and the Muslim experience. In this regard it is similar to Jewish claims of anything that questions the Jewish experience as being anti-semitic.
Religion and academic study and debate; are they compatible?
I am, albeit slowly and surely, learning more about those things that interest me. Islam is one of those things...The above photo is of some of the Yemeni Fragments and can be found at this link.
Have a good week!