The New York Times has published a story on a discovery:-

LONDON — Fragments of what researchers say are part of one of the world’s oldest manuscripts of the Quran have been found at the University of Birmingham...The university sent a small piece of the manuscript, written on sheep or goat skin, to Oxford University for radiocarbon dating...when the results had come back, he and other researchers had been stunned to discover that the manuscript was probably at least 1,370 years old, which would place its writing within a few years of the founding of Islam. He said the author of the text may well have known the Prophet Muhammad.

...Professor Thomas said that, according to Muslim tradition, Muhammad received the revelations that form the Quran, the scripture of Islam, between 610 and 632, the year of his death. Tests by the Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit provided a range of dates and showed, with a probability of more than 94 percent, that the parchment dated from 568 to 645.

But wait just a second.

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If that test is 94% accurate, then the Quran could have been written down ... prior to Muhammed having received it.


Correct?

Could that mean that Muhammed regurgitated a recent tradition that had developed in the hot desert sun?  And I am not referring to his supposed illiteracy.

The academic who supervised all this testing in England said

 
the discovery could help resolve a longstanding debate between Muslims who believe that the Quran was completed by the time Muhammad died and some scholars who contend that the Quran was changed or expanded in the century after his death.

Good.  Either "by the time he died" or "after his death".

But the paper, which is not representative of any religious denomination (except perhaps of lapsed or rejected Judaism), should have raised the possibility of a much earlier original of the Quran, prior to Muhammed's birth.

^

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