Radiocarbon dating of Qur’anic manuscripts is a well-known practice and undertaken by many museums, universities and institutions alike. However, the same can not be said of Biblical manuscripts/papyri. Why this discrepancy ?
Some may claim that Paleography (the study of ancient writing systems to date historical manuscripts) is just the same as Radio-Carbon dating. From the onset, it should be obvious that a subjective science like Paleography can in no way stand up to rigorous, tested and proven science which Radiocarbon dating provides. Below is a discussion regarding the pitfalls of using paleography:
P52 vs Birmingham Manuscript (Comparing the Earliest Biblical Manuscript to the Earliest Qur’anic Manuscript )
P52: 125-175 CE (Dated using paleography and NOT radiocarbon dating) . This is the oldest, no manuscript is seen from the lifetime of Jesus or even the first century.
Birmingham: Between c. 568 and 645 using Radiocarbon dating( A more accurate method to date than paleography) . This could very well mean during the time of the Prophet, if not the early first century following his death.
P52: Credit Card Sized (measuring only 3.5 by 2.5 inches (8.9 by 6 cm) at its widest; and conserved). The oldest manuscript is nothing but a scrap of paper.
Birmingham: folio size (343mm by 258mm at the widest point) and are written on both sides . One two-page leaf contains verses 17–31 of Surah 18 (Al-Kahf) while the other leaf the final eight verses 91–98 of Surah 19 (Maryam) and the first 40 verses of Surah 20 (Ta-Ha), all in their present day sequence and conforming to the standard text.
The Prophet (ﷺ) fasted for days continuously; the people also did the same but it was difficult for them. So, the Prophet (ﷺ) forbade them (to fast continuously for more than one day). They slid, “But you fast without break (no food was taken in the evening or in the morning).” The Prophet (ﷺ) replied, “I am not like you, for I am provided with food and drink (by Allah).
BY KURT EICHENWALD ON 12/23/14 AT 6:54 AM
– Pew Research poll in 2010 found that evangelicals ranked only a smidgen higher than atheists in familiarity with the New Testament and Jesus’s teachings.
1 Corinthians 7:36
New American Standard Bible
But if any man thinks that he is acting unbecomingly toward his virgin daughter, if she is past her youth, and if it must be so, let him do what he wishes, he does not sin; let her marry.
The Blue Qur’an (Arabic: المصحف الأزرق al-Muṣḥaf al-′Azraq) is a late 9th- to early 10th-century Fatimid Tunisian Qur’an manuscript in Kufic calligraphy, probably created in North Africa for the Great Mosque (Mosque of Uqba) of Qairawan.
Have you ever heard it said that if all the Bibles and Biblical manuscripts in the world were destroyed tomorrow, we could reconstruct all but 11 verses of the NT from the writings of the Ante-Nicene Church Fathers alone? Recently, in an interview featuring NT textual critic, Daniel Wallace, we learn that this claim is demonstrably false.
Daniel Wallace mentions the following :
I’m embarrassed to say that sometimes there are Muslim apologists who have done really decent research on the nature of the New Testament or on the transmission of the text or things along those lines, and they have cleared up kind of an apocryphal story that Christians believed in.
There was one example: a number of scholars have passed on saying someone had pointed out that in the first three centuries of Christianity, only eleven verses of the entire New Testament had not been able to be found in those Church Fathers’ writings. Well, that was a garbled story that went back to the early 1800s, and it was a third-hand story of a fellow by the name of David Dalrymple. He was the one who actually was doing the research, and somebody heard about this at a party and not directly from Dalrymple but from somebody else, and then put into a book, and it’s been stated for the last 200 years as though it was Gospel fact.
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.