The project, funded by BMBF, aims at surveying the significant early Quranic manuscripts from Iranian collections.
Studying the early Quranic manuscripts is a key to understanding the textual history of the Quran. The project IRANKORAN (2017-2020), funded by BMBF, aims at surveying the significant early Quranic manuscripts from Iranian collections. This source material offers a new perspective on the textual history of the Quran since for the first time Quranic manuscripts from the Eastern part of the Islamic world are taken into consideration. The project can thus provide a significant contribution to the historical-critical study of the Quran, while its central question is as follows: which kind of deviations in the text of the Quran, as it was fixed in the 10th century, are historically verifiable. In the course of the project, images of Quranic manuscripts from Iranian museums and libraries, together with their metadata, are recorded in a database. Also, a selection of Quranic manuscripts will be transliterated. These digital transliterations display not only different levels of readability, modifications, and erasures but also deviations from the prevalent Quranic text.
By the collected data, a detailed philological commentary is produced, which presents the textual history of the Quran in the mirror of Iranian manuscript collections. In short, the project consists of the following steps: (1) Development of an online digital catalog (‘Biblioteca Coranica Iranica’) according to the guidelines of the Text Encoding Initiative (TEI); (2) Recording all images of the Quranic manuscripts held in the National Museum of Iran and other Iranian collections in the database and creation of transliterations of Arabic text from selected pages according to XML schema; (3) Performing a radiocarbon measurement (C-14 analysis) for a selection of Quranic manuscripts for dating the parchment in cooperation with the Laboratory of Ion Beam Physics Isotope Laboratory (ETH Zurich); (4) Text analysis of the selected manuscripts and exploration of their variant readings in order to verify the deviation of the textual material from the canonical readings recorded by Ibn Muǧāhid (died 936).