Carbon dating of what has been called the world’s oldest Q’uran suggests that the manuscript may have been written before the Muhammed was born, so that the book of which this is a copy would be even older. Islam teaches that the Q’uran was delivered directly to the prophet from Heaven, but this would indicate that he may have been drawing on a pre-existent text in formulating the new religion.
But in fairness, it is possible to put a different construction on the evidence. The carbon dating has the manuscript as having been written between 568-645 A.D. Muhammad lived from 570-632 A.D. Islamic tradition says that the Q’uran was given to the prophet between 610-632 A.D., with the writings formally collected into a single book around 650 A.D.
Carbon dating gives a range, not a precise date. And it seems to me that the traditional accounts still fall within this range. [Read more...]