Second Inarah Conference in Otzenhausen, Germany, on Early Islamic History and the Koran.

March 22, 2010

I have just returned from an exhilirating conference on Early Islamic History and the Koran. CFI and Sam Harris of Project Reason, and two anonymous donors (long term supporters of CFI) made the conference possible. Essentially, the talks were a tribute to the influence of the original ideas and pioneering methodology of Christoph Luxenberg. Ostracized by the German universities for many years, Luxenberg is now coming into his own, thanks to conferences like this one. Respected scholars no longer consider it taboo to say that they find his ideas fruitful. One Arabic-speaking scholar now teaching at Cornell University, Dr. Munther Younes, said that the works of Günter Lüling and Christoph Luxenberg had had a "liberating influence" on him, and had allowed him to apply their insights, and possibly helped solve many puzzles in that most opaque of texts, the Koran. There was also a stunning illustrated talk on Koranic palimpsests by Elisabeth Puin; the conclusions of her research are so profound for our understanding of early Islam. One topic not often covered in such conferences was Numismatics; Volker Popp drew out the consequences of some inscriptions on Middle Eastern coins. I hope I have whetted your appetites for more. There will be certainly more demanding accounts of the technical papers in future editions of Free Inquiry; the excitement lies precisely in the details and their implications