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Qurʾān - Glossary

Many people may be surprised by some of the affirmations made in this glossary. It must be kept in mind, however, that they are either conclusions drawn after in-depth studies or scientific insights sometimes established long ago that have never been refuted, although often they have been suppressed. After thoroughly studying Brother Bruno’s translation and commentary, readers will come to understand they are neither exaggerated nor outrageous, but fully justified.

The truth shall make you free.” (Jn 8:32)

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  • Aggadah (pl. aggadot), halakhah (pl. halakoth), and midrash (pl. midrashim) are rabbinic narrative and interpretive literary technics. Aggadah refers primarily to legends, most of which have their origin in rabbinic commentaries on the biblical text, or in the lives of the sages and heroes of Jewish history. They are exegetical or homiletical in nature. Halakhah, on the other hand, refers to the branch of rabbinic literature that deals with interpreting the religious obligations of Jews to God and neighbour.
    Often these two literary technics are used together, successively. A halakhah is, in fact, the practical, moral, ritual or legal application of the preceding aggadah. Such is the case in the Qurʾān. Each of the sūrahs that Brother Bruno has studied, begins with an aggadic narrative in which the author proposes episodes from sacred history as figures of events that he himself is accomplishing or that he foresees. To do this, he reshapes the biblical text to reflect contemporary events in a suggestive way. The second part of these sūrahs is a halakhic legal interpretation of this aggadah. In constructing his sūrahs in this way, the author of the Qurʾān is perhaps deliberately imitating the epistles of Saint Paul in which a paraenesis follows a dogmatic exposition in a well-balanced construction of two parts of strictly equal importance.
    Midrash refers to ancient rabbinic interpretation of scripture. They are termed midrash aggadah if they provide moral instruction by using various literary genres: stories, parables and legends; or midrash halakhah if their purpose is to explain various legal points.

  • Aigrain (Chanoine René) ◊ Professor and author (1886-1957). He entered the Major Seminary of Poitiers in 1904 and was ordained priest in 1909. He became professor of the History of the Middle Ages at Université catholique d’Angers in 1923, where he taught until 1951. He was appointed Honorary Canon of Poitiers in 1934. From 1922 to 1924, he contributed the article Arabia to the Dictionnaire d’histoire et de géographie ecclésiastiques. It is a complete encyclopaedia on the question of Christian origins in Arabia, supported by a rigorous critical analysis of the positive data known at the time. In it, he rightly concluded that “we can no longer deal with the history of Muḥammad by using, as several of his biographers do, the Sīrah as a basis.” Unfortunately, when it came Islam, he abandoned this fruitful point of view, simply reverting to the use of what is considered to be traditional data, immediately adding to the above remark: “This does not mean that we must retain nothing from it [the Sīrah], which would make it absolutely impossible for us to know the life of the Prophet.” This means that even outside the Sīrah there is not one single positive fact that attests to Muḥammad’s historical existence.

  • AlidsThose who claim descent from the caliph Ali and Fatima, respectively the purported son-in-law and daughter of the hypothetical Muḥammad.

  • Amram Gaon ◊ Head of the Talmud Academy († 875). He was a famous Gaon or head of the Jewish Talmud Academy of Sura during the 9th century. His chief work was liturgical. He was the first to arrange a complete liturgy for use in the synagogue. His Prayer Book, Siddur Rab Amram, has exerted great influence upon Jewish religious practise and ceremonial for more than a thousand years, an influence which to some extent is still felt at the present day.

  • AramaicA Semitic language known since the 9th century b.c. as the speech of the Aramaeans and later used extensively in southwest Asia as a commercial and governmental language and adopted as their customary speech by various non-Aramaean peoples including the Jews after the Babylonian exile.

  • Arnaldez (Roger) ◊ Professor of Philosophy, author and orientalist (1911-2006). He authored some thirty works on Islam, medieval philosophy and the thought of Averroes. He began Islamic studies after earning his university degrees as professor of Philosophy. Although profoundly Christian, Arnaldez was a man of dialogue. All his life, he worked in the service of what he called “the spiritual values of a religious humanism.” He was partisan since the 1930s of an ecumenical approach and openness to other religions. He served as consultant to the section for Islam of the Vatican Secretariat for Non-Christians. He was also an active member of the Jewish-Christian Friendship Association of France. Professor at the University of Lyon from 1956 to 1968, then at the University of Paris-Sorbonne until 1978, he was elected in 1986 to the French Academy of Moral and Political Sciences. His international reputation earned him an associate membership in the Royal Academy of Belgium, and a corresponding membership in the Academy of Arabic Language in Cairo. In 1980, Roger Arnaldez, publishing a book under the somewhat enigmatic title of Jesus, Son of Mary, Prophet of Islam, opened a new avenue of research. It was not the hackneyed comparison of the Qurʾānic Jesus with New Testament sources, but the meticulous exploration of the commentaries of the Qurʾān in order to bring out the completely Muslim figure of Christ that they reveal.

  • Ashkenazi (Shmuel)Israeli philologist and author (1922-....). Born Samuel Deutsch, this Israeli philologist was an author of collections and dictionaries of proverbs and abbreviations. He was co-author of Ozar rashe tevot, a thesaurus of Hebrew abbreviations.

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  • Ben Abd-el-Jalil (Jean Mohammed) Moroccan Catholic priest (1904-1979). Ben Abd-el-Jalil was born into a family of Muslim notables from Fez on April 17, 1904, Mohammed Ben Abd-el-Jalil received a bilingual and Muslim education. He began by learning the Qurʾān at the University of Al Quaraouiyine in Fez, and then accompanied his father on a pilgrimage to Mecca at the age of 9. Between 1922 and 1925, he attended the Gouraud High School while boarding at the Foucault School, run by Franciscan Fathers in Rabat, the capital of the French Protectorate in Morocco. It was at this time that Mohammed developed an interest in the Catholic religion. He obtained his baccalaureate in 1925.
    That same year, he went to Paris for higher studies to obtain a degree in Arabic language and literature. He was also interested in philosophy and theology, frequenting Jacques Maritain, Maurice Blondel, and especially Louis Massignon, who maintained a long friendship and correspondence with him. The celebration of Christmas 1927 was an important step in his conversion, and he asked to be baptised. He was baptised the following year on April 7, in the chapel of the Franciscan College in Fontenay-sous-bois, with the Orientalist Louis Massignon as his godfather. He chose Jean as his Christian name. In 1929, he entered the Franciscan Order, and was ordained a priest in 1935.
    In the 1930s, he published anonymously in the magazine En terre d'Islam, an appeal “proposing to the faithful to devote Fridays to pray for our distant brothers." He also founded a “Friday Prayer League for the conversion of Muslims.”
    In 1936, he was called as a professor at the Institut Catholique de Paris, where he gave a course in Arabic language and literature, as well as a course in Islamology at the chair of History of Religions. He was forced to resign this post in 1964 due to a cancer. He retired to his convent and led a secluded life. He did, however write a report on the current state of Islam for the bishops of France at the Second Vatican Council. He was received by Pope Paul VI in 1966.

  • Benediction (The)The title that Brother Bruno has given to the seven verses of the first Sūrah.

  • BerākhāhThe invocation to the name of God, traditionally called basmala.

  • Blachère (Régis)French orientalist, Arabist and translator of the Qurʾān (1900-1973). He held the Arab Philosophy Chair at the Sorbonne and was the director of the Institute of Islamic Studies (Institut des études islamiques) in Paris. He published a history of Arabic literature (1952), a study on the problem posed by Muḥammad (1952), a translation of the Qurʾān (1950 and a new version in 1957), and an introduction to the Qurʾān (1959). He also co-authored a grammar of classical Arabic with Gaudefroy-Demombynes. Throughout his analysis, Brother Bruno refers to Régis Blachère’s translation of the Qurʾān, along with Denise Masson’s, for they are the only recent translators who show some concern for critical methods. Blachère and Masson will only serve Brother Bruno occasionally to emphasise the inconsistencies and contradictions of the “accepted meaning.” He does not systematically compare his exegesis with theirs. You will come to understand how totally pointless this would be as you advance in Brother Bruno’s commentary.

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  • Cazelles (Henri) ◊ Sulpician, Doctor of Law and of Theology (1912-2008). He was ordained priest in 1940 and entered the Society of Saint Sulpice in 1944. He began his teaching career at the Sulpician seminary of Issy-les-Moulineaux. There his most famous student, Father Georges de Nantes, said of him: “He was, and still is today, a well of erudition, an ocean.” Besides Greek and Hebrew, Father Cazelles knew the ancient Egyptian, Sumerian, Akkadian, Assyrian and Hittite languages, as well as classical Arabic. In 1954, he was offered the Chair of the Old Testament at the Faculty of Theology of the Institut catholique de Paris. This is where Brother Bruno attended Father Cazelles Biblical Hebrew courses (1956-1965).

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  • Dalman (Gustaf Hermann)German Lutheran theologian, philologist and orientalist (1855-1941). Born Gustaf Armin Marx, he did extensive field work in Palestine before the First World War, collecting inscriptions, poetry, and proverbs. He also collected physical articles illustrating the life of the indigenous farmers and herders of the country. He pioneered the study of biblical and early post-biblical Aramaic, publishing an authoritative grammar (1894) and dictionary (1901), as well as other works. The theologian and translator Franz Delitzsch, who translated the New Testament into Hebrew, entrusted to Dalman the work of revising the Hebrew text.

  • Daniélou (Jean) ◊ French Jesuit priest, renowned theologian (1905-1974). He was created cardinal by Paul VI in 1970. Son of an anticlerical politician and a foundress of Catholic educational institutions for girls, Jean Daniélou studied literature and philosophy at the Sorbonne. In 1929, he entered the Jesuits and devoted his life to teaching. After studying theology at the Catholic Faculty of Lyon, he was ordained priest in 1938. He founded the collection “Sources chrétiennes” in collaboration with Henri de Lubac. After reading Brother Bruno’s scientific dissertations on the results of his historical research on pre-Islamic Arabia and on the Arab Conquest, he encouraged him to publish them.

  • de Sola Pool (David)Jewish scholar, author, and civic leader (1885-1970). He was the chief Sephardic rabbi in the United States and a recognised world leader of Judaism. He studied at the University of London. He held a doctorate in ancient languages from the University of Heidelberg. Born in London, de Sola Pool was invited in 1907 to become the rabbi of the oldest Jewish congregation in the United States, located in New York City. His book The Kaddish (1909) remains a definitive and well-regarded work on the origins of the Kaddish prayer.

  • Demombynes – see Gaudefroy-Demombynes

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  • Gaudefroy-Demombynes (Maurice) ◊ French Arabist, specialist in Islam and the history of religions (1862–1957). He was a professor at the École nationale des langues orientales vivantes (today INALCO). His best known works are his historical and religious studies on the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca and Muslim institutions. He also translated into French in an annotated edition the story of the Arab travel writer and explorer Ibn Jubair (1145–1217). His book written after Arab authors on Syria at the time of the Mamluk is also a seminal work. Gaudefroy-Demombynes clearly realised that two extreme attitudes were possible for European scholars: either to accept the Sīrah, the only documentary material available to them, as it had been put together in the Muslim world through the evolutions of the Tradition and piety or to accept “only those things, the veracity of which could be established, that is to say, almost nothing.” Unfortunately, Gaudefroy-Demombynes adopted the first solution, even if it meant “appearing naïve in the eyes of certain people.” In order to justify his choice, he had to play down the significance of Father Lammens’ criticism of the Sīrah.

  • Gesenius (Heinrich Friedrich Wilhelm)German Hebrew philologist and orientalist (1786-1842). He pioneered the comparative method in the analysis of Chaldean, Hebrew and Aramaic. As he was steeped in rationalism, he abandoned the religious considerations that had prevailed until then in the study of the Semitic languages. Among other things, he wrote a Hebrew Grammar (Lexicon hebraïcum et chaldaïcum, edit. Leipzig, 1847) and a commented translation of the Book of Isaiah. His Hebrew-German lexicon served as the basis for the Brown-Driver-Briggs dictionary.

  • Goldziher (Ignác)Jewish Hungarian orientalist (1850-1921). He is considered one of the founders of modern Islamic studies in Europe. Goldziher’s major work is his careful investigation of pre-Islamic and Islamic law, Muhammedanische Studien published in 1890. In it, he showed how the ḥadīṯs reflect the legal and doctrinal controversies of the two centuries after the death of Muḥammad rather than the words of Muḥammad himself. The Jesuit scholar, Father Lammens, based his own works on these “insightful studies of Professor Goldziher” who had thus brought to light “the profoundly tendentious nature of the [Muslim] Tradition.” Goldziler’s diary has been published in German under the title Tagebuch. In it, we find surprising reflections concerning his journey through the Middle East in 1873: “In those weeks, I truly entered into the spirit of Islam to such an extent that ultimately I became inwardly convinced that I myself was a Muslim, and judiciously discovered that this was the only religion which, even in its doctrinal and official formulation, can satisfy philosophic minds. My ideal was to elevate Judaism to a similar rational level. Islam, as my experience taught me, is the only religion, in which superstitious and heathen ingredients are not frowned upon by rationalism, but by orthodox doctrine.” In Cairo, Goldziher even went so far as to pray as a Muslim: “In the midst of the thousands of the pious, I rubbed my forehead against the floor of the mosque. Never in my life was I more devout, more truly devout, than on that exalted Friday.” Despite this, Goldziher remained a devout Jew all his life.

  • Grosjean (Jean) ◊ French poet, writer and translator (1912-2006). In 1933 he entered the Saint-Sulpice Seminary. After his military service in Lebanon (1936-37,) he was ordained a priest. Mobilised and made prisoner during World War II, his first poetry book was published the year after the war. In 1950, he abandoned the priesthood and married. His translation of the Qurʾān was published in 1979. Brother Bruno considers it a notable regression because he totally disregards the historical and critical method. Brother Bruno is therefore astonished by the approval his translation received from the Islamic Research Institute of Al-Azhar.

  • Guarded TabletAccording to the Islamic tradition, the Qurʾān was passed on to Muḥammad, such as it is kept in heaven from all eternity, on the Guarded Tablet (Q 85:22), the heavenly architype, revealed by ʾAllāh, in the precise, literal form that has been passed down to the present day.

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  • Ḥadīṯ (ḥadīṯ)The ḥadīṯ (lower-case ḥ) are the narrative records of what are purported to be the sayings or customs of Muḥammad and his companions. The Ḥadīṯ (upper-case Ḥ) is the collective body of the ḥadīṯ. Father Lammens positively demonstrates that the ḥadīṯ are nothing but pure inventions embroidered on the framework of the Qurʾānic text. The Ḥadīṯ elaborates its legends, merely inventing names for the actors depicted therein and spinning out the primitive theme.

  • Hapax legomenonA word or form occurring only once in a document or corpus.

  • Henninger (Joseph) ◊ German orientalist and Catholic priest, member of the Steyler missionaries [Divine Word Society (SVD)] (1906-1991). After having completed his theological studies at the Pontificia Universitas Gregoriana in Rome in 1934, he went to Vienna, where he attended lectures on Ethnology, Prehistory and Physical Anthropology. In 1934 Henninger became a member of the Anthropos Institute, and he became the assistant editor of its journal in 1936, a position he held until 1949. When Austria became part of the Third Reich in 1938, the Anthropos Institute and its journal moved to Fribourg, Switzerland. He began lecturing at the University in Fribourg and became professor there in 1954. He became associate professor at the University in Bonn in 1964. Ten years later, Henninger took up a professorship at the Philosophical-Theological Faculty in St. Augustin, where he lectured throughout the following years. The regional focus of his work lay on Arabian countries in Northern and Eastern Africa, while the field of his interest included Semitic cultures as well as theories on sacrifice and research on Islam.

  • HijrahThe Hijrah, “emigration,” is the purported flight of Muḥammad and his faithful followers from Mecca to Medina in 622. This year is traditionally given as the date of Islam’s birth.

  • Hirschfeld (Hartwig)Jewish, Prussian-born, British orientalist, bibliographer, and educator (1854-1934). Hirschfeld studied Oriental languages and philosophy and the University of Berlin. He received his doctorate from the University of Strasburg in 1878. He obtained a travelling scholarship in 1882 which enabled him to study Arabic and Hebrew at Paris. Hirschfeld immigrated to England in 1889, where he became professor of Biblical exegesis, Semitic languages, and philosophy at the Montefiore College. In 1901, he was invited to examine the Arabic fragments in the Taylor-Schechter collection. That same year, he was appointed librarian and professor of Semitic languages at Jews’ College, a position he occupied until 1929. At the same time, he became a lecturer in Semitic epigraphy at University College London in 1903, a lecturer in Ethiopic in 1906, and full professor and Goldsmid Lecturer in Hebrew there in 1924. His particular scholarly interest lay in Arabic Jewish literature and in the relationship between Jewish and Arab cultures. He is best known for his editions of Judah Halevi’s Kuzari, which he published in its original Judeo-Arabic and his studies on the Cairo Geniza. Hirschfeld also contributed articles to numerous periodicals.

  • Hruby (Father Kurt) ◊ (1921-1992) was born in Krems, Austria. His mother, of Jewish origin, converted to Catholicism in order to marry. Kurt was therefore baptised. At the time of the Anschluss in 1938, he escaped the Nazi persecution by leaving with his mother for Palestine. There he was a pioneer of Elijahv’s Qibbûs in the Jordan Valley, where he followed the rabbinical academic cursus or yeshiva. At the age of twenty, however, he decided to enter the seminary. In 1948, he returned to Europe, to Louvain, where he did his theology studies. He was ordained priest on March 18, 1956. Incardinated in the diocese of Liege, he taught at the Institut Catholique de Paris, which he joined in 1961. It was there that Brother Bruno met him. When he entered the Carmelite Seminary in 1956, Brother Bruno had already received from his master Father de Nantes the obedience of undertaking the scientific translation of the Qurʾān. He therefore assiduously attended Father Hruby’s course on rabbinical language and tradition, searching for the sources of the language of the Qurʾān. This is how he began to collect literary and philological contacts capable of explaining not only the ideas present in the Qurʾān, but also the origin of the Qurʾānic language, still absolutely unknown.
    From 1964, the development of the Catholic Counter-Reformation movement established by our founder, Father de Nantes, took priority and absorbed all our energy. However, Brother Bruno continued nevertheless to examine the text of the Qurʾān, collecting significant similarities of vocabulary between it and the rabbinical tradition. It was not until 1980 that Father de Nantes decided to proceed with the publication of the translation and systematic commentary of the Qurʾān. It is then that Brother Bruno resumed contact with Father. Hruby. He received him, was lavish with his encouragement, devoting whole days to answering Brother’s questions and providing him with every desirable learned reference. Brother Bruno submitted to him the proofs of the first volume of our translation of the Qurʾān before having it printed. Father Hruby wrote to him: “You know that in the interest of the cause, I would not hide from you any possible reservations, but there are none to make. Quite the contrary: what I have read so far seems to me to be solid, balanced, well presented and sufficiently irenical for no accusations based on assumptions to be made against you. You know, alas, the mentality of most people: they are less interested in the value of things than in where they come from… Still, one must not be too concerned about that; everyone is entitled to wear his “badge” proudly! Of course, I am not an Arabic scholar and therefore have no competence in that field. But it is also true that generations of professional Arabic scholars have failed to advance by so much as an inch in the fundamental question, which is that of the origins of the Qurʾān. And it is high time for this wall of silence to be breached. Not living in the “Land of Islam” and having no interest in gaining a “satisfecit” from the El-Azhar, you are sufficiently independent to be able to say things without pulling punches.” In 1992, Father Hruby wrote to Brother Bruno, “To hear that you are back working on the Qurʾān again is the best news of all. In this field you are doing a work that will last, the importance of which will, I am sure, be fully appreciated one day. The world of Islam is in a state of ferment, and the true nature of its foundation document, constantly referred to here, there and everywhere, is still cloaked in the darkest obscurity.”

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  • Jarden (Dov) ◊ Byelorussian-born Jewish mathematician and linguist (1911-1986). Specialist in Medieval Hebraic literature, he was professor at the University of Haifa, Israel. He was co-author of Ozar rashe tevot, a thesaurus of Hebrew abbreviations.

     

  • Jastrow (Otto ) ◊ German Professor Ordinarius for Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures (1942-....). He taught at two German universities (Heidelberg and Erlangen-Nürnberg) before taking office at Tallinn University in 2008. Over the decades he has conducted linguistic field work in a number of Middle Eastern countries, i.e., Turkey, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Israel. He speaks Arabic (several dialects), Turkish, Hebrew and Aramaic. He is author of 12 books and up to 100 articles. His main subjects of research are Neo-Aramaic languages and Arabic Dialectology. He holds a Ph.D. in Semitics and Islamology from the Saarbrücken University, and a Habilitation from the Erlangen University.

  • Jeffery (Arthur) ◊ Australian Methodist minister and renowned scholar of Middle Eastern languages and manuscripts (1892-1959). He taught at the School of Oriental Studies in Cairo (1921-1938), then from 1938 until his death jointly at Columbia University and Union Theological Seminary in New York City. He is the author of extensive historical studies of Middle Eastern manuscripts. His important works include Materials for the history of the text of the Qur’an: the old codices and The Foreign Vocabulary of the Qur’ān (1938), which traces the origins of 318 foreign (non-Arabic) words found in the Qur’ān.

  • Jomier (Jacques) ◊ French Dominican and orientalist (1914-2008). He graduated from the Dominican Faculty of Saulchoir with a degree in Theology and a doctorate in Literature. In 1932, he entered the Dominican Order, and was ordained priest in 1939. Later on he was sent to the Dominican priory in Cairo. It had been founded in 1928 to be an extension in Egypt of the École Biblique de Jérusalem, devoted to the study of archaeology in Egypt in connection with Biblical studies. Unfortunately, international events blocked the project. In 1953, Father Jomier became one of the three founders of the Dominican Institute of Oriental Studies (IDEO) dedicated to Islamic studies aimed at “making Islam better known and appreciated in its religious and spiritual dimensions.”

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  • Kasimirski (Albert Felix Ignace) ou Biberstein (Albin de) ◊ Polish-born Catholic orientalist (1808-1887). He studied oriental languages at the University of Warsaw and Berlin. He fled to France in 1830 after the Tsar Nicolas I crushed the Polish Insurrection in which he had taken part. He became attaché at the French Mission of Persia and in 1851 entered the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Entrusted with revising the second translation of the Qur’ān into French [that of Claude-Étienne Savary (1783)], he ended up publishing his own translation: Le Koran, traduction nouvelle faite sur le texte arabe, 1840, Paris, Charpentier, 511pp. He also published a Dictionnaire arabe-français, containing all the roots of the Arabic language and their derivatives, Paris, Maisonneuve et Cie, 2 volumes, 1860.

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  • Lammens (Henri) ◊ Prominent Flemish Belgian-born Jesuit and orientalist (1862–1937). Professor at Saint Joseph’s University in Beirut, Lebanon, he was the first to venture applying the rules of the modern historical and critical method to the Qurʾān. Father Lammens based his work on the Professor Ignác Goldziher concerning the historical value of the Tradition. He adopted Goldziher’s viewpoint and pursued the inquiry. Lammens’ conclusions are firm and represent a considerable advance over Goldziher’s. The latter had shown the profoundly “tendentious character” of the Tradition. Father Lammens showed its “apocryphal” nature. He positively demonstrated that the ḥadīṯs are nothing but pure inventions, that the so-called ‘eyewitnesses,’ the authorities of the Ḥadīṯ, are fictitious. Thus, the Sīrah has no historical basis other than the Qurʾān, of which it is nothing more than an imaginary elaboration: “Since the Tradition arises from the affirmations recorded in the Qurʾān,” Father Lammens stated, “it does not provide a verification or complementary information, but an apocryphal elaboration.” He was therefore able to conclude that “the Sīrah remains to be written, just as the historical Muḥammad remains to be discovered.” To do this he advocated rejecting the ‘Tradition’ in its totality, replacing its fanciful exegesis by a scientific exegesis. Although he recommended this, he never carried out this work. When Father Lammens passed away, the Jesuits of Beirut put his works under seal, and since then it has been a law of Islamology to ignore his discoveries.

  • Ledit (Charles-Jean) ◊ Priest of the Diocese of Troyes, France (1908-....). Ordained in 1931, he served as chaplain of the boys’ high school in Troyes, of the University Parish and of the Saint-Vincent-de-Paul conferences. He received the French Academy’s Teissonnière Award for Mahomet, Israël et le Christ (1957). He was named a Canon of Troyes Cathedral in 1964. From 1960 to 1972, he was an Associate Member of the Academic Society of Aube

  • Le Déaut (Roger) ◊ French religious of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit, professor and author (1923-2000). After brilliant studies, first in France and then in Rome, in literature, linguistics and Holy Scripture, he was assigned to the French Seminary in Rome where he was professor of liturgy. He devoted himself above all to studying Sacred Scripture. His master’s degree in the field of Aramaic philology and literature soon led him to be appointed professor at the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome (1964 to 1994) where he was professor of Aramaic and Targumic language and literature. Father Le Déaut specialised in the study of ancient Judaism. His major works are his doctoral thesis, “La nuit pascale,” [essay on the meaning of the Jewish Passover from the Targum of Exodus XII] (1963), the translation of the Targum of the Chronicles (1971) and, in the collection “Sources chrétiennes,” the translation, in 4 volumes, of the entire “Targum of the Pentateuch,” (1978-81) He also made numerous contributions to several scholarly journals.

  • Loth (Otto ◊ German philologist, Arabist and orientalist (1844-1881). As the son of the councillor of the Royal Court of Saxony, he attended the princely school of Saint-Affre in Meissen. From 1863 to 1866, he studied Oriental philology at the University of Leipzig. In 1866, he presented his doctoral thesis: “On Abdallah ibn el Mutazz’s life and works.” From 1870 to 1872 Loth studied Arabic manuscripts in England, then in Tabari, Constantinople and Egypt. Upon his returning to Saxony, he was appointed professor at the University of Leibzig. In the years 1874-1880, Loth was in charge of the editorial staff of the magazine “Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft” (German Oriental Society). In 1881, Loth suggested to Theodor Nöldeke that the mysterious letters might have a distinct connection with the Jewish Kabbalah.

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  • Marmorstein (Arthur ) ◊ Hungarian-born rabbi, scholar, and teacher (1882–1946). Marmorstein descended from a long line of Hungarian rabbis known not only for their Talmudic learning but also for their familiarity with secular literature. He studied at the yeshivah of Pressburg and the rabbinic seminaries of Budapest and Berlin. After visiting libraries for some time in England, Italy, and France, transcribing manuscripts, Marmorstein served for six years as rabbi at Jamnitz (Jemnice), Czechoslovakia. From 1912 until his death he taught at Jews’ College, London. Marmorstein’s scholarship embraced many subjects. His initial training at the universities was in Semitics, with special emphasis on Assyriology. He was particularly fascinated by the aggadic sections of the Talmud and by liturgy. Though Marmorstein contributed to many areas of Jewish scholarship, he is noteworthy for his studies in rabbinic theology, the subject of his two important volumes Doctrine of Merits in Old Rabbinic Literature (1920) and Old Rabbinic Doctrine of God [The Names and attributes of God] (1927); both were reprinted in one volume with an introduction by R.J. Zwi Werblowsky (1968). Other important essays on rabbinic theology by Marmorstein were collected and published under the title Studies in Jewish Theology (1950). Marmorstein’s work is characterized by painstaking detail in the collection of sources, which are important for the study of rabbinic religion.

  • Masoretic text (MT) ◊ The Hebrew text of the Bible, fixed by the rabbis of Yabne (end of 1st century a.d.), vocalised by the rabbis of Iraq and of Palestine called “ Masoretes ” (men of the tradition), in the 6th century a.d.

  • Massignon (Louis) ◊ French orientalist and Islamologue (1883-1962). He was a professor at the Collège de France (a higher education and research establishment), and at the École des hautes études. His father was a rationalist, his mother a practicing Christian. He progressively became an atheist. He was led to studying Morocco and wrote to Father Charles de Foucauld on this subject. He corresponded with him until Father de Foucauld’s martyrdom in 1916. Massignon later distorted the figure of this saint by detaching him from his nationalist context and depicting him as a pure mystic. He is known for his studies of Islamic mysticism and is considered a promoter of interfaith dialogue between Islam and the Catholic Church.

  • Masson (Denise) ◊ French Islamic scholar and translator of the Qurʾān (1901-1994). She was nicknamed the Lady of Marrakech because she resided in this Moroccan city. Her translation of the Qurʾān was published in the Bibliothèque de la Pléiade, 1967. It includes an introduction on the prophet Muḥammad and on the text Qurʾānic itself. Unfortunately her translation is entirely based on the Sīrah. Throughout his analysis, Brother Bruno refers to Denise Masson’s translation of the Qurʾān, along with Régis Blachère’s, for they are the only recent translators who show some concern for critical methods. Masson and Blachère will only serve Brother Bruno occasionally to emphasise the inconsistencies and contradictions of the “accepted meaning.” He does not systematically compare his exegesis with theirs. You will come to understand how totally pointless this would be as you advance in Brother Bruno’s commentary.

  • Montet (Édouard ) ◊ An orientalist and Doctor of Theology, and Professor of Eastern Languages (1856-1934). He was Rector of the Faculty of Theology at the University of Genève. He made a very literal translation of the Qurʾān “placing the sūrahs in their context. Régis Blachère recognised that he owed Montet a debt of gratitude.

  • Moubarac (Father Youakim) ◊ Lebanese Maronite priest, thinker and renowned theologian (1924-1995). After studies at the Inter-rite seminary of Ghazir, and at Saint Joseph’s Seminary in Beirut, the young Youakim was sent to France by his superiors in 1945. At the end of his studies at the Saint-Sulpice Seminary of Paris, he was ordained priest of the Maronite rite in 1947. The Maronite Patriarchate authorised him to continue his studies at the Institut catholique de Paris. In 1959, he began his academic career by teaching classical Arabic at the Institut catholique. This is where Brother Bruno attended his courses.

  • MuḥammadThe “Prophet Muḥammad,” is a character, a creation ex nihilo of Arabic literature. This creation appeared 140 years after the presumed death of the hypothetical character. This scientific truth established in the early 20th century by Father Lammens, forgotten since then, was never refuted because it is irrefutable. The traditional biography of Muḥammad, the Sīrah, is itself nothing more than a collection of ḥadīṯ. Father Lammens positively demonstrated that these are pure inventions embroidered on the framework of the Qurʾānic text. Chanoine René Aigrain concluded: “In these conditions, we can no longer deal with the history of Muḥammad by using, as several of his biographers do, the Sīrah as a basis.” Even outside the Sīrah there is not one single positive fact that attests to at least Muḥammad’s historical existence.

  • N
  • Nöldeke (Theodor ) ◊ German orientalist (1836-1930). He studied in Göttingen, Vienna, Leiden and Berlin. Along with Ignaz Goldziher, he is considered the founder of modern Islamic studies in Europe. In 1859 his history of the Qurʾān won for him the prize of the French Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres, and in the following year he rewrote it in German (Geschichte des Qorâns). Nöldeke admitted: “In the end, I renounce exploring the mystery of the historical personality of Muḥammad.” Nöldeke is best known for his reordering of the 114 Sūrahs of the Qurʾān to match what he considered to be their true historical occurrence. Nöldeke based this work on the sequence of revelation with the development of content and the origination of new linguistic styles. The Nöldeke Chronology divides the Sūrahs of the Qurʾān are into four groupings: the First Meccan Period, the Second Meccan Period, the Third Meccan Period, the Medinese Period. Nöldeke considered this arrangement to be more coherent and comprehensive. Despite this attempt made by Noldëke, and later on by Schwally, Blachère, etc., Brother Bruno believes that there is no reason to give the “Sūrahs” an order different from the one found in the accepted “vulgate.”

  • O
  • obscurityThe author of the Qurʾān speaks of “those who have faith in the obscurity” (first occurrence: Q 2:3). The term designates “the obscurity” of the cloud in which Yahweh came to Moses on Mount Sinai. The author, however, does not mention the cloud. He uses the term “obscurity” to signifying the divine mystery that is the object of the faith of those who neither saw nor heard the thunder and lightning of Mount Sinai.

  • Opening (The)This title was given to the seven verses of the first Sūrah by the commentators. They hesitated, inventing up to twenty-five different titles, and finally choosing the most insignificant one!

  • Ozar rashe tevot ◊ A thesaurus of Hebrew abbreviations co-authored by Shmuel Ashkenazi and Dov Jarden, Jerusalem: Rubin Mass, 1966 1 vol.

  • P
  • Paraenesis ◊ An exhortatory composition giving advice, counsel.

  • Paraenetical style ◊ An exhortatory style intended to incite and encourage, often used in wisdom writings.

  • Q
  • QuraishThe Quraish are an Arab people. According to Muslim tradition, the hypothetical Muḥammad, was a member of this group. From the 5th century, it was distinguished by a religious preeminence associated with its hereditary provision of the pre-Islamic custodians of the Kaaba at Mecca. Adjective: Quraishite.

  • R
  • Ronsard (Pierre de) ◊ French poet (1524-1585). He is a major figure in the poetic literature of the Renaissance. Over a period of more than thirty years, he authored a vast body of work, focusing as much on official as on lyrical poetry. Imitating ancient authors, Ronsard first used the forms of the ode and the hymn, considered major forms, but he increasingly favoured the sonnet. Ronsard contributed to the broad expansion of the field of poetry, giving it a richer language through the creation of neologisms and the introduction of popular language into literary French, and establishing rules of versification that have endured for several centuries.

  • Ryckmans (Gonzague) ◊ Belgian priest, Arabist and professor (1887-1969). He taught at the Catholic University of Leuven, where he had begun his studies in philosophy and from which he obtained his first doctorate in 1908. From 1908 to 1911, he continued his studies in theology and pastoral ministry at the Major Seminary at Mechlin. From there, he was sent to the École biblique de Jérusalem in 1911, in order to specialise in the field of biblical exegesis, history of the Ancient East and Oriental Languages. Upon return to Belgium in July 1914, he participated in the trench warfare as stretcher-bearer and chaplain. He was gassed while administering the Sacrament of Extreme Unction to wounded soldiers. In 1919, after the war, he obtained his doctorate in Semitic languages. The publication of his thesis put him in contact with Father J.B. Chabot who convinced him to spend a year in Paris where he met all the great French orientalists and became familiar with the Corpus Inscriptionum Semiticarum. From 1920 to 1930, he was professor of exegesis at the Major Seminary of Mechlin. In 1930, he obtained a professoriate at the Catholic University of Leuven and was entrusted with the courses of Hebrew, Aramaic, Akkadian, and comparative grammar of Semitic languages. In 1936, he became secretary of the newly founded Orientalist Institute, while acting as secretariat for the review Le Muséon. His scientific activity led him essentially in three directions: the publication of epigraphical texts, the creation of work instruments and the drafting of various synthesis, both philological and historical.

  • S
  • Schwally (Friedrich Zacharias) ◊ German orientalist (1863-1919). He was a student of Theodor Nöldeke. This encounter with Nöldeke would later have great significance for Schwally’s career as an orientalist. Schwally is best known for his Second Edition of Nöldeke’s History of the Qurʾān. When the aged Theodor Nöldeke was approached by his publisher in 1898 to do a new enlarged second edition of his history of the Qurʾān (Geschichte des Qorâns), he entrusted Schwally with this task and gave him full responsibility for the resulting text as being Schwally’s own. Volume One was published in 1909. The two remaining volumes were published after Schwally’s premature death in February 1919. Many orientalists consider this as the definitive text in the field. Schwally adopted Nöldeke’s Chronology that reorganises the order of the sūrahs of the Qurʾān are into four groupings. Brother Bruno believes that there is no reason to give the sūrahs an order different from the one found in the accepted “vulgate.”

  • Septuagint (LXX) ◊ The Greek translation of the Pentateuch, established from the 3rd century a.d. by the Jews of Alexandria working on Hebrew manuscripts that have since disappeared. According to a legend written in a letter by the Pseudo-Aristæus, this translation was supposedly made at the request of the King of Egypt Ptolemy-Philadephus by seventy-two Israelite doctors, whence its name “ septuagint,” which should really designate only the Pentateuch. It fact, it was extended to the whole of the Greek Bible existing at the time of Christ and used by the early Christian Church, quoted by the Apostles and by the Fathers of the Church until the fifth century of our era.

  • T
  • Ṭabarī (Abū Jaʿfar Muḥammad ibn Jarīr al-) ◊ Influential Persian, scholar, compiler, and exegete of the Qurʾān (839-923). Ṭabarī was born in Amol, Tabaristan (modern Mazandaran, Province of Iran, some 20 km south of the Caspian Sea). He spent most of his life in Baghdad and composed all his works in Arabic. He was a professor of law and Ḥadīṯ. He is best known for his knowledge of Qurʾānic exegesis and Islamic jurisprudence He authored enormous compendiums. His major works were the Qurʾān Commentary (Tafsir al-Tabari) and the History of Prophets and Kings (Taʾrīkh al-Rusūl wa al-Mulūk).

  • TannaitesName given to the founding masters of the rabbinical tradition, authors of the Mishna.

  • Théry (Gabriel Father (Hanna Zakarias) ◊ French Dominican, historian, theologian et author, and professor (1891-1959). He must be considered the founder of “the scientific exegesis” of the Qurʾān. Doctor of Theology, professor at Saulchoir and at the Institut catholique de Paris, he was also consultor for the Vatican Historic Section of The Congregation of Rites. He was a reputed medievalist in the scientific research community. In 1926, he co-founded with Étienne Gilson the Archives d’Histoire Doctrinale et Littéraire du Moyen Âge (ahdlma). In 1955, he self-published under the pseudonym Hanna Zakarias the first two volumes of his work, De Moïse à Muḥammad. A third volume was published posthumously in 1963. His forth volume remains unpublished. It was Father Théry's brilliant contribution to have understood that it was necessary to begin by comparing the Qurʾān to the Bible. He succeeded in solving the very difficult question of the literary genres of the sūrahs of the Qurʾān. He distinguished three series of texts: a Prayer of Praise, Sūrah I; a dogmatic book of which only fragments remain, which he called the Corab; finally a history book, a true chronicle, which he called the Book of the Acts of Islam.” His monumental work became known to a great extent through the reviews that Father de Nantes wrote on it to stimulate a debate. He wrote: “Hanna Zakarias had the freedom of mind to read the Qurʾān as a document of the past and to seek to explain it by the simplest laws of the historical method.” The inspired intuition that occurred to Father Théry was that the author of the Qurʾān used the Hebrew language to give a religious vocabulary to the Arabs.

  • TorahThe Old Testament begins with a collection of five books, which the Greeks named the Pentateuch. The Jews give the name of Torah, “Law” to this collection, which they have divided into fifty-four liturgical portions

  • U
  • UthmānIn Arabic, Uthmān ibn affān. Father Henri Lammens’ studies led him to conclude that the “Prophet Muḥammad,” is a character, a creation ex nihilo of Arabic literature that appeared 140 years after the presumed death of the hypothetical character. The same must be concluded therefore for the Caliph Uthmān who is purported to have compiled the texts of the Qurʾān as we know it today.

  • Uthmān Qurʾān ◊ The Uthmān Qurʾān is the name given to the final compilation of the texts that form the Qurʾān as we know it today, which is the object of Brother Bruno’s translation and systematic analysis.

Aggadah (pl. aggadot), halakhah (pl. halakoth), and midrash (pl. midrashim) are rabbinic narrative and interpretive literary technics. Aggadah refers primarily to legends, most of which have their origin in rabbinic commentaries on the biblical text, or in the lives of the sages and heroes of Jewish history. They are exegetical or homiletical in nature. Halakhah, on the other hand, refers to the branch of rabbinic literature that deals with interpreting the religious obligations of Jews to God and neighbour.
Often these two literary technics are used together, successively. A halakhah is, in fact, the practical, moral, ritual or legal application of the preceding aggadah. Such is the case in the Qurʾān. Each of the sūrahs that Brother Bruno has studied, begins with an aggadic narrative in which the author proposes episodes from sacred history as figures of events that he himself is accomplishing or that he foresees. To do this, he reshapes the biblical text to reflect contemporary events in a suggestive way. The second part of these sūrahs is a halakhic legal interpretation of this aggadah. In constructing his sūrahs in this way, the author of the Qurʾān is perhaps deliberately imitating the epistles of Saint Paul in which a paraenesis follows a dogmatic exposition in a well-balanced construction of two parts of strictly equal importance.
Midrash refers to ancient rabbinic interpretation of scripture. They are termed midrash aggadah if they provide moral instruction by using various literary genres: stories, parables and legends; or midrash halakhah if their purpose is to explain various legal points.

Aigrain (Chanoine René) ◊ Professor and author (1886-1957). He entered the Major Seminary of Poitiers in 1904 and was ordained priest in 1909. He became professor of the History of the Middle Ages at Université catholique d’Angers in 1923, where he taught until 1951. He was appointed Honorary Canon of Poitiers in 1934. From 1922 to 1924, he contributed the article Arabia to the Dictionnaire d’histoire et de géographie ecclésiastiques. It is a complete encyclopaedia on the question of Christian origins in Arabia, supported by a rigorous critical analysis of the positive data known at the time. In it, he rightly concluded that “we can no longer deal with the history of Muḥammad by using, as several of his biographers do, the Sīrah as a basis.” Unfortunately, when it came Islam, he abandoned this fruitful point of view, simply reverting to the use of what is considered to be traditional data, immediately adding to the above remark: “This does not mean that we must retain nothing from it [the Sīrah], which would make it absolutely impossible for us to know the life of the Prophet.” This means that even outside the Sīrah there is not one single positive fact that attests to Muḥammad’s historical existence.

AlidsThose who claim descent from the caliph Ali and Fatima, respectively the purported son-in-law and daughter of the hypothetical Muḥammad.

Amram Gaon ◊ Head of the Talmud Academy († 875). He was a famous Gaon or head of the Jewish Talmud Academy of Sura during the 9th century. His chief work was liturgical. He was the first to arrange a complete liturgy for use in the synagogue. His Prayer Book, Siddur Rab Amram, has exerted great influence upon Jewish religious practise and ceremonial for more than a thousand years, an influence which to some extent is still felt at the present day.

AramaicA Semitic language known since the 9th century b.c. as the speech of the Aramaeans and later used extensively in southwest Asia as a commercial and governmental language and adopted as their customary speech by various non-Aramaean peoples including the Jews after the Babylonian exile.

Arnaldez (Roger) ◊ Professor of Philosophy, author and orientalist (1911-2006). He authored some thirty works on Islam, medieval philosophy and the thought of Averroes. He began Islamic studies after earning his university degrees as professor of Philosophy. Although profoundly Christian, Arnaldez was a man of dialogue. All his life, he worked in the service of what he called “the spiritual values of a religious humanism.” He was partisan since the 1930s of an ecumenical approach and openness to other religions. He served as consultant to the section for Islam of the Vatican Secretariat for Non-Christians. He was also an active member of the Jewish-Christian Friendship Association of France. Professor at the University of Lyon from 1956 to 1968, then at the University of Paris-Sorbonne until 1978, he was elected in 1986 to the French Academy of Moral and Political Sciences. His international reputation earned him an associate membership in the Royal Academy of Belgium, and a corresponding membership in the Academy of Arabic Language in Cairo. In 1980, Roger Arnaldez, publishing a book under the somewhat enigmatic title of Jesus, Son of Mary, Prophet of Islam, opened a new avenue of research. It was not the hackneyed comparison of the Qurʾānic Jesus with New Testament sources, but the meticulous exploration of the commentaries of the Qurʾān in order to bring out the completely Muslim figure of Christ that they reveal.

Ashkenazi (Shmuel)Israeli philologist and author (1922-....). Born Samuel Deutsch, this Israeli philologist was an author of collections and dictionaries of proverbs and abbreviations. He was co-author of Ozar rashe tevot, a thesaurus of Hebrew abbreviations.

Ben Abd-el-Jalil (Jean Mohammed) Moroccan Catholic priest (1904-1979). Ben Abd-el-Jalil was born into a family of Muslim notables from Fez on April 17, 1904, Mohammed Ben Abd-el-Jalil received a bilingual and Muslim education. He began by learning the Qurʾān at the University of Al Quaraouiyine in Fez, and then accompanied his father on a pilgrimage to Mecca at the age of 9. Between 1922 and 1925, he attended the Gouraud High School while boarding at the Foucault School, run by Franciscan Fathers in Rabat, the capital of the French Protectorate in Morocco. It was at this time that Mohammed developed an interest in the Catholic religion. He obtained his baccalaureate in 1925.
That same year, he went to Paris for higher studies to obtain a degree in Arabic language and literature. He was also interested in philosophy and theology, frequenting Jacques Maritain, Maurice Blondel, and especially Louis Massignon, who maintained a long friendship and correspondence with him. The celebration of Christmas 1927 was an important step in his conversion, and he asked to be baptised. He was baptised the following year on April 7, in the chapel of the Franciscan College in Fontenay-sous-bois, with the Orientalist Louis Massignon as his godfather. He chose Jean as his Christian name. In 1929, he entered the Franciscan Order, and was ordained a priest in 1935.
In the 1930s, he published anonymously in the magazine En terre d'Islam, an appeal “proposing to the faithful to devote Fridays to pray for our distant brothers." He also founded a “Friday Prayer League for the conversion of Muslims.”
In 1936, he was called as a professor at the Institut Catholique de Paris, where he gave a course in Arabic language and literature, as well as a course in Islamology at the chair of History of Religions. He was forced to resign this post in 1964 due to a cancer. He retired to his convent and led a secluded life. He did, however write a report on the current state of Islam for the bishops of France at the Second Vatican Council. He was received by Pope Paul VI in 1966.

Benediction (The)The title that Brother Bruno has given to the seven verses of the first Sūrah.

BerākhāhThe invocation to the name of God, traditionally called basmala.

Blachère (Régis)French orientalist, Arabist and translator of the Qurʾān (1900-1973). He held the Arab Philosophy Chair at the Sorbonne and was the director of the Institute of Islamic Studies (Institut des études islamiques) in Paris. He published a history of Arabic literature (1952), a study on the problem posed by Muḥammad (1952), a translation of the Qurʾān (1950 and a new version in 1957), and an introduction to the Qurʾān (1959). He also co-authored a grammar of classical Arabic with Gaudefroy-Demombynes. Throughout his analysis, Brother Bruno refers to Régis Blachère’s translation of the Qurʾān, along with Denise Masson’s, for they are the only recent translators who show some concern for critical methods. Blachère and Masson will only serve Brother Bruno occasionally to emphasise the inconsistencies and contradictions of the “accepted meaning.” He does not systematically compare his exegesis with theirs. You will come to understand how totally pointless this would be as you advance in Brother Bruno’s commentary.

Cazelles (Henri) ◊ Sulpician, Doctor of Law and of Theology (1912-2008). He was ordained priest in 1940 and entered the Society of Saint Sulpice in 1944. He began his teaching career at the Sulpician seminary of Issy-les-Moulineaux. There his most famous student, Father Georges de Nantes, said of him: “He was, and still is today, a well of erudition, an ocean.” Besides Greek and Hebrew, Father Cazelles knew the ancient Egyptian, Sumerian, Akkadian, Assyrian and Hittite languages, as well as classical Arabic. In 1954, he was offered the Chair of the Old Testament at the Faculty of Theology of the Institut catholique de Paris. This is where Brother Bruno attended Father Cazelles Biblical Hebrew courses (1956-1965).

Dalman (Gustaf Hermann)German Lutheran theologian, philologist and orientalist (1855-1941). Born Gustaf Armin Marx, he did extensive field work in Palestine before the First World War, collecting inscriptions, poetry, and proverbs. He also collected physical articles illustrating the life of the indigenous farmers and herders of the country. He pioneered the study of biblical and early post-biblical Aramaic, publishing an authoritative grammar (1894) and dictionary (1901), as well as other works. The theologian and translator Franz Delitzsch, who translated the New Testament into Hebrew, entrusted to Dalman the work of revising the Hebrew text.

Daniélou (Jean) ◊ French Jesuit priest, renowned theologian (1905-1974). He was created cardinal by Paul VI in 1970. Son of an anticlerical politician and a foundress of Catholic educational institutions for girls, Jean Daniélou studied literature and philosophy at the Sorbonne. In 1929, he entered the Jesuits and devoted his life to teaching. After studying theology at the Catholic Faculty of Lyon, he was ordained priest in 1938. He founded the collection “Sources chrétiennes” in collaboration with Henri de Lubac. After reading Brother Bruno’s scientific dissertations on the results of his historical research on pre-Islamic Arabia and on the Arab Conquest, he encouraged him to publish them.

de Sola Pool (David)Jewish scholar, author, and civic leader (1885-1970). He was the chief Sephardic rabbi in the United States and a recognised world leader of Judaism. He studied at the University of London. He held a doctorate in ancient languages from the University of Heidelberg. Born in London, de Sola Pool was invited in 1907 to become the rabbi of the oldest Jewish congregation in the United States, located in New York City. His book The Kaddish (1909) remains a definitive and well-regarded work on the origins of the Kaddish prayer.

Demombynes – see Gaudefroy-Demombynes

Gaudefroy-Demombynes (Maurice) ◊ French Arabist, specialist in Islam and the history of religions (1862–1957). He was a professor at the École nationale des langues orientales vivantes (today INALCO). His best known works are his historical and religious studies on the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca and Muslim institutions. He also translated into French in an annotated edition the story of the Arab travel writer and explorer Ibn Jubair (1145–1217). His book written after Arab authors on Syria at the time of the Mamluk is also a seminal work. Gaudefroy-Demombynes clearly realised that two extreme attitudes were possible for European scholars: either to accept the Sīrah, the only documentary material available to them, as it had been put together in the Muslim world through the evolutions of the Tradition and piety or to accept “only those things, the veracity of which could be established, that is to say, almost nothing.” Unfortunately, Gaudefroy-Demombynes adopted the first solution, even if it meant “appearing naïve in the eyes of certain people.” In order to justify his choice, he had to play down the significance of Father Lammens’ criticism of the Sīrah.

Gesenius (Heinrich Friedrich Wilhelm)German Hebrew philologist and orientalist (1786-1842). He pioneered the comparative method in the analysis of Chaldean, Hebrew and Aramaic. As he was steeped in rationalism, he abandoned the religious considerations that had prevailed until then in the study of the Semitic languages. Among other things, he wrote a Hebrew Grammar (Lexicon hebraïcum et chaldaïcum, edit. Leipzig, 1847) and a commented translation of the Book of Isaiah. His Hebrew-German lexicon served as the basis for the Brown-Driver-Briggs dictionary.

Goldziher (Ignác)Jewish Hungarian orientalist (1850-1921). He is considered one of the founders of modern Islamic studies in Europe. Goldziher’s major work is his careful investigation of pre-Islamic and Islamic law, Muhammedanische Studien published in 1890. In it, he showed how the ḥadīṯs reflect the legal and doctrinal controversies of the two centuries after the death of Muḥammad rather than the words of Muḥammad himself. The Jesuit scholar, Father Lammens, based his own works on these “insightful studies of Professor Goldziher” who had thus brought to light “the profoundly tendentious nature of the [Muslim] Tradition.” Goldziler’s diary has been published in German under the title Tagebuch. In it, we find surprising reflections concerning his journey through the Middle East in 1873: “In those weeks, I truly entered into the spirit of Islam to such an extent that ultimately I became inwardly convinced that I myself was a Muslim, and judiciously discovered that this was the only religion which, even in its doctrinal and official formulation, can satisfy philosophic minds. My ideal was to elevate Judaism to a similar rational level. Islam, as my experience taught me, is the only religion, in which superstitious and heathen ingredients are not frowned upon by rationalism, but by orthodox doctrine.” In Cairo, Goldziher even went so far as to pray as a Muslim: “In the midst of the thousands of the pious, I rubbed my forehead against the floor of the mosque. Never in my life was I more devout, more truly devout, than on that exalted Friday.” Despite this, Goldziher remained a devout Jew all his life.

Grosjean (Jean) ◊ French poet, writer and translator (1912-2006). In 1933 he entered the Saint-Sulpice Seminary. After his military service in Lebanon (1936-37,) he was ordained a priest. Mobilised and made prisoner during World War II, his first poetry book was published the year after the war. In 1950, he abandoned the priesthood and married. His translation of the Qurʾān was published in 1979. Brother Bruno considers it a notable regression because he totally disregards the historical and critical method. Brother Bruno is therefore astonished by the approval his translation received from the Islamic Research Institute of Al-Azhar.

Guarded TabletAccording to the Islamic tradition, the Qurʾān was passed on to Muḥammad, such as it is kept in heaven from all eternity, on the Guarded Tablet (Q 85:22), the heavenly architype, revealed by ʾAllāh, in the precise, literal form that has been passed down to the present day.

Ḥadīṯ (ḥadīṯ)The ḥadīṯ (lower-case ḥ) are the narrative records of what are purported to be the sayings or customs of Muḥammad and his companions. The Ḥadīṯ (upper-case Ḥ) is the collective body of the ḥadīṯ. Father Lammens positively demonstrates that the ḥadīṯ are nothing but pure inventions embroidered on the framework of the Qurʾānic text. The Ḥadīṯ elaborates its legends, merely inventing names for the actors depicted therein and spinning out the primitive theme.

Hapax legomenonA word or form occurring only once in a document or corpus.

Henninger (Joseph) ◊ German orientalist and Catholic priest, member of the Steyler missionaries [Divine Word Society (SVD)] (1906-1991). After having completed his theological studies at the Pontificia Universitas Gregoriana in Rome in 1934, he went to Vienna, where he attended lectures on Ethnology, Prehistory and Physical Anthropology. In 1934 Henninger became a member of the Anthropos Institute, and he became the assistant editor of its journal in 1936, a position he held until 1949. When Austria became part of the Third Reich in 1938, the Anthropos Institute and its journal moved to Fribourg, Switzerland. He began lecturing at the University in Fribourg and became professor there in 1954. He became associate professor at the University in Bonn in 1964. Ten years later, Henninger took up a professorship at the Philosophical-Theological Faculty in St. Augustin, where he lectured throughout the following years. The regional focus of his work lay on Arabian countries in Northern and Eastern Africa, while the field of his interest included Semitic cultures as well as theories on sacrifice and research on Islam.

HijrahThe Hijrah, “emigration,” is the purported flight of Muḥammad and his faithful followers from Mecca to Medina in 622. This year is traditionally given as the date of Islam’s birth.

Hirschfeld (Hartwig)Jewish, Prussian-born, British orientalist, bibliographer, and educator (1854-1934). Hirschfeld studied Oriental languages and philosophy and the University of Berlin. He received his doctorate from the University of Strasburg in 1878. He obtained a travelling scholarship in 1882 which enabled him to study Arabic and Hebrew at Paris. Hirschfeld immigrated to England in 1889, where he became professor of Biblical exegesis, Semitic languages, and philosophy at the Montefiore College. In 1901, he was invited to examine the Arabic fragments in the Taylor-Schechter collection. That same year, he was appointed librarian and professor of Semitic languages at Jews’ College, a position he occupied until 1929. At the same time, he became a lecturer in Semitic epigraphy at University College London in 1903, a lecturer in Ethiopic in 1906, and full professor and Goldsmid Lecturer in Hebrew there in 1924. His particular scholarly interest lay in Arabic Jewish literature and in the relationship between Jewish and Arab cultures. He is best known for his editions of Judah Halevi’s Kuzari, which he published in its original Judeo-Arabic and his studies on the Cairo Geniza. Hirschfeld also contributed articles to numerous periodicals.

Hruby (Father Kurt) ◊ (1921-1992) was born in Krems, Austria. His mother, of Jewish origin, converted to Catholicism in order to marry. Kurt was therefore baptised. At the time of the Anschluss in 1938, he escaped the Nazi persecution by leaving with his mother for Palestine. There he was a pioneer of Elijahv’s Qibbûs in the Jordan Valley, where he followed the rabbinical academic cursus or yeshiva. At the age of twenty, however, he decided to enter the seminary. In 1948, he returned to Europe, to Louvain, where he did his theology studies. He was ordained priest on March 18, 1956. Incardinated in the diocese of Liege, he taught at the Institut Catholique de Paris, which he joined in 1961. It was there that Brother Bruno met him. When he entered the Carmelite Seminary in 1956, Brother Bruno had already received from his master Father de Nantes the obedience of undertaking the scientific translation of the Qurʾān. He therefore assiduously attended Father Hruby’s course on rabbinical language and tradition, searching for the sources of the language of the Qurʾān. This is how he began to collect literary and philological contacts capable of explaining not only the ideas present in the Qurʾān, but also the origin of the Qurʾānic language, still absolutely unknown.
From 1964, the development of the Catholic Counter-Reformation movement established by our founder, Father de Nantes, took priority and absorbed all our energy. However, Brother Bruno continued nevertheless to examine the text of the Qurʾān, collecting significant similarities of vocabulary between it and the rabbinical tradition. It was not until 1980 that Father de Nantes decided to proceed with the publication of the translation and systematic commentary of the Qurʾān. It is then that Brother Bruno resumed contact with Father. Hruby. He received him, was lavish with his encouragement, devoting whole days to answering Brother’s questions and providing him with every desirable learned reference. Brother Bruno submitted to him the proofs of the first volume of our translation of the Qurʾān before having it printed. Father Hruby wrote to him: “You know that in the interest of the cause, I would not hide from you any possible reservations, but there are none to make. Quite the contrary: what I have read so far seems to me to be solid, balanced, well presented and sufficiently irenical for no accusations based on assumptions to be made against you. You know, alas, the mentality of most people: they are less interested in the value of things than in where they come from… Still, one must not be too concerned about that; everyone is entitled to wear his “badge” proudly! Of course, I am not an Arabic scholar and therefore have no competence in that field. But it is also true that generations of professional Arabic scholars have failed to advance by so much as an inch in the fundamental question, which is that of the origins of the Qurʾān. And it is high time for this wall of silence to be breached. Not living in the “Land of Islam” and having no interest in gaining a “satisfecit” from the El-Azhar, you are sufficiently independent to be able to say things without pulling punches.” In 1992, Father Hruby wrote to Brother Bruno, “To hear that you are back working on the Qurʾān again is the best news of all. In this field you are doing a work that will last, the importance of which will, I am sure, be fully appreciated one day. The world of Islam is in a state of ferment, and the true nature of its foundation document, constantly referred to here, there and everywhere, is still cloaked in the darkest obscurity.”

Jarden (Dov) ◊ Byelorussian-born Jewish mathematician and linguist (1911-1986). Specialist in Medieval Hebraic literature, he was professor at the University of Haifa, Israel. He was co-author of Ozar rashe tevot, a thesaurus of Hebrew abbreviations.

 

Jastrow (Otto ) ◊ German Professor Ordinarius for Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures (1942-....). He taught at two German universities (Heidelberg and Erlangen-Nürnberg) before taking office at Tallinn University in 2008. Over the decades he has conducted linguistic field work in a number of Middle Eastern countries, i.e., Turkey, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Israel. He speaks Arabic (several dialects), Turkish, Hebrew and Aramaic. He is author of 12 books and up to 100 articles. His main subjects of research are Neo-Aramaic languages and Arabic Dialectology. He holds a Ph.D. in Semitics and Islamology from the Saarbrücken University, and a Habilitation from the Erlangen University.

Jeffery (Arthur) ◊ Australian Methodist minister and renowned scholar of Middle Eastern languages and manuscripts (1892-1959). He taught at the School of Oriental Studies in Cairo (1921-1938), then from 1938 until his death jointly at Columbia University and Union Theological Seminary in New York City. He is the author of extensive historical studies of Middle Eastern manuscripts. His important works include Materials for the history of the text of the Qur’an: the old codices and The Foreign Vocabulary of the Qur’ān (1938), which traces the origins of 318 foreign (non-Arabic) words found in the Qur’ān.

Jomier (Jacques) ◊ French Dominican and orientalist (1914-2008). He graduated from the Dominican Faculty of Saulchoir with a degree in Theology and a doctorate in Literature. In 1932, he entered the Dominican Order, and was ordained priest in 1939. Later on he was sent to the Dominican priory in Cairo. It had been founded in 1928 to be an extension in Egypt of the École Biblique de Jérusalem, devoted to the study of archaeology in Egypt in connection with Biblical studies. Unfortunately, international events blocked the project. In 1953, Father Jomier became one of the three founders of the Dominican Institute of Oriental Studies (IDEO) dedicated to Islamic studies aimed at “making Islam better known and appreciated in its religious and spiritual dimensions.”

Kasimirski (Albert Felix Ignace) ou Biberstein (Albin de) ◊ Polish-born Catholic orientalist (1808-1887). He studied oriental languages at the University of Warsaw and Berlin. He fled to France in 1830 after the Tsar Nicolas I crushed the Polish Insurrection in which he had taken part. He became attaché at the French Mission of Persia and in 1851 entered the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Entrusted with revising the second translation of the Qur’ān into French [that of Claude-Étienne Savary (1783)], he ended up publishing his own translation: Le Koran, traduction nouvelle faite sur le texte arabe, 1840, Paris, Charpentier, 511pp. He also published a Dictionnaire arabe-français, containing all the roots of the Arabic language and their derivatives, Paris, Maisonneuve et Cie, 2 volumes, 1860.

Lammens (Henri) ◊ Prominent Flemish Belgian-born Jesuit and orientalist (1862–1937). Professor at Saint Joseph’s University in Beirut, Lebanon, he was the first to venture applying the rules of the modern historical and critical method to the Qurʾān. Father Lammens based his work on the Professor Ignác Goldziher concerning the historical value of the Tradition. He adopted Goldziher’s viewpoint and pursued the inquiry. Lammens’ conclusions are firm and represent a considerable advance over Goldziher’s. The latter had shown the profoundly “tendentious character” of the Tradition. Father Lammens showed its “apocryphal” nature. He positively demonstrated that the ḥadīṯs are nothing but pure inventions, that the so-called ‘eyewitnesses,’ the authorities of the Ḥadīṯ, are fictitious. Thus, the Sīrah has no historical basis other than the Qurʾān, of which it is nothing more than an imaginary elaboration: “Since the Tradition arises from the affirmations recorded in the Qurʾān,” Father Lammens stated, “it does not provide a verification or complementary information, but an apocryphal elaboration.” He was therefore able to conclude that “the Sīrah remains to be written, just as the historical Muḥammad remains to be discovered.” To do this he advocated rejecting the ‘Tradition’ in its totality, replacing its fanciful exegesis by a scientific exegesis. Although he recommended this, he never carried out this work. When Father Lammens passed away, the Jesuits of Beirut put his works under seal, and since then it has been a law of Islamology to ignore his discoveries.

Ledit (Charles-Jean) ◊ Priest of the Diocese of Troyes, France (1908-....). Ordained in 1931, he served as chaplain of the boys’ high school in Troyes, of the University Parish and of the Saint-Vincent-de-Paul conferences. He received the French Academy’s Teissonnière Award for Mahomet, Israël et le Christ (1957). He was named a Canon of Troyes Cathedral in 1964. From 1960 to 1972, he was an Associate Member of the Academic Society of Aube

Le Déaut (Roger) ◊ French religious of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit, professor and author (1923-2000). After brilliant studies, first in France and then in Rome, in literature, linguistics and Holy Scripture, he was assigned to the French Seminary in Rome where he was professor of liturgy. He devoted himself above all to studying Sacred Scripture. His master’s degree in the field of Aramaic philology and literature soon led him to be appointed professor at the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome (1964 to 1994) where he was professor of Aramaic and Targumic language and literature. Father Le Déaut specialised in the study of ancient Judaism. His major works are his doctoral thesis, “La nuit pascale,” [essay on the meaning of the Jewish Passover from the Targum of Exodus XII] (1963), the translation of the Targum of the Chronicles (1971) and, in the collection “Sources chrétiennes,” the translation, in 4 volumes, of the entire “Targum of the Pentateuch,” (1978-81) He also made numerous contributions to several scholarly journals.

Loth (Otto ◊ German philologist, Arabist and orientalist (1844-1881). As the son of the councillor of the Royal Court of Saxony, he attended the princely school of Saint-Affre in Meissen. From 1863 to 1866, he studied Oriental philology at the University of Leipzig. In 1866, he presented his doctoral thesis: “On Abdallah ibn el Mutazz’s life and works.” From 1870 to 1872 Loth studied Arabic manuscripts in England, then in Tabari, Constantinople and Egypt. Upon his returning to Saxony, he was appointed professor at the University of Leibzig. In the years 1874-1880, Loth was in charge of the editorial staff of the magazine “Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft” (German Oriental Society). In 1881, Loth suggested to Theodor Nöldeke that the mysterious letters might have a distinct connection with the Jewish Kabbalah.

Marmorstein (Arthur ) ◊ Hungarian-born rabbi, scholar, and teacher (1882–1946). Marmorstein descended from a long line of Hungarian rabbis known not only for their Talmudic learning but also for their familiarity with secular literature. He studied at the yeshivah of Pressburg and the rabbinic seminaries of Budapest and Berlin. After visiting libraries for some time in England, Italy, and France, transcribing manuscripts, Marmorstein served for six years as rabbi at Jamnitz (Jemnice), Czechoslovakia. From 1912 until his death he taught at Jews’ College, London. Marmorstein’s scholarship embraced many subjects. His initial training at the universities was in Semitics, with special emphasis on Assyriology. He was particularly fascinated by the aggadic sections of the Talmud and by liturgy. Though Marmorstein contributed to many areas of Jewish scholarship, he is noteworthy for his studies in rabbinic theology, the subject of his two important volumes Doctrine of Merits in Old Rabbinic Literature (1920) and Old Rabbinic Doctrine of God [The Names and attributes of God] (1927); both were reprinted in one volume with an introduction by R.J. Zwi Werblowsky (1968). Other important essays on rabbinic theology by Marmorstein were collected and published under the title Studies in Jewish Theology (1950). Marmorstein’s work is characterized by painstaking detail in the collection of sources, which are important for the study of rabbinic religion.

Masoretic text (MT) ◊ The Hebrew text of the Bible, fixed by the rabbis of Yabne (end of 1st century a.d.), vocalised by the rabbis of Iraq and of Palestine called “ Masoretes ” (men of the tradition), in the 6th century a.d.

Massignon (Louis) ◊ French orientalist and Islamologue (1883-1962). He was a professor at the Collège de France (a higher education and research establishment), and at the École des hautes études. His father was a rationalist, his mother a practicing Christian. He progressively became an atheist. He was led to studying Morocco and wrote to Father Charles de Foucauld on this subject. He corresponded with him until Father de Foucauld’s martyrdom in 1916. Massignon later distorted the figure of this saint by detaching him from his nationalist context and depicting him as a pure mystic. He is known for his studies of Islamic mysticism and is considered a promoter of interfaith dialogue between Islam and the Catholic Church.

Masson (Denise) ◊ French Islamic scholar and translator of the Qurʾān (1901-1994). She was nicknamed the Lady of Marrakech because she resided in this Moroccan city. Her translation of the Qurʾān was published in the Bibliothèque de la Pléiade, 1967. It includes an introduction on the prophet Muḥammad and on the text Qurʾānic itself. Unfortunately her translation is entirely based on the Sīrah. Throughout his analysis, Brother Bruno refers to Denise Masson’s translation of the Qurʾān, along with Régis Blachère’s, for they are the only recent translators who show some concern for critical methods. Masson and Blachère will only serve Brother Bruno occasionally to emphasise the inconsistencies and contradictions of the “accepted meaning.” He does not systematically compare his exegesis with theirs. You will come to understand how totally pointless this would be as you advance in Brother Bruno’s commentary.

Montet (Édouard ) ◊ An orientalist and Doctor of Theology, and Professor of Eastern Languages (1856-1934). He was Rector of the Faculty of Theology at the University of Genève. He made a very literal translation of the Qurʾān “placing the sūrahs in their context. Régis Blachère recognised that he owed Montet a debt of gratitude.

Moubarac (Father Youakim) ◊ Lebanese Maronite priest, thinker and renowned theologian (1924-1995). After studies at the Inter-rite seminary of Ghazir, and at Saint Joseph’s Seminary in Beirut, the young Youakim was sent to France by his superiors in 1945. At the end of his studies at the Saint-Sulpice Seminary of Paris, he was ordained priest of the Maronite rite in 1947. The Maronite Patriarchate authorised him to continue his studies at the Institut catholique de Paris. In 1959, he began his academic career by teaching classical Arabic at the Institut catholique. This is where Brother Bruno attended his courses.

MuḥammadThe “Prophet Muḥammad,” is a character, a creation ex nihilo of Arabic literature. This creation appeared 140 years after the presumed death of the hypothetical character. This scientific truth established in the early 20th century by Father Lammens, forgotten since then, was never refuted because it is irrefutable. The traditional biography of Muḥammad, the Sīrah, is itself nothing more than a collection of ḥadīṯ. Father Lammens positively demonstrated that these are pure inventions embroidered on the framework of the Qurʾānic text. Chanoine René Aigrain concluded: “In these conditions, we can no longer deal with the history of Muḥammad by using, as several of his biographers do, the Sīrah as a basis.” Even outside the Sīrah there is not one single positive fact that attests to at least Muḥammad’s historical existence.

Nöldeke (Theodor ) ◊ German orientalist (1836-1930). He studied in Göttingen, Vienna, Leiden and Berlin. Along with Ignaz Goldziher, he is considered the founder of modern Islamic studies in Europe. In 1859 his history of the Qurʾān won for him the prize of the French Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres, and in the following year he rewrote it in German (Geschichte des Qorâns). Nöldeke admitted: “In the end, I renounce exploring the mystery of the historical personality of Muḥammad.” Nöldeke is best known for his reordering of the 114 Sūrahs of the Qurʾān to match what he considered to be their true historical occurrence. Nöldeke based this work on the sequence of revelation with the development of content and the origination of new linguistic styles. The Nöldeke Chronology divides the Sūrahs of the Qurʾān are into four groupings: the First Meccan Period, the Second Meccan Period, the Third Meccan Period, the Medinese Period. Nöldeke considered this arrangement to be more coherent and comprehensive. Despite this attempt made by Noldëke, and later on by Schwally, Blachère, etc., Brother Bruno believes that there is no reason to give the “Sūrahs” an order different from the one found in the accepted “vulgate.”

obscurityThe author of the Qurʾān speaks of “those who have faith in the obscurity” (first occurrence: Q 2:3). The term designates “the obscurity” of the cloud in which Yahweh came to Moses on Mount Sinai. The author, however, does not mention the cloud. He uses the term “obscurity” to signifying the divine mystery that is the object of the faith of those who neither saw nor heard the thunder and lightning of Mount Sinai.

Opening (The)This title was given to the seven verses of the first Sūrah by the commentators. They hesitated, inventing up to twenty-five different titles, and finally choosing the most insignificant one!

Ozar rashe tevot ◊ A thesaurus of Hebrew abbreviations co-authored by Shmuel Ashkenazi and Dov Jarden, Jerusalem: Rubin Mass, 1966 1 vol.

Paraenesis ◊ An exhortatory composition giving advice, counsel.

Paraenetical style ◊ An exhortatory style intended to incite and encourage, often used in wisdom writings.

QuraishThe Quraish are an Arab people. According to Muslim tradition, the hypothetical Muḥammad, was a member of this group. From the 5th century, it was distinguished by a religious preeminence associated with its hereditary provision of the pre-Islamic custodians of the Kaaba at Mecca. Adjective: Quraishite.

Ronsard (Pierre de) ◊ French poet (1524-1585). He is a major figure in the poetic literature of the Renaissance. Over a period of more than thirty years, he authored a vast body of work, focusing as much on official as on lyrical poetry. Imitating ancient authors, Ronsard first used the forms of the ode and the hymn, considered major forms, but he increasingly favoured the sonnet. Ronsard contributed to the broad expansion of the field of poetry, giving it a richer language through the creation of neologisms and the introduction of popular language into literary French, and establishing rules of versification that have endured for several centuries.

Ryckmans (Gonzague) ◊ Belgian priest, Arabist and professor (1887-1969). He taught at the Catholic University of Leuven, where he had begun his studies in philosophy and from which he obtained his first doctorate in 1908. From 1908 to 1911, he continued his studies in theology and pastoral ministry at the Major Seminary at Mechlin. From there, he was sent to the École biblique de Jérusalem in 1911, in order to specialise in the field of biblical exegesis, history of the Ancient East and Oriental Languages. Upon return to Belgium in July 1914, he participated in the trench warfare as stretcher-bearer and chaplain. He was gassed while administering the Sacrament of Extreme Unction to wounded soldiers. In 1919, after the war, he obtained his doctorate in Semitic languages. The publication of his thesis put him in contact with Father J.B. Chabot who convinced him to spend a year in Paris where he met all the great French orientalists and became familiar with the Corpus Inscriptionum Semiticarum. From 1920 to 1930, he was professor of exegesis at the Major Seminary of Mechlin. In 1930, he obtained a professoriate at the Catholic University of Leuven and was entrusted with the courses of Hebrew, Aramaic, Akkadian, and comparative grammar of Semitic languages. In 1936, he became secretary of the newly founded Orientalist Institute, while acting as secretariat for the review Le Muséon. His scientific activity led him essentially in three directions: the publication of epigraphical texts, the creation of work instruments and the drafting of various synthesis, both philological and historical.

Schwally (Friedrich Zacharias) ◊ German orientalist (1863-1919). He was a student of Theodor Nöldeke. This encounter with Nöldeke would later have great significance for Schwally’s career as an orientalist. Schwally is best known for his Second Edition of Nöldeke’s History of the Qurʾān. When the aged Theodor Nöldeke was approached by his publisher in 1898 to do a new enlarged second edition of his history of the Qurʾān (Geschichte des Qorâns), he entrusted Schwally with this task and gave him full responsibility for the resulting text as being Schwally’s own. Volume One was published in 1909. The two remaining volumes were published after Schwally’s premature death in February 1919. Many orientalists consider this as the definitive text in the field. Schwally adopted Nöldeke’s Chronology that reorganises the order of the sūrahs of the Qurʾān are into four groupings. Brother Bruno believes that there is no reason to give the sūrahs an order different from the one found in the accepted “vulgate.”

Septuagint (LXX) ◊ The Greek translation of the Pentateuch, established from the 3rd century a.d. by the Jews of Alexandria working on Hebrew manuscripts that have since disappeared. According to a legend written in a letter by the Pseudo-Aristæus, this translation was supposedly made at the request of the King of Egypt Ptolemy-Philadephus by seventy-two Israelite doctors, whence its name “ septuagint,” which should really designate only the Pentateuch. It fact, it was extended to the whole of the Greek Bible existing at the time of Christ and used by the early Christian Church, quoted by the Apostles and by the Fathers of the Church until the fifth century of our era.

Ṭabarī (Abū Jaʿfar Muḥammad ibn Jarīr al-) ◊ Influential Persian, scholar, compiler, and exegete of the Qurʾān (839-923). Ṭabarī was born in Amol, Tabaristan (modern Mazandaran, Province of Iran, some 20 km south of the Caspian Sea). He spent most of his life in Baghdad and composed all his works in Arabic. He was a professor of law and Ḥadīṯ. He is best known for his knowledge of Qurʾānic exegesis and Islamic jurisprudence He authored enormous compendiums. His major works were the Qurʾān Commentary (Tafsir al-Tabari) and the History of Prophets and Kings (Taʾrīkh al-Rusūl wa al-Mulūk).

TannaitesName given to the founding masters of the rabbinical tradition, authors of the Mishna.

Théry (Gabriel Father (Hanna Zakarias) ◊ French Dominican, historian, theologian et author, and professor (1891-1959). He must be considered the founder of “the scientific exegesis” of the Qurʾān. Doctor of Theology, professor at Saulchoir and at the Institut catholique de Paris, he was also consultor for the Vatican Historic Section of The Congregation of Rites. He was a reputed medievalist in the scientific research community. In 1926, he co-founded with Étienne Gilson the Archives d’Histoire Doctrinale et Littéraire du Moyen Âge (ahdlma). In 1955, he self-published under the pseudonym Hanna Zakarias the first two volumes of his work, De Moïse à Muḥammad. A third volume was published posthumously in 1963. His forth volume remains unpublished. It was Father Théry's brilliant contribution to have understood that it was necessary to begin by comparing the Qurʾān to the Bible. He succeeded in solving the very difficult question of the literary genres of the sūrahs of the Qurʾān. He distinguished three series of texts: a Prayer of Praise, Sūrah I; a dogmatic book of which only fragments remain, which he called the Corab; finally a history book, a true chronicle, which he called the Book of the Acts of Islam.” His monumental work became known to a great extent through the reviews that Father de Nantes wrote on it to stimulate a debate. He wrote: “Hanna Zakarias had the freedom of mind to read the Qurʾān as a document of the past and to seek to explain it by the simplest laws of the historical method.” The inspired intuition that occurred to Father Théry was that the author of the Qurʾān used the Hebrew language to give a religious vocabulary to the Arabs.

TorahThe Old Testament begins with a collection of five books, which the Greeks named the Pentateuch. The Jews give the name of Torah, “Law” to this collection, which they have divided into fifty-four liturgical portions

UthmānIn Arabic, Uthmān ibn affān. Father Henri Lammens’ studies led him to conclude that the “Prophet Muḥammad,” is a character, a creation ex nihilo of Arabic literature that appeared 140 years after the presumed death of the hypothetical character. The same must be concluded therefore for the Caliph Uthmān who is purported to have compiled the texts of the Qurʾān as we know it today.

Uthmān Qurʾān ◊ The Uthmān Qurʾān is the name given to the final compilation of the texts that form the Qurʾān as we know it today, which is the object of Brother Bruno’s translation and systematic analysis.