Qur’ans of the Umayyads

A First Overview


For the first time, the dramatic changes the Qur’anic code underwent during the Umayyad period (660-750 C.E.) are analysed and presented on the basis of a selection of material in good part unpublished. In Qur’ans of the Umayyads, François Déroche offers a chronology of the various developments which marked the period, in an approach combining philology, art history, codicology and palaeography. The conclusions he reaches challenge the traditional account about the writing down of the Qur’an and throw a new light on the role of the Umayyads in its handwritten diffusion. Winner of 23rd I.R. Iran World Award for the Book of the Year 2016!
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Biographical Note

François Déroche, Ph.D. in History (1987, Sorbonne) is Professor of History and codicology of the Arabic handwritten book at Ecole pratique des hautes études in Paris. He has published Islamic Codicology (2005), La transmission écrite du Coran dans les débuts de l'islam (2009) and many contributions on early Qurʾanic manuscripts.

Review Quote

Winner of the 23rd I.R. Iran World Award for the Book of the Year 2016. "François Déroches Studie über die Korane der Umaijadenzeit gibt einen hervorragenden Überblick über den Forschungsstand und weist neue Richtungen". Rüdiger Lohlker Wiener Zeitschrift für die Kunde des Morgenlandes, vol. 106/2016 "Déroche’s strength is to build the large historical picture of Umayyad scribal culture after carefully extracting the information from the myriad details contained in the manuscripts. His comments based on careful observation of what is preserved in some of Islam’s earliest artefacts are always worth considering. It is as prudent to note what he says as what he perhaps wisely leaves unsaid, or says tentatively. Déroche’s Qurʾans of the Umayyads is no exception to his books and articles being required reading in the field." – Keith Small, in: Journal of the American Oriental Society 136.4 (2016) " Qur’ans of the Umayyads. A First Overview presents evidence that further enables the reconstruction of the history of the Qur’ān; an endeavour that François Déroche has engaged in for a number of years. […] The book offers some new results about old Qur’ān manuscripts, and helpfully provides new material and new images of Qur’ān manuscripts dated to the Umayyad period." – Asma Hilali, in: BCAI 29 (2013) "François Déroche is the world’s leading scholar on matters related to Qur’an manuscripts. […] This book is a masterful survey of the written Qur’an’s emergence. The inclusion of forty-five pictures of manuscripts is especially welcome, for they truly bring the material to life. […] For those concerned with the Qur’an in manuscript form, [...] this work is essential and definitely worth the effort." – Andrew Rippin, in: The American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences 32/4 (2015)

Table of contents

Abbreviations Preface Introduction Chapter 1 Transcribing the Qur’ân in Early Umayyad times: The Codex Parisino-petropolitanus Chapter 2 The Written Transmission of the Qur’ân in Ḥijāzī Script A General Appraisal Chapter 3 The Transformation of the Muṣḥaf Chapter 4 Imperial ‘Scriptoria’? Conclusion Bibliography Index of Manuscripts Figures