Historical Quranic Manuscripts

This page attempts to enlist the known historical manuscripts of Quran.


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circa 650 CE

Codex Parisino-petropolitanus (left: recto of the first folio), possibly the oldest extant Quranic manuscript, dated to the 7th or 8th century. The largest part of the fragmentary manuscript are held at the Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris, as BnF Arabe 328(ab), with 70 folia. Another 46 folia are kept in the National Library of Russia in Saint-Petersburg. Two additional folia have been preserved, one kept in the Vatican Library (Vat. Ar. 1605/1) and the other in the Khalili Collection in London (KFQ 60). Taken together, the extant manuscripts cover about 45% of the text of the Quran.

Rippin 2009, p. 706.

circa 670 CE

Sana'a Manuscript is one of the oldest Quranic manuscripts in existence. It was found, along with many other Quranic and non-Quranic fragments, in Yemen in 1972 during restoration of the Great Mosque of Sana'a. The manuscript is written on parchment, and comprises two layers of text (see palimpsest). The upper text conforms to the standard 'Uthmanic Quran, whereas the lower text contains many variants to the standard text. An edition of the lower text was published in 2012. A radiocarbon analysis has dated the parchment containing the lower text to before 671 CE with a 99% accuracy.

Sadeghi, Behnam; Bergmann, Uwe (2010).

circa 670 CE

Tübingen fragment In November 2014, the University of Tübingen in Germany announced that a partial Kufic[disputed – discuss] manuscript in their possession (Ms M a VI 165), had been carbon dated (with a confidence of 95%), to between 649 and 675 CE. The manuscript consists of the Quranic verses 17:36, to 36:57 (and part of verse 17:35).

"Kufisches Koranfragment". Universität Tübingen.

circa 750 CE

Topkapi Manuscript is an early manuscript of the Quran dated to the late 1st century / early 2nd century Hj. (i.e. early to mid 8th century CE). The Topkapi manuscript is an early manuscript of the Quran dated to the early 8th century. This manuscript is kept in the Topkapi Palace Museum, Istanbul, Turkey. It was wrongly attributed to Uthman Ibn Affan (d. 656), but judging from its illumination, the Topkapi manuscript does not date from the period (mid 7th century) when the copies of the Caliph Uthman were written.

Topkapi Museum Official.

circa 820 CE

The Samarkand Kufic Quran, preserved at Tashkent, is a Kufic manuscript, in Uzbek tradition identified as one of Uthman's manuscripts, but dated to the 8th or 9th century by both paleographic studies and carbon-dating of the parchment. Radio-carbon dating showed a 95.4% probability of a date between 795 and 855 CE.

Manuscripta Orientalia, 2000

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