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David Marjanović

Are you sure that the same scribe would reliably write the same word the same way every time, especially an unfamiliar word?


That's an excellent question. I had not really considered that option.

My feeling is that that would not be the most obvious solution, but seems difficult to completely exclude as a possibility.

One argument I think one could make is that, in the order that the Surahs are now (which I think is fair to assume is the order in which the Archetypal Quran was written down), you find throughout the text: al-Aykah, Laykah, Laykah, al-Aykah.

Assuming the scribe wrote the manuscript in this order, one can imagine them first writing it as al-Aykah, and then making up their mind and switching to Laykah. But then switching back to al-Aykah again for its final attestation would then be a little unusual.

Incidentally, I hadn't thought of this analogy yet: This mistake is essentially equivalent to what we find in some German/Dutch/English misparsings of the indefinite article like:

Dutch: een adder < *een nadder
Belgian Dutch: een nonkel < *een onkel

One interpretation takes the definite article as the start of the next word, the other interpretation takes it as the definite article, and assume the word starts with a vowel.

It's a little hard to say which of the two was original, although if the intepretation is correct that Laykah comes from Leuke Kome (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leuke_Kome), than the al-aykah interpretation is the reanalysis.


I was thinking of a greek word as well. Your idea of Leuke Komé is interesting.
One question : in what reading traditions do we find the اصحب ليكه <ʔṣḥb lykh> reading ? Otherwise, that "Interpreters take the reading Laykah as a village located in the area of Al-ʔaykah." shows that they felt obliged to say something whereas they know nothing about what they are talking about. To sum up, they have no idea at all what these words means. Their attitudes toward the quranic text is the same as ours : this attitute is to try to comprehend it. Like we do. But, the difference, is that we do not claim that the text comes from one of us, and that we have a very sure tradition which go to the producer of the text.It seems therefore logical that we have the attitude that we have. But them ?

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