The investigations of Edouard-Marie Gallez point in the same direction. The theses of this author may be called classical to the extent that they trace Islam from a Jewish-Nazarene sect which, as a branch of the old Jewish Christianity, (“Qumran community”), would have exploded the political-nationalistic Jewish Messianism and carried over the thoughts of election and sovereignty to the Arabs. Here, Islam becomes the ruler ideology of the Umayyads and Abbasids, as the figure of the historical Mohammed disappears in the fog of history, and must simply serve as the surface on which to project later Muslim claims to dominance.
Ideas like this are more likely to encounter in German scholars like Tilman Nagel and Hartmut Bobzin of Erlangen reticence or even hostile rejection — an astonishing phenomenon which LÃ¼ling once formulated sarcastically in connection to someone left nameless: “In spirit, all German Arabist-Islamists wear the turban.” In fact, against the background of some excesses of modern Bible exegesis, the fears of traditional Islam scholars are quite comprehensible. That is, when the figure of Mohammed is drawn through the acid bath of historical criticism, not much is left. In the end, the intended de-mythologization — analogously to the research history of Bible exegesis — becomes the victim of its own dialectic. “The new, critical Islam scholarship,” by trying to emancipate itself from the premises of Muslim Mohammed interpretation — with only hesitant successes — comes to dubious conclusions. The only historically certain answer is paradoxically the elimination of the object of investigation, and in this very point it proves to be the twin sister of the liberal Jesus scholarship, to which it is methodologically indebted. Demythologizing the historic Mohammed is most radically advanced with the SaarbrÃ¼cken theologian and religious scholar, Karl-Heinz Ohlig. But Ohlig, who has worked primarily in the field of Christology, is only superficially concerned with Mohammed and early Islam. His preoccupation with Islam is merely a pretext to investigate in the Orient for testimonies of an anti-trinitarian Christianity, which for Ohlig — it is unknown on the basis of what criteria — is supposed to be the authentic Christianity. Jesus is only a human being, not the Son of God but the servant of God. This is supposed to have been the original Christian as well as the original Islamic kerygma — a thesis which Ohlig borrowed from LÃ¼ling. The SaarbrÃ¼cken religious scholar’s hypotheses-friendly work suffers from the author’s lack of philological competence, for which reason — despite its Enlightenment pathos “” it is discarded as dilettantish by recognized Islam scholars.
It is not possible to see, at the moment, how the impact of historical criticism predicted by Harnack could be cushioned. For the thing most desired by present-day Islam research is not yet fulfilled: the critical edition of the Koran. It should, however, be clear to all Semitists that the Cairo textus receptus now in circulation in no way satisfies critical demands. The project, Corpus Coranicum, located at the department of Semitic and Arabic Studies at the Free University of Berlin, would like to work on two thoroughly untouched areas of Koran research: (1) documentation of the Koran text in its manuscript and oral form and (2) a comprehensive commentary which will interpret the text in the context of its historical text of origin. Since the writing system of early Koran manuscripts is somewhat ambiguous (to some extent because of the lack of vowel signs or diacritical marks to distinguish consonants), the editors recommend a strict separation between manuscript finds on the one hand and orally transmitted versions on the other. According to a statement, the textual documentation should document and compare the two traditions. The intended commentary, so goes the statement, will view the Koran from a diachronic perspective, as a textual corpus which grew over the course of more than 20 years (sic) which demonstrates differences in form and content and in which earlier text would be interpreted and re-interpreted through later references and additions. Beyond that, the editors promise a commentary that uses Jewish-Christian intertexts, whatever they may be. We may be curious, therefore, whether the contributions of Syrian, Coptic and Arabic Christian authors will receive appropriate consideration. The historian, however, must refute the editors’ view that the text of the Koran is a document of late antiquity. With an edition in the eighth or early ninth century, we have reached the Middle Ages. Even a Greek apologist like John of Damascus can only be included in late antiquity with certain restrictions.
Peter Bruns is Professor at the Zentrum fÃ¼r Mittelalterstudien, Otto-Friedrich-UniversitÃ¤t, Bamberg, Germany. This article appeared in German in Forum Katholische Theologie, 26 (2010) 1., pp. 1-23.
 Edouard-Marie GALLEZ, Le messie et son prophÃ¨te. Aux oriogines de l”Islam. Tome I: De QumrÃ¢n Ã¡ Muhammad. Tome II: Du Muhammad des Califes au Muhammad de l”histoire (Paris 2005).
 The scholar of Islam in Erlangen, Hartmut BOBZIN, Mohammed (Munich 2000) 78, explains that “the genuineness of Mohammed’s prophetic experience cannot be doubted.” It is surprising with what determination modern Islam scholars cling to Mohammed’s–completely subjective and historically uncheckable–“conversion experience,” while blanking out in the realm of liberal life-of-Jesus-research every special consciousness of being “Son of Man/Son of God” of the historical Jesus and dismissing it as a post Easter development of the community. “Historians” are believed in a lot, on both sides “¦
 LÃœLING, Urkoran XI. LÃ¼ling believes the consequence of incompetence and indifference in matters of criticism of Christian dogmas is a remarkable lack of criticism toward the dogmas of Islam. But things are different with the Political Correctness of our day. The results of liberal research into the life of Jesus are today defended as dogma by the same scholars who reject the application of such methods to rising Islam. A completely paradoxical situation has arisen. Islam scholars as nominal Christians, Protestant pastors and Jesuits as architects of the inter-religious dialogue, represent the case of orthodox Islam in the liberal public. It is similar in regard to blasphemy. For historically understandable reasons, mockery of Judaism is proscribed; a Mohammed cartoon can have deadly consequences; only Christian symbols remain as easy targets of cabaret performers and caricaturists.
 If the “difference criterion” is exclusively applied to the figure of Jesus (cf. KLAUSNITZER, Jesus und Muhammad, 56-58), then, in a conductio ad absurdum, only one thing can be maintained with historic certainty: that Jesus was not a Jew and had nothing to do with the Church. The latter thesis is the axiomatic proto-dogma of all modernists and seems really to shock only few of them. The former thesis, on the other hand, pulls the ground out from under the feet of the established Jewish-Christian dialogue and disengages Jesus from his contemporary context, cf. KLAUSNITZER, Jesus und Mohammed, 59.
 Cf. Karl-Heinz OHLIG et al. (ed.), Die dunklen AnfÃ¤nge. Neue Forschungen zur Entstehung und frÃ¼hen Geschichte des Islam, (Berlin 2006); English translation: The Hidden Origins of Islam. New Research into its Early History (Amherst 2010); ibid., Der frÃ¼he Islam. Eine historisch-kritische Rekonstruktion anhand zeitgenÃ¶ssischer Quellen (Berlin 2007); and previously, ibid., Weltreligion Islam. Eine EinfÃ¼hrung (Mainz/Luzern 2000).
 Cf. Karl-Heinz OHLIG, Fundamentalchristologie im Spannungsfeld von Christentum und Kultur (Munich 1986).
 Cf. Karl-Heinz OHLIG, Ein Gott in drei Personen? Vom Vater Jesu zum “žMysterium” der TrinitÃ¤t (Mainz 1999).
 LÃ¼ling is a child of the Franconian Enlightenment, which has been feuding with Lutheran orthodoxy for a good three centuries. His resentment-laden preface betrays a certain aversion to theology, which he studied as a young man, then rejected, after reading Martin WERNER, Die Entstehung des christlichen Dogmas (Stuttgart 1959).
 The Corpus Coranicum is presently in a phase of probing and construction. An internet publication of preliminary results is planned for 2009: http://www.bbaw/Forschung/Forschungsprojekte/Coran/
 LÃ¼ling’s and Luxenberg’s investigations are based on this ambiguity, which is distinctly greater than that of the Hebrew Masora. Take, as an example ms. 328 (a) from the BibliothÃ¨que Nationale de France on the cover of Luxenberg’s standard work. The style is a bit reminiscent of Nestorian cursive, but also has consistent similarities with Manichaean manuscripts. Manichaeanism is a book religion par excellence and has left its traces in Islamic manuscript illumination, cf. Thomas ARNOLD, Survivals of Sasanian and Manichaean Art in Persian Painting (Oxford 1924). Note also that the first great center of Arabic calligraphy and scholarship arose in the northeast Arabian KÃ»fa, not far from the Christian cloister city of al-HÃ®ra, destroyed by the invaders. The manuscript tradition from Yemen, from San”Ã¢, an old seat of a Christian bishopric, has not yet been evaluated for the critical edition of the Koran.
 The editors, led by Angelika Neuwirth seem to have difficulty letting go of the notion of a Koran edition under “rightly guided” caliphs. But perhaps one just does not wish to frighten off potential (reform-friendly) third-party donors right at the start. Twenty years is too short a time for the canonization of a sacred text. The two centuries estimated by al-KindÃ® would more likely suit the canon history of the Koran.