Bishop Bishoy: it is time to grow up about textual criticism of the Qur'an
Predictably, all Jahannam has broken loose.
The principal weapon against quranic sholarship is the requirement for all Muslims to be literalists, which relies on claims that the Qur'an is the immutable word of God, as dictated over a period of around 23 years by the Angel Gabriel to an illiterate Arab, Mohammad (and from the Qur'an were spun the tales of the hadith, by several generations of pious but highly-imaginative storytellers).
The gospels and letters of Christianity, and the Pentateuch, psalms and the writings of the prophets of Judaism, have all withstood a century of the scrutiny and analysis of Higher Biblical Criticism - source criticism, form criticism and other deconstructive demythologising (in the literary sense of the term) to determine a text's Sitz im Leben.
Faith has nothing at all to fear from such a process.
Intelligent and discerning quranic scholars, of course, know this. His Grace posted about on matter some three years ago.
But Bishop Bishoy is a Coptic Christian speaking in Egypt, and so his words are deemed to be 'irresponsible' and a 'threat to national unity'.
Bishop Bishoy merely said that certain verses in the Qur'an contradict the Christian faith (isn't that a statement of the theologically obvious?) and that he believed they were added later by one of Mohammed's early successors, Caliph Uthman Ibn Affan (may he not express such a belief?).
The Bishop has since back-peddalled a little (or quite a lot), insisting now that 'there had been a misunderstanding' and that his 'remarks had been taken out of context':
"My question as to whether some verses of the Qur'an were inserted after the death of the prophet is not a criticism or accusation," he said. "It is merely a question about a certain verse that I believe contradicts the Christian faith."
It seems that doing theology is as difficult in Egypt as it is in the UK.