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In December 2015 François Déroche of the Collège de France confirmed the identification of the two Birmingham leaves with those of the Paris Qur'an Bn F Arabe 328(c), as had been proposed by Alba Fedeli. Deroche, however, expressed reservations about the reliability of the radiocarbon dates proposed for the Birmingham leaves, noting instances elsewhere in which radiocarbon dating had proved inaccurate in testing Qur'ans with an explicit endowment date, and also that none of the counterpart Paris leaves had yet been carbon-dated.
Mustafa Shah, Senior Lecturer in Islamic Studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies, has suggested that the grammatical marks and verse separators in the Birmingham leaves are inconsistent with the proposed early radiocarbon dates.
Otherwise, the aspect in which the Birmingham Quran differs most substantially from the standard text is in its verse divisions; of the four surahs partially witnessed in these leaves, three have a verse division omitted in at least one place.
Alba Fedeli, who was studying items in the Mingana Collection of Middle Eastern Manuscripts for her Ph D thesis Early Qur'ānic manuscripts, their text, and the Alphonse Mingana papers held in the Department of Special Collections of the University of Birmingham, Following an approach by the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy in 2013 to contribute a sample from Islamic Arabic 1572 to the Corpus Coranicum project to investigate textual history of the Quran, which coincided with Fedeli's research into the handwriting, the Cadbury Research Library arranged for the manuscript to be radiocarbon dated at the University of Oxford's Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit.
There are no diacritical marks to indicate short vowels, but consonants are occasionally differentiated with oblique dashes.
The text is laid out in the format that was to become standard for complete Quran manuscripts, with chapter divisions indicated by a decorated line, and verse endings by intertextual clustered dots.
It should be noted, however, that the dating was only conducted on the parchment, rather than the ink, so it is possible that the Koran was simply written on old paper.
Professor Lumbard notes that the discovery of a Quranic text that may be confirmed by radiocarbon dating as having been written in the first decades of the Islamic era, while presenting a text substantially in conformity with that traditionally accepted, reinforces a growing academic consensus that many Western sceptical and 'revisionist' theories of Quranic origins are now untenable in the light of empirical findings – whereas, on the other hand, counterpart accounts of Quranic origins within classical Islamic traditions stand up well in the light of ongoing scientific discoveries.
Historians say this new information highlights the uncertainty surrounding the emergence of such religious texts, rather than being a major upheaval.