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Yesterday afternoon in Sever 11, Professor Toy gave the first of a series of "Readings from the Koran." He spoke first of the history of the book.
He said that the Koran, which today furnishes spiritual food for two hundred million people, is unique in that it is the work of one man. All other religious books of the same character the work of a long period of years and one of many men working under widely different circumstance. On this account the Koran possesses a greater degree of unity than any of the other gospels. The book consists of one hundred and fourteen divisions or suras. These are arranged arbitrarily, in the order of their length. The suras appeared at different times, as occasion demanded. They were not written by the prophet himself, but were taken down by some of his followers. They were not collected during Mohammed's life, but immediately after his death the caliph ordered them to be collected. Twenty years later this first collection was carefully revised, and what has since been the lawful edition was the result.
Mohammed was not an educated man but he was a man of wonderful power and intelligence. He doubtless got many of his ideas from the Jews, but we cannot but feel that he worked under a strong inspiration of his own. His writings are divided into two classes: those which were delivered in Mecca, and those which were delivered in Medina. The suras of the first class are enthusiastic and pathetic; those of the second class are characterized by cooler and better ordered thought.
The readings yesterday were, with one exception, from the first class. The one sura which was read from the second class treated of the resurrection. The readings will be continued next Thursday.
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