The Koran on ‘Christian’ paper

Paper was used in the Islamic world long before it appeared in the Christian West. But when Renaissance Europe mastered its manufacture, writes Matt Salusbury, it presented Muslim scholars with some theological conundrums.

The Muslim world adopted paper centuries before Christian Europe. Knowledge of its production spread from Moorish Andalusia across Europe in the 13th century. But, as cheaper western technology took the Mediterranean paper industry away from the traditional Muslim centres and 'Christian' paper with potential 'impurities' started circulating in the Muslim world, an Islamic scholar came up with an unexpected ruling on whether the faithful could accept the use of such material. Extensive research on the topic has been carried out by Leor Halevi, Associate Professor in the History of Islam at Vanderbilt University, Tennessee, who published his latest findings in the journal Speculum.

To continue reading this article you will need to purchase access to the online archive.

Buy Online Access  Buy Print & Archive Subscription

If you have already purchased access, or are a print & archive subscriber, please ensure you are logged in.

Please email if you have any problems.