Etan Kohlberg, D.Phil (1971) in Oriental Studies, Oxford University, is Emeritus Professor of Arabic Language and Literature at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He has published extensively on Imami Shi’i history, doctrine and literature including A Medieval Muslim Scholar at Work (Brill, 1992).
Mohammad Ali Amir-Moezzi, D.Phil (1991) in Oriental and Religious Studies, Sorbonne (Paris), is Professor of Classical Islamic Theology at the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, Sorbonne. He has published mainly on Imami Shi’i Islam, including La religion discrète : croyances et pratiques spirituelles en islam shi’ite (Vrin, 2006).
For all Muslims the Qur’an is the word of God. Some Shi’is, however, believed that the generally accepted text of the Qur’an is corrupt. They asserted that redactors had altered or deleted all passages that supported the rights of Ali and his successors or that condemned his enemies. One of the fullest lists of these alleged changes (and of other variant readings) is to be found in the work of al-Sayyari (3rd/9th century), which is indeed among the earliest Shi’i books to have survived. In many cases the alternative readings that al-Sayyari presents substantially contribute to our understanding of early Shi’i doctrine.