In his book Die syro-aramäische Lesart des Koran Christoph Luxenberg states that “Syro-Aramaic,” that is, Syriac, his proposed Ursprache of the Qur’an, is the version of Aramaic used in Edessa and its environs (p. vii), but there is no discussion of how this language might have come to dominate in far away Hijaz to such an extent that it would form the basis of the sacred writings of its inhabitants, as Luxenberg claims. The nature of the Arabic language and script is also not discussed, rather it is simply asserted that “aside from a few pre-Islamic inscriptions of the fourth/sixth centuries CE from north Hijaz and Syria the Qur’an is the first work composed in the Arabic script” (p. 15) and “the Arabic language at the time of the emergence of the Qur’an possessed no standardized literary language, but consisted only of spoken dialects” (p. 52). This article will attempt to give very much needed discussion of these issues, which are crucial to any real exploration of the historical environment into which the Qur’an was born. To keep the article to a manageable length, I will focus on the epigraphic data, which also have the advantage of not being prey to the questions of authenticity that have dogged the literary witnesses to pre-Islamic Arabic (especially pre-Islamic Arabic poetry and tribal narratives).1