Chapter 2 is entitled "What is this Book anyway, and What's in It?" Spencer does a good job of giving an overview of its contents and a history of its transmission.
The word Koran means "recitation" in Arabic - a title that refers to Muhammad's reciting of the eternal divine words that were delivered to him by the angel Gabriel beginning in 610 AD. The first divine command that Gabriel delivered to Muhammad was to "recite" (sura 96).This is why there is an emphasis on the oral recitation of the Koran. Many Muslim males in fact have large portions, if not the whole of the Koran memorized. It is too bad that Muslims show more zeal for their false religion than Christians do for the true one by committing the words of their holy book to memory.
Many are under the impression that in time the violent nature of Islam can be reformed. This is a mistake, however, because the words of the Koran are believed to come directly from Allah.
There is only one speaker throughout: Allah himself (although there are few exceptions that bedevil Koranic commentators to this day). Because it is without doubt, and because it is entirely Allah's word, without any human element whatsoever, and because he guarantees its preservation, it cannot be questioned. Historically this has made the words of the Koran - on wife-beating, the treatment of non-Muslims, and much more - a virtually insurmountable obstacle to refrom within Islam. Reformers are immediately branded as heretics or apostates, and are frequently subject to persecution from authorities anxious to safeguard Islamic orthodoxy.