Some scholars of ancient semitic languages have been stealing the thunder from the more militant Imams. Here's a juicy excerpt from a Yahoo! News article discussing a radically revisionist assertion in a new book, The Syro-Aramaic Reading of the Koran, written under the pseudonym Christoph Luxenberg:
"[...]So, for example, the virgins who are supposedly awaiting good Islamic martyrs as their reward in paradise are in reality 'white raisins' of crystal clarity rather than fair maidens.[...]the famous passage about the virgins is based on the word hur, which is an adjective in the feminine plural meaning simply 'white.' Islamic tradition insists the term hur stands for 'houri,' which means virgin, but Mr. Luxenberg insists that this is a forced misreading of the text. In both ancient Aramaic and in at least one respected dictionary of early Arabic, hur means 'white raisin.'[...]Mr. Luxenberg has traced the passages dealing with paradise to a Christian text called Hymns of Paradise by a fourth-century author. Mr. Luxenberg said the word paradise was derived from the Aramaic word for garden and all the descriptions of paradise described it as a garden of flowing waters, abundant fruits and white raisins, a prized delicacy in the ancient Near East. In this context, white raisins, mentioned often as hur, Mr. Luxenberg said, makes more sense than a reward of sexual favors."
See also this article on, what else... Infidels.org.