Abstract and Keywords
This chapter advocates a critical stance towards both normative Christianity and normative Islamic tradition but highlights the inadequacies of revisionist histories of early Islam. It suggests that the fātiḥa was intended to replace the Lord’s Prayer and that sura 112 was a response to the Christology of the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed. It finds a precedent for the 114 suras of the Qur’an in the 114 logia of the Gospel of Thomas. It argues that Q. 7:157 was revealed in Medina but concedes that Q. 61:6b may be a later editorial addition. However, it stresses that regardless of whether these two passages are authentic the biblical teaching about the prophet like Moses and the Paraclete is the key to understanding the dynamics of the Qur’anic discourse. It maintains that the Qur’an is not concerned with the death of Jesus as such. Rather Q. 4:156–7 rebuts Jewish anti-Christian polemic and Q. 3:55 serves to strengthen the believers in the face of death and defeat. Q. 5:112–5 differs from the biblical accounts of the last supper because the crucifixion is not viewed as an act of atonement. The three elements in Jesus’ name, al-Masīḥ ʿĪsā Ibn Maryam, are examined in the light of the Qur’anic chronology, philology, and the New Testament. The background to the designation of Christians as naṣārā is explored with reference to the New Testament and other pre-Islamic sources.
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