Skip to comments.The Christian Origins of Islam
Posted on 12/07/2012 2:32:57 PM PST by NYer
Near the bottom of the pit of hell, Dante encounters a man walking with his torso split from chin to groin, his guts and other organs spilling out. See how I tear myself! the man shrieks. See how Mahomet is deformed and torn! For us, the scene is not only gruesome but surprising, for Dante is not in a circle of false religion but in a circle reserved for those who tear the body of Christ. Like many medieval Christians, Dante views Islam less as a rival religion than as a schismatic form of Christianity.
A handful of Western scholars now think there is considerable historical truth to Dantes view. According to the standard Muslim account, the Quran contains revelations that Allah delivered to Mohammed through the angel Jibril between 609 and 632. They were fixed in written form under the third Caliph in the mid seventh century. Islamic scholar Christoph Luxenberg doubts most of this. In 2000, he published the German edition of The Syro-Aramaic Reading of the Koran, whose restrained title and dispassionate tone belie its explosive arguments-explosive enough for the author to hide behind a pseudonym. The book has been banned in several Islamic countries.
One of Luxenbergs central arguments is that the Quran is an Arabic translation of an original Syriac/Aramaic text. Luxenberg is able to resolve oddities in the Arabic text by treating them as erroneous Arabic translations of an original Syriac text. Words that have no Arabic source turn out to be garbled versions of common Syriac terms. Luxenberg even finds evidence in the Quran itself for treating it as a translation. By his rendering, Sura 44:58 says we have translated [the Koran] into your language so that they may allow themselves to be reminded.
Luxenberg has become notorious for challenging the common translation of huri, usually understood as the hot-bodied virgins with whom faithful Islamic men hope to be rewarded in paradise. According to Luxenberg, they arent wide-eyed virgins, but white grapes, juicy fruits hanging down, ready for picking (Sura 38:52). Its a vision of paradise similar to that of the fourth-century Christian poet, Ephrem the Syrian: He who abstained from the wine here below, for him yearn the grapevines of Paradise. Each of them extends him a drooping cluster.
That reference to Ephrem is not accidental, for Luxenberg argues that the Quran derives from a Syriac Christian lectionary. Again, the evidence is hiding in plain sight. It has become commonplace among scholars of Islam to recognize that the word Quran means lectionarium, but few draw the controversial conclusion: If Koran . . . really means lectionary, then one can assume that the Koran intended itself first of all to be understood as nothing more than a liturgical book with selected texts from the Scriptures (the Old and New Testament) and not at all as a substitute for the Scriptures . . . as an independent Scripture.
The contributors to The Hidden Origins of Islam (2010) push Luxenbergs revisionism further. The books editor, Karl-Heinz Ohlig, reminds readers that most of the biographical information we have about Mohammed doesnt come from the Quran but from texts written fully two centuries after Mohammeds death. Its not until the ninth century that Muslim writers claim that the Quran contains the revelations given to Mohammed. The year 622-which Muslims mark as the year Mohammed and his followers made the Hijira, a fateful journey from Mecca to Medina-was not originally connected with Mohammed at all. Before there is any record of Muslims dating time from the Hijra, Arabic Christians dated the beginning of the Arabic era to 622, when they gained independence from Persias Sassanian empire.
Other early Islamic texts support the notion that Islam emerged not as a new religion but as a novel development within a Syriac Christian milieu. In his contribution to Hidden Origins, Luxenberg applies his method to the inscription on the Dome of the Rock, which seems to contain a straightforward Islamic confession: There is no god but God alone . . . Mohammed the servant of God and messenger. Luxenberg points out that Mohammed, usually understood as a proper name, means exalted be or praised be, and also notes that Syriac Christians, who were skeptical of the Nicene doctrine of Jesus divine sonship, preferred Isaiahs title Servant for Jesus. He contends that the inscription should read: There is no god but God alone . . . Praised be the servant of God and his messenger. This makes better sense of the sequel, which explicitly identifies Messiah Jesus, son of Mary as the messenger of God and his Word. An inscription about Jesus was later reinterpreted as a confession of a different faith entirely.
When the Quran is placed in the context of Syrian Christianity and the debates over Arian, Nestorian, and Monophysite Christology that wracked eastern Christianity in these centuries, its debt to Christianity becomes plausible. The Quran includes passages, for example, that reflect Syrian attacks on Monophysite Christology. Ohlig claims in his concluding essay to Hidden Origins that most of the theological statements in the Quran-for example, the conception of God, Christology, and eschatology-arose from Syrian traditions of Christianity.
These are today minority views, even maverick. If they prove right, they might open the possibility of fresh efforts to disentangle the knotted history of Christian-Muslim relations.
A German scholar of ancient languages takes a new look at the sacred book of Islam. He maintains that it was created by Syro-Aramaic speaking Christians, in order to evangelize the Arabs. And he translates it in a new way
Check it out for purposes of comparison with this article.
It is the uniform tradition among Arabic-speaking Christians that Mohammed started out as an Assyrian missionary, who went rogue, promulgated his own ideas and turned into a warlord.
So then, Mohammed was the first born-again Christian?
Some Koran scholars think that the young boys number 28.
72 + 28 = 100 times a day.
In context it is obvious that they are not “grapes”. The ‘Paradise’ described in the Koran makes the Playboy Mansion look like Mayberry.
No. He was one, along a line of many, who altered christianity into a heresy.
Virgins being a mistranslation of grapes is a pretty old idea.
Hard to say how realistic any of this is, particularly the theory that Mohammed was originally a Christian who turned heretic. Because Mad Mo made up the religion as he went along, anyway, and he drew heavily upon both Jewish and Christian ideas, since that was easier than making it up from scratch. But from the beginning he distorted the Bible story, replacing Isaac with Ishmael, and so forth.
The theory that Jesus was denied Godhood and displaced from central importance might explain the curious fact that Mohammedans seem to give more honor to Mary or Miriam than they do to Jesus.
Very interesting. What about "fresh efforts"... Jewish-Muslim relations?
Fislam and its appeasers.
the 72 virgins sounds great until you start talking about infinity. If the viginity is just a retread from the previous day, isn’t that kind of false advertising. They really aren’t virigins again. They do that kind of scam in every whore house in the world. You can’t get 72 new virgins every day, that would be an infinite number of virgins in the long run and not what is described in the Koran. I would think after screwing the same virgin once a day for several hundred years (way short of infinity) the virigns would start to get rather skanky. Stuck with the same virgin(s) would pretty soon get rather boring. You know 30 years with the same woman time 72 is still going to get quite boring after a while. Maybe at the end of each day (do they have days and nights in paradise?) the martyr is somehow renewed so that he does not remember the prior day and the same old supply of vigins. Seems like false advertising cause you are only getting one day in paradise. What would be the difference if you had one day in paradise and then you were killed and put into oblivion where you remember nothing.
The phrase ‘used hard and put away wet’ easily comes to mind.
Don’t think the 72 virgins comes from the Quran, but rather from the Hadith. Correct me if I am wrong.
Ich glaube du bist ein Wahrsager.
When I studied Islam in college in the late ‘70s, we were already aware that Islam was just a bad mishmash of the stinkiest Christian heresiesn
The war between the Arians and the Catholics ended badly for the Arians.But the Church didn’t burn heretics back then. Rather, they exiled them all to the sands of what is now Saudi Arabia.
As a caravan trader, Mo would see these unrepentant heretics in his travels and strung together the most vile of “religions” from their idiotic, psychotic, and demonic heresies.
The Church’s “mercy” to the heretical filth caused the rise of Satan’s religion.
More revisionist blather from those who refuse to believe that a false religion could appear. Nonsense is always nonsense no matter how many times some ‘scholar’ tries to say other wise
“The practical effect of Americanism is that it blinds Christians to the real evils that America has perpetrated and also obscures the central importance of the church as Gods empire on earth. Americanism encourages Christians to support the American cause no matter what, because the future of the world depends on America. Even when were bombing civilians or sending billions of dollars in military aid to Muslim dictators, Christians still wave the flag and sing Americas praises. And for some Christians, criticism of America is almost tantamount to apostasy.”
More obsurdity from the heretical Peter Leithart.....so good to be a modernist (the wolf) in reformed clothing (the sheep)
Mohammed (if he really existed) was one of many industrious individuals that thought starting their own religion would be beneficial to them.
Modern day examples: Joseph Smith, L Ron Hubbard, Sun Myung Moon, Aum Shinrikyo and many others, to name a few.
Still waiting for witnesses of Mohammad in the koran. One silly ayat in the koran covers Moham pretty good “if one does not bring witnesses he is but a lair..”
Inter alia, what he's criticizing is "sending billions of dollars of military aid to Muslim dictators." Is this criticism heresy against Christianity, or heresy against Americanism? Or maybe heresy against Islam...? (I'm not quite following you.)