Sunday, November 18

The Hebrew Bible and the Quran: The Problem of the Jewish ‘Influence’ on Islam

I am currently reading the Muslim Jesus, a very interesting but at the same time, very frustrating book. But more on that in a later post. But in the meantime, I read this paper, which was fascinating. When I was a young and callow youth, I used to see scriptures and used to revere the books as the literal words of god personified in the book itself. So when I would kiss the book, or bow to it, it was literally to the words contained within it.

But now that I have grown up, I think I have managed to read more into scriptures. They are but normal books. What we know as scriptures is just another historical book, and these books change, evolve and mutate as life goes on. Whether you are talking about Ramayana, Mahabharat, Bible, Torah, Quran, you name it. To call it the unchanging word of God is very simplistic but I can see why kids see it that way. But this is very sensitive, and people kill because of this.

Take a look at this paper which explores this aspect:

Pregill,Michael E., The Hebrew Bible and the Quran: The Problem of the Jewish ‘Influence’ on Islam, 2007, Religion Compass, 643-659, 1, 6

Abstract The biblical tradition is manifest in the Quran in many different ways. Similarly, scholars have adopted a number of different approaches to the phenomenon of the biblical ‘borrowings’ found in the Quran. Since the foundation of the modern discipline of Islamic studies in the nineteenth century until very recently, scholars have often seen the appearance of biblical stories in the Quran, often in significantly altered, distorted, or amplified form, as reflecting Muhammad's dependence upon Jewish teachers and thus an overarching Jewish influence on Islam. In point of fact, this approach to the biblical tradition in the Quran has significant roots in medieval Christian polemic against Islam. In recent years, a few scholars have sought to develop more constructive approaches to this material and to Quranic narrative in general; nevertheless, a full-scale reconsideration of the basic problem is still lacking, and the legacy of medieval polemic in the early Orientalist tradition, as well as its modern implications, has yet to be widely recognized.

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