Al-Radd Al-Jamīl – A Fitting Refutation of the Divinity of Jesus: Attributed to Abū Ḥāmid Al-Ghazālī
A FITTING REFUTATION OF THE DIVINITY OF JESUS – Book Sample
Introduction – A FITTING REFUTATION OF THE DIVINITY OF JESUS
The Context and Authorship of al-Radd al-jamīl The Context of al-Radd al-jamīl al-Radd al-jamīl li-ilāhiyyat ʿĪsā bi-ṣarīḥ al-Injīl, (A fitting refutation of the divinity of Jesus from the evidence of the gospel) is a long polemical work refuting the Christian concept of the divinity of Jesus Christ and is attributed to the famous eleventh century scholar Abū Ḥāmid al-Ghazālī (d. 1111).
Three versions of this text exist: two are in the Aya Sophia Manuscript Library in Istanbul under the numbers 2246 and 2247, and the third copy is found in the University of Leiden under the classification or828. The two Aya Sophia manuscripts attribute the text to al-Ghazālī, who wrote a significant number of works in philosophy, logic, Islamic jurisprudence, kalām and Sufism.1 In many of his books, al-Ghazālī refers to his other writings and in his work al-Munqidh min al-dalāl he mentions many of his other important works. None of these known works by al-Ghazālī refer to al-Radd al-jamīl, which has led several modern scholars to doubt that al-Ghazālī is the author of the refutation.
The text of al-Radd al-jamīl is a refutation of the divinity of Jesus in three sections
The text of al-Radd al-jamīl is a refutation of the divinity of Jesus in three sections: the first is an exegetical study of six Biblical texts. The main argument of the author here is that the criterion for accepting a certain concept is its agreement with the clarity of the intellect, bi-ṣarīḥ al-ʿaql, a sentence repeated very frequently throughout the treatise. If a text in itself is clear to the intellect then it should not be interpreted, but if it contradicts other texts or it cannot be rationally accepted then these passages must be clarified and considered as metaphors with a symbolic meaning. Following this principle, the author interprets the six Biblical texts in order to refute the concept of the divinity of Jesus. The second section is a refutation of the divinity of Jesus as believed by three Christian sects: the Melkites, the Jacobites and the Nestorians.
The third section discusses the titles that Christians attribute to Jesus to support his divine status. The author argues that such titles must be understood metaphorically, and shows that similar titles were also given to other Biblical prophets. Concerning the context in which the refutation was written, it is generally agreed that al-Radd al-jamīl comes from an Egyptian Coptic milieu, based on…
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