A Study of Anthropomorphism and Transcendence in the Bible and Qur’an
ANTHROPOMORPHISM AND TRANSCENDENCE IN THE BIBLE AND QURAN – Book Sample
The Bible and the Quran are the Scriptures of three Semitic religions. The Bible has been held by many Jews and Christians as the inerrant Word of God. The modem scholarship has shown the illogicity of such a claim. Not all of the modem Jews accept the divine origin and authority of the Hebrew Bible.
Christendom is even more divided over the divine origin and authority of their Scripture. Many modem scholars have highlighted the human elements in the Bible. The lengthy processes of canonization and compilation which resulted in the Bible are indicative of this finite human aspect. The Quran was canonized from its inception.
The careful preservation of the Quranic text started with the faith’s founder and compilation of the entire text into a written volume was completed within a few years from his death. The Qur5n has been accepted as the Word of God verbatim by Muslims of all ages and times. The unity, integrity, and universality of the Quranic text is an historical fact recognized even by the modem non-Muslim scholarship.
Introduction – ANTHROPOMORPHISM AND TRANSCENDENCE IN THE BIBLE AND QURAN
I was born and raised in a traditional religious family and to a certain degree pressured or even forced to cornmit the Arabic text of the entire Qur’an to memory without my understanding much of it. This happened in my early childhood when boys of my age and close friends of mine were free in the world to enjoy themselves.
My countless 11whys11 and relentless questions used to infuriate my father and usually ended with a desperate but authoritative response, “Because this is the Word of God Almighty. This childhood experience resulted in a kind of affinity as well as some negative sentiments in my mind about the terms “God” and the “Word of God”.
I carried this admixture of sentiments during most of my college career. When I became a university student, I had the opportunity to learn Arabic language. This experience had a dazzling and profound effect on my thoughts. Finally I was able to make some sense out of the text I had memorized and recited over the years. The experience was fulfilling and absorbed most of my time.
The negative sentiments about my parents, anchored in my heart since early childhood, gradually gave way to sentiments of appreciation, respect and finally love. In later years of my university studies, I became more interested in comparative studies of topics like “God,” “Scriptures,” “W ord of God II and other related topics that led me to my Masters in Comparative Religions.
Change into enthusiasm – ANTHROPOMORPHISM AND TRANSCENDENCE IN THE BIBLE AND QURAN
The same interest changed into enthusiasm during my teaching career in Islamabad, briefly in Lampeter and finally in J acksonville, Florida. As the Qur’an and the Bible both are the professed Scriptures and primary sources of three Semitic religions, I became more and more absorbed in their comparative study and soon found myself trespassing on territories that for centuries have been debated and discussed by countless scholars and theologians.
But there was a different environment now. There were different tools, different approaches, and different methodology. The results achieved in these areas by modern scholarship differed widely :from the one’s achieved in the previous centuries. There was more openness, boldness, fairness and objectivity. Still more, the situation was more dramatic than I could have ever envisioned or envisaged.
The God of traditional religions seemed to be disappearing. This act of divine disappearance was more radical, and the absence of God whom I used to think was very much with me, was evident and felt in the West more than in my homeland which I had left for educational purposes. This polarization of understanding, dichotomy and bifurcation of reality and faith, and personal sense of loss and alienation resulted in the work I am presenting in this treatise.
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