MUSLIM WRITERS ON JUDAISM AND THE HEBREW BIBLE: FROM IBN RABBAN TO IBN HAZM
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 Muslim Writers On Judaism And The Hebrew Bible From Ibn Rabban To Ibn Hazm
  • Book Author:
ibn Hazm
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326
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CONTENTS of MUSLIM WRITERS ON JUDAISM AND THE HEBREW BIBLE book

  •  
  • Chapter One    the Reception of Biblical Materials in Early Islam        1
  • Chapter Two    the Authors and Their Works …………….    23
  • Chapter Three    Jewish Beliefs and Practices   …………….  70
  • Chapter Four    the Use of Biblical Material and Related Issues        110
  • Chapter Five    the Proofs of Prophethood    ••••     •■•••••••••              139
  • Chapter Six    the Abrogation of the Mosaic Law . . . . . . . . . . . .    192
  • Chapter Seven    the Question of the Authenticity of the Jewish Scriptures   . . . . . . . . .. 223
  • Chapter Eight    Conclusions   . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ..    249
  • Appendix One     Al-Maqdisi’s Description of Judaism   . . . . . ..    257
  • Appendix Two     Biblical Passages   . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ..    264
  • Appendix Three    From lbn  Qutayba’s  Dala’il al-Nubuwwa  . . . .    267
  • Bibliography                                                                                        279
  • Indexes
  • General Index   . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .    307
  • Index of Biblical Passages  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .    318
  • Index of Koranic Passages . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .    321

CHAPTER ONE  THE RECEPTION OF BIBLICAL MATERIALS IN EARLY ISLAM

The presence of Jewish and Christian communities in the Arabian penin­sula long before the rise of Islam is well attested [01]The milieu in which Islam came into being has often been described, and need not be discussed at length here. See, for example, the first two … Continue reading. Jews may have settled in Arabia as early as the sixth century BCE but definitely no later than the second century CE [02]Newby 1988:20-22, 32. According to a much criticized theory by Dozy (1864), Israelites settled in Mecca as early as the days of King David. These … Continue reading). The Jews in the Arabian diaspora, who lived both in the Hijaz and in the Yemen, were bi- or perhaps even trilingual:

their spoken language was Arabic, but their scriptures were read and transmitted in Hebrew and, inasmuch as they had access to the Talmud, Aramaic [03]On the linguistic situation of the Arabian Jews, see Newby 1988:2lf., 49; Abbott 1957:28, 30; ead., 1967:257. Judaism in Arabia was a proselytizing religion which succeeded in making converts among the pagan towndwellers [04]Rodinson 1976:29f.; Newby 1988:38-40, 53f..

It was extremely successful in South Arabia, where the convert Dhii Nuwas reigned for a while as king [05]Rodinson 1976:30-32; Newby 1988:39-48. From the fourth century CE onwards, Christians of different denominations began to offer serious competition in the missionary field [06]Graf, GCAL, I, 21; Busse 1988:10; Rodinson 1976:29f.; cf. Newby 1988:36..

Nestorians and Monophysites [07]About these two groups, see Spuler, 1961a and 1961b vied with each other and with the Jews for the allegiance of the Arabs, who had ample  opportunity to come into contact with representatives of both monotheistic faiths. Besides sedentary Jews and Christians, travelling mer­chants who acted as missionaries spread not only information contained  in their scriptures, but also aggadot about the Patriarchs and the rabbis, and pious narratives about the Apostles, martyrs, and monks, for which they found an eager audience [08]Kister 1988:83.

Arabic translations of parts of the Bible – MUSLIM WRITERS ON JUDAISM AND THE HEBREW BIBLE

 

Arabic translations of parts of the Bible may have been in use among the Christians of pre-Islamic Arabia for liturgical and missionary pur­poses [09]Baumstark (1934:166), al-Maqdisi (1933), C. Peters (1942-’43:132), and R.G. Khoury (l972a:258; 1989:553, 559f.) do not doubt that there were … Continue reading.

However, no such texts have come down to us, and until they do, the question of the availability of Arabic biblical texts of Christian provenance in the peninsula remains undecided [10]Graf, GCAL, I, 39f; El s.v. Zabur (J. Horovitz), 1185: “a fragment of an Arabic translation of the Psalms, dating from the iind/viiith century … Continue reading.

 Although there was some Ethiopian influence, [11]Graf, GCAL, I, 39. the main body of Christian literature, including the canonical scriptures and apocryphal writings, was in Syriac, the liturgical language of both rivalling churches [12]Noldeke, quoted in De Goeje 1897:179; Graf, GCAL, I, 28.

Among the Syriac apocrypha, one especially deserves to be mentioned, viz. The Book of the Cave of Treasures, a compendious history of the world from

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the creation to Jesus, written in the third century CE [13]A German translation by Carl Bezold was published in 1883; an English translation by E.A. Wallis Budge appeared in 1927. The most recent translation, … Continue reading. We shall have occasion to refer to this work in the following chapters of this study.

If the question of the existence of Christian translations of the Bible or parts thereof is moot, so is that of translations of Jewish provenance. It may be assumed that the Arabian Jews read the Bible in Hebrew and explained it in Arabic for the benefit of recent or prospective converts, [14]Newby 1988:21f. Cf. al-Bukhari, Sahih, III, 198, IV, 441,495 as well as their own ranks.

The Aramaic-speaking Jews had followed the same procedure: they used to read the Hebrew Bible, explaining it to their congregations in Aramaic [15]Abbott 1967:257.

Members of both monotheistic faiths seem to have been quite eager to provide information about the contents of their scriptures.

However, in the course of their oral transmission, the biblical accounts inevitably became admixed with foreign elements, which ultimately caused them to be distorted almost beyond recognition; scripture gradually developed into legend [16]On the process of oral transmission of biblical stories, see Schwarzbaum 1982:8f.,. Apart from these Judaeo-Christian legends, tales about the clashes between Beduin clans or tribes, and the history of South Arabia

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References / Footnotes

01The milieu in which Islam came into being has often been described, and need not be discussed at length here. See, for example, the first two chapters of Rodinson 1976, and more recently Busse 1988:8-29 and Newby 1988, in which the older literature is given
02Newby 1988:20-22, 32. According to a much criticized theory by Dozy (1864), Israelites settled in Mecca as early as the days of King David. These Israelites, who sup­posedly founded the Ka’ba and established the rites of the Hajj, were followed by Jews who had escaped the exile in Babylon. It has been assumed by other scholars that Jews were strongly represented in the army of the Babylonian king Nabonidus (regn. 556-539 BCE) which invaded and occupied the northern parts of the Arabian peninsula. More reli­able evidence of the existence of Jewish settlements in Arabia dates back to the period fol­lowing the destruction of the Second Temple (70 CE
03On the linguistic situation of the Arabian Jews, see Newby 1988:2lf., 49; Abbott 1957:28, 30; ead., 1967:257
04Rodinson 1976:29f.; Newby 1988:38-40, 53f.
05Rodinson 1976:30-32; Newby 1988:39-48
06Graf, GCAL, I, 21; Busse 1988:10; Rodinson 1976:29f.; cf. Newby 1988:36.
07About these two groups, see Spuler, 1961a and 1961b
08Kister 1988:83
09Baumstark (1934:166), al-Maqdisi (1933), C. Peters (1942-’43:132), and R.G. Khoury (l972a:258; 1989:553, 559f.) do not doubt that there were Arabic translations of (parts of) the Bible prior to the advent of Islam, while Blau ( 1973:67) merely admits the possibility; cf., however, Noldeke, quoted in De Goeje 1897:179, and Graf, GCAL, I, 36.
10Graf, GCAL, I, 39f; El s.v. Zabur (J. Horovitz), 1185: “a fragment of an Arabic translation of the Psalms, dating from the iind/viiith century [is] the oldest known speci­men of Christian-Arabic literature”. But cf. Abbott 1957:49, who assumes an earlier date for this translation.
11Graf, GCAL, I, 39.
12Noldeke, quoted in De Goeje 1897:179; Graf, GCAL, I, 28
13A German translation by Carl Bezold was published in 1883; an English translation by E.A. Wallis Budge appeared in 1927. The most recent translation, into French, is that by Ri (1987). See there p. xxiii about the work’s date of composition.
14Newby 1988:21f. Cf. al-Bukhari, Sahih, III, 198, IV, 441,495
15Abbott 1967:257
16On the process of oral transmission of biblical stories, see Schwarzbaum 1982:8f.,
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