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Political Power And Right Religion In The East Syrian Disputation Between A Monk Of Bēt Ḥālē And An Arab Notable

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Chapter Summary

This chapter discusses two examples which represent early East Syrian theological responses to the claims of Islam propagated by the Arab government in and after the 690s. The first witness is provided by the exegetical homilies written by Mar Aba II, bishop of Kashkar in South Iraq, and during the last ten years of his life Catholicos of the East Syrian Church. Our second witness is probably the oldest known East Syrian apologetic work against Islam: The Disputation between a Monk of Bēt Ḥālē and a Muslim Notable. The relation between political power and right religion is the main problem in the Disputation, and reason for that is that it is responding to recent politico-religious developments in the late Umayyad caliphate. In its solution to this problem the Disputation still follows certain lines of reasoning employed in Pseudo-Methodius Apocalypse. There is no connection between Islamic religious rightness and political power.

Keywords: Disputation; East Syrian; Islam; Mar Aba II; Monk of Bēt Ḥālē; Muslim notable; political power; Pseudo-Methodius Apocalypse; right religion; Umayyad caliphate



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