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Muslim-Christian Controversy In An Unedited Syriac Text Revelations And Testimonies About Our Lord’s Dispensation

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Chapter Summary

Revelations and Testimonies About Our Lord’s Dispensation is one of a number of Syriac texts with apocalyptic content produced at the end of the seventh century ad and afterwards. This chapter seeks internal arguments that allow us to situate the text in place and time. The gathered prophecies of Testimonies look like a compendium of arguments designed for East-Syrian Christians as a defence of their religious and liturgical practices and beliefs in the guise of an anti-Jewish controversy, but actually directed against Muslims. The text gives answers to specific challenges, but is far from advancing any idea of political relief or eschatological liberation in some immanent future. It is not an apocalypse, despite what the word ‘Revelations’ in the title would seem to imply and despite its heavy borrowings from the Apocalypse of Pseudo-Methodius. But if not an apocalypse, neither is it an actual text of controversy with Islam.

Keywords: anti-Jewish controversy; Apocalypse of Pseudo-Methodius; apocalyptic content; Islam; Muslim-Christian controversy; Revelations and Testimonies About Our Lord’s Dispensation; Syriac text

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