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Folly To The Ḥunafā": The Crucifixion In Early Christian-Muslim Controversy

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Chapter Summary

Christians who found themselves under Islamic rule as a result of the conquests of seventh century AD quickly discovered that the New Testament ‘word of the cross’ had not only been folly to the Greek Ḥunafāʾ of whom St. Paul had spoken, but was also a puzzle, at the very least, to the Muslim Ḥunafāʾ. In particular, they learned that the Muslims’ sacred scripture appeared to deny the simple fact of the crucifixion of Christ to say nothing of its meaning and redemptive significance. This chapter presents three Christian texts from the second half of eighth century that give something of the flavor of the Christian responses to the Qurʾanic denial of the crucifixion. The three texts are different in literary genre, original language and community of origin. Taken together, however, they give us a range of Christian responses that will set the apologetic tone and agenda for centuries to follow.

Keywords: Christian-Muslim controversy; crucifixion of Christ; Greek Ḥunafāʾ; Islamic rule; New testament; Qurʾanic denial



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