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The Development Of Testimony Collections In Early Christian Apologetics With Islam

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Chapter Summary

A testimony collection contains biblical verses arranged by topic with minimal editorial comment, such as in the works of Pseudo-Gregory and Cyprian. Their purpose is to prove forensically a theological position. These collections occasionally occur in Christian Arabic literature, although writers would also extract blocks of proof-texts that correspond with an argument for a particular situation. This chapter briefly examines three texts, one from the Church of the East and two from the Melkite tradition. It proposes to describe the scriptural arguments and consider the possibility of the use of testimony collections composed in Arabic. Thus, Christian apologists with Islam borrowed a method and structure similar to that of the testimonia collection, along with many of its textual and logical methodologies, into the languages of Syriac and Arabic for contemporary use. These apologists were entering new territory in the realm of scriptural apologetics, without abandoning the traditional testimonies.

Keywords: biblical verses; Christian apologist; Christian Arabic literature; Islam; Melkite tradition; Syriac; testimony collection



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