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The Qur'Anic Sarah As Prototype Of Mary

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Chapter Summary

In several passages the Qurʾan refers to messengers, or guests, who visited Abraham and delivered news of Isaac's birth. The tone of these passages, however, is more homily than narrative. The Qurʾan is not providing an alternative version of Genesis 18, but rather a commentary on it. This chapter argues that this commentary is influenced by a Christian reading of Genesis 18, not the Trinitarian reading mentioned above, but rather a typological reading that has Sarah as the prototype of Mary. It serves as a case study for the importance of seeing the larger sectarian milieu of the Qurʾan. For in this case, at least, to limit ourselves to Islamic reports and the Arabic language, that is, to follow the precedent of medieval exegesis, is to limit our appreciation of the Qurʾan.

Keywords: Abraham; Arabic language; Genesis 18; Mary; Qurʾanic Sarah



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