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The Short Arabic Recension

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Chapter Summary

This chapter provides translations of the Syriac and Christian Arabic versions of the originally ninth-century Legend of Sergius Baḥīrā, which portrays Islam's political might as predestined but finite and its scripture and religion as derivative of Christianity. From the eighth century onwards, Christians living under Islam have produced numerous apologetic and polemical works, aimed at proving the continuing validity of Christianity. Among these is the Legend of Sergius Baḥīrā, which survives in two Syriac and two Arabic versions, and appears here in edition and translation. Being a counterhistory of Islam, it reshapes early Muslim traditions about a monk recognizing Muḥammad as the final Prophet by turning this monk into Muhammad's tutor and co-author of the Qur'an.

Keywords: Arabic recension; Qur'an; Sergius Baḥīrā



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