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Islam In Its Arabian Context

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Chapter Summary

From the historian's point of view, the ancient Ḥijāz is a blank on the map. But this means that any investigation of the Qurʾan and of early Islam takes place in a historical vacuum. On the other hand, there is a very striking difference between the picture of Jesus that emerges from the New Testament and the picture of Muhammad in the Qurʾan and in early Muslim tradition. The author reiterates just a few actually well-known points about Jesus and the New Testament. The books of the New Testament were composed at different times and contain glaring discrepancies both in their narrative content and in their theological content. The author conclusion is that Jesus is a biographically intangible figure located in a very well documented historical milieu, whereas Muhammad is a biographically at least plausible figure located in a historical vacuum.

Keywords: Islam; Muslim tradition; New Testament; Qurʾan

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