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Mary In The Qurʾan: Rereading Subversive Births

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Chapter Summary

This chapter demonstrates the story of Jesus' birth in a way which is designed to highlight its seemingly scandalous nature. It shows that the theme of a birth which apparently violates social norms also appears in the quranic retellings of the story of the infancy of Moses, and that the Qurʾan in fact connects these two stories. Mary first withdraws from her family to an unspecified place in the east. When her solitude is interrupted by the angel, her response hints at her apprehension that he intends to try to seduce or harm her. Fascinatingly, the birth of Jesus is not the only birth which is associated with scandal in the Qurʾan. When Mary's kin begin their reproaches by addressing her as "sister of Aaron," they inadvertently highlight the parallels between Jesus' birth and the story of Moses' infancy.

Keywords: Aaron; Jesus' birth; Moses; Qurʾan

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