Sunday, February 11, 2018

Is the Quran a Unique Book?

It is not uncommon to find shared stories in ancient literature. For example, a few verses in the New Testament epistle of Jude draw from the Jewish apocalyptic works of 1 Enoch and the Assumption of Moses. The inclusion of such non-canonical stories for illustrative purposes does not pose a problem for Christian interpreters. The inspired writers of Scripture were part of the synergy by which Scripture was given, and we would expect to see aspects of their historical and cultural environment in the sacred text.

The Quran, however, claims to be a direct revelation from heaven, dictated to Muhammad. Allah rebuffs those who accused Muhammad of reciting "tales of the ancients" (25:4-6). And, Muslim scholars have spilled considerable ink trying to prove (unsuccessfully) that the Quran is wholly and culturally unique, and thus divinely revealed.

This 20 min video, which is a polemic, uncovers the original historical sources behind a number of Quranic stories.  Rather than being a book dropped from heaven, the Quran underwent a historical process of literary formation indicative of its earthly origins.

Description:  The first half the video traces the history of Old Testament stories in the Quran.  Beginning at 9:41 the video turns to New Testament stories about Jesus, including the famous apocryphal tale in which He turns a clay bird into a real bird (13:39).  This story is found in Quran 3:49 and 5:110.  The historical parallels are given in full in the article, "Parallelism: Jesus Christ and Clay Birds."