The Hadith and the Jews

I have been discussing the Islamic Hadith, and the apocalyptic traditions found in the section on “Turmoil and Portents” in the collection Sahih Muslim, “Pertaining To Turmoil And Portents Of The Last Hour” (Kitab Al-Fitan Wa Ashrat As-Sa’Ah). Specifically, I have suggested that many of these ideas stem from Christian sources, from the late seventh [Read More…]

The Bible’s Voice

Does the Bible speak? If so, how? An oft-told tale of the Spanish conquest of the Americas tells of the Inca ruler Atahualpa. When he met the conquistadors in 1532, some Catholic priests reputedly gave him a Bible, telling him it contained the word of God. Atahualpa put the book to his ear, but hearing [Read More…]

THE GREEN MAN AND THE KING OF SALEM

Christians who delve into the Qur’an will be surprised how many old friends they find there, including Jesus and Mary, of course, and a lengthy roster of prophets and patriarchs. Exploring the Qur’an can be an excellent way of understanding the Christian and Jewish worlds of Late Antiquity, roughly the sixth and seventh centuries BC. [Read More…]

FORGETTING EZRA

In October, 1555, the regime of Mary Tudor burned two former English bishops for their stubborn Protestant convictions. As they went to the flames, one of the martyrs, Hugh Latimer, addressed his comrade, Nicholas Ridley, in stirring terms that have inspired successive Protestant generations. He urged him, “Be of good cheer, master Ridley, and play [Read More…]

THE GOSPELS OF ISLAM

I have been tracking the ancient “lost gospels” through the Middle Ages, when these alternative scriptures continued to exercise a remarkably wide influence. This was especially true in the cultures of Islam, which emerged in a largely Christian world fascinated by apocryphal writings. Even in the fifth century, Arabia was proverbially haeresium ferax: the breeding [Read More…]