The Quran is the divine scriptures of Islam, considered to be the direct word of God as revealed to the Prophet Muhammed. The Bible is a term which can include several different meanings, from the Hebrew Bible, which includes the divine scriptures of Judaism, to the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament, which encompasses the divine scriptures of Christianity (though different Christian sects will differ over the exact number of books that get included into the Bible). Both the Quran and the Bible, however you interpret it, are divine books considered to contain divine revelation. The Quran, however, is understood very strictly as the direct word of God, spoken in Arabic and unchanged. A translation of the words of the Quran is not considered by Muslims to be holy in the same way, because the Arabic itself is considered to be the exact words that God would have chosen to speak to the Prophet Muhammed. While both Jewish and Christian theologians understand the Bible to be the word of God—or, at least, the five books of Moses and certain other sections to be the word of God, if other sections are revealed through prophecy—there is more latitude in understanding the role that the prophet had in transmitting the words of God to the page. Many Jews and Christians will read these texts in translation, and while some are motivated to learn Hebrew or Greek, there is not the same religious emphasis on accessing these texts in the original language, which likewise contains variants and ambiguities and different manuscripts. The content and the meaning of the Bible is considered divine by those who adopt this theological position in Judaism and Christianity, but the exact words themselves have a different theological place in Judaism and Christianity than they do in Islam.
Despite both being religious texts and often describing many similar stories, the Bible and the Quran differ in several important ways. The Bible is much older, with some portions being written over a thousand years before Islam was founded. The Quran refers to over fifty different figures and stories described in the Bible, though often with some key differences or without significant details. In this way, the Quran seems to occupy the same world as the Bible, in that it references many characters and events. Muhammed is first visited by the angel Gabriel, a familiar figure in Jewish and Christian biblical literature. The quran also referenes Adam, Noah, Abraham, Lot, Isaac, Ishmael, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, David, Jonah, and Jesus, Mary, and John the Baptist, too. The story of Joseph, the binding of Abraham’s son (who is interpreted by most Muslim scholars to be, in the Quran, Ishmael and not Isaac), the flood, and the death of Jesus are all recounted in the Quran, though differently from the Biblical stories.
Another difference is in variety of style and genre. The Quran was compiled at one time, from the revelations of one prophet, and the style of the chapters is often similar. The Bible contains many works written centuries or millennia apart, by people living in vastly different cultures. Some books are historical record, some are lyrical poetry, some are legal texts, other are narrative storytelling or mythical in nature. The Book of Psalms, for example, is hymns and devotional poetry directed towards God, while the Book of Esther is an intricate narrative full of details and plot twists, where God is not even mentioned.
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