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The Qur’an’s Reformation of Judaism and Christianity: Return to the Origins [Hardcover ed.]
 1138567337,  9781138567337,  9781315124278,  9781351341554,  9781351341561,  9781351341547

Table of contents :
1. The Qur’an and the reformation of Judaism and Christianity Holger M. Zellentin


Part I: The Qur’an, the Bible, and the Islamic tradition

2.What would Ibn Taymiyya make of intertextual study of the Qur’an? The challenge of the isrāʾīliyyāt Jon Hoover

3. Prophecy and writing in the Qur’an, or why Muhammad was not a scribe Islam Dayeh

4. A "Religious Transformation in Late Antiquity": Qur’anic refigurations of pagan-Arab ideals based on biblical models Angelika Neuwirth

5. Meccan Gods, Jesus’ divinity: an analysis of sura 43 (al-Zukhruf) Walid A. Saleh

Part II: The Qur’an and the Bible

6.Gentile purity law from the Bible to the Qur’an: the case of sexual purity and illicit intercourse Holger M. Zellentin

7. David and Solomon: antecedents, modalities and consequences of their twinship in the Qur’an Geneviève Gobillot

Part III: The Qur’an and Judaism

8. Pharaoh’s submission to God in the Qur’an and in rabbinic literature: a case study in Qur’anic intertextuality Nicolai Sinai

9. The eschatological counter-discourse in the Qur’an and in the Babylonian Talmud, Sanhedrin, 90b-91a Mehdi Azaiez

Part IV: The Qur’an and Christianity

10.Thrice upon a time: Abraham’s guests and the study of intra-Qur’anic parallels Joseph Witztum

11."Killing the prophets and stoning the messengers": two themes in the Qur’an and their background Gerald Hawting

12. On the Qur’an and Christian heresies Gabriel Said Reynolds

13. Reflections on the Qur’an, Christianity, and intertextuality Mary B. Cunningham

Index of Qur'anic references

Citation preview

The Qur’an’s Reformation of Judaism and Christianity

This volume explores the relationship between the Qur’an and the Jewish and Christian traditions, considering aspects of continuity and reform. The chapters examine the Qur’an’s retelling of biblical narratives, as well as its reaction to a wide array of topics that mark Late Antique religious discourse, including eschatology and gentile purity, prophetology and paganism, and heresiology and Christology. Twelve emerging and established scholars explore the many ways in which the Qur’an updates, transforms, and challenges religious practices, beliefs, and narratives that Late Antique Jews and Christians had developed in dialogue with the Bible. The volume establishes the Qur’an’s often unique perspective alongside its surprising continuity with Judaism and Christianity. Chapters focus on individual suras and on intra-Qur’anic parallels, on the Qur’an’s relationship to pre-Islamic Arabian culture, on its intertextuality and its literary intricacy, and on its legal and moral framework. It illustrates a move away from the problematic paradigm of cultural influence and instead emphasizes the Qur’an’s attempt to reform the religious landscape of its time. The Qur’an’s Reformation of Judaism and Christianity offers new insight into the Islamic Scripture as a whole and into recent methodological developments, providing a compelling snapshot of the burgeoning field of Qur’anic studies. It is a key resource for students and scholars interested in religion, Islam, and Middle Eastern Studies. Holger M. Zellentin teaches Judaism at the University of Cambridge. His research interests include Talmudic culture and Qur’anic law; his publications include Rabbinic Parodies of Jewish and Christian Literature (2011) and The Qurʾān’s Legal Culture: The Didascalia Apostolorum as a Point of Departure (2013).

Routledge Studies in the Qur’ān Former Editor: Andrew Rippin University of Victoria, Canada

Series Editor: Walid Saleh University of Toronto, Canada

In its examination of critical issues in the scholarly study of the Quran and its commentaries, this series targets the disciplines of archaeology, history, textual history, anthropology, theology and literary criticism. The contemporary relevance of the Quran in the Muslim world, its role in politics and in legal debates are also dealt with, as are debates surrounding Quranic studies in the Muslim world. Shaping a Qur’ānic Worldview Scriptural Hermeneutics and the Rhetoric of Moral Reform in the Caliphate of al-Maʾmūn Vanessa De Gifis Qurʾānic Studies Today Edited by Angelika Neuwirth and Michael A. Sells The Qurʾān in the Malay-Indonesian World Edited by Majid Daneshgar, Peter G. Riddell and Andrew Rippin Ṭanṭāwī Jawharī and the Qurʾān Tafsīr and Social Concerns in the Twentieth Century Majid Daneshgar The Qur’an between the Ottoman Empire and the Turkish Republic An Exegetical Tradition Susan Gunasti The Qur’an’s Reformation of Judaism and Christianity Return to the Origins Edited by Holger M. Zellentin For more information about this series, please visit: www.routledge.com/middle eaststudies/series/SE0482

The Qur’an’s Reformation of Judaism and Christianity Return to the Origins

Edited by Holger M. Zellentin

First published 2019 by Routledge 2 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon OX14 4RN and by Routledge 52 Vanderbilt Avenue, New York, NY 10017 Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business © 2019 selection and editorial matter, Holger M. Zellentin; individual chapters, the contributors The right of Holger M. Zellentin to be identified as the author of the editorial material, and of the authors for their individual chapters, has been asserted in accordance with sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilised in any form or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publishers. Trademark notice: Product or corporate names may be trademarks or registered trademarks, and are used only for identification and explanation without intent to infringe. British Library Cataloguing-in-Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Names: Zellentin, Holger M., 1976– editor. Title: The Qur’an’s reformation of Judaism and Christianity : return to the origins / edited by Holger M. Zellentin. Description: Abingdon, Oxon ; New York, NY : Routledge, 2019. | Series: Routledge studies in the Qur’an | Includes bibliographical references and index. Identifiers: LCCN 2018058035 (print) | LCCN 2019000564 (ebook) | ISBN 9781315124278 (master) | ISBN 9781351341561 (Adobe Reader) | ISBN 9781351341554 (Epub) | ISBN 9781351341547 (Mobipocket) | ISBN 9781138567337 (hardback) | ISBN 9781315124278 (ebk.) Subjects: LCSH: Qur®an—Relation to the Bible. | Bible—Islamic interpretations. | Bible—Comparative studies. | Qur®an—Comparative studies. | Islam—Relations—Christianity. | Islam—Relations—Judaism. | Christianity and other religions—Islam. | Judaism—Relations—Islam. Classification: LCC BP134.B4 (ebook) | LCC BP134.B4 Q875 2019 (print) | DDC 297.1/226—dc23 LC record available at https://lccn.loc.gov/2018058035 ISBN: 978-1-138-56733-7 (hbk) ISBN: 978-1-315-12427-8 (ebk) Typeset in Times New Roman by Apex CoVantage, LLC

Contents

Notes on contributorsvii  1 The Qur’an and the reformation of Judaism and Christianity

1

HOLGER M. ZELLENTIN

PART I

The Qur’an, the Bible, and the Islamic tradition23  2 What would Ibn Taymiyyah make of intertextual study of the Qur’an? The challenge of the isrāʾīliyyāt

25

JON HOOVER

 3 Prophecy and writing in the Qur’an, or why Muhammad was not a scribe

31

ISLAM DAYEH

 4 A “Religious Transformation in Late Antiquity”: Qur’anic refigurations of pagan-Arab ideals based on biblical models

63

ANGELIKA NEUWIRTH

 5 Meccan Gods, Jesus’ divinity: an analysis of Q 43 Sūrat al-Zukhruf WALID A. SALEH

92

vi  Contents PART II

The Qur’an and the Bible113  6 Gentile purity law from the Bible to the Qur’an: the case of sexual purity and illicit intercourse

115

HOLGER M. ZELLENTIN

 7 David and Solomon: antecedents, modalities, and consequences of their twinship in the Qur’an

216

GENEVIÈVE GOBILLOT

PART III

The Qur’an and Judaism233  8 Pharaoh’s submission to God in the Qur’an and in rabbinic literature: a case study in Qur’anic intertextuality

235

NICOLAI SINAI

 9 The eschatological counter-discourse in the Qur’an and in the Babylonian Talmud, Sanhedrin 90b-91a

261

MEHDI AZAIEZ

PART IV

The Qur’an and Christianity275 10 Thrice upon a time: Abraham’s guests and the study of intra-Qur’anic parallels

277

JOSEPH WITZTUM

11 “Killing the prophets and stoning the messengers”: two themes in the Qur’an and their background

303

GERALD HAWTING

12 On the Qur’an and Christian heresies

318

GABRIEL SAID REYNOLDS

13 Reflections on the Qur’an, Christianity, and intertextuality

333

MARY B. CUNNINGHAM

Index of Qur’anic references344 Index348

Notes on contributors

Mehdi Azaiez is Assistant Professor of Islamic Studies at the University of Lorraine (France) and at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (Belgium). His main fields of research are Qur’anic Studies and early Islam. He recently published Le Contre-discours coranique (2015) and co-edited The Qur’an Seminar Commentary (2016). Mary B. Cunningham is Honorary Associate Professor in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at the University of Nottingham. Her research focuses on Byzantine theology, especially as expressed in liturgical homilies and hymns, and on the cult of the Virgin Mary in the Eastern Roman Empire. Dr Cunningham’s publications include Wider Than Heaven: Eighth-Century Homilies on the Mother of God (2008) and the co-edited volume (with Leslie Brubaker) The Mother of God in Byzantium: Texts and Images (2011). Islam Dayeh is Assistant Professor of Arabic Studies at Freie Universität Berlin and Executive Editor of Philological Encounters. His research and teaching focus on Qur’anic studies, Arabic-Islamic textual practices, and intellectual history in the early modern period. He is founder and academic director of the research program Zukunftsphilologie: Revisiting the Canons of Textual Scholarship (Forum Transregionale Studien Berlin). His publications include “Al-Ḥawāmīm: Intertextuality and Coherence in Meccan suras,” in The Qurʾān in Context: Historical and Literary Investigations into the Qurʾānic Milieu, edited by Angelika Neuwirth, Nicolai Sinai, and Michael Marx, 461–498 (2010) and a co-edition (with Lejla Demiri) of al-Ṭufī’s Ḥallāl al-ʿuqad fī bayān al-muʿtaqad (2016). Geneviève Gobillot is Emerita Professor of Arabic civilization, general islamology, and history of Islamic ideas at the University of Lyon III. Her research interests include the intratextual and intertextual study of the Qur’an, its relationship to the Bible and para-Biblical texts (epistles, rabbinic literature, apocryphal books, the Pseudo-Clementine Homilies, Christian theology of Late Antiquity), and its composition (lexicon, morphology, syntax, rhetoric, style). She is also a specialist in Muslim theology and mysticism. Professor Gobillot’s publications include

viii  Notes on contributors Idées reçues sur le Coran entre tradition islamique et lecture modern, with Michel Cuypers (2014), and Les notions-clés des pensées de Tustarî et de Tirmidhî (IIIe/ IXe s.) (2016). Gerald Hawting is Emeritus Professor of the History of the Middle East at the School of Oriental and African Studies. His research interests include pre-Islamic Arabia, the history of the Muslim sanctuary at Mecca, and the historical value of Muslim tradition on the emergence of Islam. Among his publications are The Idea of Idolatry and the Emergence of Islam (1999) and “Were there Prophets in the Jāhiliyya?,” in Islam and Its Past: Jahiliyya, Late Antiquity, and the Qur’an, edited by Carol Bakhos and Michael Cook, 186–212 (2017). Jon Hoover is Associate Professor of Islamic Studies at the University of Nottingham. His research interests include Islamic intellectual history and ChristianMuslim relations. His publications include Ibn Taymiyyah’s Theodicy of Perpetual Optimism (2007) and articles and book chapters on the theologies of Ibn Taymiyyah, Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya, and Ibn al-Wazir. He is also editor of the monograph series “The History of Christian-Muslim Relations,” and he has written on topics in Christian-Muslim relations and co-edited The Character of ChristianMuslim Encounter (2015). Angelika Neuwirth is Professor Emerita of Arabic Studies at the Freie Universität Berlin. She studied in Teheran, Jerusalem, and Munich (where she received her Habilitation in 1977) and has held professorships at the Universities of Munich, Amman/Jordan, Bamberg, Cairo, and Berlin. She has worked at the Royal Aal al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought in Amman and has served as the director of the Orient Institute of the German Oriental Society in Beirut and Istanbul. She is director of the project Corpus Coranicum: Documented Edition and Commentary on the Qur’an (al-Mawsūʿah al-qurʾāniyyah). Among her English-language monographs are Scripture, Poetry and the Making of a Community (2014) and The Qur’an and Late Antiquity (2019). Gabriel Said Reynolds did his doctoral work at Yale University in Islamic Studies. Currently he researches the Qur’an and Muslim/Christian relations and is Professor of Islamic Studies and Theology in the Department of Theology at Notre Dame. He is the author of The Qur’ān and Its Biblical Subtext (2010), The Emergence of Islam (2012), and The Qurʾan and the Bible (2018). Walid A. Saleh is Professor of Islamic Studies at the University of Toronto. He is a specialist on the Qur’an, the history of its interpretation (tafsīr), the Bible in Islam, and Islamic apocalyptic literature. He is the author of two monographs: The Formation of the Classical Tafsir Tradition: The Qurʾān Commentary of Al-Thaʿlabī (d. 427/1035) (2004) and In Defense of the Bible: A Critical Edition and an Introduction to al-Biqāʿī’s Bible Treatise (2008). He has also published

Notes on contributors ix articles on the Meccan period of the Qur’an and on Islamic Hebraism. Saleh is the recipient of several awards, including the New Directions Fellowship from the Mellon Foundation and the Konrad Adenauer Award from the Humboldt Foundation in Germany. Nicolai Sinai is Professor of Islamic Studies at the Faculty of Oriental Studies, University of Oxford, and a Fellow of Pembroke College. He has published on the historical and literary study of the Qur’an, Islamic scriptural exegesis, and the history of philosophical and theological thought in the Islamic world. His most recent book is The Qur’an: A Historical-Critical Introduction (2017). Joseph Witztum lectures in the Arabic Language and Literature Department at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. His research focuses mainly on the Qur’an in light of Jewish and Christian traditions and on intra-Qur’anic parallels. His recent articles include “Variant Traditions, Relative Chronology, and the Study of Intra-Quranic Parallels” in Islamic Cultures, Islamic Contexts, edited by Behnam Sadeghi et al., 1–50 (2014) and “ ‘O Believers, Be Not as Those Who Hurt Moses’ – Q 33:69 and Its Exegesis” in Islam and Its Past: Jahiliyya, Late Antiquity, and the Qur’an, edited by Carol Bakhos and Michael Cook, 120–139 (2017). Holger M. Zellentin teaches Classical Rabbinic Judaism at the University of Cambridge. He has previously held faculty appointments at the University of Nottingham and at the University of California and the Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley. His research interests include Talmudic culture in its various historical contexts, as well as Qur’anic law and the Qur’an’s engagement of the Jewish and the Christian tradition. His publications include Rabbinic Parodies of Jewish and Christian Literature (2011) and The Qurʾān’s Legal Culture: The Didascalia Apostolorum as a Point of Departure (2013).

1 The Qur’an and the reformation of Judaism and Christianity Holger M. Zellentin

Over the past decades, the Qur’an has moved closer towards the canon of the discursive space we conceive of as the West: no longer just the Scripture of an important minority, the Qur’an has become the focus of intense societal attention and is slowly being included in the curricula of schools and universities.1 This movement coincides with a double realignment of, first, the way in which we position the Qur’an vis-à-vis its historical context, and second, how we, as Western scholars of the Qur’an, position ourselves towards the text within our own historical context. On the one hand, we have come to recognize that the Scripture of Islam should be understood not only as the foundational document of the Islamic community but also in dialogue with the world of Late Antiquity, whose transition into the Middle Ages was expedited by the rise of the Islamic community itself.2 On the other hand, the process of the Qur’an’s Western canonization has coincided with a methodological shift, leading to a long-overdue “linguistic turn” in the study of the Qur’an, which allowed for a reconsideration of the methodologies we employ and thereby for a more sophisticated self-reflection of how our own context determines our approaches.3 A key figure in translating the continental attention to hermeneutics into a more pragmatic world of Anglo-American historiography, and into the debate surrounding the Western canon, was Dominick LaCapra. In 1983, LaCapra sought to define the two parallel relationships between, on the one hand, a canonical “text” and its historical “context” and, on the other hand, between the historian and her own present world.4 LaCapra’s insights remain highly relevant to the rapidly evolving field of the academic study of the Qur’an, since they guide us on “a way that engages us as interpreters in a particularly compelling conversation with the past.”5 He set apart ordinary texts from canonical ones, which he defined precisely not in terms of the status they already had acquired but in terms of their merit as those texts that “often or even typically engage in processes that both employ or refer to ordinary assumptions and contest them, at times radically.”6 Regarding such texts, he stated the following: Rather [such] texts should be seen to address us in more subtle and challenging ways, and they should be carried into the present – with implications for the future – in a “dialogical” fashion. . . . [Such a] text is a network of

2  Holger M. Zellentin resistances, and a dialogue is a two-way affair; a good reader is also an attentive and patient listener. Questions are necessary to focus interest in an investigation, but a fact may be pertinent to a frame of reference by contesting or even contradicting it. An interest in what does not fit a model and an openness to what one does not expect to hear from the past may even help to transform the very questions one poses to the past.7 Recognizing the Qur’an’s value as a canonical text, in the sense that it resists common assumptions, allows for an especially compelling conversation with the Islamic Scripture. When approaching the Qur’an as scholars, we must embrace the reality that the questions we ask are determined by our own present context. Yet at the same time, the quality of our scholarship will be determined by how we react to the innumerable moments of resistances to these questions that we encounter when carefully listening to the Qur’an’s message.8 The chapters collected in this volume seek a more nuanced understanding of a very timely question, namely how to understand the Qur’an in its Jewish and Christian context. This question is by no means a new one, but has been of central importance at least three times in the course of history. The Qur’an itself evokes the experiences and the fate of the “Sons of Israel” (banī ʾisrāʾīl, see e.g. Q 2:40), that of the “People of the Scripture” (ʾahl al-kitāb, see e.g. Q 29:46), as well as, in its Medinan suras, more specifically the presence of “the Jews and the Christians” (al-yahūd wa-l-naṣārā, Q 5:51) as central points of reference.9 Likewise, the earliest Muslim commentators – as well as many non-Muslim critics of Islam throughout the Middle Ages and beyond – have time and again turned to the evidence provided by their own Jewish and Christian contemporaries in order to contextualize the Qur’an’s often-elliptical utterances.10 The Western academic study of the Qur’an, finally, also began precisely with a new attempt to read the Qur’an as a historical document in light of Jewish and Christian sources.11 Yet the way in which the authors of the following chapters, along with other contemporary scholars, seek to contextualize the Qur’an is reflective of contemporary concerns and is markedly different from that of their predecessors in various ways. In contrast to the comparative efforts of religious polemicists of past and present, many contemporary scholars have largely digested the lessons of postcolonialism in as far as they tend not to seek to establish the superiority of any one tradition over any other.12 More acutely, in line with the lessons learned in the study of religion, and in contrast with those traditional exegetes – and even in contrast with some contemporary scholars – the following chapters tend not to compare the Qur’an – leave alone “Islam” – to an essentialized, and thereby ahistorical, view of “Judaism” or “Christianity.” Rather, they seek to gain a nuanced understanding of those particular types of Judaism and Christianity at the turn of the seventh century, whose adherents may have been in dialogue with – or would even, at least occasionally, have constituted part of – the Qur’an’s audience.13 Moreover, in distinction especially from the early representatives of the Western academic study of the Qur’an, the chapters here collected do not seek to trace the “influence” of the Jewish and Christian tradition upon the Islamic Scripture, but

The Qur’an and the reformation of Judaism 3 rather tend to problematize this very concept, often taking established affinities as the backdrop of the shared discursive world within which and against which scholars should attentively, patiently, and in particular, openly, understand the Qur’an’s message. To give but one example of the many ways in which the Qur’an, as the Scripture of the “youngest” of the three major traditions that lay claim to the biblical heritage, resists our preconceptions is the way in which it often situates itself as the representative of the “oldest” of these traditions, seeking to push back against perceived Jewish and Christian innovation. Resisting our sense of historical cause and effect, of earlier and later, and of the self-evident antiquity of Judaism and novelty of Islam, the Qur’an sees itself as reinstituting the original, unspoiled, and pure form of worship that had been established in the mythical past. When stating that the Torah and the Gospel “were not sent down until after him” (wamā ʾunzilati . . . ʾillā min baʿdihī, Q 3:65), i.e. after Abraham, and deducing that Abraham “was not a Jew and not a Christian” (mā kāna ʾibrāhīmu yahūdiyyan wa-lā naṣrāniyyan, Q 3:67), the Qur’an in effect offers something surprising. Its argument here resists our preconceptions of it as a premodern text in as far as it parallels that of modern historical criticism of Christianity and Judaism, which have emphasized the ahistorical nature of the claim that Church fathers and rabbis have laid on Abraham.14 We should not, of course, project a Western historical consciousness onto the Qur’an. As is well known, the passage under discussion then goes on to depict Abraham as a ḥanīf muslim (Q 3: 67), as submitting to God in His absolute oneness in a manner that is peculiar to the Qur’an alone. Likewise, in the Qur’an’s sacred history, which comes into ever sharper focus throughout its protean yet detectable chronological development, true submission to God – islām (see e.g. Q 3:19) – has been practiced throughout the history of humankind and predates the giving of the Torah to Moses.15 Such an essentialized view of the one true religion has understandably inspired generations of Muslims to claim Abraham as a Muslim in the same way that Jews and Christians have claimed him as one of their own. A projection of the present onto the past, in turn, conforms better to our view of Late Ancient religious claims, showing that the Qur’an here can helpfully be described as one of those canonical texts that “both employ or refer to ordinary assumptions and contest them, at times radically,” just as LaCapra has it: to view Abraham as one’s own is shared by many Late Antique traditions, yet to challenge such a claim on historiographical grounds is a radical contestation of the same assumption. There are, then, many ways in which the Qur’an does not neatly align with the ordinary assumptions we hold about Late Antiquity, and even moments when the Qur’an helps us challenge contemporary scholarly assumptions about Judaism and Christianity. In the view of many, for example, Judaism stands for obedience to the law and Christianity for its abrogation, and Islam simply seeks to replace both. The chapters in this volume show a more nuanced relationship, which can often be described as the Qur’an’s attempt to reform rather than to replace the religion of the Jews and the Christians of its time. In the Qur’an’s narrative of sacred

4  Holger M. Zellentin history, namely, only part of the laws given to the Israelites are seen as eternal, while others are presented as contingent on the people’s transgressions, as a temporary and punitive law (see Q 4:160–1). In this narrative, Jesus came to abrogate the punitive parts of God’s law alone (see Q 3:48–50), leading to the split between those Israelites who rejected and those who accepted Jesus, i.e. between the Jews and the Christians (see Q 61:14).16 While the latter are described as more open to God’s message than the former, they are, in turn, portrayed as having corrupted the true religion in another manner, especially so by compromising God’s unity.17 The Qur’an, then, presents a two-fold message. On the one hand, and especially in its earlier suras, it offers a message of a new revelation, seeking to end the practices of the Meccans, of which it perceives in terms of “associating” angelic and other beings with God (see e.g. Q 53:19–23).18 On the other hand, from early on yet with increasing emphasis, the Qur’an offers a message of a religious reformation to the Jews and the Christians of its own time: it exhorts them to return to the ways of Abraham as a pre-Israelite monotheist and to the posited original absolute monotheism.19 The Qur’an, in other words, increasingly seeks to replace aspects of perceived Jewish and Christian particularism – such as the fulfillment of the “punitive” parts of the law despite their abrogation, or the worship of Jesus – with its own teachings, just as a Western historian would expect. Yet the Qur’an’s process of formulating its own position in dialogue with the Jews and Christians of its time is the result of a complex and nuanced development that occurred over the entirety of the period of the Qur’an’s promulgation. An understanding of this process requires us to listen very carefully and to show “[a]n interest in what does not fit a model and an openness to what one does not expect to hear from the past,” which in turn may even help us “to transform the very questions one poses to the past,” as LaCapra put it. Sometimes, in order to grasp the Qur’an’s response to Judaism and Christianity, we need to use the Islamic Scripture as a guide not for answering, but for asking the right questions to all three traditions and to allow our views of Late Antiquity to be challenged by the way this period gave way to the Middle Ages. In seeking to pay due attention to the Qur’an’s particular ways of resisting to explicit or tacit preconceptions that we bring to it, the present volume does not set out a coherent theory of the Qur’an’s self-image as confirming to the original religion, or even of its many attempts to reform what it sees as the aberrations in its times’ Judaism and Christianity. Instead, the following case studies offer a glimpse of the status questionis of major trends in Qur’anic studies, reflecting a variety of different approaches that touch on many of the most important methodological, historical, literary, and philological questions which need to be answered before a more comprehensive thesis can be sketched. Six of the twelve contributions to this volume have been developed based on presentations given at a conference titled “Return to the Origins: The Qur’an’s Reformation of Judaism and Christianity,” which I convened in 2013 with the generous support of the Arts and Humanities Research Council; the six remaining ones have been submitted separately.20 The volume comprises four parts reflecting the different emphases which we can see highlighted in each of the chapters: Part I is titled The Qur’an, the Bible,

The Qur’an and the reformation of Judaism 5 and the Islamic Tradition, Part II The Qur’an and the Bible; Part III The Qur’an and Judaism, and Part IV The Qur’an and Christianity. The overlap of these four parts is evident, and it is clear that nearly all the chapters engage, at times in substantial ways, in issues spread across all parts of the volume. Yet one of these four emphases arguably takes a leading role in each of the chapters, while each of the four emphases, in turn, has been the intense focus of recent scholarly activity. The following summary of the chapters will therefore briefly introduce key aspects of scholarship on the four topics and then sketch the way in which each of the chapters advances the discussion.

Part I: The Qur’an, the Bible, and the Islamic tradition The four chapters in the first part of the volume pay close attention to the role which the Islamic tradition itself can play in forming the questions we pose to the Qur’an. This tradition has preserved the Qur’an’s text – the muṣḥaf – and it offers its students many ways of understanding its message, especially by preserving cultural memories about the Qur’an’s concrete Arabian historical context, along with a comprehensive lexicon, a grammar, and even a precise order of revelation for each sura (or for parts thereof).21 While traditional scholars – with noteworthy exceptions – have largely remained within the framework created by the many tools that Medieval and Modern Islamic scholarship have offered for an understanding of the Qur’an, Western academics have made various attempts at escaping its limits. A brief reflection on three of the most important of these attempted flights, and on what we have learned from them, allows us better to understand the significance of the contributions within the first part of this volume, as well as methodological assumptions displayed throughout all of its chapters.22 The most comprehensive of the attempts to leave the Islamic tradition behind occurred in the second half of the twentieth century, and can be found especially in the work of John Wansbrough and his students, Patricia Crone and Michael Cook, who had sought to reject the entire traditional framework that places the Qur’an in a seventh-century Hejazi context. This attempt was pursued with scholarly integrity and imaginativeness. It rightfully pointed to the circularity of the scholarship of their day, which relied on the Islamic tradition in its very effort to corroborate it. Moreover, while many or even most of their results proved untenable and both Cook and Crone themselves eventually disowned much of their earlier research, their findings contributed much to the scholarship of the Qur’an by their very need to be disproven with rigor.23 Even before the discovery of early manuscripts of the Qur’an that now strongly suggests the closure of the Qur’an’s canon before the end of the seventh century, Wansbrough’s radical questioning has eventually helped the case for the plausibility of locating the Qur’an in a Meccan and Medinan context.24 While each of the claims of traditional Islamic historiography needs to be evaluated on its own, and many do often reflect the concerns of much later circumstances, the attempts by scholars to defend the plausibility of both an early and an Arabian context of the Qur’an has led to a

6  Holger M. Zellentin flurry of insights linking the Islamic Scripture to the history of Arabia and to the very origins of the Islamic community.25 A similar boon to scholarship was provided by a much less likely candidate than Wansbrough and his students, namely by the scholar writing under the pseudonym Christoph Luxenberg. While earlier revisionist scholars had largely remained indebted to the lexical and grammatical support that the Islamic tradition provides in enabling us even to read the Qur’an, Luxenberg went as far as dispensing with both grammar and lexicon and instead tried to reconceive the entire Qur’an in terms of a putative garbled Syriac lectionary, whose original Christian message the Islamic commentators had obscured. Luxenberg’s work can be understood as a polemical attempt to free the Qur’an from the remaining fetters not only of the Qur’an’s historical context in Arabia, but even from the insights about its very language that had been amassed by centuries of philological inquiry.26 Needless to add, next to nothing in Luxenberg’s reading has been confirmed in mainstream scholarship, and the interest which the broader public has taken in it continues to have a detrimental effects on the public – and especially the Muslim – reception of serious works of scholarship on the Qur’an.27 Luxenberg’s work, nevertheless, forced scholars to re-evaluate the difficult question of the Qur’an’s early transmission history and its multifaceted relationship with the Syriac tradition, which in turn led them to corroborate earlier findings that this tradition is indeed of special importance when seeking to determine the Qur’an’s sociocultural and historical context, as we will see later. A final, more sophisticated attempt to challenge the traditional reading of the Qur’an concerns the chronology of its suras or parts thereof. While scholars ranging from Theodor Nöldeke to Angelika Neuwirth have sought to establish a scholarly framework of the Qur’an’s chronology and have in turn based their entire understanding of the historical development of the nascent Islamic community on the resulting sequentiality, Gabriel Reynolds has formulated a forceful criticism of the dangers of the circularity of such an approach. While the attempts to establish objective criteria for a relative dating of the Qur’anic passage predate Reynold’s criticism, scholars such as Nicolai Sinai have since redoubled their efforts to broaden and deepen our methodological arsenal for developing our understanding of the chronology of the Qur’an.28 We should understand the four chapters in the first part of this volume in light of previous attempts of leaving behind the confines of the Islamic tradition, and especially in light of the scholarly backlash to them. A short piece by Jon Hoover, “What Would Ibn Taymiyyah Make of Intertextual Study of the Qur’an? The Challenge of the isrāʾīliyyāt” (25–30) serves as a programmatic introduction at the beginning of this volume, since Hoover turns the table on the methodological considerations of many of the contributions. Instead of seeking to place the Qur’an in its historical context, he offers a hypothetical contextualization of the present efforts in terms of traditional Islamic scholarship. With the example of the medieval Muslim theologian Ibn Taymiyyah (d. 1328/728), who showed keen interest in Christianity, Hoover points to the parallels between, on the one hand, our attempts at reading the Qur’an in dialogue with the Bible and with the Jewish and

The Qur’an and the reformation of Judaism 7 the Christian tradition and, on the other hand, one historical antecedent to this method, namely the way in which the earliest Islamic exegetes availed themselves of the Jewish and Christian materials of their own time. While the use of such isrāʾīliyyāt, of narrative traditions known from the Jewish and Christian tradition, has been sharply criticized in many strands of Islamic scholarship, Hoover shows that Ibn Taymiyyah was not as categorically opposed to their use as some scholars assume. Hoover examines how the medieval theologian understood a famous report that the prophet allowed to narrate such traditions, which led Ibn Taymiyyah to classify some isrāʾīliyyāt as authentic, some as inauthentic, and some as neither verifiable nor falsifiable. Based on this understanding, Hoover shows that a sharp juxtaposition between “Western” approaches seeking to contextualize the Qur’an historically on the one hand and traditional Islamic approaches on the other does not necessarily do justice to either side of the debate. The second contribution to the first part of this volume, Islam Dayeh’s chapter titled “Prophecy and Writing in the Qur’ān, or: Why Muhammad Was Not a Scribe” (31–62), consciously and carefully allows for the Islamic tradition to guide the questions we ask of the Qur’an. Dayeh examines the Qur’an’s mode of prophecy and offers a reading of the Qur’an in its Jewish and Christian context, all the while carefully listening to the lessons of the Islamic tradition. He argues against the Western tendency to construct the Qur’an’s prophet in terms of the notion of an “author.” Instead, Dayeh suggests understanding the Qur’an in light of the modes of prophecy put forth in the Hebrew Bible, with a special focus on the practice of “dictating” prophetic texts found there. In light of the continuities between the biblical and Qur’anic concepts of prophecy, Dayeh then revisits the traditional Islamic and Western history of scholarship on the Arabic term ummī. Consideration of relevant Hebrew, Aramaic, Syriac, and Greek cognates lead him to hold that the term ummī can denote both “Scripturally unlettered” and “gentile.” The term ummiyyūn can therefore refer equally to the Prophet, to the Arabs, or to Jews whose scriptural knowledge is limited. The Qur’an’s usage of the term in both meanings conveys a complex theological message demanding spiritual openness of the believers, a claim which Dayeh illustrates with a reading of Q 62 Sūrat al-Jumuʿah. The third chapter, Angelika Neuwirth’s “A ‘Religious Transformation in Late Antiquity’: Qur’anic Refigurations of Pagan-Arab Ideals Based on Biblical Models” (63–91), probes the “epistemic space” of the Qur’an. Neuwirth brings recent attempts to contextualize the Qur’an in Late Antiquity into dialogue with the culture of pagan Arabia, records about which have been preserved in the Islamic tradition. She shows that a separation of the Qur’an’s context in either a biblical or an Arabian worldview leads to a false dichotomy. Rather, Neuwirth illustrates how the Qur’an uses biblical paradigms in order to challenge the values and customs of a tribal Arabian society, which, for example, had little regard for the afterlife. The Qur’an, Neuwirth demonstrates, thereby substitutes individual piety for the clan-based values of pre-Islamic Arabia. With a focus on the story of Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son, Neuwirth then shows on how many levels the Qur’an introduces a biblical worldview into its Arabian context, thereby

8  Holger M. Zellentin setting the stage for an argument that the Qur’an also transfers the holiness of Jerusalem and of the Temple to Mecca and its sanctuary. The fourth and final chapter in the first part, Walid A. Saleh’s “Meccan Gods, Jesus’ Divinity: An Analysis of Q 43 Sūrat al-Zukhruf   ” (92–112) shows how the Meccans and their polemics against Muhammad participated in shaping the Qur’an’s view of Jesus. According to Saleh, the Meccan criticism of the Prophet’s message is anything but crude; instead, they were able to point to tensions within the Qur’an’s doctrinal framework itself. If there be one universal God, they argued, how would His followers fall into factionalism? If Muhammad truly were a prophet, why could he not earn or even demand a revelation from God? Most importantly, how different, really, would the Meccan’s worship of God’s daughters be from that of a deified Christ? In each of these cases, Saleh traces how the Islamic exegetical tradition initially glossed over the Qur’an’s reports of the coherent and strident criticism that the Meccans leveled against Muhammad, instead depicting them as irrational barbarians. Yet time and again, Saleh shows that parts of the tradition itself eventually identified the underlying tensions as reported by the Qur’an. Built on the insights of these exegetes, Saleh then shows how the Qur’an responded to the Meccans’ criticism by formulating its view of Jesus, and its prophetology, in perceptive dialogue with its adversaries.

Part II: The Qur’an and the Bible In continuation of the focus on the Jewish and Christian Scripture we already encountered in the first part, the second part of this volume comprises two chapters that offer different answers to the question in how far one can read the Qur’an in a direct dialogue with the Bible. The long history of previous Western scholarship, ranging from classical studies such as those of Karl Ahrens and Heinrich Speyer to more recent publications such as those of Angelika Neuwirth and Gabriel Reynolds, show that the Qur’an’s view of what, exactly, constitutes “the Bible” is not a trivial matter, but rather a key to contextualize the Qur’an.29 The way in which the Qur’an understands the continuity of the Torah with the Gospel and of previous Scripture with itself, namely, points to the many aspects of the Qur’an’s typological approach, which should, in turn, shape the way in which we conceive of the Qur’an’s biblical context.30 The continuity of biblical law and the Qur’an is the focus of the first chapter in the second part, Holger M. Zellentin’s chapter titled “Gentile Purity Law from the Bible to the Qur’an: The Case of Sexual Purity and Illicit Intercourse” (115–215). Zellentin emphasizes that the continuity of the Qur’an and the Bible is best understood in light of the latter’s long and complex reception history in Late Antique legal practice. In his longitudinal approach, Zellentin argues for a continuous reception history of Leviticus 18 as a blueprint for gentile purity law that can be traced throughout Late Antiquity and that in turn forms the Qur’an’s legal point of departure for its sexual laws. The chapter examines those Levitical laws which Late Antique Jews and Christians broadly understood as prohibiting adultery, sexual intercourse during a woman’s menstruation, sex between men,

The Qur’an and the reformation of Judaism 9 and intermarriage with pagans. Pointing to the hermeneutical and legal affinities and differences between the so-called “Decree of the Apostles” and the rabbinic “Noahide Laws,” Zellentin traces the largely uncontested prominence of gentile sexual purity laws throughout many forms of Late Ancient Christianity. He holds that the Qur’an’s respective legislation stands in closest continuity with an expansive attitude towards gentile purity he sees as pervasive throughout Greek and West Syrian Christianity. The Medinan view of sexual purity, at the same time, promulgates a unique legal system that, on the one hand, stands in close dialogue with broad swaths of Late Antique Christian legal thought and, on the other hand, shapes legal precedent into its own coherent juridical system. The second study in this part, Geneviève Gobillot’s chapter titled “David and Solomon: Antecedents, Modalities, and Consequences of their Twinship in the Qur’an,” offers a different reading of the continuity of the Bible and the Qur’an than the one put forward by Zellentin. Gobillot holds that the Qur’an seeks to lead its audience “back to the Bible” by offering interpretations of biblical stories that counter those found in previous interpretative traditions. Gobillot illustrates her point by discussing the ways in which the Qur’an depicts David and Solomon. With special attention to the depiction of these figures in the Wisdom of Ben Sira, she shows that while parts of the Jewish and the Christian tradition perceive of the two kings of Israel in terms of their sinfulness, the Qur’an emphasizes their righteousness and either downplays their transgression or excises them altogether. In lieu of an emphasis on the kings’ respective transgression, including their polygamous and polytheistic exploits, the Qur’an presents David and Solomon in a “twinned” relationship: both are portrayed in terms of their repentance, and both are promised a “good destination,” both master parts of the inanimate and the animate creation, both know the speech of birds, and both are depicted as sages.

Part III: The Qur’an and Judaism The two chapters in the third part of the volume enhance our understanding of the relationship between the Qur’an and the rabbinic tradition, which in turn should determine the way in which we construct the Qur’an’s Jewish context. Since the sweeping attempts by the likes of Abraham Geiger, Charles Cutler Torrey, or, more recently and with more nuance, Gordon Newby, there have been fewer studies seeking to contextualize the Qur’an within Late Antique Judaism rather than within Late Antique Christianity (which will be treated in Part IV).31 The noteworthy exceptions to this trend are the substantial contributions of Michael Lecker and of Christian Robin, yet the reliance of the former on traditional Islamic historiography and the focus of the latter on the archaeology of South Arabia seem to have somewhat diminished the impact of both on the work of scholars concentrating on the Qur’an.32 The two following chapters are thus especially important in reminding us of the Qur’an’s broad engagement with its contemporaries, be they Jewish, Christian, or pagan. In the chapter titled “Pharaoh’s Submission to God in the Qur’an and in Rabbinic Literature: A Case Study in Qur’anic Intertextuality” (235–260), Nicolai Sinai

10  Holger M. Zellentin discusses the repentance in extremis of the drowning Pharaoh in light of pre- and post-Qur’anic Christian and especially rabbinic sources. Sinai illustrates how the Qur’an’s version of the story of Pharaoh’s death relates to the narrative found in the Hebrew Bible and to rabbinic and Christian doctrines on repentance that build on this story, showing how clearly the Islamic Scripture rejects the validity of finding faith only when facing divine reckoning. Sinai takes his case study as an opportunity to delineate the methodological problems arising from the use of early Islamicate rabbinic literature for a contextualization of the Qur’an that had marked many classical studies. Yet rather than rejecting the use of such sources outright, Sinai establishes a more nuanced middle ground by connecting certain aspects of post-Qur’anic rabbinic literature with Late Antique antecedents, thereby allowing him to place the Qur’an in a broader web of historical references. In the third part’s second chapter, Mehdi Azaiez examines “The Eschatological Counter-Discourse in the Qur’an and in Babylonian Talmud Sanhedrin 90b-91a” (261–274). Azaiez, in a summary of some of his findings published in his recent French monograph Le contre-discours coranique (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2015), presents an inventory of all those Qur’anic passages that present the voices of those denying the resurrection, along with the responses to them provided by the Qur’an itself. Based on these data, the chapter then compares the Qur’an’s portrayal of its opponents to materials found in the Babylonian Talmud (which was edited in Mesopotamia prior to the Qur’an). Here, in tractate Sanhedrin 90b-91a, we equally find a list of those denying the resurrection, along with the Talmud’s own answers to these characters. Azaiez compares the “eschatological counter-discourse” of both texts and uses their similarity as a starting point from which to point to the important differences between the respective portrayals of the voices of religious opponents, deriving lessons on the Qur’an’s rhetoric and on its theology.

Part IV: The Qur’an and Christianity The fourth and final part of this volume presents four chapters that reflect the close attention recent scholarship pays to the value of the Christian tradition for the understanding of the Qur’an. Again, scholars are increasingly allowing for the Qur’an itself to shape the image of Christianity that they in turn employ in their attempts historically to contextualize the Islamic Scripture. The focus on Christianity highlighted by these studies, in and of itself, is not new: figures such as Tor Andrae and Alphonse Mingana had long emphasized the importance of the Christian and especially the Syriac Christian tradition for the Qur’an, and several of the contributors to the present volume have themselves previously furthered this approach in contributing to what has previously been described as the “Syriac turn” in Qur’anic studies.33 This part’s five chapters, like many recent studies, continue to offer a nuanced way in which to place the Islamic Scripture more carefully into a Christian context than some of their predecessors. Importantly, they offer not only new insights regarding specific passages but also present us with important broader methodological considerations.

The Qur’an and the reformation of Judaism 11 The first study, Joseph Witztum’s chapter titled “Thrice Upon a Time: Abraham’s Guests and the Study of Intra-Qur’anic Parallels” (277–302) shows how an analysis of the Qur’an’s relationship to the Christian tradition can guide our understanding of the Qur’an’s own chronological developments, a key issue in current scholarship as noted earlier. Witztum begins with a presentation of the three Qur’anic versions of the story of Abraham’s mysterious guests and the good tidings of an expected son they bring, as first reported in Genesis 18. Witztum determines the relationship of the three versions to each other and seeks to determine how each of them relates to the biblical narrative and to its Late Antique interpretation, especially in the Syriac tradition. Witztum then challenges various previous attempts of determining the sequence of the three passages and contests the universal validity of the common assumption that later Qur’anic passages would always show more rather than fewer traces of an engagement with the biblical text. Witztum does not reject the assumption outright, but shows that the case of Abraham’s guests points precisely in the opposite direction, namely to a diminution of biblical echoes in the later passages, illustrating once more that we must remain especially perceptive to the ways in which the Qur’an resists our preconceived models. Gerald Hawting, in his chapter “ ‘Killing the Prophets and Stoning the Messengers’: Two Themes in the Qur’an and Their Background” (303–317), revisits the accusation the Qur’an levels against the Israelites, namely that they caused harm to God’s apostles. Hawting traces the development of this theme, which is relevant but rather marginal in the Hebrew Bible, yet gains prominence in the Christian and Jewish tradition and becomes firmly established in the Qur’an. Hawting suggests that the notion of the persecution and especially the stoning of the prophets first emerged within Judaism itself before it was eagerly taken over by Christians, all the while continuing to resonate in the rabbinic tradition. Hawting ultimately points to the importance of the Christian over the rabbinic attestation when trying to determine to which tradition the Qur’an responds. However, the complex and variegated reception history allows Hawting to caution against overly emphasizing the Syriac transmission history of certain themes into the Qur’an’s milieu, since topics such as the accusation to have killed or stoned the prophets are widely reported in the Eastern and Western Christian tradition. In the third study in the fourth part, Gabriel Said Reynolds, in “On the Qur’an and Christian Heresies” (318–332), takes another case study in order to evaluate the methodologies that are typically applied to the Qur’an. Reynolds focuses on the notion of “influence” that is often used in depicting the relationship of the Qur’an to its Christian context, and in turn examines the uncritical way in which some scholars have taken the Qur’an’s testimony of religious opponents at face value. Taking the ways in which the Qur’an portrays several aspects of Christianity, such as Trinitarian belief and church hierarchy, as an example, Reynolds challenges the common method of using such depictions in order to connect the Christians in the Qur’an’s milieu to patristic descriptions of various heresies. Instead, Reynolds argues that we should see many of the Qur’an’s statements about Christianity as evidence not of Christian belief and practice, but first and foremost as evidence

12  Holger M. Zellentin of Qur’anic rhetoric. This, in turn, allows Reynolds to construct a more nuanced understanding first of the Qur’an’s own message and only second of the teachings of its Christian adversaries. The final chapter of this volume, Mary B. Cunningham’s “Reflections on the Qur’an, Christianity and Intertextuality” (333–343), stands in lieu of a conclusion. Cunningham revisits the findings of a number of contributions, with a special focus on those of Azaiez, Hawting, Neuwirth, Reynolds, Sinai, and Zellentin, and grapples with the lessons a scholar from a different discipline – and especially a historian of Late Antique Christianity – can draw from the present volume. Cunningham emphasizes the contacts between Muslims, Christians, and Jews towards the end of Late Antiquity, a period she describes as a “transitional age.” With a special focus on the topics of identity, views of Jesus and Mary, and eschatology, Cunningham illustrates how relevant the study of the Qur’an is for students of Christianity and for historians of Late Antique religions more broadly.

Further afield The present volume emphasises the Qur’an’s Arabian, Biblical, Jewish, and Christian context and its attempt to return its contemporaries to the idealized religious origins connected with Abraham. The volume thus addresses a specific juncture in the development of the study of the Qur’an. Future studies will surely enhance our knowledge by including more historical data in their consideration. The importance of the Mandaean, Manichean, and Zoroastrian tradition for our reconstruction of the Qur’an’s context, which remained on the sidelines in this volume, should by no means be negated, but rather promises to provide further valuable insights.34 The recent redating of the Garima gospels, which may lead to a much earlier timeline for further parts of the extant Ethiopic Christian literature, may or may not, in due course, supplement or even supplant the current emphasis on the Syriac tradition.35 Furthermore, recent aerial findings throughout Saudi Arabia, made possible by technologies such as Google Earth, crowdsourcing, LIDAR, and the use of drones, especially if enhanced by ground-penetrating radar, may one day enhance our contextualization of the Qur’an, as does the recent work on early Safaitic and Qur’anic graffiti.36 The work on the variants of some early manuscripts of the Qur’an and a methodological appreciation of the various traditional reading variants (aḥruf and qirāʾāt) will further advance our appreciation of the text’s nuances and its earliest transmission history.37 Finally, we should eagerly be awaiting the work of emerging scholars of the Qur’an who will have received thorough training both in the critical study of Late Antique religions and in the Islamic tradition. They may be able to give us a better sense of which parts of the sīra, the life of the prophet, can be confirmed by critical historical approaches to be of special relevance for our understanding of the development of the nascent Islamic community, and which aspects of tafsīr, of traditional Islamic exegesis, may prove especially valid for a reading of the Qur’an in its Late Antique historical context. Yet no matter what future findings may bring, the present volume is a testimony to an emerging consensus in Qur’anic studies that place the Islamic

The Qur’an and the reformation of Judaism 13 Scripture’s nuanced and pointed engagement with specific forms of Late Antique Judaism and Christianity in a prominent position.

Notes * The creation of this volume has been made possible by the generous assistance of the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the Leverhulme Trust, who have supported my scholarship, as well as a 2013 conference dedicated to the present topic (see note 20), with an Early Career Fellowship (2012–2013) and a Philip Leverhulme Prize (2015–2018). My gratitude to Joe Whiting, Emma Tyce, and Titanilla Panczel at Routledge for their patience and editorial support, as well as to Walid Saleh for his unceasing encouragement and academic commitment to this publication. I also want to express my indebtedness to Andrew Rippin, a great scholar and human being. Andrew had encouraged me to submit the manuscript to this series, which had thrived under his auspices until his untimely passing. 1 Recent data on the state of Islamic and Qur’anic studies is yet to be published, yet the trend more prominently to include the teaching of Islam in the curriculum of schools and universities throughout the Western world has clearly vitalized the study of the Qur’an. Likewise, the establishment of the British Association of Islamic Studies (BRAIS) in 2014, of the International Qur’anic Studies Association (IQSA) in 2012, and the rise of Islamic theology in German universities since 2010 has provided new focal points for the field. Much work, of course, remains to be done in order to achieve the full recognition of Islamic studies within the world of the Western academy, as well as the establishment of Qur’anic studies as a free-standing discipline within Islamic studies. 2 On the relationship between the Qur’an and the Islamic tradition see Part I of this volume (pages 23–112). The notion of Late Antiquity, situated between Classical Antiquity and the Middle Ages, was first introduced by Peter Brown with a focus on the Western world. See idem, The World of Late Antiquity: AD 150–750 (New York: Harcourt Brace Janovich, 1971). In the realm of Persia, Mesopotamia, and Arabia, this period roughly coincides with the Sasanian Empire, which lasted from the early third century to the Muslim Arab conquests in the middle of the seventh century CE, a period which witnessed the Christianization of the Roman Empire and the Battle of Yarmouk in 636 CE that introduced the end of the Christian dominance of Palestine (see Brown’s brief remarks in ibid., 20 and 201, as well as more recently Garth Fowden, Before and After Muhammad: The First Millennium Refocused [Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2014]). The view perceiving Late Antiquity with a focus on Latin and Greek Christendom has further been broadened by studies that also include Syriac Christianity, see e.g. Richard E. Payne, A State of Mixture: Christians, Zoroastrians and Iranian Political Culture in Late Antiquity (Oakland, CA: University of California Press, 2015). 3 Classical studies of the Qur’an, such as those of Theodor Nöldeke and others (more on this later), saw the Qur’an primarily as a historical artifact and employed philology in order to support their historical arguments; see idem, Geschichte des Qorāns (Göttingen: Verlag der Dieterichschen Buchhandlung, 1860; a later edition has now been translated as Theodor Nöldeke, Friedrich Schwally, Gotthelf Bergsträßer, and Otto Pretzl, The History of the Qurʾān [Leiden: E. J. Brill, 2013]). Recent studies, in contrast, perhaps best epitomized by Angelika Neuwirth, pay closer attention to their own epistemological framework and seek to recognize the Qur’an first and foremost as a literary phenomenon, therefore insisting on grasping its literary qualities before drawing any historical conclusions; see eadem, Scripture, Poetry and the Making of a Community (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014), and see now also Nicolai Sinai, The Qur'an: A Historical-Critical Introduction (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University

14  Holger M. Zellentin Press, 2017). The developments in the field – which should be understood in terms of a gradual shift of emphases rather in terms of total alterity – closely parallel those that have occurred in the study of Late Antiquity itself, a development which has been described by Elizabeth A. Clark in eadem, History, Theory, Text: Historians and the Linguistic Turn (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2004). 4 See Dominick LaCapra, “Rethinking Intellectual History and Reading Texts,” History and Theory 19 (1980): 248. For a recent analysis of the enduring value of LaCapra’s article see Clark, History, Theory, Text, esp. 126–129 and 141–152; see also James Tully (ed.), Meaning and Context: Quentin Skinner and His Critics (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1988), passim. 5 LaCapra, “Rethinking Intellectual History,” 248. 6 LaCapra, “Rethinking Intellectual History,” 249. 7 LaCapra, “Rethinking Intellectual History,” 274–275. 8 On the Qur’an’s nature as both a written and an oral text see esp. Islam Dayeh, “Prophecy and Writing in the Qur’ān, or: Why Muhammad Was Not a Scribe,” 31–62, later. It goes without saying that the Qur’an sees itself as “canonical” in the sense that it constitutes part of divine Scripture, along with the Torah and the Gospel, see e.g. Daniel Madigan, The Qur’ān’s Self-Image: Writing and Authority in Islam’s Scripture (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2001); for a recent assessment of the Qur’an selfimage as both text and Scripture and its relationship to previous revelation see Mohsen Goudarzi Taghanaki, The Second Coming of the Book: Rethinking Qur’anic Scripturology and Prophetology (PhD Dissertation, Harvard University, 2018) and AnneSylvie Boisliveau, Le Coran par lui-même: Vocabulaire et argumentation du discours coranique autoréférentiel (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 2013). 9 A precise definition of the “Sons of Israel” and the “People of the Scripture,” and their relationship to the nascent Islamic community, remains much debated; see e.g. Mehdy Shaddel, “Qurʾānic ummī: Genealogy, Ethnicity, and the Foundation of a New Community,” Jerusalem Studies in Arabic and Islam 43 (2016): 1–60. It seems increasingly clear that Qur’an, just as much of the Syriac tradition, sees the Christian community along with the Jewish one as successor to the Israelites; see Holger M. Zellentin, “Gentile Purity Law from the Bible to the Qur’an: The Case of Sexual Purity and Illicit Intercourse,” p. 153, and cf. Uri Rubin, Between Bible and Qur’an: The Children of Israel and the Islamic Self-Image (Princeton, NJ: Darwin Press, 1999). 10 On the use of the Jewish and Christian tradition in traditional Islamic exegesis see Jon Hoover, “What Would Ibn Taymiyyah Make of Intertextual Study of the Qur’an? The Challenge of the isrāʾīliyyāt” 25–30, later. Reading the Qur’an in dialogue with the Bible and the Christian tradition was, of course, also the response of the earliest Jews and Christians who responded to the rise of Islam; see e.g. Michael Philip Penn, Envisioning Islam: Syriac Christians and the Early Muslim World (Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2015) and Robert Hoyland, Seeing Islam as Others Saw It: A Survey and Evaluation of Christian, Jewish and Zoroastrian Writings on Early Islam (Princeton, NJ: Darwin Press, 1998). 11 Representative early Western studies of reading the Qur’an in light of Jewish and Christian sources are the works of Abraham Geiger, Was Hat Mohammed aus dem Judenthume Aufgenommen? (Bonn: F. Baaden, 1833, translated as idem., Judaism and Islam, trans. by F. M. Young. Madras: M. D. C. S. P. K. Press, 1898); Henri Lammens, L’Arabie occidentale avant l’Hégire: Chrétiens et juifs à la mecque à la veille de l’Hégire (Paris: Dar Byblion, 2006 [1928]; Tor Andrae, Mohammed, Sein Leben und Sein Glaube (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1932); and Joseph Horovitz, Koranische Untersuchungen (Berlin: De Gruyter, 1926). 12 The lessons of Edward W. Said, spelled out in idem, Orientalism: Western Conceptions of the Orient (New York: Pantheon Books, 1978), have been heeded by many scholars of the Qur’an; see e.g. Dirk Hartwig, et al. (eds.) “Im vollen Licht der

The Qur’an and the reformation of Judaism 15 Geschichte” – Die Wissenschaft des Judentums und die Anfänge der Koranforschung (Würzburg: Ergon, 2008). Yet at the same time, we should note that Qur’anic studies still has not managed to tackle the central task of defining a consensus on how to integrate the evidence of the Islamic tradition into its methodological framework, as becomes quite evident, for example, in Walid Saleh’s, “Review Article: Muḥammad Is Not the Father of Any of Your Men: The Making of the Last Prophet, by David S. Powers,” Comparative Islamic Studies 6 (2010): 251–264; the four studies comprising the first part of this volume equally address the issue of integrating the lessons learned from the Islamic tradition with an attempt to understand the Qur’an in its Late Antique context. 13 On this issue see especially Nicolai Sinai, “Pharaoh’s Submission to God in the Qur’an and in Rabbinic Literature: A Case Study in Qur’anic Intertextuality,” 235–260, later; we should note that the past decades have seen a dramatic improvement in our ability to more reliably date rabbinic sources, a development which has excluded many late rabbinic collections from consideration as directly reflective of Late Antique Judaism. On respective developments in the study and dating of Syriac texts see e.g. Sebastian P. Brock, An Introduction to Syriac Studies (Piscataway, NJ: Gorgias Press, 2016). 14 The role of Abraham in the Jewish and the Christian tradition, as well as in the Qur’an, is one of the topics discussed by Angelika Neuwirth in “A ‘Religious Transformation in Late Antiquity’: Qur’anic Refigurations of Pagan-Arab Ideals Based on Biblical Models,” 63–91 later, as well as by Joseph Witztum, “Thrice Upon a Time: Abraham’s Guests and the Study of Intra-Qur’anic Parallels,” 277–302 later. See also the insightful pieces by Reuven Firestone, “Abraham and Authenticity,” in The Oxford Handbook of the Abrahamic Religions, ed. Adam Silverstein and Guy G. Stroumsa (Oxford: Oxford University Press), 3–21. 15 The question when Islam began to see itself as a religion separate from Judaism and Christianity is fiercely contested; while I myself would argue for a clear Islamic selfidentity already with the formulation of a distinct law code in the Medinan suras, other scholars date the parting of the ways much later, see e.g. Fred Donner, Muhammad and the Believers: At the Origins of Islam (Cambridge, MA: Belknap, 2012). 16 The Qur’an portrays itself as confirming Jesus’ mission to abrogate the punitive parts of the Torah, see e.g. Q 5:48. For an interpretation of the Qur’an’s teaching on the partial abrogation of the law (and for parallels in the West Syrian tradition) see Holger M. Zellentin, The Qurʾān’s Legal Culture: The Didascalia Apostolorum as a Point of Departure (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2013), 127–174. 17 On the Qur’an’s response to Christianity see esp. Walid Saleh, “Meccan Gods, Jesus’ Divinity: An Analysis of Q 43 Sūrat al-Zukhruf,” esp. 98–108, later, and Gabriel Said Reynolds, “On the Qur’an and Christian Heresies,” 318–332, later. 18 On the religion of the Meccans according to the Qur’an see Neuwirth, “A ‘Religious Transformation in Late Antiquity,’ esp. 84 as well as Saleh, “Meccan Gods, Jesus’ Divinity,” 92–112, later. 19 The concept of the Qur’an’s “return to the origins,” as reflected in the title of this volume, is partially based on the concept of constitutional originalism put forward with increasing vehemence in the jurisprudential discourse of the United States. I have traced this phenomenon from its first-century Jewish sources into the Jesus Movement (in Holger M. Zellentin, “Jesus and the Tradition of the Elders: Originalism and Traditionalism in Early Judean Legal Theory,” in Beyond the Gnostic Gospels: Studies Building on the Work of Elaine H. Pagels, ed. L. Jenott, et al. (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2013), 379–403) and have recently suggested that the hermeneutical tension between legal originalism and its opposite – traditionalism – has shaped Jewish, Christian, and Islamic thoughts ever since; see my presentations “Legal Hermeneutics and the Birth of Islam, Christianity and Judaism,” given on 12 March 2018 at the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies at the University of Helsinki, and “Originalism

16  Holger M. Zellentin and Traditionalism: Innovating Sacred Law in Late Antiquity and Beyond,” given on 18 October 2017 at the American Academy of Rome; I hope to be able to publish both studies in due course. 20 The conference “Return to the Origins: The Qur’an’s Reformation of Judaism and Christianity” took place from 20–21 January 2013 at the University of Nottingham, in the United Kingdom. The chapters of Mehdi Azaiez, Mary Cunningham, Gerald Hawting, Jon Hoover, Gabriel Said Reynolds, and Nicolai Sinai are based on conference presentations, while those of Islam Dayeh, Geneviève Gobillot, Angelika Neuwirth, Walid Saleh, Joseph Witztum, and Holger M. Zellentin have been submitted separately. I may be speaking for all contributors if claiming that the events of the years since the conference – the political turmoil in the United States, in Europe, and in the Near and Middle East, accompanied by religiously and racially motivated violence and by the rise of Islamophobic or, respectively, anti-Western political voices – have left an imprint on our persona and on our scholarship. Explaining the Qur’an’s coherent and intelligible message to its contemporaries in historical terms, and examining its nuanced and often surprising views of Judaism and Christianity, is not likely to solve any immediate political problems, yet a better historical comprehension of Islam and of its Scripture remain preconditions for the functioning of multicultural and multireligious societies worldwide. 21 For the importance of the preserved text and its relationship to the Qur’an’s interaction with the nascent Islamic community see Angelika Neuwirth, “Two Faces of the Qur’ān: Qur’ān and Muṣḥaf,” Oral Tradition 25 (2010): 141–156. 22 A good summary of the development of the field has been offered by Devin Stewart in idem, “Reflections on the State of the Art in Western Qur’anic Studies,” in Islam and Its Past: Jahiliyya, Late Antiquity, and the Qur’an, ed. Carol Bakhos and Michael Cook (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017), 4–68; I am equally indebted to the concepts of “revisionists,” “skeptics,” and “neo-traditionalists” offered in the programmatic introduction to the article by Behnam Sadeghi and Mohsen Goudarzi, “Ṣanʿāʾ 1 and the Origins of the Qurʾān,” Der Islam 87 (2012): 3–4. 23 Key works are John Wansbrough, Quranic Studies (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1977), idem, The Sectarian Milieu: Contents and Composition of Islamic Salvation History (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1978) and Patricia Crone and Michael Cook, Hagarism: The Making of the Islamic World (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1977); for the reception of these works see e.g. Stewart, “Reflections on the State of the Art in Western Qur’anic Studies,” 18–29. A good reflection of Cook’s later position can be found in idem, The Koran: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000); as for Crone, it is mainly the historicity of the Qur’an’s messenger and his relationship to the text that she increasingly affirmed, see e.g. eadem, “What Do We Actually Know About Mohammed,” in Open Democracy, posted 10 June 2008 see (accessed June 14, 2018). It goes without saying that not all scholars have rejected all of Cook’s and Crone’s findings; a noteworthy exception is Stephen J. Shoemaker, see e.g. idem, The Death of a Prophet: The End of Muhammad’s Life and the Beginnings of Islam (Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2012). 24 A strong case for the plausibility of the Qur’an’s Meccan and Medinan context has been made by Nicolai Sinai in idem, The Qur’an: A Historical-Critical Introduction, esp. 40–80. A good summary of recent findings about the Qur’an’s early manuscript is François Déroche, Qur’ans of the Umayyads: A First Overview (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 2013); see now also Asma Hilali, The Sanaa Palimpsest: The Transmission of the Qur’an in the First Centuries AH (Oxford: Oxford University Press and Institute of Ismaili Studies, 2017) and Sadeghi and Goudarzi, “Ṣanʿāʾ 1 and the Origins of the Qurʾān.” 25 See especially Neuwirth, Scripture, Poetry and the Making of a Community, and cf. Aziz Al-Azmeh, The Emergence of Islam in Late Antiquity: Allāh and His People (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014).

The Qur’an and the reformation of Judaism 17 26 See Christoph Luxenberg, The Syro-Aramaic Reading of the Koran (Berlin: Hans Schiler, 2007 [2000]). We should note that the pen name Christoph Luxenberg, whose constituent parts are real names, is perhaps meant to be understood as a tri-lingual Greek, Latin, and German pun that self-consciously highlights the book’s Christian apologetic and polemical message. The first name is an obvious reference to Saint Christopher, the third-century martyr, whose name denotes the “bearer of Christ” (Greek: χριστόφορος). One need not be familiar with the saying of Matthew 5:14–15 in order to understand the image of the bearer of Christ, in conjunction with that of “light” (Latin: lux) and “mountain” (German: Berg), as readily evoking the “light” of Christian faith which is placed on the “mountain” in order to enlighten humanity. Similar imagery evoking “enlightenment” is also evident in the naming of the InârahInstitute, an organization with close links to Luxenberg, cf. Markus Groß and KarlHeinz Ohlig, “Zum Echo auf die Veröffentlichungen von Inârah in Presse und Fachwelt (II),” imprimatur 2 (2011) (accessed 7 June 2018). 27 For the extremely critical reception of Luxenberg’s work see Stewart, “Reflections on the State of the Art in Western Qur’anic Studies,” 19–24; see also Dayeh, “Prophecy and Writing in the Qur’ān, or: Why Muhammad Was Not a Scribe,” 31 later. We should note that while none of Luxenberg’s findings have been confirmed (to the best of my knowledge), a few scholars find the method of reconstituting words based on the Qur’anic rasm (i.e. the consonantal skeleton of the Qur’an, without iʿjām pointing) a worthwhile exercise, see e.g. Munther Younes, “Blessing, Clinging, Familiarity, Custom – or Ship? A New Reading of the Word Īlāf in Q 106,” Journal of Semitic Studies 62 (2017): 181–189 and idem, “Charging Steeds or Maidens Doing Good Deeds: A Re-Interpretation of Qur’an 100 (Al-ʿAadiyaat),” Arabica 55 (2008): 362–386. 28 See Nicolai Sinai, “Inner-Qur’anic Chronology,” in The Oxford Handbook of Qur’anic Studies, ed. Muhammad Abdel Haleem und Mustafa Shah (Oxford: Oxford University Press), forthcoming. For an assessment of Qur’anic chronology and further references see also Hoover, “What Would Ibn Taymiyyah Make of Intertextual Study of the Qur’an?” 25, later; Sinai, “Pharaoh’s Submission to God in the Qur’an and in Rabbinic Literature,” 235, later, and Zellentin, “Gentile Purity Law from the Bible to the Qur’an,” 117, later. Witztum’s chapter “Thrice Upon a Time,” 277–302, later, offers a detailed exploration of the difficulties to establish the relative chronology in three parallel accounts; Neuwirth’s chapter, “A ‘Religious Transformation in Late Antiquity,’ ” 63–91, later, by contrast, illustrates a reading based on the chronology she herself has established in her earlier works. For Reynolds criticism see idem, “Le problème de la chronologie du Coran,” Arabica 58 (2011): 477–502; for a previous alternative approach see Behnam Sadeghi, “The Chronology of the Qur’ān: A Stylometric Research Program,” Arabica 58 (2011): 210–299. 29 See for example Karl Ahrens, “Christliches im Qoran. Eine Nachlese,” Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft 84 (1930): 148–190; Heinrich Speyer, Biblische Erzählungen im Qoran (Hildesheim: Georg Olms Verlag, 1988) [originally published sometime between 1937 and 1939 in Breslau]); Angelika Neuwirth, Der Koran als Text der Spätantike: Ein europäischer Zugang (Berlin: Verlag der Weltreligionen, 2010); Gabriel S. Reynolds, The Qur’ān and its Biblical Subtext (London: Routledge, 2010); and idem, The Qur’an and the Bible: Text and Commentary (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2018). The work of Speyer remains foundational, and a group of scholars is currently working on combining Speyer’s findings with more recent scholarship. The planned outcome of this effort is a volume edited by Marianna Klar, Gabriel S. Reynolds, Nicolai Sinai, and Holger M. Zellentin, which will appear under the title Biblical Traditions in the Qurʾān with Princeton University Press. 30 The Qur’an’s typology is equally addressed by Angelika Neuwirth in “A ‘Religious Transformation in Late Antiquity,’ ” see 14–19, later. The centrality of typological readings has recently been emphasized by Sidney Griffith in idem, The Bible in Arabic:

18  Holger M. Zellentin The Scriptures of the “People of the Book” in the Language of Islam (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2013), 54–96, as well as in Devin Stewart, “Understanding the Quran in English: Notes on Translation, Form, and Prophetic Typology,” in Diversity in Language: Contrastive Studies in English and Arabic Theoretical and Applied Linguistics, ed. Zeinab Ibrahim et al. (Cairo: The American University in Cairo Press, 2000), 31–48. Angelika Neuwirth and Islam Dayeh are currently editing a volume dedicated to understanding the role of typology for the Qur’an, which will be submitted to Routledge Studies in the Qur’an. 31 Among the important early works placing the Qur’an in the Jewish tradition are Geiger, Was Hat Mohammed aus dem Judenthume aufgenommen?; Charles Cutler Torrey, The Jewish Foundation of Islam (New York: The Jewish Institute of Religion Press and Bloch Publishing, 1933); Shelomo Dov Goitein, “Who Were Muḥammad’s Chief Teachers?” Tarbiz 23 (1953): 146–159 [Hebrew]; idem, Ha-islam shel Muhammad: ketsad hithavta dat hadasha be-tsel ha-Yahadut (Jerusalem: Aqademon, 1956); and more recently Gordon D. Newby, A History of the Jews of Arabia: From Ancient Times to Their Eclipse Under Islam (Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1988). 32 Among Michael Lecker’s many publications see esp. idem, Jews and Arabs in Preand Early Islamic Arabia (Aldershot: Ashgate, 1998), for Christian J. Robin, see now idem, “Quel judaïsme en Arabie?” in Le Judaïsme de l’Arabie antique, ed. idem (Turnhout: Brepols, 2015), 15–195. Other scholars placing special emphasis on the Qur’an’s Jewish context are Hamza M. Zafer, see idem, Quranic Communalism in Scripture and in Early Historiography (PhD Dissertation, Cornell University, 2014); and Michael Pregill, see e.g. idem, “The Hebrew Bible and the Quran: The Problem of the Jewish ‘Influence’ on Islam,” Religion Compass 1 (2007): 643–659, cf. also the work of Carlos A. Segovia, The Quranic Noah and the Making of the Islamic Prophet: A Study of Intertextuality and Religious Identity Formation in Late Antiquity (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2015); and of Haggai Mazuz, The Religious and Spiritual Life of the Jews of Medina (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 2014), but see my review of Mazuz’ monograph in Ancient Near Eastern Studies 54 (2017): 220–222. 33 Previous studies that have placed special emphasis on the Qur’an’s Syriac context include Alphonse Mingana, “Syriac Influence on the Style of the Kurʾān,” Bulletin of The John Rylands Library 11 (1927): 77–98; Andrae, Mohammed, Sein Leben und Sein Glaube; Reynolds, The Qur’an’s Biblical Subtext; Joseph Witztum, The Syriac Milieu of the Quran: The Recasting of Biblical Narratives (PhD Dissertation, Princeton University, 2010); and Zellentin, The Qurʾān’s Legal Culture. I have previously advocated for recognizing a “Syriac Turn” in Qur’anic studies (see e.g. Zellentin, The Qurʾān’s Legal Culture, 35–36) and for broadening this tendency to become a more inclusive “Aramaic Turn” (see my remarks in Mehdi Azaiez, et al. (eds.), The Qur’an Seminar Commentary: A Collaborative Study of 50 Qur’anic Passages (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2016), 45–46); Stewart, by contrast, emphasizes the continuities of recent tendencies with those of the last century and categorizes the same movement as that of a “New Biblicism,” see idem, “Reflections on the State of the Art in Western Qur’anic Studies,” 24. On the question of the Qur’an’s relationship to the notion of “Jewish-“ or “Judaeo-Christianity” see now Francisco del Río Sánchez (ed.), Jewish Christianity and the Origins of Islam (Turnout: Brepols, 2018), as well as Zellentin, The Qurʾān’s Legal Culture, esp. 175–202. 34 For an attempt at paying closer attention to the Qur’an’s Manichean context see e.g. François de Blois, “Elchasai – Manes – Muḥammad: Manichäismus und Islam in religionshistorischem Vergleich,” Der Islam 81 (2004): 31–48. 35 For a popular summary of the redating of the Garima gospels and its likely impact of the relative dating of the Ethiopic tradition see Alessandro Bausi, “The ‘True Story’ of the Abba Gärima Gospels,” Comparative Oriental Manuscript Studies Newsletter 1 (2011): 17–19. One scholar paying close attention to the Qur’an’s Ethiopic context is Guillaume Dye, see e.g. idem, “Traces of Bilingualism/Multilingualism in Qurʾānic Arabic,” in Arabic in Context, ed. Ahmad al-Jallad (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 2017), 337–371.

The Qur’an and the reformation of Judaism 19 36 See for example Frédéric Imbert, “L’islam des pierres: Expression de la foi dans les graffiti arabes des premiers siècles,” Revue des mondes musulmans et de la Méditerranée 129 (2011): 57–77. 37 See, e.g. Hilali, The Sanaa Palimpsest; Sadeghi and Goudarzi, “Ṣanʿāʾ 1 and the Origins of the Qurʾān;” Déroche, Qur’ans of the Umayyads; and Ramon Harvey, “The Legal Epistemology of Qur’anic Variants: The Readings of Ibn Masʿūd in Kufan fiqh and the Ḥanafī madhhab,” Journal of Qur’anic Studies 19 (2017): 72–101.

Bibliography Ahrens, Karl. “Christliches im Qoran. Eine Nachlese.” Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft 84 (1930): 148–190. Andrae, Tor. Mohammed, Sein Leben und Sein Glaube. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1932. Azaiez, Mehdi. Le contre-discours coranique. Berlin: De Gruyter, 2015. Azaiez, Mehdi, Gabriel S. Reynolds, Tommaso Tesei, and Hamza M. Zafer (eds.). The Qur’an Seminar Commentary: A Collaborative Study of 50 Qur’anic Passages. Berlin: De Gruyter, 2016. Al-Azmeh, Aziz. The Emergence of Islam in Late Antiquity: Allāh and His People. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014. Bausi, Alessandro. “The ‘True Story’ of the Abba Gärima Gospels.” Comparative Oriental Manuscript Studies Newsletter 1 (2011): 17–19. Boisliveau, Anne-Sylvie. Le Coran par lui-même: Vocabulaire et argumentation du discours coranique autoréférentiel. Leiden: E. J. Brill, 2013. Brock, Sebastian P. An Introduction to Syriac Studies. Piscataway, NJ: Gorgias Press, 2016. Brown, Peter. The World of Late Antiquity: AD150–750. New York: Harcourt Brace Janovich, 1971. Clark, Elizabeth A. History, Theory, Text: Historians and the Linguistic Turn. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2004. Cook, Michael. The Koran: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000. Crone, Patricia. “What Do We Actually Know About Mohammed.” In Open Democracy, posted 10th of June 2008. www.opendemocracy.net/faith-europe_islam/moham med_3866.jsp (accessed on 14 June 2018). Crone, Patricia and Michael Cook. Hagarism: The Making of the Islamic World. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1977. de Blois, François. “Elchasai – Manes – Muḥammad: Manichäismus und Islam in religionshistorischem Vergleich.” Der Islam 81 (2004): 31–48. del Río Sánchez, Francisco (ed.). Jewish Christianity and the Origins of Islam. Turnout: Brepols, 2018. Déroche, François. Qur’ans of the Umayyads: A First Overview. Leiden: E. J. Brill, 2013. Donner, Fred. Muhammad and the Believers: At the Origins of Islam. Cambridge, MA: Belknap, 2012. Dye, Guillaume. “Traces of Bilingualism/Multilingualism in Qurʾānic Arabic.” In Arabic in Context, edited by Ahmad al-Jallad, 337–371. Leiden: E. J. Brill, 2017. Firestone, Reuven. “Abraham and Authenticity.” In The Oxford Handbook of the Abrahamic Religions, edited by Adam Silverstein and Guy G. Stroumsa, 3–21. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Fowden, Garth. Before and After Muhammad: The First Millennium Refocused. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2014.

20  Holger M. Zellentin Geiger, Abraham. Was Hat Mohammed aus dem Judenthume aufgenommen? Bonn: F. Baaden, 1833, translated as Geiger, Abraham, Judaism and Islam, trans. F. M. Young. Madras: M. D. C. S. P. K. Press, 1898. Goitein, Shelomo Dov. ha-islam shel Muhammad: ketsad hithavta dat hadasha be-tsel haYahadut. Jerusalem: Aqademon, 1956. Goitein, Shelomo Dov. “Who Were Muḥammad’s Chief Teachers?” Tarbiz 23 (1953): 146–59 [Hebrew]. Goudarzi Taghanaki, Mohsen. The Second Coming of the Book: Rethinking Qur’anic Scripturology and Prophetology. PhD Dissertation, Harvard University, 2018. Griffith, Sidney. The Bible in Arabic: The Scriptures of the “People of the Book” in the Language of Islam. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2013. Groß, Markus and Karl-Heinz Ohlig. “Zum Echo auf die Veröffentlichungen von Inârah in Presse und Fachwelt (II).” imprimatur 2 (2011). www.imprimatur-trier.de/2011/ imp110209.html (accessed on 7 June 2018). Hartwig, Dirk, Walter Homolka, Michael Marx, and Angelika Neuwirth et al. (eds.). “Im vollen Licht der Geschichte” – Die Wissenschaft des Judentums und die Anfänge der Koranforschung. Würzburg: Ergon, 2008. Harvey, Ramon. “The Legal Epistemology of Qur’anic Variants: The Readings of Ibn Masʿūd in Kufan fiqh and the Ḥanafī madhhab.” Journal of Qur’anic Studies 19 (2017): 72–101. Hilali, Asma. The Sanaa Palimpsest: The Transmission of the Qur’an in the First Centuries AH. Oxford: Oxford University Press and Institute of Ismaili Studies, 2017. Horovitz, Joseph. Koranische Untersuchungen. Berlin: De Gruyter, 1926. Hoyland, Robert. Seeing Islam as Others Saw it: A Survey and Evaluation of Christian, Jewish and Zoroastrian Writings on Early Islam. Princeton, NJ: Darwin Press, 1998. Imbert, Frédéric. “L’islam des pierres: Expression de la foi dans les graffiti arabes des premiers siècles.” Revue des mondes musulmans et de la Méditerranée 129 (2011): 57–77. LaCapra, Dominick. “Rethinking Intellectual History and Reading Texts.” History and Theory 19 (1980): 245–276. Lammens, Henri. L’Arabie occidentale avant l’Hégire: Chrétiens et juifs à la mecque à la veille de l’Hégire. Paris: Dar Byblion, 2006 [1928]. Lecker, Michael. Jews and Arabs in Pre- and Early Islamic Arabia. Aldershot: Ashgate, 1998. Luxenberg, Christoph. The Syro-Aramaic Reading of the Koran. Berlin: Hans Schiler, 2007 [2000]. Madigan, Daniel. The Qur’ān’s Self-Image: Writing and Authority in Islam’s Scripture. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2001. Mazuz, Haggai. The Religious and Spiritual Life of the Jews of Medina. Leiden: E. J. Brill, 2014. Mingana, Alphonse. “Syriac Influence on the Style of the Kurʾān.” Bulletin of The John Rylands Library 11 (1927): 77–98. Neuwirth, Angelika. Der Koran als Text der Spätantike: Ein europäischer Zugang. Berlin: Verlag der Weltreligionen, 2010. Neuwirth, Angelika. Scripture, Poetry and the Making of a Community. Oxford: Oxford University Press 2014. Neuwirth, Angelika. “Two Faces of the Qur’ān: Qur’ān and Muṣḥaf.” Oral Tradition 25 (2010): 141–156. Newby, Gordon D. A History of the Jews of Arabia: From Ancient Times to their Eclipse Under Islam. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1988.

The Qur’an and the reformation of Judaism 21 Nöldeke, Theodor. Geschichte des Qorāns. Göttingen: Verlag der Dieterichschen Buchhandlung, 1860. Nöldeke, Theodor, Friedrich Schwally, Gotthelf Bergsträßer and Otto Pretzl. The History of the Qurʾān. Leiden: E. J. Brill, 2013. Payne, Richard E. A State of Mixture: Christians Zoroastrians and Iranian Political Culture in Late Antiquity. Oakland, CA: University of California Press, 2015. Penn, Michael Philip. Envisioning Islam: Syriac Christians and the Early Muslim World. Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2015. Pregill, Michael. “The Hebrew Bible and the Quran: The Problem of the Jewish ‘Influence’ on Islam.” Religion Compass 1 (2007): 643–659. Reynolds, Gabriel S. The Qur’an and the Bible: Text and Commentary. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2018. Reynolds, Gabriel S. “Le problème de la chronologie du Coran,” Arabica 58 (2011): 477–502. Reynolds, Gabriel S. The Qur’ān and its Biblical Subtext. London: Routledge, 2010. Robin, Christian J. “Quel judaïsme en Arabie?” In Le Judaïsme de l’Arabie antique, edited by Robin, Christian J., 15–195. Turnhout: Brepols, 2015. Rubin, Uri. Between Bible and Qur’an: The Children of Israel and the Islamic Self-Image. Princeton, NJ: Darwin Press, 1999. Sadeghi, Behnam. “The Chronology of the Qur’ān: A  Stylometric Research Program.” Arabica 58 (2011): 210–99. Sadeghi, Behnam and Mohsen Goudarzi, “Ṣanʿāʾ 1 and the Origins of the Qurʾān.” Der Islam 87 (2012): 1–129. Said, Edward W. Orientalism: Western Conceptions of the Orient. New York: Pantheon Books, 1978. Saleh, Walid. “Review Article: Muḥammad is Not the Father of Any of Your Men: The Making of the Last Prophet, by David S. Powers.” Comparative Islamic Studies 6 (2010): 251–264. Segovia, Carlos A. The Quranic Noah and the Making of the Islamic Prophet: A Study of Intertextuality and Religious Identity Formation in Late Antiquity. Berlin: De Gruyter, 2015. Shaddel, Mehdy. “Qurʾānic ummī: Genealogy, Ethnicity, and the Foundation of a New Community.” Jerusalem Studies in Arabic and Islam 43 (2016): 1–60. Shoemaker, Stephen J. The Death of a Prophet: The End of Muhammad’s Life and the Beginnings of Islam. Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2012. Sinai, Nicolai. “Inner-Qur’anic Chronology.” In The Oxford Handbook of Qur’anic Studies, edited by Muhammad Abdel Haleem und Mustafa Shah. Oxford: Oxford University Press, forthcoming. Sinai, Nicolai. The Qur'an: A Historical-Critical Introduction. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2017. Speyer, Heinrich. Biblische Erzählungen im Qoran. Hildesheim: Georg Olms Verlag, 1988 [originally published sometime between 1937 and 1939 in Breslau]. Stewart, Devin. “Reflections on the State of the Art in Western Qur’anic Studies.” In Islam and its Past: Jahiliyya, Late Antiquity, and the Qur’an, edited by Carol Bakhos and Michael Cook, 4–68. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017. Stewart, Devin. “Understanding the Quran in English: Notes on Translation, Form, and Prophetic Typology.” In Diversity in Language: Contrastive Studies in English and Arabic Theoretical and Applied Linguistics, edited by Zeinab Ibrahim et al., 31–48. Cairo: The American University in Cairo Press, 2000.

22  Holger M. Zellentin Torrey, Charles Cutler. The Jewish Foundation of Islam. New York: The Jewish Institute of Religion Press and Bloch Publishing, 1933. Tully, James (ed.). Meaning and Context: Quentin Skinner and His Critics. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1988. Wansbrough, John. The Sectarian Milieu: Contents and Composition of Islamic Salvation History. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1978. Wansbrough, John. Quranic Studies. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1977. Witztum, Joseph. The Syriac Milieu of the Quran: The Recasting of Biblical Narratives. PhD Dissertation, Princeton University, 2010. Younes, Munther. “Blessing, Clinging, Familiarity, Custom – or Ship? A New Reading of the Word Īlāf in Q 106.” Journal of Semitic Studies 62 (2017): 181–189. Younes, Munther. “Charging Steeds or Maidens Doing Good Deeds: A Re-Interpretation of Qur’an 100 (Al-ʿAadiyaat).” Arabica 55 (2008): 362–386. Zafer, Hamza M. Quranic Communalism in Scripture and in Early Historiography. PhD Dissertation, Cornell University, 2014. Zellentin, Holger M. “Review of The Religious and Spiritual Life of the Jews of Medina, by Haggai Mazuz.” Ancient Near Eastern Studies 54 (2017): 220–222. Zellentin, Holger M. “Jesus and the Tradition of the Elders: Originalism and Traditionalism in Early Judean Legal Theory.” In Beyond the Gnostic Gospels: Studies Building on the Work of Elaine H. Pagels, edited by L. Jenott et al., 379–403. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2013. Zellentin, Holger M. The Qurʾān’s Legal Culture: The Didascalia Apostolorum as a Point of Departure. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2013.

Part I

The Qur’an, the Bible, and the Islamic tradition

2 What would Ibn Taymiyyah make of intertextual study of the Qur’an? The challenge of the isrāʾīliyyāt Jon Hoover The religious culture of the Late Antique Near East was a world shaped by the Hebrew Bible; the New Testament; and a wide range of Christian, Jewish, Manichean, and other religious writings that may be conveniently lumped together under the broad rubric “biblical literature.”1 Much of the research in this volume is committed to reading the Qur’an intertextually as a work in dialogue with this world of biblical literature, and it views the Qur’an as a major crossroads in the ongoing development of that literary tradition. The key to the Qur’an’s historical meaning lies not in the Muslim interpretative tradition (tafsīr) that grew up around the text in subsequent centuries, but in trying to reconstruct something of the Qur’an’s interaction with the biblical narratives, concepts, and practices that came before. To those trained in modern historical-critical approaches to texts, looking to the literary and the cultural context of the Qur’an to understand its meaning rather than its subsequent interpretation might appear to be the obvious course of action, but Western academic study of the Qur’an has in fact quite often relied on Muslim interpretation for its basic frames of reference in making sense of the text.2 The intertextual method prominently on display in this volume is also strongly committed to Qur’anic agency. From this perspective the Qur’an is not merely a collection of borrowings from earlier Jewish and Christian books. It is rather an interactive reworking of and polemical response to a wide range of religious ideas and tropes circulating in the seventh-century Near East. Significant currents of Western scholarship on the Qur’an from the 1800s into the early 1900s were preoccupied with tracing influences and borrowings from earlier texts. By way of contrast, the research in this volume reflects comparatively on the religious and literary traditions that the Qur’an may have been drawing upon and speaking into in the process of forming its particular religious message. It is not a matter of discovering the books or narratives that the Prophet Muḥammad might have had to hand when compiling the Qur’an – a scenario unnecessarily at odds with the Muslim view of the revelation process – but of thinking about the kind of conversation that was going on in the community into which the Qur’an was speaking. The purpose of this chapter is to inquire into possibilities for Muslim interaction with the intertextual studies in this volume. More specifically, I will ask what Ibn Taymiyyah (d. 728/1328), the figure that I have worked on most, might

26  Jon Hoover have thought of them. To get at why this matters, we need to consider the state of Muslim interpretation of the Qur’an in the modern period. There is a fairly well-established narrative in recent Western academic scholarship that the Muslim tradition of Qur’anic tafsīr took a radical turn in the twentieth century against the rich diversity of its past, and especially against the vast array of biblical lore used to explain and elaborate the Qur’an. On this account, early Muslim scholars held the Jewish converts to Islam Kaʿb al-Aḥbār (d. 32/652–3 or later) and ʿAbd Allāh b. Salām (d. 43/663–4) and the Yemeni Wahb b. Munabbih (d. 110/728 or 114/732) in high esteem for their vast knowledge of biblical traditions. However, twentieth-century Muslim exegetes expurgated these traditions, the so-called isrāʾīliyyāt, from their commentary and stories-of-the-prophets (qaṣaṣ al-anbiyāʾ) literatures and impugned their transmitters for undermining Islam. A 1946 article by Abū Rayyah, a student of Rashīd Riḍā, even labeled Kaʿb al-Aḥbār the first Zionist. Roberto Tottoli attributes this twentieth-century attack on isrāʾīliyyāt to the rationalizing impulses of Islamic modernism and to Muslim reactions against the establishment of the state of Israel and against orientalist scholarship bent on demonstrating Jewish and Christian influence on Islam.3 Furthermore, the intellectual pedigree of the modern Muslim attack on isrāʾīliyyāt is traced back to the fourteenth-century Qur’an commentator Ibn Kathīr (d. 774/1373) and his teacher Ibn Taymiyyah, who are in turn credited with an unprecedented narrowing of the rich, ecumenically minded tafsīr of their own time and the stripping away of all polysemy in favor of the search for univocity. Ibn Taymiyyah and Ibn Kathīr are seen to stand at the origins of the modern Muslim drive to eradicate ambiguity from the text of the Qur’an and endow it with one obvious and unequivocal sense.4 Given this narrative of the modern Muslim attack on isrāʾīliyyāt, it is not difficult to imagine that many Muslims today might find the research in this volume singularly wrong-headed because it seeks to relate the Qur’anic text to preceding biblical literature. We might also conclude that Ibn Taymiyyah and Ibn Kathīr excluded isrāʾīliyyāt completely and that the likes of Ibn Taymiyyah would have had no time for research such as that found in this volume. However, things are not so simple, and I want to show that Ibn Taymiyyah has more reason to be open to intertextual study of the Qur’an than we might think. It must first be said that Ibn Kathīr and Ibn Taymiyyah do provide precedents for their modern heirs seeking to dismiss biblical lore or isrāʾīliyyāt. For example, on the question of whether Abraham’s intended sacrifice was Isaac or Ishmael, classical exegetes weighed up arguments and traditions for and against, some coming judiciously to one view and some to the other, whereas Ibn Kathīr berates Kaʿb al-Aḥbār, the convert from Judaism, for being the source of all reports that it was Isaac. Ibn Taymiyyah also rejects Isaac as the intended sacrifice. While making no mention of Kaʿb, he accuses the People of the Book of adding Isaac’s name into the biblical text.5 That aside, we turn to Ibn Taymiyyah’s Muqaddimah fī uṣūl al-tafsīr (Introduction to the Principles of Qur’anic Interpretation),6 which is quoted in part in the introduction to Ibn Kathīr’s Qur’an commentary. Ibn Taymiyyah writes, “It is obligatory to know that the Prophet – May God bless him and give him peace – made the meanings

The challenge of the isrāʾīliyyāt  27 of the Qur’an evident to his Companions just as he made its wording evident to them.”7 Here Ibn Taymiyyah asserts that the Prophet gave the Muslim community not only the text of the Qur’an but also its interpretation. The Sunna of the Prophet includes not only his deeds and statements found in the authentic hadith but also the exegetical traditions of the Prophet’s Companions. The Prophet’s Companions, as well as their Successors, hold the keys to the meaning of the Qur’an, not the tools of historical and philological analysis.8 Now the problem is that non-Qur’anic and non-sunnaic biblical lore entered Islam with the Companions and the Successors, in other words, at the very root of the exegetical tradition. Kaʿb al-Aḥbār and ʿAbd Allāh b. Salām were both Companions by most accounts, and Wahb b. al-Munabbih was a Successor.9 Moreover, the most authoritative name in early Qur’an exegesis Ibn ʿAbbās (d. ca. 68/687–8) transmitted biblical lore from these figures, as well as from another respected Companion, Ibn Masʿūd (d. 32/652–3). If Ibn Taymiyyah locates the meaning of the Qur’an in the exegetical traditions of the Prophet’s Companions and Successors, then he must either accept everything that they transmit without distinction or find some way of distinguishing between reliable and unreliable transmitters and traditions. Taking the latter course, as Ibn Kathīr does in impugning the reliability of Kaʿb al-Aḥbar, threatens to undermine the reliability of the Companions and Successors as a collective bearing religious authority and to beg the question of criterion for discerning the reliable from the unreliable. Additionally, Ibn Taymiyyah has to contend in his Muqaddimah with the fact that the Prophet himself authorized transmitting biblical lore in a hadith reported by Bukhārī. Ibn Taymiyyah is here speaking about the fact that the famed eighthcentury exegete al-Suddī (d. ca. 127/745) transmitted reports from Ibn ʿAbbās and Ibn Masʿūd that came from the People of the Book: At times, [al-Suddī] transmits from [Ibn Masʿūd and Ibn ʿAbbas] what they narrate of the sayings of the People of the Book, which the Messenger of God – God bless him and give him peace – permitted when he said, “Transmit from me, even if only one verse. And narrate [traditions] from the Children of Israel; there is nothing objectionable in that. Whoever tells lies about me intentionally, let him take his seat in the Fire.”10 Bukhārī relates this from ʿAbd Allāh b. ʿAmr [al-ʿĀṣ]. On account of this, when on the Day of [the battle] of Yarmuk ʿAbd Allāh b. ʿAmr happened upon two camel-loads of books from the People of the Book, he used to narrate [traditions] from them because he understood that this hadith permitted him to do so. However, these isrāʾīlī traditions are mentioned by way of attestation (istishhād), not as a basis for doctrine (iʿtiqād). They are of three types. The first is that which we know to be authentic because of what we already have in hand attesting to its truth. This is authentic. The second is that which we know to be false because of what we have that opposes it. The third is that about which we are silent; it is neither like the first nor the second. We do not believe in it, and we do not say that it is false. It is permitted to relate this material on account of the above, but most of it is of no advantage in religious matters.11

28  Jon Hoover Ibn Taymiyyah goes on in the Muqaddimah to explain that the isrāʾīliyyāt are the source of disagreements among scholars of the People of the Book and Qur’an commentators and that most of this concerns details irrelevant to religion. What is important here is that the hadith, “Narrate [traditions] from the Children of Israel,” constrains Ibn Taymiyyah to permit discussion of biblical lore in exegesis. The prospect does not excite him a great deal, and he completely neutralizes the possibility that it might disturb Islamic doctrine. Ibn Taymiyyah is more negative in other texts about the isrāʾīliyyāt and those like Kaʿb al-Aḥbār and Wahb b. al-Munabbih who transmit them, and he insists on turning to the Sunna of the Prophet in all religious matters.12 Yet we do not have here the isrāʾīliyyāt-bashing and the complete discrediting of Kaʿb al-Aḥbār that we find in twentieth-century commentary or even in Ibn Kathīr. To conclude, there is nothing in Ibn Taymiyyah’s approach to Qur’anic interpretation to warrant rejecting the intertextual research in this volume completely out of hand. The biblical literature brought to bear on the interpretation of the Qur’an cannot be judged a priori to be isrāʾīliyyāt totally devoid of interest or truth. Were Ibn Taymiyyah to read the studies in this volume, he may regard them with no more than detached interest, and he would certainly evaluate them on the basis of already established doctrine. If the results confirmed Islamic doctrine, it would be because they agreed with what was already known to be true – something that might be useful for Muslim apologetics. If the results disagreed, they would simply be wrong. Either way, Ibn Taymiyyah would have no religious reason not to read this volume and consider its findings carefully. This is to suggest that the kind of study undertaken in this volume need not be alienating to Muslims, even those of Taymiyyahn persuasion. Intertextual study of the Qur’an in fact provides space for conversation between confessional Muslim scholars and non-Muslim academics about at least the historical meaning of the Qur’an. While Muslims and non-Muslims will disagree on the ultimate significance of the Qur’an, they share the search for the meaning of the Qur’an within human history. We humans are a people with a history, in some sense a shared history in which the Qur’an plays a role, and I suggest that we will do better working together to discover what that sense is rather than apart.

Notes * This chapter is adapted from comments delivered at the close of the conference “The Qurʾān’s Reformation of Judaism and Christianity: An International Colloquium,” held at the University of Nottingham, 20–21 January 2013. 1 Gabriel Said Reynolds, The Qurʾān and its Biblical Subtext (London: Routledge, 2010), 2. 2 Note for example the observation of Alford Welch that the sura chronologies of both traditional Muslim scholars and many modern non-Muslim scholars are based largely on the same foundations: A. T. Welch, “Ḳurʾān,” in Encyclopaedia of Islam, New Ed., ed. P. Bearman, et al. (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1960–2005), vol. 5, 417. 3 Roberto Tottoli, Biblical Prophets in the Qurʾān and Muslim Literature (Richmond, UK: Curzon, 2002), 175–188; idem, “Origin and Use of the Term Isrāʾīliyyāt in Muslim Literature,” Arabica 46 (1999): 193–210 (208–210).

The challenge of the isrāʾīliyyāt  29 4 For brief summaries of the narrative, see Andrew Rippin, Muslims: Their Religious Beliefs and Practices (3rd edition, London: Routledge, 2005), 163–165; and Jane Dammen McAuliffe, “The Tasks and Traditions of Interpretation,” in The Cambridge Companion to the Qurʾān, ed. Jane Dammen McAuliffe (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2006), 181–209 (196–198). For more detail, see Norman Calder, “Tafsīr from Ṭabarī to Ibn Kathīr: Problems in the Description of a Genre, Illustrated with Reference to the Story of Abraham,” in Approaches to the Qurʾān, ed. G. R. Hawting and Abdul-Kader A. Shareef (London: Routledge, 1993), 101–140; Walid A. Saleh, The Formation of the Classical Tafsīr Tradition: The Qurʾān Commentary of al-Thaʿlabī (d. 427/1035) (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 2004); and Walid A. Saleh, “Ibn Taymiyyah and the Rise of Radical Hermeneutics: An Analysis of An Introduction to the Foundations of Qurʾānic Exegesis,” in Ibn Taymiyyah and His Times, ed. Yossef Rapoport and Shahab Ahmed (Karachi: Oxford University Press, 2012), 123–162. Calder provides a particularly harsh assessment of Ibn Kathīr: “Ibn Kathīr’s Tafsīr has many merits; but he has little respect for the intellectual tradition. . . . He does not generally like polyvalent readings, but argues vehemently for a single ‘correct’ reading. . . . It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that, in Ibn Kathīr’s view, God has considerably less literary skill than the average human being, and very little imagination” (Calder, “Tafsīr from Ṭabarī to Ibn Kathīr”, 124). 5 Reuven Firestone, Journeys in Holy Lands: The Evolution of the Abraham-Ishmael Legends in Islamic Exegesis (Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1990), 138–140; Ibn Taymiyyah, Majmūʿ al-fatāwā (hereafter MF), ed. ʿAbd al-Raḥmān b. Muḥammad b. Qāsim and Muḥammad b.ʿAbd al-Raḥmān b. Muḥammad (Medina: Mujammāʿ al-Malik Fahd, 2004), vol. 4, 331–336. Younus Y. Mirza, “Ishmael as Abraham’s Sacrifice: Ibn Taymiyyah and Ibn Kathīr on the Intended Victim,” Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations 24, 3 (2013): 277–298, appeared after this chapter was written; Mirza makes the important point that Ibn Taymiyyah and Ibn Kathīr both engage biblical lore and the biblical text directly to argue that Ishmael was Abraham’s intended sacrifice. 6 Ibn Taymiyyah, “Muqaddimah fī uṣūl al-tafsīr,” MF vol. 13, 329–375. 7 Ibn Taymiyyah, “Muqaddimah,” MF vol. 13, 331. 8 See Saleh, “Ibn Taymiyyah,” for a close analysis of Ibn Taymiyyah’s Muqaddimah that makes this point strongly. 9 On Wahb, see Michael Pregill, “Isrāʾīliyyāt, Myth, and Pseudepigraphy: Wahb b. Munabbih and the Early Islamic Versions of the Fall of Adam and Eve,” Jerusalem Studies in Arabic and Islam 34 (2008): 215–283. 10 On this ḥadīth, see M. J. Kister, “Ḥaddithu ʿan banī isrāʾīla wa-lā ḥaraja: A Study of an Early Tradition,” Israel Oriental Studies 2 (1972): 215–239. Kister translates the second sentence of the hadith, “Narrate (traditions) concerning [ʿan] the Children of Israel . . .” reading the preposition ʿan as “concerning” (215) and elsewhere “about.”. Haggai Ben-Shammai, “Observations on the Beginnings of Judeo-Arabic Civilization,” in Beyond Religious Borders: Interaction and Intellectual Exchange in the Medieval Islamic World, ed. David M. Freidenreich and Miriam Goldstein (Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2012), 13–29, 162–172, rejects Kister’s translation of ʿan in favor of “from/in the name of/on behalf of” (24); I am grateful to Joseph Witztum for the latter reference. Whether ʿan is read as “from” or “about” does not make a significant impact on my own argument in this chapter. 11 Ibn Taymiyyah, “Muqadimmah,” MF vol. 13, 366–367. In translating this text, I benefitted from comparison with the partial translation by Jane Dammen McAuliffe, “Ibn Taymiya: Treatise on the Principles of Tafsir,” in Windows on the House of Islam: Muslim Sources on Spirituality and Religious Life, ed. John Renard (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1998), 38. 12 See for example what Ibn Taymiyyah writes in MF vol. 1, 257–258 and vol. 15, 151–152.

30  Jon Hoover

Bibliography Ben-Shammai, Haggai. “Observations on the Beginnings of Judeo-Arabic Civilization.” In Beyond Religious Borders: Interaction and Intellectual Exchange in the Medieval Islamic World, edited by David M. Freidenreich and Miriam Goldstein, 13–29 and 162– 172. Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2012. Calder, Norman. “Tafsīr from Ṭabarī to Ibn Kathīr: Problems in the Description of a Genre, Illustrated with Reference to the Story of Abraham.” In Approaches to the Qurʾān, edited by Gerald R. Hawting and Abdul-Kader A. Shareef, 101–140. London: Routledge, 1993. Firestone, Reuven. Journeys in Holy Lands: The Evolution of the Abraham-Ishmael Legends in Islamic Exegesis. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1990. Ibn Taymiyyah, Taqī ad-Dīn Ahmad. Majmūʿ al-fatāwā, edited by ʿAbd al-Raḥmān b. Muḥammad b. Qāsim and Muḥammad b.ʿAbd al-Raḥmān b. Muḥammad, vol. 4. Medina: Mujammāʿ al-Malik Fahd, 2004. Kister, Meir J. “Ḥaddithu ʿan banī isrāʾīla wa-lā ḥaraja: A Study of an Early Tradition.” Israel Oriental Studies 2 (1972): 215–239. McAuliffe, Jane Dammen. “Ibn Taymiya: Treatise on the Principles of Tafsir.” In Windows on the House of Islam: Muslim Sources on Spirituality and Religious Life, edited by John Renard, 35–43. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1998. McAuliffe, Jane Dammen. “The Tasks and Traditions of Interpretation.” In The Cambridge Companion to the Qurʾān, edited by Jane Dammen McAuliffe, 181–209. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2006. Mirza, Younus Y. “Ishmael as Abraham’s Sacrifice: Ibn Taymiyyah and Ibn Kathīr on the Intended Victim.” Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations, 24.3 (2013): 277–298. Pregill, Michael. “Isrāʾīliyyāt, Myth, and Pseudepigraphy: Wahb b. Munabbih and the Early Islamic Versions of the Fall of Adam and Eve.” Jerusalem Studies in Arabic and Islam 34 (2008): 215–283. Reynolds, Gabriel Said. The Qurʾān and its Biblical Subtext. London: Routledge, 2010. Rippin, Andrew. Muslims: Their Religious Beliefs and Practices, 3rd Edition. London: Routledge, 2005. Saleh, Walid A. The Formation of the Classical Tafsīr Tradition: The Qurʾān Commentary of al-Thaʿlabī (d. 427/1035). Leiden: E. J. Brill, 2004. Saleh, Walid A. “Ibn Taymiyyah and the Rise of Radical Hermeneutics: An Analysis of An Introduction to the Foundations of Qurʾānic Exegesis.” In Ibn Taymiyyah and His Times, edited by Yossef Rapoport and Shahab Ahmed, 123–162. Karachi: Oxford University Press, 2012. Tottoli, Roberto. Biblical Prophets in the Qurʾān and Muslim Literature. Richmond, UK: Curzon, 2002. Welch, Alford T. “Ḳurʾān.” In Encyclopaedia of Islam. 2nd Edition, edited by P. Bearman et al., vol. 5, 400–429. Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1960–2005. Welch, Alford T. “Origin and Use of the Term Isrāʾīliyyāt in Muslim Literature.” Arabica 46 (1999): 193–210.

3 Prophecy and writing in the Qur’an, or why Muhammad was not a scribe Islam Dayeh

The authorial background of the Qur’an has been a major preoccupation of modern Western Qur’anic studies since its inception in the early nineteenth century. This should hardly come as a surprise since the notions of “origin” and “authorship” were fundamental in the constitution of modern European historical and literary scholarship, including Western Qur’anic studies.1 The notion of an “author,” forged as a historical and literary agent, became an organizing principle in many of the field’s formative works.2 Coupled with a bias towards “writing” as the sign of intelligibility and reason, the result was the creation of an object of inquiry that had never existed before: the Prophet Muhammad, the author, the writer, of the Qur’an.3 To this day, when scholars attribute the act of “writing” to Muhammad, they tend to do so either because they assume that he actually did write the Qur’an or as a loose expression to explain certain aspects of the composition of the Qur’an. Although the principle of “authorship” is sometimes evoked by scholars here to deny divine inspiration, it is primarily resorted to as a means to understand historical change and literary influence and growth. Yet attentive students of the Qur’an will readily point out that this refashioning of the Prophet as an author-writer is problematic because it neither corresponds to the way in which the Prophet is depicted in the Qur’an nor to the generic characteristics of the text. It is also problematic because it conflates prophecy, authorship, and writing, paying little attention to the complex histories of these cultural practices and institutions, and the concepts that describe them. The fixation on writing and authorship has led to the establishment of a subfield of investigation concerned with the Prophet’s literacy, with his knowledge of other religions (or the lack thereof), with his intellectual contacts, and with issues of orality and literacy in Arabia. As a consequence, the study of the text has been reduced to a study of etymologies, loan words, and orthographical variants.4 My intention here is not to belittle the significance of the textual and material history of the Qur’an, but rather to reflect on the terms and concepts which continue to shape our scholarship on the Qur’an, and particularly the concept of “the author.” I am also not suggesting that the Qur’an was not the outcome of an evolution of a literary consciousness and a scribal tradition in pre-Islamic Arabia – the situation is precisely the contrary. The Qur’an attests copiously to written materials and to a literary culture, as evident by the mention of technical terms such as ink (midād, Q 18:109), parchment (qirṭās, pl. qarāṭīs, Q 6:7, 91), and pen (qalam, pl. aqlām, Q 31:37; 68:1; 96:4).

32  Islam Dayeh Moreover, both the process and product of writing are denoted by the derivatives of the common Semitic root k-t-b, a root frequently used for Scripture. Moreover, the Qur’an also makes use of the roots s-ṭ-r, kh-ṭ-ṭ, and r-q-m to convey the sense of “inscription”: yasṭurūna, Q 68:1; masṭūr, Q 17:58; 33:6; 52:2; mustaṭar, Q 54:53; khaṭṭa, Q 29:48; and marqūm, Q 83:9, 20.5 That there was a scribal practice in the urban centers of Late Antique Arabia is a reality that should not be disputed. Yet it is striking that the Prophet is not presented in the Qur’an as a writer; rather, he seems to be denied the ability to write. In a well-known verse in Q 29 Sūrat al-ʿAnkabūt 48, the Prophet is reminded that he did not recite scripture, nor was he known as a scribe before receiving revelation: “And you [Muhammad] did not recite before it any scripture, nor did you inscribe one with your right hand (‫)وال تخطه بيمينك‬. Otherwise the falsifiers would have had [cause for] doubt.” In Q 42 Sūrat al-Shūrā 51–52, the ways of divine revelation are enumerated, and it is denied that the Prophet had prior knowledge of the Book. And it is not for any human being that God should speak to him except by revelation or from behind a partition or that He sends a messenger to reveal, by His permission, what He wills. Indeed, He is Most High and Wise. And thus We have revealed to you an inspiration of Our command. You did not know what is the Book (kitāb) or faith, but We have made it a light by which We guide whom We will of Our servants. And indeed, [O Muhammad], you guide to a straight path. Here as elsewhere in the Qur’an, the Prophet is never instructed to “write,” though he is from time to time told to “recite” and frequently he is instructed to “say.” What is the significance of this representation, and what is its background? This study addresses certain conceptions of prophecy, writing, and authorship in the Qur’an. I examine how the depiction of the Prophet Muhammad as ‘unscriptured’ functions in the literary representation of the Prophet and his role in the proclamation and transmission of the Qur’an. I will suggest that this Qur’anic representation of the Prophet- as one who does not write or is unable to write- is modeled after biblical and extra-biblical schemes of prophecy and has significant implications for our understanding of the Qur’an as a literary genre. In doing so, I will also explore some of the cultural and symbolic dimensions with which the activity of writing has been associated.

Biblical prophecy and the Qur’anic representation of the Prophet The biblical paradigm helps us understand prophecy in the Qur’an. In the corpus of texts known collectively as the “Prophetic books” (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and the books of the 12 so-called “minor” prophets), the Word of God received and transmitted by the Prophet assumes great importance. The prophecy of disaster was the main feature of the message of the prophets Hosea, Amos, Isaiah, Micah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel. Prophets who delivered disagreeable messages not only met with difficulties in gaining acceptance as authentic messengers but also suffered humiliation. In Jeremiah 26 and 36–40, we are told that Jeremiah’s life

Prophecy and writing in the Qur’an 33 was threatened. Similarly, we read in Amos 7:10–15 that the Prophet Amos was ordered to leave the country. 10 Then Amaziah the priest of Beth-el sent to Jeroboam king of Israel, saying: “Amos hath conspired against thee in the midst of the house of Israel; the land is not able to bear all his words. 11 For thus Amos saith: Jeroboam shall die by the sword, and Israel shall surely be led away captive out of his land.” 12 Also Amaziah said unto Amos: “O thou seer, go, flee thee away into the land of Judah, and there eat bread, and prophesy there; 13 but prophesy not again any more at Beth-el, for it is the king’s sanctuary, and it is a royal house.” 14 Then answered Amos, and said to Amaziah: “I was no prophet, neither was I a prophet’s son; but I was a herdman, and a dresser of sycamoretrees; 15 and the Lord took me from following the flock, and the Lord said unto me: Go, prophesy unto My people Israel.” The Qur’an gives a similar representation of the Prophet as a vulnerable servant who is anticipating the reception and guidance of divine revelations. Waiting for his Lord’s instructions, the Prophet is weak, lost, hungry, and poor. He is everything that a king is not. The Prophet Muhammad shares with the Hebrew prophets not only their vulnerability but also their passion and suffering. Similar to Amos, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Micah, the Prophet is depicted in the Qur’an as being widely misunderstood, unpopular, and persecuted, and like them, he also seems to have considered himself at times an utter failure.6 The examples are too numerous to mention here, but the following will suffice. In Q 93 Sūrat al-Ḍuḥā, a short consolatory sura addressed to the Prophet,7 God speaks to His messenger with caring, yet stern words: I swear by the early hours of the day, And the night when it covers with darkness. Your Lord has not forsaken you, nor has He become displeased, And surely what comes after is better for you than that which has gone before. And soon will your Lord give you so that you shall be well pleased. Did He not find you an orphan and give you shelter? And find you lost and guide? And find you in want and make you to be free from want? Therefore, as for the orphan, do not oppress. And as for him who asks, do not chide, And as for the favor of your Lord, do announce.

1 )1( ‫َوالضُّ َحى‬ 1 )2( ‫َواللَّي ِْل إِ َذا َس َجى‬ 1 )3( ‫ك َو َما قَلَى‬ َ ُّ‫ك َرب‬ َ ‫َما َو َّد َع‬ 1 )4( ‫ك ِمنَ ْالُولَى‬ َ َ‫َولَ ْلَ ِخ َرةُ َخ ْي ٌر ل‬ 1 )5( ‫ضى‬ َ ُّ‫ك َرب‬ َ ‫ْطي‬ َ ْ‫ك فَتَر‬ ِ ‫َولَسَوْ فَ يُع‬ 1 )6( ‫ك يَتِي ًما فَآ َ َوى‬ َ ‫أَلَ ْم يَ ِج ْد‬ 1 )7( ‫ض ًّال فَهَدَى‬ َ ‫َو َو َج َد‬ َ ‫ك‬ 1 )8( ‫ك عَائِ ًل فَأ َ ْغنَى‬ َ ‫َو َو َج َد‬ 1 )9( ْ‫فَأ َ َّما ْاليَتِي َم فَ َل تَ ْقهَر‬ 1 )10( ْ‫َوأَ َّما السَّائِ َل فَ َل تَ ْنهَر‬ ْ ‫ك فَ َحد‬ 1 )11( ‫ِّث‬ َ ِّ‫َوأَ َّما بِنِ ْع َم ِة َرب‬

34  Islam Dayeh Elsewhere in the Qur’an, in Q 6:33–36, the Prophet appears so desperately anxious due to the rejection of his call by his addressees that God scolds him and reminds him of the experience of prophets before him. In a direct speech to the Prophet, God speaks to him in the first person: We know you are grieved by what they say. It is not you they call the lie to, but the signs of God that the wrong-doers abjure. Messengers before you were called liars, but they patiently endured the charge of falsehood and the injuries they suffered until Our victory came to them. There can be no alteration to the words of God. There have already reached you reports of other messengers. If you find it hard that they turn away from you, then seek, if you can, a tunnel beneath the earth or a ladder in the sky whence you can bring them a miracle! Had God willed, He could have united them in right guidance. So do not be impetuous. Only those who listen shall respond. As for the dead, God shall resurrect them, and to Him they shall return.

َ‫ك الَّ ِذي يَقُولُون‬ َ ُ‫قَ ْد نَ ْعلَ ُم إِنَّهُ لَيَحْ ُزن‬ َّ َ َ‫ك َول ِك َّن الظالِ ِمين‬ َ َ‫فَإِنَّهُ ْم الَ يُ َك ِّذبُون‬ َّ ‫ت‬ (33) َ‫للاِ يَجْ َح ُدون‬ ِ ‫بِآيَا‬ ْ ‫ك‬ َ ِ‫َولَقَ ْد ُك ِّذبَت ُر ُس ٌل ِم ْن قَ ْبل‬ ‫صبَرُوا َعلَى َما ُك ِّذبُوا َوأُو ُذوا‬ َ َ‫ف‬ ‫َحتَّى أَتَاهُ ْم نَصْ ُرنَا َوالَ ُمبَ ِّد َل‬ َّ ‫ت‬ َ ‫للاِ َولَقَ ْد َجا َء‬ ِ ‫لِ َكلِ َما‬ ِ‫ك ِم ْن نَبَإ‬ (34) ‫َْال ُمرْ َسلِين‬ ‫ضهُ ْم فَإِ ْن‬ ُ ‫ك إِ ْع َرا‬ َ ‫َوإِ ْن َكانَ َكبُ َر َعلَ ْي‬ ً ‫ا ْستَطَعْتَ أَ ْن تَ ْبتَ ِغ َي نَفَقا فِي‬ ْ ‫ض أَوْ سُلَّ ًما فِي ال َّس َما ِء فَتَأتِيَهُ ْم‬ ِ ْ‫األَر‬ َّ َ َ ‫بِآيَ ٍة َولَوْ شَا َء للاُ ل َج َم َعهُ ْم َعلى‬ َ‫ْالهُدَى فَالَ تَ ُكون ََّن ِم ْن ْال َجا ِهلِين‬ (35) َ‫إِنَّ َما يَ ْست َِجيبُ الَّ ِذينَ يَ ْس َمعُون‬ َّ ‫َو ْال َموْ تَى يَ ْب َعثُهُ ْم‬ َ‫للاُ ثُ َّم إِلَ ْي ِه يُرْ َجعُون‬ (36)

In the same sura (Q 6:50), God instructs the Prophet, again in the first person, to proclaim to his listeners the exact nature of his prophecy: Say: “I do not tell you that I possess the treasures of God, nor do I know the Unseen. Nor do I tell you I am an angel. I merely follow what is revealed to me.” Say: “Is the blind man the equal of one who sees? Will you not reflect?”

َّ ُ‫قُلْ الَ أَقُو ُل لَ ُك ْم ِعن ِدي َخزَائِن‬ ِ‫للا‬ ‫ْب َوالَ أَقُو ُل لَ ُك ْم إِنِّي‬ َ ‫َوالَ أَ ْعلَ ُم ْال َغي‬ َّ َ ٌ َ‫َمل‬ ‫ي‬ َّ ‫ك إِ ْن أَتَّبِ ُع إِال َما يُو َحى إِل‬ ْ َ ‫صي ُر‬ ِ َ‫قُلْ هَلْ يَ ْست َِوي األ ْع َمى َوالب‬ (50) َ‫أَفَ َال تَتَفَ َّكرُون‬

In Q 6:106–107, the Prophet is commanded to follow what has been revealed to him and to turn away from those who disbelieve: Follow what has been revealed to you from your Lord – there is no god but He – and turn away from idolaters. Had God willed, they would not have worshiped idols. But We did not appoint you their keeper, nor are you their guardian.

َ ِّ‫ك ِم ْن َرب‬ َ ‫وح َي إِلَ ْي‬ َ‫ك الَ إِلَه‬ ِ ُ‫اتَّبِ ْع َما أ‬ ْ ْ ْ ْ‫ض‬ َ‫إِالَّ هُ َو َوأَ ْع ِر عَن ال ُمش ِر ِكين‬ (106) َّ ‫َولَوْ شَا َء‬ ‫للاُ َما أَ ْش َر ُكوا َو َما‬ َ‫ك َعلَ ْي ِه ْم َحفِيظًا َو َما أَ ْنت‬ َ ‫َج َع ْلنَا‬ (107) ‫يل‬ ٍ ‫َعلَ ْي ِه ْم بِ َو ِك‬

Prophecy and writing in the Qur’an 35 At the end of the sura, God instructs His messenger to proclaim: Say: “My Lord has guided me to a straight path, a religion upright, the religion of Abraham, a pristine faith, nor did he associate anything with God.” Say: “My prayers, my devotions, my very being, my death, are in the hands of God, Lord of the Worlds” “No partner has he! Thus was I commanded, and I am the first of Muslims.” Say: “Am I to seek a Lord other than God, when He is Lord of all things? No soul earns except what is charged to its account, thereafter to God is your homecoming, and He will then acquaint you with that over which you differed.”

‫اط‬ ٍ ‫ص َر‬ ِ ‫قُلْ إِنَّنِي هَدَانِي َربِّي إِلَى‬ ً‫ُم ْستَقِ ٍيم ِدينًا قِيَ ًما ِملَّةَ إِ ْب َرا ِهي َم َحنِيفا‬ (161) َ‫َو َما َكانَ ِم ْن ْال ُم ْش ِر ِكين‬ ‫صالَتِي َونُ ُس ِكي َو َمحْ يَاي‬ َ ‫قُلْ إِ َّن‬ ْ َ (162) َ‫َو َم َماتِي ِ َّل َربِّ ال َعال ِمين‬ ُ ْ‫ك أُ ِمر‬ ‫ت َوأَنَا أَ َّو ُل‬ َ ِ‫ك لَهُ َوبِ َذل‬ َ ‫َري‬ ِ ‫الَ ش‬ (163) َ‫ْال ُم ْسلِ ِمين‬ َّ ‫قُلْ أَ َغ ْي َر‬ ِّ‫للاِ أَ ْب ِغي َربًّا َوهُ َو َربُّ ُكل‬ ْ َّ ْ ُ َ ‫س إِال َعل ْيهَا‬ ْ ‫ش‬ ٍ ‫َي ٍء َوالَ تَك ِسبُ كلُّ نَف‬ ‫از َرةٌ ِو ْز َر أُ ْخ َرى ثُ َّم إِلَى‬ ِ ‫َوالَ ت َِز ُر َو‬ ‫َربِّ ُك ْم َمرْ ِج ُع ُك ْم فَيُنَبِّئُ ُك ْم بِ َما ُكنتُ ْم فِي ِه‬ (164) َ‫ت َْختَلِفُون‬

The sense of closeness created between God and His messenger through the use of the imperative verb qul, i.e. Say! [Oh Muhammad], and the second-person pronoun permeates the Qur’an. Prophecy emerges as a direct call from God. It illustrates a drama of intimacy often overlooked in contemporary source-critical approaches.

Writing among the Hebrew prophets Having established a biblical paradigm for Qur’anic prophecy, let us turn to whether the Hebrew prophets themselves wrote or had scribes write for them.8 This is important for understanding fundamental aspects of prophecy and writing in the Qur’an. We begin with Isaiah, who (in Isaiah 8:1) was commanded by God to write down the revelations communicated to him: Then the Lord said to me, “Take for yourself a large tablet and write on it in ordinary letters: Swift is the booty, speedy is the prey.”

‫לְָך ִּגּלָיֹון‬-‫ קַח‬,‫וַּי ֹאמֶר י ְהוָה ֵאלַי‬ ,‫ּגָדֹול; ּוכְת ֹב ָעלָיו ְּבח ֶֶרט אֱנֹוׁש‬ ‫ׁשלָל חָׁש ּבַז‬ ָ ‫ְל ַמהֵר‬

God’s command to Isaiah to engrave on a tablet recurs again in Isaiah 30:8: Now go, write it before them on a tablet, and inscribe it in a book, that it may be for the time to come forever and ever.

-‫לּו ַח אִּתָ ם‬-‫ ּבֹוא כָתְ בָּה עַל‬,‫עַּתָ ה‬ ‫ ֵספֶר ֻחּקָּה; ּותְ הִי לְיֹום‬-‫ְועַל‬ ‫עֹולָם‬-‫ ָלעַד עַד‬,‫ַאחֲרֹון‬

According to these passages, Isaiah committed the revelations to writing in fulfillment of a divine command.9 The case seems to be rather different with

36  Islam Dayeh Jeremiah, who did not write his revelations, but rather dictated them to a scribe (hassōpēr).10 In Jeremiah 36:2, God commands him: Take thee a roll of a scroll, and write therein all the words that I have spoken unto thee against Israel, and against Judah, and against all the nations, from the day I spoke unto thee, from the days of Josiah, even unto this day.

ָ‫ ְוכָתַ בְּת‬,‫ ֵספֶר‬-‫ ְמגִּלַת‬,‫לְָך‬-‫קַח‬ -‫הַּדְ ב ִָרים ֲאׁשֶר‬-‫ֵאלֶי ָה אֵת ּכָל‬ -‫יִׂש ְָראֵל ְועַל‬-‫ּדִ ּב ְַרּתִ י ֵאלֶיָך עַל‬ ‫מִּיֹום‬-‫הַּגֹוי ִם‬-‫ּכָל‬-‫ ְועַל‬,‫י ְהּודָ ה‬ ,‫ׁשּי ָהּו‬ ִ ‫ מִימֵי י ֹא‬,‫ּדִ ּב ְַרּתִ י ֵאלֶיָך‬ ‫ הַּיֹום ַהּזֶה‬,‫ְועַד‬

God’s command to write obviously implies that Jeremiah was able to do so, which is also conceivable due to Jeremiah’s relation to the priestly circles and literate elite (cf. Jer. 1:1) and is explicit in Jer. 51. Interestingly, and more importantly, Jeremiah obeys the command not by writing himself, although able to do so, but by dictating to his scribe Baruch (Jer. 36:4): Then Jeremiah called Baruch the son of Neriah; and Baruch wrote from the mouth of Jeremiah all the words of the Lord, which He had spoken unto him, upon a roll of a scroll.

-‫ּבָרּוְך ּבֶן‬-‫ אֶת‬,‫ַוּיִק ְָרא י ְִר ְמי ָהּו‬ ,‫נ ִֵרּי ָה; ַוּיִכְּת ֹב ּבָרּוְך ִמּפִי י ְִר ְמי ָהּו‬ ‫ּדִ ּבֶר‬-‫ּדִ ב ְֵרי י ְהוָה ֲאׁשֶר‬-‫אֵת ּכָל‬ ‫ ֵספֶר‬-‫ ְמגִּלַת‬-‫ֵאלָיו – עַל‬

After the first scroll had been burnt by the king (Jer. 36:23), Jeremiah received the order from God to dictate anew to his scribe Baruch everything that was written in the roll and to complement it with a prophesy against King Jehoiakim because he had destroyed the roll. The prophesy is quoted and then it is said in the subsequent narrative (Jer. 36:32): Then took Jeremiah another roll, and gave it to Baruch the scribe, the son of Neriah; who wrote therein from the mouth of Jeremiah all the words of the book which Jehoiakim king of Judah had burned in the fire; and there were added besides unto them many similar words.

,‫ְוי ְִר ְמי ָהּו ָלקַח ְמגִּלָה ַאח ֶֶרת‬ ‫נ ִֵרּי ָהּו‬-‫ּבָרּוְך ּבֶן‬-‫ַוּי ִּתְ נָּה אֶל‬ ,‫ ַוּיִכְּת ֹב ָעלֶי ָה ִמּפִי י ְִר ְמי ָהּו‬,‫הַּסֹפֵר‬ ‫ּדִ ב ְֵרי ַה ֵּספֶר ֲאׁשֶר ׂש ַָרף‬-‫אֵת ּכָל‬ ‫י ְהּודָ ה ָּבאֵׁש; וְעֹוד‬-‫י ְהֹויָקִים ֶמלְֶך‬ ‫ ָּכ ֵהּמָה‬,‫נֹוסַף ֲעלֵיהֶם ּדְ ב ִָרים ַרּבִים‬

This passage is significant, not least for the role of dictation in the process: the scribe was not only dictated the new supplements to the old prophecies but the old prophecies as well. Geo Widengren has drawn an analogy between the scribes of Jeremiah and the scribes of Muhammad, which I shall develop later on.11 If we move on to the prophecies of Ezekiel, the description we are given in the prophet’s autobiographical call-narrative is significant (Ezekiel 2:9–10): And I looked, and behold, a hand was put forth unto me; and, lo, a roll of a book was therein;

‫י ָד ׁשְלּוחָה ֵאלָי‬-‫ ְו ִהּנֵה‬,‫; ָוא ְֶראֶה‬ ‫ ֵספֶר‬-‫בֹו ְמגִּלַת‬-‫ְו ִהּנֵה‬

Prophecy and writing in the Qur’an 37 and He spread it before me, and it was written within and without; and there was written therein lamentations, and moaning, and woe.

‫ַוּיִפְר ֹש ֹ אֹותָ ּה ְל ָפנַי‬ ‫ְוהִיא כְתּובָה ָּפנִים וְָאחֹור‬ ‫ְוכָתּוב ֵאלֶי ָה ִקנִים ָו ֶהגֶה ָוהִי‬

Subsequently, Ezekiel is ordered to eat the roll and then go and speak to the Children of Israel. Widengren succinctly observes, “As Muhammad was ordered to preach the contents of the Heavenly Book, the umm al-kitāb, to his people, so is Ezekiel given the command to speak to Israel the words written in the roll of the heavenly book.”12 Ezekiel actually did write down some of the prophecies. In Chapter 43, Ezekiel receives the command to commit to writing his vision of the new temple of Jerusalem: 11. And if they be ashamed of all that they have done, make known unto them the form of the house, and the fashion thereof, and the goings out thereof, and the comings in thereof, and all the forms thereof, and all the ordinances thereof, and all the forms thereof, and all the laws thereof, and write it in their sight; that they may keep the whole form thereof, and all the ordinances thereof, and do them. 12. This is the law of the house: upon the top of the mountain the whole limit thereof round about shall be most holy. Behold, this is the law of the house.

‫עָׂשּו‬-‫נִ ְכלְמּו מִּכ ֹל ֲאׁשֶר‬-‫ְואִם‬ ‫צּורת ַה ַּבי ִת ּותְ כּונָתֹו ּומֹוצָָאיו‬ ַ -‫צּור ֹתָ ו ְואֵת ּכָל‬-‫ּומֹובָָאיו ְוכָל‬ ‫ּתֹור ֹתָ ו‬-‫צּור ֹתָ ו ְוכָל‬-‫חֻּק ֹתָ יו ְוכָל‬ ‫הֹודַ ע אֹותָ ם‬ -‫ּכָל‬-‫ׁשמְרּו אֶת‬ ְ ִ ‫ּוכְת ֹב ְלעֵינֵיהֶם ְוי‬ ‫ ְועָׂשּו‬-‫חֻּק ֹתָ יו‬-‫ּכָל‬-‫ ְואֶת‬,‫צּורתֹו‬ ָ ‫אֹותָ ם‬ ‫ר ֹאׁש ָההָר‬-‫ עַל‬:‫ּתֹורת ַה ָּבי ִת‬ ַ ‫ז ֹאת‬ ‫ ק ֹדֶ ׁש‬,‫ ְּגבֻלֹו ָסבִיב ָסבִיב‬-‫ּכָל‬ ‫ּתֹורת ַה ָּבי ִת‬ ַ ,‫ז ֹאת‬-‫ ִהּנֵה‬-‫קָדָ ׁשִים‬

Scholars have noticed that Ezekiel is the first prophet who sees a scroll in his vision. In his Die israelitische Literatur, Hermann Gunkel argued that the prophets were speakers and poets and did not write books.13 It was only after Ezekiel that they did become writers: It was not necessary for a Prophet to be an author: Jeremiah had already worked for 23 years before he first had his oracles written down. Afterwards, in order to sharpen the effect, the prophets themselves or their students would bring these speeches together. It is, however, different with Ezekiel: this man [. . .] wrote the first prophetic book.14 Similarly, in his commentary on Ezekiel, Alfred Bertholet comments: [I]n his conception of the divine revelation to him, Hesekiel differs from his predecessors in that he perceives the Word conveyed to him not only as a complete entity, but also as already fixed in written form that he looks at and that he takes in. [. . .] The revealed Word is a written Word. He then goes on to explain that it is not accidental that Ezekiel, more than his predecessors, is a prophetic “author.”15

38  Islam Dayeh The similarities in which the Bible presents Ezekiel and the Qur’an presents Muhammad are striking. In both cases the revealed word is presented in a book which is the earthly equivalent of the Heavenly Book. Divine knowledge is eternal and pre-existent. It is conceivable that the famous call-narrative, in which Gabriel commands the prophet to “recite,” follows the Ezekielian type of call-narrative in which the prophet sees a scroll before him. Presumably, the Prophet Muhammad saw in a vision a scroll that he was commanded to recite. The alternative interpretation of the opening of Q 96 is that the command is for the Prophet to “proclaim,” thereby not necessitating the presence of a book from which to read.

Qur’anic reading as a speech act The openings of Q 96, Q 73, and Q 74 are traditionally embedded in biographical narratives in which the Prophet Muḥammad relates his first encounter with revelation. This reading would turn the suras into “call narratives,” a literary genre that includes the call of Moses in Exodus 3.1–12, Gideon in Judges 6.11–17, Isaiah 6, Jeremiah 1, Ezekiel 1.1–3.15, Amos 7.15, and Paul’s call in Galatians 1:11–24. Let us read Q 96 Sūrat al-ʿAlaq closely.

Proclaim! [or Read!] in the name your Lord who createdCreated man from a clinging substance. Proclaim! And thy Lord is the most Generous, – Who taught the pen, – Taught man that which he knew not. No, man indeed transgressed, Because he sees himself as self-sufficient. Indeed, to your Lord is the return. Have you seen the one who forbids – A servant when he prays? Have you seen if he is upon guidance? – Or enjoins righteousness? Have you seen if he denies and turns away? Does he not know that God sees? No! If he does not desist, We will drag him by the forelock, A lying, sinning forelock! Then let him call his associates: We will call the angels of punishment! Not, do not obey him: But prostrate and bring yourself closer!

(1( ‫ق‬ َ َ‫ك الَّ ِذي َخل‬ َ ِّ‫ا ْق َر ْأ بِاس ِْم َرب‬ (2( ‫ق‬ َ َ‫َخل‬ ٍ َ‫ال ْنسَانَ ِم ْن َعل‬ ِْ ‫ق‬ (3( ‫ك ْالَ ْك َر ُم‬ َ ُّ‫ا ْق َر ْأ َو َرب‬ (4( ‫الَّ ِذي عَلَّ َم بِ ْالقَلَ ِم‬ (5( ‫ال ْنسَانَ َما لَ ْم يَ ْعلَ ْم‬ ِ ْ ‫عَلَّ َم‬ ْ (6( ‫ال ْنسَانَ لَيَطغَى‬ ِ ْ ‫ك ََّل إِ َّن‬ (7( ‫أَ ْن َرآَهُ ا ْستَ ْغنَى‬ (8( ‫ك الرُّ جْ َعى‬ َ ِّ‫إِ َّن إِلَى َرب‬ ( 9( ‫أَ َرأَيْتَ الَّ ِذي يَ ْنهَى‬ (10( ‫صلَّى‬ َ ‫َع ْبدًا إِ َذا‬ ْ (11( ‫أَ َرأَيْتَ إِ ْن َكانَ َعلَى الهُدَى‬ 12( ‫أَوْ أَ َم َر بِالتَّ ْق َوى‬ َّ (13( ‫ب َوتَ َولى‬ َ ‫أَ َرأَيْتَ إِ ْن ك ََّذ‬ َّ ‫أَلَ ْم يَ ْعلَ ْم بِأ َ َّن‬ (14( ‫للاَ يَ َرى‬ (15( ‫اصيَ ِة‬ ِ َّ‫ك ََّل لَئِ ْن لَ ْم يَ ْنتَ ِه لَنَ ْسفَ َع ْن بِالن‬ (16( ‫َاطئَ ٍة‬ ِ ‫َاصيَ ٍة كَا ِذبَ ٍة خ‬ ِ ‫ن‬ ُ ‫فَ ْليَ ْد‬ (17( ُ‫ع نَا ِديَه‬ ُ ‫َسنَ ْد‬ (18( َ‫ع ال َّزبَانِيَة‬ (19( ْ‫ك ََّل َل تُ ِط ْعهُ َوا ْس ُج ْد َوا ْقت َِرب‬

Prophecy and writing in the Qur’an 39 It has been suggested that the imperative verb iqra’ in the first verse conveys a command for the Prophet to read (presumably from a book), implying thereby his ability to do so. The translation thus given is: “Read in the name of your Lord who created!”16 However, this rendering of the verse is based on two issues. The first concerns the meaning of the verb ‫إقرأ‬. The second relates to the observation made by some exegetes that the verb iqra’ in the sense of “to read” is transitive and requires an object. This has led some exegetes to assume an object, i.e. “Read [this scroll] in the name of your lord who created.” In support of this reading, some refer to an exegetical narrative which relates that Gabriel commanded Muhammad to recite from an actual book (which evokes the aforementioned Ezekiel model).17 The verb also means to “proclaim” or “call,” in which case the verse would mean: “Proclaim in the name of your lord, who created!”18 It is interesting to note that some Muslim exegetes paraphrase the verse in the following way: ‫ اذكر باسم ربك الذي خلق‬which conveys this aspect of the verb q-r-‘.19 Here the imperative verb ‫ اقرأ‬is intransitive and does not require an object because it is used in the sense of “call, proclaim.” Whether we read iqra’ as a transitive or intransitive verb, we can observe that the representation of Qur’anic prophecy follows, in many regards, aspects of prophecy in biblical prophetic writings. The comparison to Jeremiah’s scribe and Ezekiel’s pre-existing scroll is particularly suggestive. Although the prophets mentioned seem to have been able to write and to have actually written, their common practice was dictation. While this is, to a certain degree, a reflection of the technological practice available in their day, the practice has assumed a symbolic dimension. The image of a prophet who publically proclaims his message and dictates what is revealed to him becomes a significant topos in biblical prophetic literature and is central to the understanding of the prophecy of Muhammad. According to early traditions narrating the writing down of the Qur’an, the Prophet encountered the archangel Gabriel annually. During these encounters, the Prophet would collate (‫يعارض‬, yuʿāriḍ) the revelations with him. He was dictated the recitation and guided to what he should proclaim. In a well-known tradition, the companion of the Prophet, Ibn ʿAbbās, said: God sent down the Qur’an throughout the entire year. When the month of Ramaḍān arrived, Gabriel compared the Qur’anic revelations with the Prophet and then God abrogated, wrote down what was meant to be written down, gave a decision on what was meant to be decided, and caused to abandon what was meant to be abandoned.20 The act of divine dictation entails the possibility of divine revision and abrogation. The early stratum of the transmission of the Qur’an is a continuous development of the literary form of prophecy formulated in the Qur’anic drama. In another famous tradition, Ibn ʿAbbās adds that the Qur’an was revised twice during the month prior to the Prophet’s death. The meaning of this narrative is that divine providence ensured that the message is to remain intact and safeguarded before the demise of the messenger.21

40  Islam Dayeh The Prophet recited the book before Gabriel every year in the month of Ramaḍān, and in the month in which he died he recited it before him twice.

‫أن جبريل كان يعارضه القرآن في‬ ‫كل سنة مرة أو مرتين وأنه‬ ‫عارضه في السنة التي توفي فيها‬ ‫مرتين‬

The image of the Prophet receiving and learning the Qur’an from the archangel Gabriel resembles the ancient Mesopotamian scene of the scribe standing before the ruler, reading aloud from his tablet, such as in the Epic of Gilgamesh: There sits Erishkigal, the queen of the Netherworld, And Belit-seri, the lady-scribe of the Netherworld is squatting in front of her, She holds a tablet from which she has been reading to her.22 This scene is evidence for the interplay of orality and literacy in ancient emissary practices. But more importantly, the aforementioned narratives are conceptually modeled on this ancient image. Here we imagine the Prophet in the last year of his mission squatting in front of Gabriel, reciting the Qur’an, perhaps from a tablet, in order to ensure that the message is clear and complete to its recipients once the messenger is gone. As Jeremiah dictated the revelations to his scribe Baruch, Muhammad dictated his revelations to his companions, some of whom were particularly known for this. The professional writing down of the Qur’an was entrusted to a small group of scribes, known as the “scribes of revelation,” kutāb al-waḥy, ‫ ُكتّاب الوحي‬, and included such prominent followers as Ibn Masʿūd, Ubayy b. Kaʿb, Muʿādh b. Jabal, and Zayd b. Thābit.23 Traditional narratives relate that at least part of the Qur’an was committed to writing during the lifetime of the Prophet, and most narratives stress that the copying started in the last years of his life in Medina. Whatever the case may be, the representation of the Prophet’s receiving of the Qur’an from the archangel Gabriel reflects the Qur’anic representation of a Prophet who did not have prior scriptural knowledge, and hence is a recipient of divine teaching and guidance. Comparing divine prophecy with the practices of ancient royal emissaries has shed light on the genre of prophetic literature, including its language and political significance. Widengren has drawn our attention to the ancient practice of the messenger of the kings, who reads letters aloud in the presence of an addressed king, a practice well attested in biblical texts;24 for example, the letter read to Jeremiah (2 Kings 29:29): “And the priest Sefanyah read this letter in the ears of the prophet Jeremiah.” Widengren observed that traces of oral performance are visible in ancient letters, which generally follow this pattern: Speak to so-and-so, son of so-and-so: So says so-and-so. Furthermore, he suggested that “the underlying fiction is that the letter is only the literary fixation of an oral message that is brought to the addressee by means

Prophecy and writing in the Qur’an 41 of the messenger who carries the letter with him, and thus is assumed to deliver the message in an oral communication. The formula is interesting for showing the intimate relation between the oral message and the written letter.”25 In other words, the form of the ancient epistle contains elements of an oral process of communication. Both the command to address and residues of the “oral signature” survive in the written text.26 This is not surprising since biblical writings reflect the culture of writing from which they emerged. Take for example God’s command to Moses to instruct the children of Israel, which is mentioned in the Book of Leviticus (1:1–2): And He called unto Moses, then the Lord spoke unto him out of the tent of meeting, saying: Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them: When any man of you brings an offering unto the Lord, ye shall bring your offering of the cattle, even of the herd or of the flock.

‫מֹׁשֶה ַוי ְדַ ּבֵר י ְהוָה‬-‫ַוּיִק ְָרא אֶל‬ ‫ ֵאלָיו מֵאֹהֶל מֹועֵד לֵאמ ֹר‬. ָ‫ וְָאמ ְַרּת‬,‫ ְּבנֵי יִׂש ְָראֵל‬-‫ּדַ ּבֵר אֶל‬ ‫ֲא ֵלהֶם‬ ,‫יַק ְִריב ִמּכֶם ק ְָרּבָן‬-‫ָאדָ ם ּכִי‬ -‫ ַה ָּבקָר ּומִן‬-‫ ַה ְּב ֵהמָה מִן‬-‫מִן‬-‫לַיהוָה‬ ‫ק ְָר ַּבנְכֶם‬-‫הַּצ ֹאן ּתַ ק ְִריבּו אֶת‬.

The book of Leviticus is traditionally known as wayiqra’, named after the first word in the Book.27 It is remarkable that the opening of Leviticus with the phrase ‫מֹׁשֶה‬-‫“( ַוּיִק ְָרא אֶל‬And He called to Moses”) is similar to the opening of Q 96 ‫ا ْق َر ْأ بِاس ِْم‬ ‫ق‬ َ َ‫ك الَّ ِذي َخل‬ َ ِّ‫“( َرب‬Read/Proclaim in the name of your Lord who has created!”) – both convey the proclamation by using the same verb. While the Levitical opening is the utterance of the narrator and is conveyed in the past tense, the Qur’anic opening is the utterance of the divine voice and is in the imperative. This raises an interesting question: to what extent is the opening of Q 96, known traditionally as Sūrat iqra’ (‫)ا ْق َر ْأ‬, an evocation of the opening of Leviticus, known traditionally as wayiqra’ (‫?) ַוּיִק ְָרא‬ A more apparent comparison can be drawn between Leviticus and Q 6 Sūrat al-Anʿām. The opening sentence ‫“( ַוי ְדַּבֵר י ְהוָה‬and the Lord spoke”) occurs throughout Leviticus to indicate the beginning of a group of instructions or a thematic change.28 Resembling the aforementioned ancient epistolary forms, it immediately calls to the readers’ and listeners’ attention basic elements of the epistolary genre: the sender, the message, and the messenger, and, consequently, it implies the trustworthiness of the messenger, that he be treated kindly by his recipients and that the message demands a response. It goes without saying that a king’s letter is never rejected, except if the intention were to declare war. These cultural and pragmatic implications of the opening phrase, the speech act, “and the Lord spoke,” are necessitated by the epistolary genre from which the phrase is taken. The formal elements that Sūrat al-Anʿām shares with Leviticus are particularly noteworthy. Throughout the sura, God exhorts His messenger to proclaim (“Say!”). The frequency of the imperative verb qul (and its cognates) in this sura is remarkable. It appears around 300 times throughout the Qur’an, 50 of which appear in Sūrat al-Anʿām.29 This speech act is identical to the aforementioned speech acts found in

42  Islam Dayeh the Torah, and especially in Leviticus. The following examples from the beginning of the sura are illustrative: Say: “Travel the earth and see what was the destiny of liars!” Say: “To whom belongs what is in the heavens and on earth?” And to Him belongs that which reposes by night and by day, and He is the Hearing, the Knowing.

‫ض ثُ َّم ا ْنظُرُوا‬ ِ ْ‫قُلْ ِسيرُوا فِي ْالَر‬ (11) َ‫َكيْفَ َكانَ عَاقِبَةُ ْال ُم َك ِّذبِين‬ ‫ت‬ ِ ‫قُلْ لِ َم ْن َما فِي ال َّس َما َوا‬ َ (12) ‫ض‬ ِ ْ‫َو ْالر‬ َّ َّ ‫هار‬ ِ ‫َولَهُ ما َس َكنَ فِي الل‬ ِ ‫يل َوالن‬ (13) ‫َوهُ َو السَّمي ُع ال َعلي ُم‬

Say: “To God. He pledged upon himself mercy in order that He may gather you together on the Day of Resurrection, of which there is no doubt.” But those who lost their souls, these do not believe. Say: “Am I to take other than God as Master, He Who created the heavens and the earth, He Who feeds but is not fed?” Say: “I have been commanded to be the first to submit” – so do not ascribe partners to God. Say: “If I disobey my Lord, I fear the torment of a terrible Day.” He from whom it is averted that Day – [God] has granted him mercy. And that is the clear attainment. And if God should touch you with adversity, there is no remover of it except Him. And if He touches you with good – then He is over all things competent. And He is the subjugator over His servants. And He is the Wise, the Acquainted. Say: “What is the most solemn witness?” Say: “God. He is witness between me and you. This Qur’an has been revealed to me, to warn you therewith and whomsoever it shall reach. Do you indeed testify that there are other gods with God?” Say: “I do not testify.” Say: “It is but One God, and I am blameless of what you associate with Him.”

َ‫َب َعلَى نَ ْف ِس ِه الرَّحْ َمة‬ َ ‫قُلْ ِ َّلِ َكت‬ ْ َ ‫ْب‬ َ ‫لَيَجْ َم َعنَّ ُك ْم إِلى يَوْ ِم القِيَا َم ِة َل َري‬ ‫َسرُوا أَ ْنفُ َسهُ ْم فَهُ ْم َل‬ ِ ‫ الَّ ِذينَ خ‬.‫فِي ِه‬ َ‫ي ُْؤ ِمنُون‬ َّ ‫قُلْ أَ َغ ْي َر‬ ‫اط ِر‬ ِ َ‫للاِ أَتَّ ِخ ُذ َولِيًّا ف‬ ْ ‫ت َو ْالَرْ ض َوهُ َو ي‬ ‫ُط ِع ُم‬ ِ ‫ال َّس َما َوا‬ ِ ْ ‫َو َل ي‬ ُ ْ‫ قُلْ إِنِّي أُ ِمر‬.‫ُط َع ُم‬ ‫ت أَ ْن‬ َ َ ُ َ ‫أَ ُكونَ أ َّو َل َم ْن أ ْسل َم َو َل تَكون ََّن‬ (14) َ‫ِمنَ ْال ُم ْش ِر ِكين‬ ُ ‫صي‬ ‫ْت َربِّي‬ َ ‫قُلْ إِنِّي أَخَافُ إِ ْن َع‬ (15) ‫َظ ٍيم‬ َ ‫َع َذ‬ ِ ‫اب يَوْ ٍم ع‬ ُ‫َمن يُص َرف عَنهُ يَو َمئِ ٍذ فَقَد َر ِح َمه‬ (16) ُ‫ك الفَو ُز ال ُمبين‬ َ ِ‫َو ٰذل‬ َّ َ‫كاشف‬ َ ‫َوإِن يَم َسس‬ ِ ‫ك للاُ بِضُرٍّ فَال‬ ‫َير فَهُ َو‬ َ ‫لَهُ إِ ّل هُ َو َوإِن يَم َسس‬ ٍ ‫ك بِخ‬ (17) ‫َلى ُكلِّ شَي ٍء قَدي ٌر‬ ٰ ‫ع‬ ‫ق ِعبا ِد ِه ۚ َوهُ َو‬ َ ‫َوهُ َو القا ِه ُر فَو‬ (18) ‫ال َحكي ُم الخَبي ُر‬ ً‫َي ٍء أَ ْكبَ ُر َشهَا َدة‬ ْ ‫قُلْ أَيُّ ش‬ ُ َّ ‫قُ ِل‬ ُ ‫وح َي‬ ِ ‫للاُ َش ِهي ٌد بَ ْينِي َوبَ ْينَك ْم َوأ‬ ُ ْ َ ُ ْ ُ َ ‫ي هَذا القرْ آنُ ِلن ِذ َرك ْم بِ ِه َو َم ْن‬ َّ َ‫إِل‬ َّ ‫بَلَ َغ أَئِنَّ ُك ْم لَتَ ْشهَ ُدونَ أَ َّن َم َع‬ ً‫للاِ آَلِهَة‬ ‫أُ ْخ َرى‬ َ ْ ‫قُلْ َل أشهَ ُد‬ َّ َ ‫اح ٌد َوإِننِي بَ ِري ٌء‬ ِ ‫قُلْ إِنَّ َما هُ َو إِلهٌ َو‬ (19) َ‫ِم َّما تُ ْش ِر ُكون‬

While Leviticus reports that God, through the employment of the speech act ‫ ְּבנֵי יִׂש ְָראֵל‬-‫ּדַ ּבֵר אֶל‬, exhorted His prophet Moses to proclaim His message, Sūrat al-Anʿām represents the proclamation as God’s direct teaching to His Prophet. Yet although the sura shares with Leviticus the communicational aspect inherent in the use of the speech act, it departs from it in assuming a didactic nature which brings it closer to later prophetic books such as Isaiah and Jeremiah. As

Prophecy and writing in the Qur’an 43 I mentioned earlier, throughout the sura, the Prophet is consoled for his feeling of failure – he is reminded of his duty, he is taught how to preach, he is reminded that previous messengers were also mocked, and in several instances, God scolds his messenger for thinking of appeasing his people. But what does this tell us about the genre of the Qur’an? Does the form of the text have any bearing on its genre? What implications, if any, does this communicational aspect convey? The question of the genre of the Qur’an is an intriguing one. If we begin by ruling out what the Qur’an is not, we may state the following: the Qur’an is neither a chronological account of a holy people or of a holy person such as the Torah or the Gospels, although there are plenty of stories in it. Nor is the Qur’an a polemical treatise, such as those which came down to us from antiquity, such as Epiphanius’ Panarion or the Letter of Barnabas, although it is not lacking in polemic. The Qur’an is also not a liturgical text, such as the Hebrew Psalms or the verse of the famous Syriac poets, although the entire text is meant to be recited. The Qur’an is also not an exegesis on a canonical text, like the Talmud on the Mishnah or Ephrem’s commentary on the Pentateuch, although there is much explanation and gloss in the Qur’an. The Qur’an is also not a legal code like Leviticus, the Mishnah, the canons of the church, or Justinian’s Code, although the Qur’an shares with them much legal form and matter. Finally, the Qur’an is not a translation of Scripture, like the Aramaic Targumim or the Syriac Peshitta. While the Qur’an integrates generic characteristics of the entirety of Jewish and Christian literature, it is a genre of its own kind. There are, however, two distinctive characteristics of the Qur’an that deserve special attention. As noted earlier, it bears unmistakable resemblance to features of the epistle, implying the presence of a sender, a message, and a messenger. Moreover, God’s role as sustainer and guide (i.e. rabb) is important for the appreciation of the Qur’anic drama. While the exegetical traditional insists on God as the source of the Qur’anic revelations, thereby maintaining its inherent drama, contemporary positivist scholarship has eliminated this from consideration on grounds that this is a theological projection. This latter tendency has become the common practice among scholars, who prefer to quote the Qur’an by saying: “The Qur’an says” or “according to sura X verse Y,” rather than by using the traditional ‫قال هللا تعالى‬, “God – May He be exalted – said: . . .” Insofar as this interpretative practice circumvents the debate regarding the origins of the Qur’an – a debate that, many would argue, can be conveniently dropped in favor of a study of the text itself – it is a welcome development.30 Yet there is an important literary aspect in the ascription of the Qur’an to God which is missed altogether when the divine voice is omitted, as is commonly done in studies on the Qur’an today: the omission of the divine voice ultimately obscures the communicational dimension of the text and eliminates its drama. The divine voice is a vital element in the structure of Qur’anic discourse. Drawing on theoretical work from the field of drama, Angelika Neuwirth distinguishes between exterior and interior “levels of communication.” She writes: On the exterior level, the divine voice – mediated through the address of the Prophet and fixed in a sequence of communications determined to a

44  Islam Dayeh great extent by the redactors of the text – confronts the readers of the written Qur’an. In contrast, on the interior level of communication, the speaker, Muḥammad, and his listeners are interacting. There is a third agent, the divine voice, who on the interior level continuously speaks to the Prophet, but only rarely directly to the listeners. The divine voice, through his speech, stages the entire scenario, thus acting as both a protagonist and the stage director at the same time. On the exterior level of communication, the divine voice has merged with that of the Prophet; the entire drama no longer matters since the book is received as God’s immediate speech. The former listeners have disappeared from the stage, reduced to mere objects of the sole divine speaker’s speech. Their active role in the communication process has been shifted to the readers of the muṣḥaf. The scenarios of the Qur’an as a communication process and as a scripture are, thus, essentially diverse.31 The study of the Qur’an, therefore, does not begin and end with the material “letter” of the text we have before us. That is, it should not focus only on the literal, but should give equal attention to the literary, that is, the drama of the discourse, the generic elements (most importantly, the epistle), and the communicational situation in which these discourses are performed. The didactic nature of the text implies that we are not dealing with revelation in the sense of imparting divine knowledge, but rather in the sense of pedagogy, tarbiya (‫ – )تربية‬a word derived from rabba, of which al-Rabb (i.e. “the Lord”) is also derived. This entails considering God not as a source that may be ignored or bracketed off, but rather as essential to the Qur’anic drama. Here, God appears as a guide and His messenger as the one called to guide his people. It is only through God’s guidance that Muhammad becomes Prophet. The Qur’anic drama exhibits three primary layers of stage. There is, first, the didactic context, which is the scene of God educating His messenger, the call and the guidance. Second, there is the prophetic proclamation, his plea, and his deliverance. Then there is, third, the message, the letter of the text. There remains a crucial aspect of the Qur’anic representation of the Prophet which is of particular relevance for our understanding of the Qur’an as pedagogy: the ummiyyah of the Prophet Muhammad. In the following, I shall investigate the significance of this notion in the Qur’an, the medieval exegetical view that it means “unlettered,” and the modern understanding that the epithet ummī signifies “gentile.” After a discussion of these viewpoints, I will attempt to show how each one of these views reflects only certain aspects of the term and that the Qur’anic employment of the term ummī signifies both “unlettered” and “gentile,” and much more.

The Ummiyyah of the Prophet and his community The word ummī ‫ أ ّمي‬occurs six times in the Qur’an: twice in the singular and four times in the plural. The following table contains the complete verse in which this word occurs and its denotation in each occurrence.

Prophecy and writing in the Qur’an 45 Q 7:157–58. The relative adjective denotes the Prophet

‫ي‬ َّ ‫ي ْالُ ِّم‬ َّ ِ‫الَّ ِذينَ يَتَّبِعُونَ ال َّرسُو َل النَّب‬ ‫الَّ ِذي يَ ِجدُونَهُ َم ْكتُوبًا ِع ْن َدهُ ْم فِي‬ ‫يل يَأْ ُم ُرهُ ْم‬ ِ ‫ال ْن ِج‬ ِ ْ ‫التَّوْ َرا ِة َو‬ ْ ْ ْ ُ ‫َر‬ ‫ك‬ ‫ن‬ ‫م‬ ‫ال‬ ‫َن‬ ‫ع‬ ‫م‬ ‫ه‬ ‫ا‬ ‫ه‬ ‫ن‬ ‫ي‬ ‫و‬ ‫ُوف‬ ْ َ َ ِ ‫بِ ْال َم ْعر‬ ُ َ ِ ِ ‫ت َويُ َحرِّ ُم َعلَ ْي ِه ُم‬ ِ ‫َوي ُِحلُّ لَهُ ُم الطَّيِّبَا‬ َ ِ‫ْال َخبَائ‬ ‫ض ُع َع ْنهُ ْم إِصْ َرهُ ْم‬ َ َ‫ث َوي‬ ْ ‫َو ْالَ ْغ َل َل الَّتِي كَان‬ َ‫َت َعلَ ْي ِه ْم فَالَّ ِذين‬ َ َ‫آَ َمنُوا بِ ِه َو َع َّزرُوهُ َون‬ ُ‫صرُوه‬ ُ‫َواتَّبَعُوا النُّو َر الَّ ِذي أُ ْن ِز َل َم َعه‬ (157) َ‫ك هُ ُم ْال ُم ْفلِحُون‬ َ ِ‫أُولَئ‬

َّ ‫قُلْ يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ إِنِّي َرسُو ُل‬ ِ‫للا‬ ُ ‫إِلَ ْي ُك ْم َج ِميعًا الَّ ِذي لَهُ ُم ْل‬ ‫ك‬ ‫ض َل إِلَهَ إِ َّل هُ َو‬ ِ ‫ال َّس َما َوا‬ ِ ْ‫ت َو ْالَر‬ َّ ِ‫يت فَآ َ ِمنُوا ب‬ ُ ‫يُحْ يِي َويُ ِم‬ ‫اللِ َو َرسُولِ ِه‬ َّ ِ‫النَّبِ ِّي ْالُ ِّم ِّي الَّ ِذي ي ُْؤ ِمنُ ب‬ ِ‫الل‬ َ‫َو َكلِ َماتِ ِه َواتَّبِعُوهُ لَ َعلَّ ُك ْم تَ ْهتَ ُدون‬ (158)

Q 2:76–78 ‫َوإِ َذا لَقُوا الَّ ِذينَ آَ َمنُوا قَالُوا آَ َمنَّا َوإِ َذا‬ The relative ‫ْض قَالُوا‬ ُ ‫خ ََل بَ ْع‬ ٍ ‫ضهُ ْم إِلَى بَع‬ َّ ‫أَتُ َح ِّدثُونَهُ ْم بِ َما فَتَ َح‬ adjective denotes ‫للاُ َعلَ ْي ُك ْم‬ a group of Jews ‫لِيُ َحاجُّ و ُك ْم بِ ِه ِع ْن َد َربِّ ُك ْم أَفَ َل‬ who had imperfect (76) َ‫تَ ْعقِلُون‬ knowledge of the Torah

Those who follow the Messenger, the unlettered Prophet, whom they find written in what they have of the Torah and the Gospel, who enjoins upon them what is right and forbids them what is wrong and makes lawful for them the good things and prohibits for them the evil and relieves them of their burden and the shackles which were upon them. So they who have believed in him, honored him, supported him and followed the light which was sent down with him, – it is those who will be successful. Say, [O Muhammad,] “O mankind, indeed I am the Messenger of God to you all, [from Him] to whom belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth. There is no deity except Him; He gives life and causes death.” So believe in God and His Messenger, the unlettered prophet, who believes in God and His words, and follow him that you may be guided. And when they meet those who believe, they say, “We have believed”; but when they are alone with one another, they say, “Do you talk to them about what God has revealed to you so they can argue with you about it before your Lord?” Then will you not reason?

46  Islam Dayeh َّ ‫أَ َو َل يَ ْعلَ ُمونَ أَ َّن‬ ‫للاَ يَ ْعلَ ُم َما‬ (77) َ‫ي ُِسرُّ ونَ َو َما يُ ْعلِنُون‬ ‫َاب‬ َ ‫َو ِم ْنهُ ْم أُ ِّميُّونَ َل يَ ْعلَ ُمونَ ْال ِكت‬ (78) َ‫ي َوإِ ْن هُ ْم إِ َّل يَظُنُّون‬ َّ ِ‫إِ َّل أَ َمان‬

‫َاب بِأ َ ْي ِدي ِه ْم‬ َ ‫فَ َو ْي ٌل لِلَّ ِذينَ يَ ْكتُبُونَ ْال ِكت‬ َّ ‫ثُ َّم يَقُولُونَ هَ َذا ِم ْن ِع ْن ِد‬ ‫للاِ لِيَ ْشتَرُوا‬ ْ َ‫يل فَ َو ْي ٌل لَهُ ْم ِم َّما َكتَب‬ ً ِ‫بِ ِه ثَ َمنًا قَل‬ ‫ت‬ (79) َ‫أَ ْي ِدي ِه ْم َو َو ْي ٌل لَهُ ْم ِم َّما يَ ْك ِسبُون‬

Q 3:20 The relative adjective denotes the Arab pagans

Q 3:75 The relative adjective denotes the Arabs (the voice is that of the Jews)

ُ ‫ك فَقُلْ أَ ْسلَ ْم‬ َ ‫فَإِ ْن َحاجُّ و‬ ِ‫ت َوجْ ِه َي ِ َّل‬ ‫َو َم ِن اتَّبَ َع ِن َوقُلْ لِلَّ ِذينَ أُوتُوا‬ ْ ‫َاب‬ ‫والُ ِّميِّينَ أَأَ ْسلَ ْمتُ ْم فَإِ ْن‬ َ ‫ْال ِكت‬ َّ ‫أَ ْسلَ ُموا فَقَ ِد ا ْهتَدَوْ ا َوإِ ْن تَ َولوْ ا فَإِنَّ َما‬ َّ ‫غ َو‬ ُ ‫ك ْالبَ َل‬ ‫صي ٌر بِ ْال ِعبَا ِد‬ َ ‫َعلَ ْي‬ ِ َ‫للاُ ب‬ (20)

ُ‫ب َم ْن إِ ْن تَأْ َم ْنه‬ ِ ‫َو ِم ْن أَ ْه ِل ْال ِكتَا‬ ‫ك َو ِم ْنهُ ْم َم ْن إِ ْن‬ َ ‫ار يُ َؤ ِّد ِه إِلَ ْي‬ ٍ َ‫بِقِ ْنط‬ ْ ‫ك إِ َّل َما‬ َ ‫َار َل يُ َؤ ِّد ِه إِلَ ْي‬ ٍ ‫تَأ َم ْنهُ بِ ِدين‬ َ ُ ‫ك بِأنَّهُ ْم قَالوا‬ َ ِ‫ُد ْمتَ َعلَ ْي ِه قَائِ ًما َذل‬ ‫ْس َعلَ ْينَا فِي ْالُ ِّميِّينَ َسبِي ٌل‬ َ ‫لَي‬ َّ ‫َويَقُولُونَ َعلَى‬ ‫ب َوهُ ْم‬ َ ‫للاِ ْال َك ِذ‬ (75) َ‫يَ ْعلَ ُمون‬

But do they not know that God knows what they conceal and what they declare? And among them are unlettered ones (al-ummiyyīn) who do not know the Scripture except in wishful thinking, but they are only assuming. So woe to those who write the “scripture” with their own hands, then say, “This is from God,” in order to exchange it for a small price. Woe to them for what their hands have written and woe to them for what they earn. So if they argue with you, say, “I have submitted myself to God, and so have those who follow me.” And say to those who were given the Scripture and to the unscriptured (al-ummiyyīn), “Have you submitted yourselves?” And if they submit, they are rightly guided; but if they turn away, then upon you is only the duty of notification. And God is Seeing of His servants. And among the People of the Scripture is he who, if you entrust him with a great amount of wealth, he will return it to you. And among them is he who, if you entrust him with a single silver coin, he will not return it to you unless you are constantly standing over him [demanding it].

Prophecy and writing in the Qur’an 47

Q 62:2 The relative adjective denotes the Arabs

ً ‫ث فِي ْالُ ِّميِّينَ َرس‬ َ ‫هُ َو الَّ ِذي بَ َع‬ ‫ُول‬ ‫ِم ْنهُ ْم يَ ْتلُو َعلَ ْي ِه ْم آَيَاتِ ِه َويُ َز ِّكي ِه ْم‬ ‫َاب َو ْال ِح ْك َمةَ َوإِ ْن‬ َ ‫َويُ َعلِّ ُمهُ ُم ْال ِكت‬ (2) ‫ين‬ َ ‫كَانُوا ِم ْن قَ ْب ُل لَفِي‬ ٍ ِ‫ض َل ٍل ُمب‬

That is because they say, “There is no blame upon us concerning the unlearned (al- ummiyyīn).” And they speak untruth about God while they know it. It is He who has sent among the unlettered a messenger from themselves reciting to them His signs and purifying them and teaching them the Book and wisdom, although they were before in clear error.

Muslim exegetes generally concur that the word ummiyyūn in these passages signifies “the Arabs” and that the Arabs were called ummiyyūn in these passages because they did not know how to read or write. Regarding the passage in Q 7:157, where the word appears in the singular form, the exegete al-Qurṭubī, for example, explains that the relative adjective ‫أم ّي‬, ummī, refers to “one who remains in the same state in which his mother bore him (‘alā aṣl wilādatihī) and is therefore unable to write or read,” ‫ لم تتعلم الكتابة‬،‫منسوب إلى األمة األمية التي هي على أصل والدتها‬ ‫وال القراءة‬.32 This interpretation is based on the view that ummī is derived from umm (mother), a common Semitic lexical item.33 Identical interpretations have been given by al-Ṭabarī, al-Rāzī, and al-Zamakhsharī, to cite but a few.34 As to the plural form, exegetes have proffered similar interpretations. With regard to Q 2:78, al-Ṭabarī glosses, “they are a group of Jews which did not read the Book.” He also refers to a narrative which goes back to Ibn ʿAbbās to the effect that “the ummiyyūn were people who did not believe in a prophet sent by God because they write with their hands and then deny,” ‫األميّون قوم لم يص ّدقوا رسوال أرسله هللا ألنهم يكتبون‬ ‫بأيديهم ثم يجحدون‬. However, al-Ṭabarī rejects this interpretation because “it is not known among the Arabs,” ‫ألنه غير مألوف عند العرب‬.35 Similarly, when he discusses Q 3:20, al-Ṭabarī explains that they “are those among the mushrikūn of the Arabs who possess no book,” ‫الذين ال كتاب لهم من مشركي العرب‬, and concerning Q 3:75 he gives the same interpretation by simply stating that “they are the Arabs,” ‫هم‬ ‫العرب‬.36 For al-Ṭabarī the word ummiyyūn in these two verses is synonymous with the word al-ʿarab. We shall have occasion to return to this “ethnic” interpretation shortly. In sum, according to medieval exegetes, ummī denotes the inability to read or write, and by extension it refers to ignorance of scriptural knowledge.37 This is the traditional philological understanding of the word ummī as it appears in Qur’anic usage. We shall come to the exegetical and representational aspects of this signification shortly. But before we do so, let us turn to the following question: does the Qur’anic ummī mean gentile?

48  Islam Dayeh Since the nineteenth century, Western scholars of the Qur’an have been dissatisfied with the aforementioned traditional interpretation. In his 1878 article “Mahomet savait-il lire et écrire?,” Gustav Weil dismissed the traditional interpretation of the relative adjective ummī given by Muslim exegetes and philologists and argued that it rather meant “idolatry.”38 Henri Lammens developed this further by arguing that the term ummī does not mean “one who is unable to read or write,” but it refers to a “gentile” because he belongs to a group which does not possess a revealed book. He concluded that Muḥammad is called an ummī in the Qur’an because he is the “Prophet of the gentiles,” (i.e. the Arabs) on the grounds that the Arabs possessed no revealed book.39 According to Rudi Paret, the word ummī refers to “idolatry” in all the instances it appears, whether in the singular or in the plural forms. However, when Paret tries to make sense of the Prophet’s title al-nabiyy al-ummiyy, he offers this explanation: “The scope of the Jewish term ‘heathen’ [Heide] was perhaps not clear to Muḥammad, and he may have also filled it with new content.” Moreover, we discern an uncertainty in Paret’s view, which is obvious when he offers the meaning of ummī in Q 2:78. Here he states that the meaning is identical to illiteracy; however, towards the end of his article he insists that it means ignorance of revealed texts, not the utter inability to read or write. He finally concludes, along with other scholars, on the basis of Q 3:75 that the term does not mean “ignorance of the art of writing and reading, but the lack of knowledge of the Scriptures.”40 Régis Blachère links the Prophet’s ummiyyah to the state of literacy in Arabia at the time: the inhabitants of northern Arabia had knowledge of reading and writing since the sixth century, and the presence in the Qur’an of words that relate to literacy entails that the Arab recipients knew what these words meant; he adds that the populations of such prominent towns like Mecca and al-Ṭā’if must have been literate. After this survey of “the history of literacy in Arabia,” Blachère treats the question of the Prophet’s ummiyyah; he dismisses the possibility that it could have meant illiteracy and insists that it means gentile. Blachère also cites al-Ṭabarī’s quotation of Ibn ‘Abbās’s aforementioned statement that the ummiyyūn are those “who write and then deny,” but he does not cite al-Ṭabarī’s rejection of Ibn ʿAbbās’s interpretation on grounds that it is “unknown among the Arabs.”41 Finally, in the analysis of Blachère, the ummiyyūn are “those who did not receive a revelation and live in ignorance of the divine law” and al-nabiyy al-ummiyy means the “Gentile Prophet.” Blachère ultimately argues that Muhammad was able to read and write and that Muslim exegetes only interpreted the word ummī in this way in order to vindicate the miraculous and immaculate nature of the Qur’an. Blachère cites instances documented in the Sīra that allude to Muhammad’s ability to read and write, such as the incident in the Ḥudaybiya (6 A.H.) in which, according to numerous biographies, Muhammad modified the pact with Quraysh with his own hands (‫)بيمينه‬.42 Consequently, Blachère consistently translated the word ummī as “gentile,” including the relative adjective ‫النبي األمي‬, al-nabiyy al-ummiyy, in Q 7:157–158, “le prophète des Gentils” (“prophet of the gentiles”).43

Prophecy and writing in the Qur’an 49 The correlation of ummī with “gentile” has prevailed in modern scholarship such that Hebrew translations of the Qur’an have followed suit. Hebrew translations are particularly interesting to consider because they illustrate how the term was connected to the rabbinic understanding of ummōt hā-ʿōlām. In his translation of ummī in Q 7:157–158, Aharon Ben Shemesh paraphrases the term as ‫הנבי‬ ‫העממי‬, i.e. the Prophet of the people.44 Uri Rubin offers a similar interpretation, albeit with a slightly different rendering: ‫“( הנביא איש אומות העולם‬The Prophet who is a man from the gentiles”).45 However, in the Talmud, the word ‫ עממי‬acquired a specific meaning and was used to refer to “non-Jews,” and it seems that Ben Shemesh had the Jewish/non-Jewish dichotomy in mind. As to the occurrences of the word in Q 2:78, Q 62:2, and Q 3:20, Ben Shemesh renders it as ‫עמי ארצות‬, i.e. “the peoples of the land.” In his translation of Q 2:78, Rubin follows Ben Shemesh in using ‫ ;עמי ארצות‬for Q 62:2 and Q 3:20 he translates it as ‫בני אומות‬ ‫העולם‬. In the Hebrew Bible, the genitive construct ‫עם הארץ‬, which consists of the word ‫( עם‬people) and the singular ‫( ארץ‬land), signifies either (1) all Jews except for the priests46 or simply (2) all non-Jews.47 In the Talmud, it refers to a Jew who does not observe all rabbinic laws (an antonym of which is ‫חבר‬, Arabic ‫ َحبْر‬, i.e. law-abiding and scholar of law).48 In the Babylonian Talmud Sotah 22a, we read the following discussion: It has been reported, if one has learnt Scripture and Mishnah but did not study with Rabbinical scholars, R. Eleazar says he is an ʿAm ha-ʾarez (‫;)עם הארץ‬ R. Samuel b. Nahmani says he is a boor; R. Jannai says he is a Samaritan; R. Aha b. Jacob says he is a magician. R. Nahman b. Isaac said: The definition of R. Aba b. Jacob appears the most probable because there is a popular saying, “The magician mumbles and knows not what he says; the tanna recites and knows not what he says.” Our Rabbis taught: Who is an ʿAm ha-arez (‫ ?)עם הארץ‬Whoever does not recite the Shemaʿ morning and evening with its accompanying benedictions; such is the statement of R. Meir. The Sages say: Whoever does not put on the phylacteries. Ben Azzai says: Whoever has not the fringe upon his garment. R. Jonathan b. Joseph says: Whoever has sons and does not rear them to study Torah. Others say: Even if he learnt Scripture and Mishnah but did not study with Rabbinical scholars, he is an ʿAm ha-arez (‫)עם הארץ‬. If he learnt Scripture but not Mishnah, he is a boor; if he learnt neither Scripture nor Mishnah, concerning him Scripture declares, ‘I will sow the house of Israel and the house of Judah with the seed of man and with the seed of beast.’49 The genitive construct ‫עם הארץ‬, i.e. people of the land, conveys in rabbinic use a derogatory sense that has made it into Hebrew translations of the Qur’an.50 It appears that Ben Shemesh appropriates this rabbinic sense in his translation of Q 3:75, where he renders the sentence ‫ذلك بأنهم قالوا ليس علينا في األميين سبيل‬ (that is because they said ‘there is no way to blame us if we do not honor the ummiyyīn’) as ‫מי שאינו בן אמונתו‬, which means “that is because they said ‘there is no way to blame us if we do not honor the non-Jew/gentile,’ ” conveying a

50  Islam Dayeh derogatory sense.51 Similarly, Uri Rubin produces the following translation: ‫“( זאת כי אמרו אין דרך להאשימנו אם לא נכבד את הגיים‬that is because they said ‘there is no way to blame us if we do not honor the gentiles’ ”), which, in its use of the word ‫ הגיים‬leaves no room for doubt that the meaning of ummiyyūn is “gentiles” in the derogatory sense, according to Rubin.52 In order to comprehend the significance of “ummī” as “gentiles” in the derogatory sense, we need to examine biblical and rabbinic use. In the Torah (Leviticus 20:23), God says to the Israelites: “And ye shall not walk in the customs of the nation (‫) ְּבחֻּק ֹת הַּגֹוי‬, which I am casting out before you; for they did all these things, and therefore I abhorred them,” and in the following verse Leviticus 20:24, “I am the Lord your God, who have set you apart from the peoples” (-‫ִמן‬ ‫) ָה ַע ִּמים‬. Also, Deuteronomy 23:21 recalls: “Unto a foreigner (‫ ) ַלּנָכ ְִרי‬thou mayest lend upon interest; but unto thy brother thou shalt not lend upon interest.” Blachère, Ben Shemesh, and Paret were influenced by this political-theological division which shaped their understanding of the concept in the Qur’an, an understanding that seems to be at odds with the aforementioned traditional exegetical understanding.53 To be sure, the equation of ummī with the Hebrew ummōt hā-‘ōlām was first introduced by Josef Horowitz.54 The expression to which Horovitz refers is not a biblical term but a Talmudic term which we find in passages such as ‫ולהגלות את בני בין אומות העולם‬, which means: “And to disperse/ exile my children among the nations of the world.”55 In the original sense the word ‫ אמות‬has no connotation of religious or ethnic distinction, i.e. it does not mean non-Jew. While Horowitz’s observation is important for the understanding of the significance of this term, his exegesis does not explain all the Qur’anic passages in question, and they do not do justice to the exegetical traditions that dealt with them. Furthermore, he seems to suggest a local origin for a concept that appears to have had far greater appeal and significance. It is more convincing to argue that the Qur’anic employment of this term conveys particular Late Antique Christian connotations as well. By semantic convention the term ‫أميين‬ (ummiyyīn) signifies the “gentile.” However, it is not the “gentile” in the disparaging rabbinic sense, but in the sense of the Christian appropriation of it. There is no doubt that ‫ אומות העולם‬means “people of the nations,” yet rabbinic use of the term differs considerably from Christian Pauline use.56 The Qur’an introduces the concept of “gentile” as a positive term. Furthermore, Horovitz asserts that Muhammad was able to read and write (for how else could he have composed the Qur’an?). Whether Muhammad was actually able to read and write is not germane to the discussion – the Muslim intellectual tradition seems to have encompassed all the possible positions – the crux of the matter is how to interpret the passages in question in light of ancient prophetic models and Qur’anic usage. To conclude, Qur’anic ummah, meaning “nation,” is a positive appropriation of an entire Jewish and Christian discourse previously expressed through Hebrew ‫עם‬, ‫ לאם‬and ‫ אומה‬as well as through Aramaic ‫ אומתה‬and Syriac umtah. The following brief examination of Q 62 will illustrate how the Qur’anic use of the term ummī conveys a positive appropriation of the concept of gentile superiority over Israelites, as well as criticism of Jewish scribal authority.

Prophecy and writing in the Qur’an 51

Q 62 Sūrat al-Jumuʿah as key to understanding the notion of ummī in the Qur’an Sūrat al-Jumuʿah, “The Friday” (or: “the day of congregation”), is a short Medinan revelation that consists of 11 verses. If read as a coherent unit, it is key to understanding the use of the term ummiyyūn in the Qur’an: All that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth glorifies God, the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One, the Mighty, the Wise. He it is Who has sent among the unlettered ones a messenger of their own, to recite unto them His revelations and to make them grow, and to teach them the Scripture and wisdom, though heretofore they were indeed in error manifest. Along with others of them who have not yet joined them. He is the Mighty, the Wise. That is the bounty of God; which He gives unto whom He will. God is of Infinite Bounty. The likeness of those who are entrusted with the Law of Moses, yet apply it not, is as the likeness of the ass carrying books. Wretched is the likeness of folk who deny the revelations of God. And God guides not wrongdoing folk. Say (O Muhammad): O ye who are Jews! If ye claim that ye are favored of God apart from (all) mankind, then long for death if you are truthful. But they will never long for it because of all that their own hands have sent before, and God is Aware of evil-doers. Say (unto them, O Muhammad): Lo! The death from which you shrink will surely meet you, and afterward you will be returned unto the Knower of the Invisible and the Visible, and He will tell you what you used to do. O you who believe! When the call is heard for the prayer of the day of congregation, haste unto remembrance of God and leave your trading. That is better for you if you did but know. And when the prayer is ended, then disperse in the land and seek of God’s bounty, and remember God much, that you may be successful.

‫ت َو َما فِي‬ ِ ‫يُ َسبِّ ُح ِ َّلِ َما فِي ال َّس َما َوا‬ ‫يز‬ ‫ز‬ ‫ع‬ َ ِ ‫ض ْال َملِ ِك ْالقُ ُّد‬ ِ ِ ‫وس ْال‬ ِ ْ‫ْالَر‬ (1) ‫ْال َح ِك ِيم‬ ً ‫ث فِي ْالُ ِّميِّينَ َرس‬ َ ‫هُ َو الَّ ِذي بَ َع‬ ‫ُول‬ ‫ِم ْنهُ ْم يَ ْتلُو َعلَ ْي ِه ْم آَيَاتِ ِه َويُ َز ِّكي ِه ْم‬ ‫َاب َو ْال ِح ْك َمةَ َوإِ ْن‬ َ ‫َويُ َعلِّ ُمهُ ُم ْال ِكت‬ َ‫كَانُوا ِم ْن قَ ْب ُل ل‬ َ (2) ‫ين‬ ‫ب‬ ‫م‬ ‫ل‬ ‫ل‬ ‫ض‬ ‫ي‬ ‫ف‬ َ ِ ُ ٍ ٍ ِ ‫َرينَ ِم ْنهُ ْم لَ َّما يَ ْل َحقُوا بِ ِه ْم َوهُ َو‬ ِ ‫َوآَخ‬ (3) ‫ْال َع ِزي ُز ْال َح ِكي ُم‬ َّ ‫للاِ ي ُْؤتِي ِه َم ْن يَشَا ُء َو‬ َّ ‫ك فَضْ ُل‬ ‫للاُ ُذو‬ َ ِ‫َذل‬ (4) ‫ْالفَضْ ِل ْال َع ِظ ِيم‬ ‫َمثَ ُل الَّ ِذينَ ُح ِّملُوا التَّوْ َراةَ ثُ َّم لَ ْم‬ ‫ار يَحْ ِم ُل‬ ِ ‫يَحْ ِملُوهَا َك َمثَ ِل ْال ِح َم‬ ‫س َمثَ ُل ْالقَوْ ِم الَّ ِذينَ ك ََّذبُوا‬ َ ‫أَ ْسفَارًا بِ ْئ‬ َّ ‫للاِ َو‬ َّ ‫ت‬ ‫للاُ َل يَ ْه ِدي ْالقَوْ َم‬ ِ ‫بِآَيَا‬ (5) َ‫الظَّالِ ِمين‬ ‫قُلْ يَا أَيُّهَا الَّ ِذينَ هَادُوا إِ ْن َز َع ْمتُ ْم‬ ‫اس فَتَ َمنَّ ُوا‬ ِ ‫أَنَّ ُك ْم أَوْ لِيَا ُء ِ َّلِ ِم ْن د‬ ِ َّ‫ُون الن‬ (6) َ‫صا ِدقِين‬ َ ‫ْال َموْ تَ إِ ْن ُك ْنتُ ْم‬ َّ ‫ت أَ ْي ِدي ِه ْم َو‬ ْ ‫َو َل يَتَ َمنَّوْ نَهُ أَبَدًا بِ َما قَ َّد َم‬ ُ‫للا‬ (7) َ‫َعلِي ٌم بِالظَّالِ ِمين‬ ُ‫قُل إِ َّن ال َموتَ الَّذي تَفِرّونَ ِمنهُ فَإِنَّه‬ ‫ب‬ ٰ ِ‫ُمالقي ُكم ثُ َّم تُ َر ّدونَ إ‬ ِ ‫لى عالِ ِم الغَي‬ َ‫َوال َّشها َد ِة فَيُنَبِّئُ ُكم بِما ُكنتُم تَع َملون‬ (8) ‫ي لِلص ََّل ِة‬ َ ‫يَا أَيُّهَا الَّ ِذينَ آَ َمنُوا إِ َذا نُو ِد‬ َّ ‫ِم ْن يَوْ ِم ْال ُج ُم َع ِة فَا ْسعَوْ ا إِلَى ِذ ْك ِر‬ ِ‫للا‬ ‫َو َذرُوا ْالبَ ْي َع َذلِ ُك ْم َخ ْي ٌر لَ ُك ْم إِ ْن ُك ْنتُ ْم‬ (9) َ‫تَ ْعلَ ُمون‬ ‫ت الص ََّلةُ فَا ْنت َِشرُوا فِي‬ ِ َ‫ضي‬ ِ ُ‫فَإِ َذا ق‬ َّ ‫ض َوا ْبتَ ُغوا ِم ْن فَضْ ِل‬ ِ‫للا‬ ِ ْ‫ْالَر‬ َّ ‫َو ْاذ ُكرُوا‬ َ‫للاَ َكثِيرًا لَ َعلَّ ُك ْم تُ ْفلِحُون‬ (10)

52  Islam Dayeh But when they spy some merchandise or pastime they break away to it and leave thee standing. Say: That which God hath is better than pastime and merchandise, and God is the Best of providers.

‫َوإِ َذا َرأَوْ ا تِ َجا َرةً أَوْ لَ ْه ًوا ا ْنفَضُّ وا‬ َِّ‫ك قَائِ ًما قُلْ َما ِع ْن َد للا‬ َ ‫إِلَ ْيهَا َوتَ َر ُكو‬ َّ ‫َخ ْي ٌر ِمنَ اللَّه ِْو َو ِمنَ التِّ َجا َر ِة َو‬ ُ‫للا‬ (11) َ‫َّازقِين‬ ِ ‫َخ ْي ُر الر‬

The sura begins by stating that everything in the heavens and on earth declares the glory of God. This is followed by three verses (2–4) that assert that God sent to the ummiyyūn an apostle from among themselves to teach them the kitāb and the ḥikmah. It also contains a praise of the ummiyyūn (with echoes of Deuteronomy 18:18).57 This is followed by four verses (5–8) that convey a criticism against Jewish scribal authority. The verses resonate the many passages in the Qur’an that condemn certain scribes for tampering and corrupting Scripture. The sura concludes with three verses (9–11) that contain a call for the veneration of Friday. The verses state that the day should be spent in remembrance of God, rather than indulging in pastimes and commerce. The sura weaves two elements together: (1) the virtue of being unscriptured and (2) a criticism of scribal authority. The sura argues that although the scribes of the Torah were endowed with the craft of writing – a sacred craft taught by God – they did not abide by it. It is those who were neither entrusted with the Torah nor were taught the craft of writing who ultimately carried it and applied it. The sura presents the Prophet and the recipients of his message as “unlettered gentiles,” successors of those who were once entrusted with the preservation of the Torah but failed to do so. The juxtaposition of the two elements in the sura makes it clear that what is meant by “ummiyyūn” is a positive sense contrasted to the fate of the scribes. The Qur’anic use of the term ummī carries both the sense of “gentile” and “unlettered;” they are “of the nations” because they have not been given a Scripture, and they are “unlettered” because they have not been entrusted with the responsibility of writing and preserving the Torah. The Christian signification of the biblical term “the nations” transforms the term from a pejoratively used defamation to a positive and optimistic rendering. If the ummiyyūn are praised for their being of “the nations” and taught by God the kitāb and ḥikmah, it follows that their counter-image is exemplified by reference to the topos of the “unfaithful scribes.” In the Gospels, the apostles are called “unlearned and ignorant men,” that is, ignorant of Scripture. This is to distinguish them from the religious authorities, namely, the scribes. In Acts of the Apostles, the scribes appear in a negative light: “On the next day, their rulers and elders and scribes (γραμματεῖς) were gathered together in Jerusalem” (Acts of the Apostles 4:5). Whereas the followers of Jesus are distinguished from the scribes by the fact that they are unlettered and ordinary, yet they have signs that show they are the companions of Jesus. “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John and realized that they were uneducated (ἀγράμματοι) and ordinary men, they were amazed and recognized them as companions of Jesus” (ibid. 4:13). These passages from the Acts of the

Prophecy and writing in the Qur’an 53 Apostle highlight an important link between two notions: being “gentile” and being “unlettered.” In Late Antique Christian literature, the topos of the “unfaithful scribe” merges with the practice of the ascetic man who partakes in holy writing, creating spiritual biography and hagiography.58 To conclude then, the term ummī signifies both the notion of belonging to the “nations” (but in the elevated positive and optimistic sense) and the notion of being “unlettered” (referring to a critique of Jewish scholarly authority). It is precisely this array of connotations that the Qur’an conveys in this short and symbolically charged sura. Hence, there is no necessary contradiction between the meanings offered by classical Muslim exegetes and modern Western scholars. Both shed light on two important aspects. Furthermore, the interpretation offered by some Muslim exegetes that the ummiyyūn are “the Arabs” is correct, insofar as they neither possessed Scripture prior to Qur’anic revelation, nor were they entrusted with the scribal preservation of it.

Ummiyyah as a concept In the absence of Scripture, a human being is an ummī because they are in a natural state before receiving divine guidance. The words ummī and umiyyūn thus correlate semantically with Qur’anic words referring to a “natural state of creation” like fiṭrah, khilqah, and al-nashʿa al-ūlā. The Prophet is an ummī because he is taught and guided by his rabb. His followers are ummiyyūn because their lack of knowledge of revelation before the advent of the Prophet is likened to their natural state in which their mothers bore them. Those among the Jews who are ummiyyūn are called so because, although they possessed Scripture, they did not know how to seek its guidance.59 The word ummī in the Qur’an is closely related to guidance and teaching. The Prophet is sent to convey the message and to proclaim it to the ummiyyūn. Without understanding the significance of this concept, it is difficult to appreciate the web of concepts associated with it. Izutsu Toshihko has suggested that al-ummiyyīn refers to the Arabs who did not receive Scripture and that this epithet was applied to them prior to the revelation of Muhammad. Only after their rejection of the Prophet’s message were they then designated as kuffār (“deniers”).60 The Prophet’s ummiyyah continued in Muslim traditions, becoming the basis of many Islamic doctrines and institutions. For Ibn Khaldūn, the Prophet’s illiteracy is not a deficiency but a sign of his perfection (al-kamāl).61 Similarly, the nineteenth-century exegete al-Ālūsī adds that the epithet ummī has no pejorative connotation at all when applied to the Prophet.62 There were, however, alternative views regarding the Prophet’s illiteracy, and a few examples will suffice to illustrate this. The Malikī jurist Abū al-Walīd al-Bājī (d. 474/1081) wrote a treatise in which he argued that the Prophet was indeed able to read and write. He argued that the miracle of the Qur’an is not contingent on the Prophet’s illiteracy. His views sparked a controversy among contemporary scholars.63 Moreover, Ibn ʿArabī (d. 560/1165), the great mystic, was of the view that whether the Prophet, as a Meccan tradesman, actually knew how to write and read is inconsequential,

54  Islam Dayeh as it does not bring into question his spiritual virginity by virtue of which he was the receptacle of revelation.64 All in all, the concept of ummiyyah has had various meanings in Muslim thought. One may consider the canonization of the Prophet’s sayings, the Hadith, and the controversial doctrine of his infallibility as two significant developments legitimated, to a large extent, by this biblical notion of prophecy continuing in the Qur’an and beyond.

Concluding remarks This study began by questioning the paradigm of authorship that has shaped Qur’anic studies since its formation. Taking as my point of departure the obvious discrepancy between modern notions of the “author” as an agent of historical and cultural change, on the one hand, and the presentation of prophecy and writing in the Qur’an, on the other, I have explored certain aspects of the complex relationship between prophecy and writing. Noting that the biblical paradigm helps us understand prophecy in the Qur’an, I have stressed the significance of the biblical motif of dictation as a constituting element in the reception and transmission of prophecy. The comparison to the prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel illustrated the need to develop a wider perspective on the topic. Prophets seldom wrote themselves. When they did, they wrote in order to communicate the oracles and revelations to their respective audience. In the Qur’an, the Prophet is never instructed to “write,” though he is from time to time told to “recite” and frequently he is instructed to “say!” The Qur’an assumes the characteristics of an epistle and a divine didactic performance. My first conclusion, therefore, is that regardless of whether or not the Prophet had the ability to read and write, he is represented in the Qur’an as not having scribal knowledge and he is denied having been a scribe. This is not only a continuation of biblical prophetic types but is also in line with a particular criticism of scribal authority, as found in the Gospels. The Qur’anic depiction of the Prophet also bears resemblance to Late Antique Christian ascetic writing practices, where, out of humility and in unison with the holy, the author denies any egoistic motivation in the written composition, or even the ability to write at all. I then turned to the notion of the ummī as an epithet of the Prophet in the Qur’an. Considering the underlying assumptions that have shaped modern discussions, I have observed how part of the controversy around the notion of ummī was caused by attempts to relate it to the notion of “gentile,” a theologically charged concept in Jewish and Christian religious traditions. Again, consideration of biblical models and topoi not only help us understand Qur’anic discourse but also the relevance of the Muslim exegetical tradition for the study of the Qur’an. The tradition was shown to be useful not only for an exploration of what semantic relations exist in the Qur’an’s use of the terms analyzed but also as a counterbalance allowing us in turn to see how poorly reflected presuppositions of modern scholarship can affect our readings of the sources. My second conclusion, therefore, is that ummī signifies both the sense of being “unlettered” – not possessing Scripture – and belonging to the “nations,” in the positive sense of the term.

Prophecy and writing in the Qur’an 55 In the Qur’an, the ummī appears as the counter-image of those who claim exclusivity or superiority by virtue of their possessing Scripture and scribal knowledge. The term ummiyyūn can therefore refer equally to the Prophet, to the Arabs, to Jews whose scriptural knowledge is limited, and to converts to Judaism whose knowledge of the Torah was incomplete. The universal nonethnic message of the Prophet, who is himself an ummī, embraces the ummiyyūn. What the recipients of the Qur’an have in common is the quality of ummiyyah, the only prerequisite for receiving the Prophet’s universal message. The Qur’an’s use of ummiyyah elevates the pre-Islamic concept of “gentileness” from referring to a state of negative “otherness” to a state of positive fiṭrah (the universal human condition). The ummiyyūn are contrasted to those who possessed scriptural knowledge yet failed to observe and to preserve it. As a virtue, being an ummī is the only requirement to be part of the all-embracing ummah and receive the universal message of its Prophet.

Notes 1 On the significance of “origins” as a research paradigm in nineteenth-century philology, see Maurice Olender’s seminal study The Languages of Paradise: Race, Religion and Philology in the Nineteenth Century (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1992). The notion of the “author” has functioned in Western Qur’anic scholarship in the manner in which Michel Foucault has described its function in modern literary criticism: “the author provides the basis for explaining not only the presence of certain events in a work, but also their transformations, distortions, and diverse modifications (through his biography, the determination of his individual perspective, the analysis of his social position, and the revelation of his basic design). The author is also a principle of certain unity of writing-all differences having to be resolved, at least in part, by the principles of evolution, maturation, or influence.” (idem, “What Is an Author?” in Textual Strategies: Perspectives in Post-Structuralist Criticism, ed. Josue Harari (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1979), 141–160). The idea of the “author” thus becomes the overarching principle of historical-critical philology, concerned as it is with evolution and influence. 2 A perfunctory reading of the formative works of the modern discipline of Qur’anic studies illustrates how they ascribe authorship and writing to the Prophet. See, for example, Abraham Geiger’s, Was Hat Mohammed aus dem Judenthume Aufgenommen? Eine von der Königl: Preussischen Rheinuniversität gekrönte Preisschrift (Bonn: F. Baaden, 1833); Gustav Weil’s, Mohammed der Prophet, Sein Leben und Seine Lehre: Mit Beilagen und einer Stammtafel: Aus handschriftlichen Quellen und dem Koran geschöpft (Stuttgart: Metzler, 1843); Gustav Weil’s, Historisch-kritische Einleitung in den Koran (Bielefeld: Velhagen & Klasing, 1844); Aloys Sprenger’s, Das Leben und die Lehre des Moḥammed: Nach bisher grösstentheils unbenutzten Quellen (Berlin: Nicolai’sche Verlagsbuchhandlung, 1861); and Theodor Nöldeke’s Geschichte des Qorāns (Göttingen: Verlag der Dieterichschen Buchhandlung, 1860). 3 Recently, however, scholars have shifted to the practice of referring to the text of the Qur’an itself, that is, through bracketing out the author, which is similarly problematic as I shall attempt to show. 4 A case in point is Christoph Luxenberg’s, The Syro-Aramaic Reading of the Koran (Berlin: Hans Schiler, 2007 [2000]). For a critical response, see Walid Saleh, “The Etymological Fallacy and Qur’anic Studies: Muhammad, Paradise, and Late Antiquity,” in The Qurʾān in Context, Historical and Literary Investigations into

56  Islam Dayeh the Qurʾānic Milieu, ed. Angelika Neuwirth, et al. (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 2010), 649–698. 5 François Déroche, Le livre manuscript arabe: Prélude à une histoire (Paris: Bibliothèque nationale de France, 2004), 11–35; Alan Jones, “Orality and Writing in Arabia,” Encyclopaedia of the Qurʾān, ed. Jane McAuliffe (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 2001–2006), vol. 3, 587–593; Mohammad Maraqten, “Writing Material in pre-Islamic Arabia,” Journal of Semitic Studies 43 (1998): 292–303. 6 For a discussion of “the suffering Prophet” in the Qurʾān and Biblical literature, see Heikki Räisänen, The Idea of Divine Hardening: A Comparative Study of the Notion of Divine Hardening, Leading Astray and Inciting to Evil in the Bible and the Qur’an (Helsinki: Publications of the Finnish Exegetical Society, 1976). Despite the merits of this work, it operates within the paradigm of prophet-author-writer and therefore misses some significant nuances. 7 On the biblical (esp. Psalmic) topoi in this sura and how they relate to the experience of the Prophet, see Angelika Neuwirth, Der Koran, Band 1: Frühmekkanische Suren: Poetische Prophetie (Berlin: Verlag der Weltreligionen, 2011), 77–87. 8 The following discussion is based on Geo Widengren, Literary and Psychological Aspects of the Hebrew Prophets (Uppsala: Lundequistska Bokhandeln, 1948); idem, Muhammad, the Apostle of God and his Ascension (Uppsala: Lundequistska Bokhandeln, 1955); and Karel van der Toorn, Scribal Culture and the Making of the Hebrew Bible (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2007). 9 On Isaiah as writer, see Van der Toorn, Scribal Culture, 178–180. 10 On dictation and the role of scribes in shaping prophecy, see van der Toorn, Scribal Culture, 182–188. 11 On this analogy, see Widengren, Literary and Psychological Aspects pf the Hebrew Prophets, 71f. Widengren draws the insightful conclusion that (73) “the writing down of the prophecies dictated by Jeremiah has followed nearly the same procedure as that which was regular in Arabian civilization. We also note that his prophecies were written down after a rather long period of his life had elapsed, but yet during his own lifetime. In this case, the coincidence between the Israelite and the Arabian prophet is especially clear. Both would at any rate seem to have preferably dictated their prophecies. But in the case of Jeremiah, we do not hear a word of any disciples preserving the words of their master in their memory – this is a marked contrast to the qurrā’ of the Qur’an.” 12 Widengren, Literary and Psychological Aspects, 75. See also his Muhammad, the Apostle of God and his Ascension. 13 For the view that prophets did not write but dictated their revelations, see Hermann Gunkel, “Die Propheten als Schriftsteller und Dichter,” in Die Großen Propheten: übersetzt und erklärt, ed. Hans Schmidt (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1915), vol. 2, 36–72. For a critical review, see van der Toorn, Scribal Culture, 178–179. 14 “Notwendig aber war es für einen Propheten nicht, Schriftsteller zu Sein: Jeremias hatte schon 23 Jahre gewirkt, als er zum erstenmal Seine Orakel aufzeichnen liess. Später haben dann, um die Wirkung zu verschärfen, etwa die Propheten selbst oder ihre Schüler solche Reden zusammengestellt. Anders ist das bei Ezechiel; dieser Mann [. . .] hat das erste Prophetenbuch geschrieben,” Herman Gunkel, “Die israelitische Literatur,” in Die orientalischen Literaturen, ed. Paul Hinneberg (Leipzig: B. G. Teubner, 1906), vol. 1/7, 84. 15 “Nun unterscheidet sich aber gerade Hesekiel in Seiner Auffassung von der Gottesoffenbarung an ihn sehr charakteristisch von Seinen Vorgängern, indem er sich das von Gott, ihm übermittelte Wort nicht nur als ein fertiges Ganzes vorstellt, sondern es bereit in schriftlich fixierter Form schaut und in sich aufnimmt, [. . .] Geoffenbartes Wort ist geschriebenes Wort!” See Alfred Bertholet, Hesekiel (Tübingen: Mohr, 1936), 11. 16 Régis Blachère, Introduction au Coran (Paris: G. P. Maisonneuve, 1947), 8–9. 17 However, al-Ālūsī has cast doubt on the veracity of this tradition. See al-Ālūsī, Rūḥ al-maʿānī fī tafsīr al-Qurʾān al-ʿaẓīm wal-sabʿ al-mathānī (Beirut: Dār al-Fikr, 1994), 30, 161.

Prophecy and writing in the Qur’an 57 18 For example, Blachère (in idem, Le Coran (Paris: Maisonneuve et Larose, 1966), 657) translated the verb with the French verb “prècher,” i.e. to preach; Uri Rubin (idem, The Qur’an: Hebrew Translation from the Arabic, Annotations, Appendices and Index (Tel Aviv: Tel Aviv University Press, 2005), 527 [Hebrew]), aware of the range of meanings the root q-r-ʾ has in Hebrew, opted to use the same verb, rendering the verse in the following way: ‫קרא בשם ריבונך אשר יצר\ברא‬. 19 Cited in Fakhr al-Dīn Al-Rāzī, al-Tafsīr al-kabīr aw Mafātīḥ al-ghayb (Beirut: Dār alFikr, 1982), vol. 32, 13. 20 Ibn al-Ḍurays, Faḍā’il al-Qurʾān, ed. Ghazwat Budayr (Damascus: Dar al-Fikr, 1987), 75; Abd al-Razzāq, al-Muṣannaf, ed. Ḥabīb al-Raḥmān al-Aʿẓamī (Beirut: al-Maktab al-Islāmī, 1983), vol. 10, 338; Ibn Ḥajar, Fatḥ al-Bārī sharḥ Ṣaḥiḥ al-Bukhārī, ed. ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz b. ʿAbd Allāh b. Bāz (Beirut: Dār al Fikr, 1996), vol. 9, 43. 21 Ibn Ḥajar, Fatḥ al-Bārī, vol. 9, 43. 22 See Leo A. Oppenheim, “Mesopotamian Mythology II,” Orientalia, Nova Series 17 (1948): 44. 23 Al-Suyūṭī, al-Itqān, al-Nawʿ al-ʿishrūn: fī maʿrifat ḥufādhihī wa ruwātih (Beirut: Beirut: Dār al-Kutub al-ʿIlmiyyah, 2003), 142–148. 24 For references to the Parthian texts, see Widengren, Literary and Psychological Aspects of the Hebrew Prophets, 60. 25 Widengren, Literary and Psychological Aspects of the Hebrew Prophets, 61. 26 On oral elements, such as formulaic speech, in the Qur’an and how they form coherence, see my study on the Ḥawāmīn suras in Islam Dayeh, “Al-Hawāmīm: Intertextuality and Coherence in Meccan suras,” in The Qur’an in Context, ed. Angelika Neuwirth, et al. (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 2010), 461–498. 27 On the range of meanings of q-r-ʾ in biblical Hebrew and in rabbinic use, see Daniel Boyarin, “Placing Reading: Ancient Israel and Medieval Europe,” in The Ethnography of Reading, ed. Jonathan Boyarin (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1993), 10–37, esp. 12–18. 28 The phrase “and the Lord spoke” occurs in Leviticus in the following places: 1:1, 2; 4:1, 2; 5:14, 20; 6:1, 12, 17, 18; 7:22, 23, 28, 29; 8:1; 10:3, 8; 11:1, 2; 12:1, 2; 14:1, 33; 15:1, 2; 16:1, 2; 17:1, 2; 18:1, 2; 19:1, 2; 20:1; 21:1, 16, 17, 24; 22:1, 2, 3; 23:1, 2, 9, 10, 23, 24, 26, 33, 34, 44; 24:1, 13, 23; 25:1, 2; 27:1, 2. 29 The verb qul (say!) and its correlatives appear in Q 6 Sūrat al-Anʿām in the following places. The * indicates the number of times the imperative verb qul appears in a particular verse. The form ‫ قُل‬appears 41 times: 11, 12**, 14**, 15, 19****, 37, 40, 46, 47, 50**, 54, 56**, 57, 58, 63, 64, 65, 66, 68, 71**, 91, 109, 135, 144, 145, 147, 149, 150, 151, 158, 161, 162, 164; the form ‫ قالوا‬appears six times: 8, 29, 37, 136, 138, 139; and the form ‫ يقول الذين‬appears two times: 25,148. 30 See Nicolai Sinai, “Orientalism, Authorship, and the Onset of Revelation: Abraham Geiger and Theodor Nöldeke on Muhammad and the Qurʾān,” in “Im vollen Licht der Geschichte” – Die Wissenschaft des Judentums und die Anfänge der Koranforschung, ed. Dirk Hartwig, Walter Homolka, Michael Marx, and Angelika Neuwirth (Würzburg: Ergon, 2008), 145–154, esp. 150. 31 Angelika Neuwirth, “Structure and Emergence of Community,” in Blackwell Companion to the Qur’an, ed. A. Rippin (Oxford: Blackwell, 2006), 146. 32 al-Qurṭubī, Jāmiʿ li-aḥkām al-Qurʾān (Cairo: Dār al-Kātib al-ʿArabi, 1967), vol. 2, 5 and vol. 7, 298–9. 33 Ludwig Koehler and Walter Baumgartner, Hebräisches und Aramäisches Lexikon zum Alten Testament (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1967), vol. I, 59. 34 al-Ṭabarī, Tafsīr al-Ṭabarī: Jāmiʿ al-bayān ʿan taʾwīl āy al-Qurʾān, ed. ʿAbd Allāh al-Turkī (Cairo: Dār Hajar, 2001), vol. 3, 214–215 and vol. 18, 94; al-Zamakhsharī, al-Kashshāf (Beirut: Dār al-Maʿrifah, 1995), vol. 1:158 and 341; al-Rāzī, al-Tafsīr al-kabīr, vol. 31, 13–19. 35 al-Ṭabarī, Tafsīr on Q 2:78. 36 al-Ṭabarī, Tafsīr on Q 3:20, 75.

58  Islam Dayeh 37 Ibn Manẓūr, Lisān al-ʿarab (Beirut: Dār Ṣādir, 1990), vol. 12, 34. 38 Gustav Weil, “Mahomet savait-il lire et écrire?” in Atti del IV Congresso Internazionale degli Orientalisti (Florence: n. p., 1880), vol. 1, 357–366, esp. 360. 39 Henri Lammens, Le Mecque à la veille de l’Hégire (Beirut: Université Saint-Joseph, 1924), 123. 40 Paret posits that “Muḥammed sich vielleicht über die Tragweite des jüdischen Begriffs “Heide” gar nicht recht klar war, und dass er ihn ausserdem [. . .], mit einem neuen Inhalt ausgefüllt haben mag.” He does not think that the term means “Unkenntnis der Lese- und Schreibekunst,” but “sondern mangelnde Kenntnis der heiligen Schrift.” See Rudi Paret, “Ummī,” in Encylopaedia of Islam, 1st ed, ed. M. Th. Houtsma, et al. (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1934), vol. 4, 1100–1101. See also Sebastian Günther, “Muhammad, the Illiterate Prophet: An Islamic Creed in the Qur’an and Qur’anic Exegesis,” Journal of Qur’anic Studies 4 (2002): 1–30. 41 Blachère, Introduction au Coran, 6–7. 42 Interestingly, this same argument was the crux of al-Bājī’s treatise (see later). 43 Blachère, Le Coran, 194. See also Holger M. Zellentin, The Qurʾān’s Legal Culture: The Didascalia Apostolorum as a Point of Departure (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2013), 157–8, note 2. 44 Aharon ben Shemesh, The Noble Qur’an (Tel Aviv: Massada, 1971), 105 [Hebrew]. The Hebrew adjective ‫ עממי‬seems to be Modern Hebrew; a related noun appears in the genitive construct ‫ָָארץ‬ ֶ ‫ ַע ְממֵי ה‬in Nehemiah 9:24. I thank Holger M. Zellentin for this information. 45 Rubin, The Qur’an, 137. ֶ ‫עַם ה‬-‫ּכָל‬-‫אֱמ ֹר אֶל‬ . . ., “Speak unto all the people of the 46 Zechariah 7:5: ‫הַּכ ֹ ֲהנִים לֵאמ ֹר‬-‫ ְואֶל‬,‫ָָארץ‬ land, and to the priests . . .” 47 Ezra 10:2: ‫ וַּנֹׁשֶב נָׁשִים‬,‫ ֲאנַחְנּו ָמ ַעלְנּו בֵאֹלהֵינּו‬-‫ וַי ֹּאמֶר ְל ֶעז ְָרא‬,)‫יְחִיאֵל ִמ ְּבנֵי עולם (עֵילָם‬-‫ׁש ַכנְי ָה בֶן‬ ְ ‫ַוּיַעַן‬ ‫ז ֹאת‬-‫ עַל‬,‫ ִמ ְקוֶה ְליִׂש ְָראֵל‬-‫ָארץ; ְועַּתָ ה י ֵׁש‬ ֶ ָ‫“ ;נָכ ְִרּיֹות מֵ עַ ּמֵ י ה‬And Shecaniah the son of Jehiel, one of the sons of Elam, answered and said unto Ezra: ‘We have broken faith with our God, and have married foreign women of the peoples of the land; yet now there is hope for Israel concerning this thing.’ ” 48 Jacob Levy, Neuhebräisches und chaldäisches Wörterbuch über die Talmudim und Midraschim (Berlin: Benjamin Harz Verlag, 1924), vol. 3, 659. “‫[ עם הארץ‬. . .] bezeichnet das niedrige Volk, das nicht der Gelehrtengenossenschaft (‫ )חברים‬angehört, plebs.” For a comprehensive study, see Aharon Oppenheimer, The ‘Am Ha-Aretz’: A Study in the Social History of the Jewish People in the Hellenistic-Roman Period (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1977). On Aḥbār in the Qur’an, see Holger M. Zellentin, “Aḥbār and Ruhbān: Religious Leaders in the Qurʾān in Dialogue with Christian and Jewish Literature,” in Qurʾānic Studies Today, ed. Angelika Neuwirth and Michael Sells (New York: Routledge, 2016), 258–289. 49 Babylonian Talmud Sotah 22a (Soncino). 50 Levy, Neuhebräisches und chaldäisches Wörterbuch, vol. 3, 659. 51 Ben Shemesh, The Noble Qur’an, 39. 52 Rubin, The Qur’an, 51. 53 Blachère, Introduction au Coran, 8; Paret, “Ummī.” 54 Horovitz, Koranische Untersuchungen (Berlin: De Gruyter, 1926), 52–53: “Wie kam aber ummī zu der Bedeutung “Heide”? Merkwürdigerweise hat noch niemand im Zusammenhang mit ummī an die im jüdischen Schrifttum vorkommende Bezeichnung ummōt hā-ʿōlām erinnert. Diese “Völker der Welt” stehen an einer Reihe von stellen Israel gegenüber (z. B. [Babylonian Talmud] Megillā 12 b oben, Ḥullīn 89 a, Rōsh ha-Shānāh 17a) und auch τὰ ἔθνη τοῦ κόσμου in Lukas 12,30 ist eine Übersetzung dieses hebräischen Terminus. Wenn sich Muhammad als al-nabī al-ummī bezeichnet, so wollte er sich damit den Juden als einen von den nebīʾē ummōt hā-ʿōlām verstellen. [. . .] Daß es solche gab, leugneten sie nicht: nach [Babylonian Talmud] Bābā Bātra 15b bilden Bileam und Sein Vater mit Hiob, Eliphas, Bildad, Sophar und Elihu die Reihe der sieben Propheten, die den Völkern der Welt geweissagt haben und mit denen nach Genesis Rabbā LII 7 Gott “von hinter

Prophecy and writing in the Qur’an 59 dem Vorhang her “geredet hat, während Seine Rede an die israelitischen Propheten bei zusammengerollten Vorhang ergeht. Dagegen ist der Zusammenhang von ummī mit ʿam hā-āreṣ [. . .] unhaltbar. Nur in S. 2, 73, wo ummijjūn für diejenigen unter den ahl alkitab gebraucht wird, welche die Schrift nicht kennen, ‘außer ihren Wünschen gemäß,’ scheint Muhammad einer Verwechslung von ʿammē hā-āreṣ mit ummōt hā-ōlām zum Opfer zu Sein und ummijjūn im Sinne des ersteren zu verwenden.” 55 Midrash Ekha Rabbah, Petichta 10 see Salomon Buber (ed.), Midrasch Echa Rabbati: Sammlung agadischer Auslegungen der Klagelieder (Vilnius: Wilna: Wittwe und Gebrüder Romm, 1899), ad loc. 56 In Hebrew, Aramaic, Syriac, and Arabic, the words for nation, i.e. ‫ אומתה‬/ ‫ אומה‬/umtah / ummah belong to the same root. The attempt to derive the Qur’anic term ummah exclusively from either word is sterile, as the usage of the terms are actually interlinked. This could be illustrated by looking at how the terms ‫ אומתה‬/ ‫ אומה‬/umtah are used in Hebrew and Aramaic. For example, in Genesis 27:29, Isaac’s blessing of Jacob, “Let people (‫ ) ַעּמִים‬serve you, and nations (‫ ) ְל ֻאּמִים‬bow down to you; be lord over your brothers, and let your mother’s sons (‫ ) ְּבנֵי ִאּמֶָך‬bow down to you,” both the terms ‫ עם‬and ‫ לאם‬are translated as ‫ אומתה‬/ ‫אומה‬, ummah/ umtah in Late Antique texts. This attests to the widespread use of ‫ אומתה‬/ ‫ אומה‬umtah/ummah in Late Antique forms of Hebrew and Aramaic. See Marcus Jastrow, A Dictionary of the Targumim, Talmud Babli and Yerushalmi, and the Midrashic Literature (New York: Judaica Press, 1996 [1926]), 27. 57 Deut. 18:18, “I will raise them up a prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee; and I will put My words in his mouth, and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him.” 58 On this, see the exemplary study by Derek Krueger, Writing and Holiness: The Practices of Authorship in the Early Christian East (Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2004). 59 As in the substitution narratives in the New Testament, the Israelites become the pagans and the gentiles become Israel. I thank Holger M. Zellentin for this allusion. Furthermore, Mehdy Shaddel has argued that the ummiyyūn among the Jews may refer to pre-Islamic Arab converts to Judaism (Judaising Arabs). See idem, “Qurʾānic ummī: Genealogy, Ethnicity, and the Foundation of a New Community,” Jerusalem Studies in Arabic and Islam 43 (2016): 1–60. 60 Toshihko Izutsu, God and Man in the Koran (Tokyo: Keio University, 1964), 79. 61 Ibn Khaldūn, Muqaddimah (Beirut: Dār al-kutub al-ʿilmiyya, 1993), 465. 62 Al-Ālūsī, Rūḥ al-Maʿānī, vol. 5, 79. 63 The episode is recounted by Ibn Farḥūn (d. 799AH) in His al-Dībāj al-mudhahhab fī maʿrifat aʿyān ʿulamāʾ al-madhhab, ed. Muhammad Abū al-Nūr (Cairo: Dār al-Turāth, 1975), vol. 1, 377–385. Al-Bājī’s treatise has been edited by Abū ʻAbd al-Raḥmān Ibn ʻAqīl, see Sulaymān ibn Khalaf al-Bājī, Taḥqīq al-madhhab: yatlūhā ajwibat al-ʿulamā' bayna mu'ayyid wa-muʿārid ḥawla daʿwā kitābat al-rusūl li-asmihi yawm sulḥ al-ḥudaybiyah (Riyad: ʿĀlam al-Kutub, 1983). 64 Ibn ʿArabī, al-Futūḥāt al-makkiyya, Cairo 1329/1911, 2:644, translated in William C. Chittick, The Sufi Path of Knowledge (Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1989), 235–238.

Bibliography Abd al-Razzāq. Al-Muṣannaf, edited by Ḥabīb al-Raḥmān al-Aʿẓamī. Beirut: al-Maktab al-Islāmī, 1983. Al-Ālūsī, Abū al-Faḍl Maḥmūd. Rūḥ al-maʿānī fī tafsīr al-Qurʾān al-ʿaẓīm wal-sabʿ al-mathānī. Beirut: Dār al-Fikr, 1994. Al-Bājī, Sulaymān ibn Khalaf.  Taḥqīq al-madhhab: yatlūhā ajwibat al-ʿulamāʾ bayna muʾayyid wa-muʿārid ḥawla daʿwā kitābat al-rusūl li-asmihi yawm sulḥ al-ḥudaybiyah, edited by Abū ʿAbd al-Raḥmān Ibn ʿAqīl. Riyad: ʿĀlam al-Kutub, 1983.

60  Islam Dayeh ben Shemesh, Aharon. The Noble Qur’an. Tel Aviv: Massada, 1971 [Hebrew]. Bertholet, Alfred. Hesekiel. Tübingen: Mohr, 1936. Blachère, Régis. Introduction au Coran. Paris: G. P. Maisonneuve, 1947. Blachère, Régis. Le Coran. Paris: Maisonneuve et Larose, 1966. Boyarin, Daniel. “Placing Reading: Ancient Israel and Medieval Europe,” in The Ethnography of Reading, edited by Jonathan Boyarin, 10–37. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press 1993. Chittick, William C. The Sufi Path of Knowledge. Albany, NY: The State University of New York Press, 1989. Dayeh, Islam. “Al-Hawāmīm: Intertextuality and Coherence in Meccan suras.” In The Qurʾān in Context, edited by Angelika Neuwirth et al., 461–498. Leiden: E. J. Brill, 2010. Déroche, François. Le livre manuscript arabe, Prélude à une histoire. Paris: Bibliothèque nationale de France, 2004. Foucault, Michel. “What is an Author?” In Textual Strategies: Perspectives in PostStructuralist Criticism, edited by Josue Harari, 141–160. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1979. Gunkel, Hermann. “Die Israelitische Literatur.” In Die orientalischen Literaturen, edited by Paul Hinneberg, vol. 1/7, 51–102. Leipzig: B. G. Teubner, 1906. Gunkel, Hermann. “Die Propheten als Schriftsteller und Dichter.” In Die Großen Propheten: übersetzt und erklärt, edited by Hans Schmidt, vol. 2, 36–72. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1915. Günther, Sebastian. “Muhammad, the Illiterate Prophet: An Islamic Creed in the Qur’an and Qur’anic Exegesis.” Journal of Qur’anic Studies 4 (2002): 1–30. Horovitz, Josef. Koranische Untersuchungen. Berlin: De Gruyter, 1926. Ibn al-Ḍurays. Faḍā’il al-Qurʾān, edited by Ghazwat Budayr. Damascus: Dār al-Fikr, 1987. Ibn Farḥūn, Ibrāhīm ibn ʿAlī. al-Dībāj al-mudhahhab fī maʿrifat aʿyān ʿulamā’ al-madhhab, edited by Muhammad Abū al-Nūr. Cairo: Dār al-Turāth, 1975. Ibn Ḥajar, al-ʿAsqalānī. Fatḥ al-Bārī sharḥ Ṣaḥiḥ al-Bukhārī, edited by ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz b. ʿAbd Allāh b. Bāz. Beirut: Dār al Fikr, 1996. Ibn Khaldūn, Abd al-Rahman. al-Muqaddimah. Beirut: Dār al-kutub al-ʿilmiyya, 1993. Ibn Manẓūr, Muḥammad b. Mukarram. Lisān al-ʿarab. Beirut: Dār Ṣādir, 1990. Izutsu, Toshihko. God and Man in the Koran. Tokyo: Keio University, 1964. Jastrow, Marcus. A Dictionary of the Targumim, Talmud Babli and Yerushalmi, and the Midrashic Literature. New York: Judaica Press, 1996 [1926]. Jones, Alan. “Orality and Writing in Arabia.” In Encyclopaedia of the Qurʾān, edited by Jane McAuliffe, vol. 3, 587–593. Leiden: E. J. Brill, 2001–2006. Koehler, Ludwig and Walter Baumgartner. Hebräisches und Aramäisches Lexikon zum Alten Testament. Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1967. Krueger, Derek. Writing and Holiness. The Practices of Authorship in the Early Christian East. Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press 2004. Lammens, Henri. Le Mecque à la veille de l’Hégire. Beirut: Université Saint-Joseph, 1924. Levy, Jacob. Neuhebräisches und Chaldäisches Wörterbuch über die Talmudim und Midraschim. Berlin: Benjamin Harz Verlag, 1924. Luxenberg, Christoph. The Syro-Aramaic Reading of the Koran. Berlin: Hans Schiler, 2007 [2000]. Maraqten, Mohammad. “Writing Material in pre-Islamic Arabia.” Journal of Semitic Studies 43 (1998): 287–310.

Prophecy and writing in the Qur’an 61 Midrash Ekha Rabbah, edited by Salomon Buber. Midrasch Echa Rabbati: Sammlung agadischer Auslegungen der Klagelieder. Vilnius: Wilna: Wittwe und Gebrüder Romm, 1899. Neuwirth, Angelika. Der Koran, Band 1: Frühmekkanische Suren: Poetische Prophetie. Berlin: Verlag der Weltreligionen, 2011. Neuwirth, Angelika. “Structure and Emergence of Community.” In Blackwell Companion to the Qur’an, edited by Andrew Rippin, 140–158. Oxford: Blackwell, 2006. Nöldeke, Theodor. Geschichte des Qorāns. Göttingen: Verlag der Dieterichschen Buchhandlung, 1860. Olender, Maurice. The Languages of Paradise: Race, Religion and Philology in the Nineteenth Century, translated by Arthur Goldhammer. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1994. Oppenheimer, Aharon. The ‘Am Ha-Aretz’. A  Study in the Social History of the Jewish People in the Hellenistic-Roman Period (Arbeiten zur Literatur und Geschichte des Hellenistischen Judentums, Band 8). Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1977. Oppenheim, A. Leo. “Mesopotamian Mythology II.” Orientalia, Nova Series 17 (1948): 17–58. Paret, Rudi. “Ummī.” In Encylopaedia of Islam, edited by M. Th. Houtsma et al., vol. 4, 1100–1101. 1st Edition. Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1934. Al-Qurṭubī, Abū ʿAbd Allāh Muḥammad b. Aḥmad al-Anṣārī. Jāmiʿ li-aḥkām al-Qurʾān. Cairo: Dār al-Kātib al-ʿArabi, 1967. Räisänen, Heikki. The Idea of Divine Hardening: A Comparative Study of the Notion of Divine Hardening, Leading Astray and Inciting to Evil in the Bible and the Qur’an. Helsinki: Publications of The Finnish Exegetical Society, 1976. Al-Rāzī, Fakhr al-Dīn. al-Tafsīr al-kabīr aw Mafātīḥ al-ghayb. Beirut: Dār al-Fikr, 1982. Rubin, Uri. The Qur’an: Hebrew Translation from the Arabic, Annotations, Appendices and Index. Tel Aviv: Tel Aviv University Press, 2005 [Hebrew]. Saleh, Walid. “The Etymological Fallacy and Qur’anic Studies: Muhammad, Paradise, and Late Antiquity.” In The Qurʾān in Context: Historical and Literary Investigations into the Qurʾānic Milieu, edited by Angelika Neuwirth et al., 649–698. Leiden: E. J. Brill, 2010. Shaddel, Mehdy, “Qurʾānic ummī: Genealogy, Ethnicity, and the Foundation of a New Community.” Jerusalem Studies in Arabic and Islam 43 (2016): 1–60. Sinai, Nicolai, “Orientalism, Authorship, and the Onset of Revelation: Abraham Geiger and Theodor Nöldeke on Muhammad and the Qurʾān.” In “Im vollen Licht der Geschichte” – Die Wissenschaft des Judentums und die Anfänge der Koranforschung, edited by Dirk Hartwig, Walter Homolka, Michael Marx and Angelika Neuwirth, 145–154. Würzburg: Ergon, 2008. Sprenger, Aloys. Das Leben und die Lehre des Moḥammed: Nach bisher grösstentheils unbenutzten Quellen. Berlin: Nicolai’sche Verlagsbuchhandlung, 1861. Al-Suyūṭī, Jalāl al-Dīn. al-Itqān, al-Nawʿ al-ʿishrūn: fī maʿrifat ḥufādhihī wa ruwātih. Beirut: Dār al-Kutub al-ʿIlmiyyah, 2003. Al-Ṭabarī, Muḥammad b. Jarīr. Tafsīr al-Ṭabarī: Jāmiʿ al-bayān ʿan taʾwīl āy al-Qurʾān, edited by ʿAbd Allāh al-Turkī. Cairo: Dār Hajar, 2001. Van der Toorn, Karel. Scribal Culture and the Making of the Hebrew Bible. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2007. Weil, Gustav. Historisch-kritische Einleitung in den Koran. Bielefeld: Velhagen & Klasing, 1844. Weil, Gustav. “Mahomet savait-il lire et écrire?” In Atti del IV Congresso Internazionale degli Orientalisti, vol. 1, 357–366. Florence: n. p., 1880.

62  Islam Dayeh Weil, Gustav. Mohammed der Prophet, Sein Leben und Seine Lehre: Mit Beilagen und einer Stammtafel. Aus handschriftlichen Quellen und dem Koran geschöpft. Stuttgart: Metzler, 1843. Widengren, Geo. Literary and Psychological Aspects of the Hebrew Prophets. Uppsala: A. B. Lundequistska Bokhandeln, 1948. Widengren, Geo. Muhammad, the Apostle of God and his Ascension. Uppsala: Lundequistska Bokhandeln, 1955. Al-Zamakhsharī, Abu al-Qāsim Maḥmūd ibn ʿUmar. al-Kashshāf. Beirut: Dār al-Maʿrifah, 1995. Zellentin, Holger. “Aḥbār and Ruhbān: Religious Leaders in the Qurʾān in Dialogue with Christian and Jewish Literature.” In Qurʾānic Studies Today, edited by A. Neuwirth and M. Sells, 258–289. New York: Routledge, 2016. Zellentin, Holger. The Qurʾān’s Legal Culture: The Didascalia Apostolorum as a Point of Departure. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck Tübingen, 2013.

4 A “Religious Transformation in Late Antiquity” Qur’anic refigurations of pagan-Arab ideals based on biblical models1 Angelika Neuwirth Recent scholarship on the Qur’an as part and parcel of Late Antiquity has refreshed our interest in the tribal milieu of the Arab Peninsula.2 Scholars have attributed a formative imprint on the development of Islam to this milieu, equaling or even exceeding the impact exerted by the biblical text world. To vindicate the “Arabian Late Antiquity” – which in Arabic tradition has long been discredited as jāhiliyyah, an era of barbarism or ignorance – sociohistorical studies will need to be flanked by textual, that is, by philological studies, since it is the Qur’an itself that played a crucial active role in shaping the epistemic space under consideration.3 The present chapter is meant as an attempt to draw attention to the two-fold – Arabian and biblical – genealogy of the Qur’an, highlighting a number of relevant, hitherto little reflected concepts touching on earthly as well as spiritual loyalties such as kawthar, takāthur, dhurriyyah, taqwā, qiblah, saʿy, bayt, and ‘sacrificial offering.’

The historical background: approaches to the Qur’an Inna akramakum ʿinda llāhi atqākum – “Surely the noblest among you in the sight of God is the most God-fearing of you.” 4 Using this Qur’anic verse5 as their slogan, the Khārijites, an early Islamic opposition movement,6 entered the arena of the seventh-century debate about legitimate rule over the new Islamic political entity. Their motto reflected the principle, repeatedly articulated in the Qur’an, that a man’s social standing should not be based on genealogy, on a noble pedigree, as the pagan Arabs upheld, but rather on individual piety, taqwā, equivalent to the Christian notion so central in Late Antiquity, of eusebeia. The idea was revolutionary, for the contrary position, estimating a man as “noble,” karīm or sharīf, according to his familial pedigree, stood at the heart of the current local canon of values of murūʾah,7 which was strongly imprinted by Bedouin perceptions. Familial lineage is dwelt upon numerous times in the central literary medium of the time: the ancient Arabic qaṣīdah, whose final section often contains a panegyric – mufākharah – in praise of the tribe with whom the poet is associated. It should not be surprising that after the death of the Prophet Muhammad in 632 – an event that conclusively defined the end of the proclamation of the Qur’an – the old pagan position was revived and even politically implemented. Muʿāwiyah ibn Abī Sufyān, a prominent member of the Meccan Umayyah clan,

64  Angelika Neuwirth became ruler of the Muslim community in 661. This was a person whose will to power was strong enough to assert himself as the founder of the first dynasty of Islam.8 Under the Umayyad rule from 661 to 750, Arab rule over the Near East crystallized into an emergent plurinational empire. Yet tribal hegemony did not fade away. In the new state composed of many different peoples, social mobility for non-Arab citizens was not warranted by conversion alone, but was additionally dependent on clientage with an Arab tribe. Simultaneously, much effort was expended on Arabizing state representation,9 administration as well as coinage, a process that also included the official publication of the Qur’an,10 as well as the systematic construction and fixation of Arab tribal genealogies.11 Tribal lineage was a powerful instrument that during the age of conquests determined prestige and secured material privileges. But not only tribal Arab genealogy mattered – there was equally intense interest in embedding Arab genealogies in a biblical Weltgeschichte (world history)12 by constructing a biblical lineage for the Arab tribes – a lineage that conveniently placed the Arabs, the recipients of the Arabic Qur’an, as a community both steeped in and springing forth from biblical tradition, thus putting them into a close relation to the Jews and Christians. Within a few decades, the Umayyads succeeded in annihilating their rivals, the Khārijites. Yet with the factual triumph of genealogical lineage over the principle of individual piety, not only a partisan view but also a central accomplishment of the Qur’anic message was forsaken: the once achieved supersession of genealogical loyalties by religious ones. This concept’s political failure, its nonimplementation, should not make us forget that the Qur’anic paradigm shift had equaled an ideological breakthrough, which can be described with the term recently coined by Guy Stroumsa13 as a “religious mutation of Late Antiquity.” Here, a preliminary remark is in place. In this study, the Qur’an is read diachronically,14 that is, not according to the traditional sequence of suras as they are organized in the canonic text. Instead, the text is presumed to reflect a process of subsequent communications whose historical sequence can be roughly reconstructed, a historical-critical project15 that is currently being worked out in the Corpus Coranicum project16 under the auspices of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences. This reformulated and rearranged chronology,17 which subdivided the text into early, middle, and late Meccan and Medinan suras, does not line up the suras according to how they are arranged in the ‘Qur’anic codex’ (muṣḥaf), but rather reflects the sequence underlying the oral dissemination process of the Qur’an, which we understand as an open debate, subject to trial and error, between a messenger and his listeners. This new approach for reconstructing the early history of the emerging community, in contrast to common readings of the Qur’an as a fait accompli, presupposes that the agents participating in the genesis of the Qur’an were individuals educated in Late Antique lore not yet committed to an Islamic Erwartungshorizont (frame of expectations). Consequently, this approach – which is decisively different from both the revisionist view that dispenses with the agency of the historical Muhammad and the traditional scholarly approach that depicts Muhammad as the Qur’an’s author – speaks of ‘the

A “Religious Transformation in Late Antiquity” 65 messenger’ and ‘the listeners’ as communicative partners in a mutually inclusive debate that underlies the emergence and development of the Qur’an. Furthermore, the Qur’an is read intertextually. As a postbiblical text whose narratives closely reflect biblical precursors, the Qur’an invites a reconnection to related earlier monotheistic traditions, both Jewish and Christian. These reflect particular concepts of genealogy and other models of collective loyalty that are negotiated in the Qur’an. Their example, in particular, strongly resounds in the Qur’anic reflections about the ideal household, about dealing with family members and handling of sexual issues.18 However, since it is the peculiar – tribally oriented – self-image of the pagan opponents of the message that is one of the main targets of early Qur’anic polemic, ancient Arabic poetry provides another important intertext. Tribal pride, fakhr, is a core issue of pagan Arabic self-awareness, which has been given poetic expression in numerous verses. “In fakhr of the personal type the poet extols his own worth, whereas in tribal fakhr the tribe becomes the paradigm of murūʾa and the poet, without losing his individualism, merges with the tribe.”19 One poem by Qurayṭ ibn Unayf from the tribe of ʿAnbar – the opening piece of Abū Tammām’s famous anthology Al-Ḥamāsah, “Heroism” – which celebrates the ideal of tribal solidarity, may suffice as an example to highlight the ideological backdrop of the Qur’anic negotiation of traditional attitudes towards one’s society: Had I belonged to (the tribe of) Māzin, there had not plundered my herds The sons of the foundling Dhuhl son of Shaybān. Then there would have straightaway arisen to help me A firm-handed kin, quick to defend the weak and needy. Men who, when evil bares before them its hindmost teeth, Fly out to meet it, in companies or alone. They ask not their brother, when he lays before them his troubles, To give them proof of the truth of what he says. But as for my people, though their number is not small, They are good for naught against evil, however light it be.20

A new loyalty: the messenger’s status without a genealogy and without powerful kin (early Mecca) The Qur’anic debate about the ideal genealogical principle of nasab, family genealogy, which figured so highly in the ancient Arabian canon of values, and by extension about the adherence to a clan or tribe, seems to have begun quite early. It by far antedates considerations about desirable attitudes towards one’s kin, expressed in recommendations how to deal with wives, children, parents, and others. One of the earliest Qur’anic suras, Q 108 Sūrat al-Kawthar, “Abundance” – a ‘consolation sura’ – jumps directly into this debate,21 though only by way of an oblique formulation. Most plausibly, the sura is intended to invert a calumny that had been thrown against the messenger as a man “cut off” from his clan.

66  Angelika Neuwirth Q 108 Sūrat al-Kawthar, “Abundance” 1 2 3

Surely We have given thee abundance; so pray unto thy Lord and sacrifice. Surely he that hates thee, he is the one cut off.

With its triumphal exclamation that affirms a special privilege accorded to the addressee, the sura immediately assures that a crisis has been overcome: the initial third-person-plural formulated statement concerning a manifest example of God’s favor (v. 1: “abundance”) is left vague, yet the morphologically intensive form kawthar narrows possible meanings to ‘something extremely generous’ and ‘fulfilling’. In all likelihood, God’s consolation should be understood as ‘spiritual recompense’ embodied in the newly disclosed power of proclamation. Empowering the messenger with spiritual abundance compensates for the poor pedigree blamed on him in v. 3, that is, of not belonging to a powerful and protective family clan (nasab) or having no sons. The experience of divinely guaranteed individual privilege takes the place of a genealogically inborn elitist consciousness.22 This argument is developed further in sura 102 Sūrat al-Takāthur, “The Greed for Abundance,”23 which was likely composed shortly after 108. In it, the dialogue is not only directed to a wider public, indicated by the second-person plural, but the messenger also strikes back with a polemic address: it is the pagans – so his reproach – that find themselves in a state of need. They have been so obsessed, so “diverted,” with increasing their familial alliances and, by extension, with improving their wealth and public standing, to lapse into ancestry worship, “[they] visit the tombs”24 instead of taking heed of their own eschatological future. Q 102 Sūrat al-Takāthur “The Greed for Abundance”25 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

Gross greed for abundance diverts you, such that you visit the tombs! No indeed; but soon you shall know! Again, no indeed; but soon you shall know! No indeed; did you know with the knowledge of certainty, you shall surely see Hell! Again, you shall surely see it with the eye of certainty, then you shall be questioned that day concerning true bliss!

Due to the practice of ancestry worship (v. 2), the pagans have slid away from knowledge, which is exactly what they needed in order to recognize the problematic of their choice – favoring hedonistic worldly pleasure (v. 8) sanctioned by ancestral tradition – and to realize their fatal eschatological future. The truth claim raised by the messenger for the essential idea of the eschatological judgment is so emphatically expressed (v. 5–7) that it invokes Stroumsa’s observation that “contemplating religion [. . .] is an integral part of religion itself.”26 The pagans’ proximity to their forefathers remains a ubiquitous topic also in later texts; thus, they

A “Religious Transformation in Late Antiquity” 67 scoff at the notion that their ancestors will be raised from the dead (Q 56:46–47): “What, when we are dead and become dust and bones, shall we indeed be raised up?/What and our fathers, the ancients?” Resurrection, an event making all men equal, would deprive their forefathers of the privileged status they continue to enjoy post mortem. The problem is still unsolved in Medina (Q 2:200), where the Meccan pilgrims are reminded to remember God “as you remember your fathers or yet more devoutly.” The seeds of this debate, however, were already spread in early Mecca. The subject is first subliminally pursued, hidden in a linguistic pun: it seems to be more than just chance that these two chronologically close suras – 108 and 102 – both operate with a morphologically conspicuous derivation of the root k-th-r. A word-game, one that goes beyond the suras’ borders, seems to flag the dialectic connection between the two texts. The Qur’an reproaches the pagans’ focus (i.e. their “obsession”) on the strength of one’s fathers and extended family, which is also understood as a genealogical guarantee for a carefree life of enjoyment. The orientation of the power of the family is continually reinvoked and proven as a dead-end throughout the Meccan period.27

 xcursus: pagan civic religion versus E communitarian religion? In more recent religious studies, one no longer understands the transition from Antiquity to Late Antiquity primarily as a transition from a pagan to a monotheistic cult. Guy Stroumsa28 recently established a differentiated alternative model that describes this transition as a multistaged “process of transformation;” a position of “care for the self” takes the place of the previous collective, public, and identity-laden cult. A new type of religion emerged, based on verbally conveyed piety and on the recognition of Scripture as the highest authority. Thus, new religious observances – in particular, the personal orientation to God through prayer and asceticism – occupied the position animal sacrifice previously held. Such new shifts called for a new definition of the “religious community,” which can be described as a shift from a “civic religion” to a “communitarian religion,” “established through voluntary pious acts of individuals and based on a mutually shared belief.”29 Although Stroumsa only occasionally refers to Islam and excludes inner-Qur’anic transformation processes from his study,30 his observations nevertheless prove to be pioneering for a religio-historical analysis of the Qur’anic communication process. In the Qur’an we observe a shift of authority, which can be described by the categories Stroumsa proposes, with the sole modification that in the Qur’anic transformation process the pagan attitude is less manifest in the supersession of cultic practices than it is in the establishment of new genealogical orientations. The authority of spiritual ancestry and, at some later discursive level, the consciousness of belonging to God’s people, takes the place of genealogical authority. The earliest suras, the so-called ‘consolation suras’ or ‘thanksgiving suras,’31 do not yet explicitly express a direct conflict. Yet such a conflict would soon arise due

68  Angelika Neuwirth to the propagation of a significantly new theological concept that would shake the foundation of the entire traditional tribal-oriented Wertekanon: the promise of the Judgment Day backed by the authority of Scripture.

Disempowering the clan system: individual responsibility versus collective accountability (early Mecca) For the following discussion, it is useful to cite at length a classical interpretation of the religious historian Gustav von Grunebaum: Fear of the [Last] Judgment, that will come into force at the end of this world, was, if not the most powerful, at least the most compelling explanation for the galvanizing drive behind the Prophet’s message and his listeners’ attention. The way in which the Arab, as he was told, would be judged was not the same way in which he, following his ancestors’ footsteps, had acted, and certainly not the way in which he would have judged himself. With slight exaggeration one may say that only with Muhammad did sin as the personal appropriation of evil enter the life of him who had remained untouched by Christian, Jewish or Iranian ideas that had been making their way into the Peninsula, unsifted, confused and confusing.32 Previously, good and evil, justice and injustice, were values based on their categorical utility for gauging the tribe’s honor and status. This was a system that inversely guaranteed individuals protection and prestige. The elevated standing of the individual in the clan – as some early Qur’anic texts drawing on Gospel imagery show – is lost on the Day of Judgment, thus revealing the system’s final weakness. Q 8033 states: 33 34 35 36 37

And when the blast shall sound, upon the day when a man shall flee from his brother, his mother, his father, his consort, his sons, every man that day shall have business to suffice him.

Though man’s realization of the “care for the self,” his individual awareness of accountability, is predicted according to v. 37 only for the Day of Judgment, this kind of self-reflection is already ordained upon the individual believer during his earthly life. Contrasting this accountability with the pagan system and its primary concern with satisfying the tribal collective proved especially appropriate for deconstructing the ancient traditions. The idea of an eventually powerless tribal system vis-à-vis the immediacy of a personal eschatology was formulated even more drastically in Q 70:  8 Upon the day when heaven shall be as molten copper  9 and the mountains shall be as plucked wool-tufts,

A “Religious Transformation in Late Antiquity” 69 10 no loyal friend shall question loyal friend, 11 as they are given sight of them. The sinner will wish that he might ransom himself from the chastisement of that day even by his sons 12 his companion wife, his brother, 13 his kin who sheltered him, 14 and whosoever is in the earth, all together, so that then it might deliver him.34 From within this new mind-set, the traditional values in the clan system were thereby substituted with other ones. The new ethos of the “care for the self” whereby the individual, aware of the inseparable iunctim of his body and his soul, prepares himself for eschatological judgment, introduced a new canon of values in which the stranger and the disadvantaged – not one’s kith or kinsmen who garner prestige through association – are taken up as the primary addressees of the new pious. Q 90 Sūrat al-Balad,35 unfolding around the image of the ‘two ways,’ develops a scenario of practically applied piety in which alms-giving, a practice that will become a standard topos in the middle Meccan catalogues of virtues,36 plays an important role. Whereas the ancient pagan-Arab paradigm promoted exuberant generosity (jūd), in the new canon of values charity is required instead. Q 90 starts with an oath cluster conjuring the high rank of Mecca as an urban settlement and the act of procreation as the foundation of societal life (v. 1–3). It is noteworthy that the Qur’anic message at no point rejects the begetting of children so vehemently – disputed in patristic literature from the third century to the fifth – but acknowledges marital life and the begetting of offspring as the basis for the existence and survival of the polis.37 The oath cluster which connects procreation to sacredness thus forms a particularly emphatic prelude to the ensuing statement (‘Schwuraussage’) that man – with all his merit in constituting the polis – has been created as a defective being38 (v. 4). The somewhat nonspecific “created in trouble” is explained in the ensuing verses: “man,” al-insān, is still committed to the pagan code of behavior, a state of affairs that transpires blatantly through his attitude towards worldly possessions which he – far from devoting them to charity – wastes in acts of boastful overspending:  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9 10

No, I swear by this town,39 And thou art a lodger in this town, By the begetter and that he begot, Indeed, we created man in trouble. What, does he think none has power over him, saying, ‘I have destroyed wealth abundant’?40 What, does he think none has seen him? Have We not appointed to him two eyes and a tongue and two lips and guided him on the two highways?

70  Angelika Neuwirth 11 Yet he has not assaulted the steep; 12 and what shall teach thee what is the steep? 13 The freeing of a slave, 14 or giving food upon a day of hunger 15 to an orphan near of kin 16 or a needy man in misery; 17 then that he become of those who believe [. . .]. 18 Those are the Companions of the Right Hand. 19 But those who defy Our signs, they are the Companions of the Left Hand. The ostentatious wastefulness depicted in v. 6 echoes almost literally a poetic verse. Wastefulness is the expected behavior of the poet-hero in the Bedouin context, where it does not, however, entail misbehavior, but rather reflects an ideal of the ancient Arab ethos. The poet-hero defends himself in numerous verses of poetry against his detractors, standing proud of his excessive love of life before them: “Whenever I drink, I bring ruin to my wealth!” (fa-idhā sharibtu fa-innanī mustahlikun mālī).41 In denunciating such pagan extravagance, this Qur’anic verse, however, hits only the tip of the iceberg of a much broader discourse. In reality, the verse polemicizes against the old Arabic canon of virtues not for its being predicated on frivolity, but for its expressing a heroic defiance of death. This ultimate orientation underlying the pagans’ obsessive emphasis on male honor owed to the tribe is, in light of imminent Judgment which subdues every man to the omnipotence of God, anathema to the Qur’anic ethos which is built on the principle of taqwā, eusebeia, fear of God.42 The ‘way’ metaphor in vs. 10–11 – the not-yet-assaulted “steep” – poses a puzzle. The system of ways evoked here, of course, reminds of the topographically real system of ways within the city where the addressee is dwelling. Yet the double option, the choice between two ways, points not to a geography, but to the symbolic duplicity of ways as images of two contrasting moral choices current in biblical tradition; see in particular Mt 7, 13–14. The enigma of the two ways is only solved in v. 13–16 after a suspense introduced through the stylistic medium of a rhetorical question (v. 12): going the way of the slope, “the steep,” is first and foremost composed of social contributions. The idea of the emancipation of a slave, along with the feeding of the poor and the clothing of unknown beggars, is not new; it clearly reflects a frequently quoted text from the Hebrew Bible, Isaiah 58:6–7:43 58:6 – Is not this the fast that I have chosen? To lose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? 58:7 – Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh? The three acts of charity first demanded in the biblical text – emancipating slaves, feeding and caring for the poor and the strangers – are recapitulated in the Gospel

A “Religious Transformation in Late Antiquity” 71 of Matthew 25:34ff. Here, Christ praises those to his right for having done the same three acts of charity and condemns those to his left to hellfire for having not performed these same acts.44 The Qur’anic reference of “people of the right” and “people of the left” could be an echo of Matthew’s Gospel. A biblical Wertekanon, already laid out eschatologically in the Gospels, takes the place of the pagans’ own code of conduct. The authority of the wisdom from the – unnamed – Scripture disempowers pagan ideals, handed down by their ancestors over the ages.

 xchanging genealogical relationships for a spiritual E one (Middle Mecca) The orientation towards Scripture becomes predominant in the Mid-Meccan period, when the emerging religious community developed a conscious sense of belonging to the biblical people of God. This orientation afforded the community the opportunity to view the question of genealogy in a broader context. With the adoption of the qiblah, the direction of prayer towards Jerusalem,45 the community had distanced themselves from the local Meccan cult, a turn in orientation that is equally reflected in the Qur’anic message, where biblical figures and narratives took the place of the earlier cherished Arabian scenarios. Biblical figures thus rise to the rank of exemplars. Given the cultural framework of nasab-bound relations in a clan-based society, forsaking one’s own pagan clan-family was deemed scandalous. Yet the growing religious movement in many cases asked just that from its members: to leave those relatives who were not willing to convert. In these cases, the step of abandoning one’s own kith and kin was elevated to the level of a meritorious act, an attitude vindicated with the help of biblical analogies. It was Abraham, above all, whose example could be evoked in this debate, who according to the Qur’anic reading of the story of his departure from his original homeland had distanced himself from his pagan clan still practicing idolatry. The Qur’anic Abraham narrative in sura 37 is composed of two complementary parts: a punishment and salvation legend, on the one hand, and a story of trial and tribulation, on the other. The first part thematically illustrates the Qur’anic topic of the hardship a prophet must endure among his own intractable people, from whom, under dramatic circumstances, he is later saved. Importantly, this account revolves around Abraham’s proactive conduct: the destruction of the idols worshiped by his people and his father. This episode takes the prime place in the Qur’anic depiction of Abraham; it is not biblically based but has its origin in the Jewish hagiographic tradition, the Aggadah.46 While the biblical story of Abraham in Genesis 12 sets in with his departure from his land and family in fulfillment of God’s command, the Qur’an’s Abraham – as in the Midrash – is presented as having led a previous life in his homeland. Here, as the Qur’an now demands of the messenger’s audience, Abraham exchanges blood ties (genealogy) for a spiritual bond. The chief reason for his departure (v. 99) – “I am going to my Lord” – is justified by the rejection of his homeland’s willful heathenism, a narrative that already had been deduced from biblical statements not included in the canonical Genesis account47 by early Jewish exegetes.48 Such reports are

72  Angelika Neuwirth found explicit in the Book of Jubilees,49 an apocryphon from the second century BCE, which was widely received in Late Antiquity. In Q 37:83–99,50 the story is as follows: 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99

Of his party was also Abraham; when he came unto his Lord with a pure heart, when he said to his father and his folk: ‘What do you serve? Is it a calumny, gods apart from God, that you desire? What think you then of the Lord of all Being?’ And he cast a glance at the stars, and he said: ‘Surely I am sick.’ But they went away from him, turning their backs. Then he turned to their gods, and said: ‘Don’t you eat? What ails you, that you speak not?’ And he turned upon them smiting them with his right hand. Then came the others to him hastening. He said: ‘Do you serve what you hew, and God created you and what you make?’ They said: ‘Build him a building, and cast him into the furnace!’ They desired to outwit him; so We made them the lower ones. He said, ‘I am going to my Lord; He will guide me [. . .].’

The Qur’an here repeats the tale of the destruction of the idols, affirming the Second Commandment of the Decalogue: “Thou shalt not make unto thee any likeness of anything that is in heaven above” (Ex 20.4–5). It projects the specific offence which the messenger suffers from the Meccan pagans’ rejection of the proclamation all the while back into Abraham’s world. Abraham’s departure from both his people and from his father equals his rejection of the genealogically based principle of clan loyalty: nasab. It is hard to overestimate the importance of Abraham’s abjuration from his clan loyalty. The earliest works of Jewish exegesis already pin Abraham’s renunciation of the idolatry regnant in his land as the reason for his break (v. 99),51 yet it is only in the Qur’an that the figure of the father is singled out as the one from whom the son turns away. Abraham subsequently establishes a new genealogy grounded in a spiritual Leitfigur – God Himself – thereby superseding genetic bonds.52 It is noteworthy that in the Mid-Meccan period a hitherto unknown term is introduced: dhurriyyah, in a more modern version normally translated as “progeny.”53 The word is derived from dharra/dhurra, “(grain) seed.” It is phonetically near – though not etymologically related – to the Hebrew zeraʿ, “seed.” The Hebrew zeraʿ is found in the biblical patriarch narratives as a circumscription of “progeny.” The “seed of Abraham” in particular is the central concept in that divine promise, which in the biblical text is the essential outcome of Abraham’s sacrifice story. Gen 22:17 states: “That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which

A “Religious Transformation in Late Antiquity” 73 is upon the sea shore.”54 In the Qur’an, the word dhurriyyah55 – which is morphologically quite conspicuous – most frequently appears together with Abraham. The term, however, is first introduced in the story of Noah in Q 37:77, which immediately precedes the story of Abraham. The “biblicizing” concept of “progeny” facilitates a byway around the standard discourse on “sons,” banūn, and “forefathers,” abāʾ, both of which explicitly constitute the backbone of the pagan power paradigm. The pagan discourse of nasab is thus superseded by the biblical discourse of divinely embedded procreation. This approach was most likely inspired by the Abraham story’s context. As in the biblical account, so, too, does the promise and nigh sacrifice of a son play an axiomatic role in the Qur’an’s Abraham narrative. The promise of a son was already announced in the early Meccan sura Q 51:28. Communicated somewhat later, the sacrifice story in Q 37, as Nicolai Sinai has suggested,56 provides a justification for the otherwise unexplained distinction granted to Abraham in Q 51, who despite his old age, is prophesied to be given a son in Q 37:99–111:  99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111

He said, ‘I am going to my Lord; He will guide me. My Lord, give me one of the righteous.’ Then We gave him the good tidings of a prudent boy; and when he had reached the age of performing the rite of saʿy, “running”57 with him, he said: ‘My son, I see in a dream that I shall sacrifice thee; consider, what thinkest thou?’ He said: My father, do as thou art bidden; Thou shalt find me, God willing, one of the steadfast.’ When they had surrendered, and he flung him upon his brow, We called unto him: ‘Abraham, thou hast confirmed the vision; even so We recompense the good-doers. This is indeed the manifest trial.’ And We ransomed him with a mighty sacrifice, and left for him among the later folk: ‘Peace be upon Abraham!’ Even so We recompense the good-doers; he was among Our believing servants.

The second narrative focuses on Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son, commonly known as the “Binding of Isaac,” in Hebrew ʿaqedah, see Gen 22:1–19, where Abraham again demonstrates his preference for the spiritual bond over that of the familial. In the Qur’an, unlike Gen 22:1, Abraham receives God’s order in a vision. The son’s readiness (Q 37:102) to give himself over to be sacrificed – probably a somewhat later added clarification – reflects an interpretation of the text established in Late Antique Jewish tradition.58 This reading exculpates Abraham from the blame to have prepared to sacrifice his son arbitrarily as proof of his personal fidelity to God. Thus, a venerated prophetic figure is cleared of willing

74  Angelika Neuwirth involvement in an otherwise gruesome act.59 The Qur’an’s emphasis on the son’s patience (i.e. his undramatic acceptance of suffering) may be also understood as a repudiation of a mythical elevation of affliction as a salvific act, like the Passion as understood in Christianity.60 According to the biblical text, Abraham’s consummate willingness to surrender fully to the will of God is rewarded with the guarantee that his “seed” – progeny – will receive privileged standing among the peoples of the word, a standing that is from now on justified by what the rabbis will eventually call the “Merit of the Fathers,” zekhut avot, according to Gen 22:18: “And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed My voice.”61 In contrast, the Qur’anic text does not speak of the descendants’ exceptional status. The name of Abraham’s son involved in the episode62 is not mentioned even once. Instead, Abraham is rewarded with an honorary blessing, whereby he is established as an exemplary figure. For the new religious community his name is to be accompanied henceforth with the eulogy “peace be upon him,” ʿalayhi l-salām. Thus, the Qur’an substitutes the biblical idea of Abraham’s establishment of a privileged genealogy with his elevation to a spiritual role model.

 he new challenge: the genealogical ‘privilege’ of T the Jews (Medina) The story of Abraham’s sacrifice is told only once in the Qur’an. Though not evoked in Mecca any more, the narrative acquires a new reading after the emigration63 – ḥijrah – figuring prominently in Medinan debates over the founding of the Kaʿba and the establishment of the pilgrimage rituals. The emigration of the community to Medina in 622 demarcates an important shift. Here, many of the older Meccan communications acquire a new religio-political dimension.64 The new hermeneutic is due to the fact that in Medina, the messenger and his audience no longer stand in a pagan-syncretic environment, in which they can freely draw from a heterogeneous body of religious knowledge. Rather, now they find themselves in a heterogeneous society whose prevailing group, a Jewish community, claims the biblical heritage that up to this point counted as universal intellectual property, as their own legacy, and thus the legitimate subject of their particular exegesis. In this context, the sacrifice narrative, the ʿaqedah, acquired new religio-political significance for the Qur’anic community. Specifically, the story comes to be understood as a centrally important event for the emerging religion. Indeed, the story must have become a much disputed issue already soon after the ḥijrah, since the community’s erstwhile close relationship to al-masjid al-aqṣā (i.e. the visionary Jerusalem) was disrupted already in early Medina – obviously caused by the Jewish claim laid on Jerusalem as the locality of the Abrahamic sacrifice. At any rate, about 18 months after the ḥijrah, the orientation in prayer, qiblah, which until then had been respected, was deemed necessary to be changed, a step that seems to have been difficult to implement and which required an extensive Qur’anic apology. It is true that the abolition verses that establish Mecca as the new qiblah, Q 2:142–145, remain silent about the immediate motives, yet

A “Religious Transformation in Late Antiquity” 75 according to the most plausible explanation,65 the change in orientation was due to a new awareness of the political implications of a qiblah. Genesis 18 tells the story of the ʿaqedah as the foundation story of God’s privileging the elect people based on Abraham’s sacrifice on Mount Moriah, which in rabbinic tradition was identified with the Temple Mount. Abandoning Jerusalem required coping with the traditions upheld in Judaism to account for Jerusalem’s unique holiness and to substitute these dimensions of meaning by Mecca-related ones. The change of the qiblah cannot – in view of the political dimensions that the institution as such had absorbed – be considered as merely a change in geographical direction. The new step should have been accompanied by a theological reconsideration of what the Jews claimed to be the founding event of Jerusalem’s holiness (i.e. Abraham’s ʿaqedah). This argument is not documented in the Qur’an. It is, however, suggestive because this idea is needed to make sense of otherwise not easily understandable Qur’anic texts. One of these texts is an amendment of the earlier quoted Middle Meccan ʿaqedah story in Q 37:100–107. The Abrahamic sacrifice had been told there to celebrate Abraham’s utmost loyalty – paying no attention to the victim, who remains anonymous, nor to the local setting of the act. In Medina, where the ʿaqedah and the discourse of sacrifice in general should have possessed paramount significance, this story required to be adjusted to the Jewish reading, where Abraham’s sacrifice was known to have a nation-building dimension. The new insight is expressed in an extension to the Meccan sura Q 37 Sūrat al-ṣaffāṭ; the excessive length of verse 102 makes it is easily recognizable as Medinan. The story starts with the annunciation of a son to Abraham; it originally goes on with the procedures taken for the sacrifice, v. 101–107. The story without verse 102 matches Genesis 18; Abraham is prepared to sacrifice his son but is ultimately spared the act, a fact that is obviously known to the listeners. The appended long verse 102, however, turns the text into an Arabian scenario which is a reverse image of the Jerusalem-located rabbinic ʿaqedah myth: (102)

and when he had reached the age of performing the rite of saʿy, “running,”66 with him, he said: ‘My son, I see in a dream that I shall sacrifice thee; consider, what thinkest thou?’ He said: My father, do as thou art bidden; Thou shalt find me, God willing, one of the steadfast.’

Abraham and his son obviously were on their pilgrimage in Mecca, preparing for the performance of the saʿy, the ritual run between two small sanctuaries, al-Ṣafā and al-Marwa, close to Mecca, a ritual that precedes the rite of sacrifice. It is during this journey to the Meccan holy places that the dream vision with the call to sacrifice the son occurs. Abraham – in keeping with earlier exegetic tradition – asks for the son’s consent. Both father and son prepare for the procedure. But whereas in rabbinic tradition the identity of the son as the patriarch Isaac is of central importance, in the Qur’an the son remains unnamed in the amended version as

76  Angelika Neuwirth well. Why? His name is not needed because his identity is known to the listeners from the foundation story of the Kaaba – the second reference that remains unintelligible without assuming Abraham’s ʿaqedah as the subtext. This foundation story is alluded to in the early Medinan sura Q 2:127, a text studied by Joseph Witztum: When Abraham, and Ishmael with him, raised up the foundation of the Temple: Our Lord, receive this (sacrifice) from us. You are the All-hearing, the All-knowing. This Kaaba foundation story builds on the Jewish idea of the father–son synergy of Abraham and Isaac who, by building the altar for the sacrifice, laid the foundation of the later Temple. Accordingly, in the Qur’an, Abraham, together with his son Ishmael, the biblical progenitor of the Arabs, in preparing the sacrifice, lays the foundation of the Kaaba. This remarkable change in personal vis-à-vis the biblical ʿaqedah story is vexing – but not unique. It may be compared to an exegetical stratagem applied by Paul in his Letter to the Galatians 4.21ff., where the two wives of Abraham are involved. Instead of acknowledging the Jewish people as the progeny of the free woman Sarah, Paul claims them to be the children of the Egyptian slave woman, since they have remained under the Law from Sinai – whereas the Christians are honored with the rank of children of the free. The Qur’anic allegoresis, which concedes the decisive role not to Isaac, but to Ishmael, equally lays claim to a crucial part of the Jewish heritage for the new believers. It likely was this transfer of meaning from the Jewish scenario to the Arab one, staged through a typological reading of the ʿaqedah narrative, rather than a political maneuver, that raised Mecca to the rank of the ultimate central masjid and thus entitled it to become the new qiblah, the new Jerusalem. This does not mean, however, that it was the new construction of history exclusively that brought about the turn. On a deeper level, it was also the peculiar typological understanding of sacred space that worked in favor of Mecca, which, thanks to its sanctuary, its ḥaram, had from the beginning been perceived as the terminal of an axis of sanctity,67 be it that from Sinai, as in Q 95, or be it that from Sinai’s entelechy, Zion, or Jerusalem, Q 17:1. Mecca, though situated in Arabia, is inseparable from biblical concepts of sanctity. According to the Qur’an, then, Abraham’s sacrifice does not take place in the Holy Land, but in the area around Mecca.68 It seems that local tradition had already earlier associated Abraham genealogically with the Arabian Peninsula, which made it easy to claim him as part of the Meccan religious tradition.69 Therefore, it is hardly amazing that Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son – which is celebrated in Jewish tradition as unique proof of Abraham’s fidelity, which served as the textual justification for the Jews’ ‘chosenness’ and which moreover foreshadowed the Passion of Christ – was also claimed by the Qur’anic community and included in their own narrative. In Medina, the textual event is connected with a

A “Religious Transformation in Late Antiquity” 77 central religious act celebrated locally, the rite of sacrifice during the pilgrimage. A number of the extant cultic rites associated with the pilgrimage – the ḥajj – culminating in a collective offering had survived into the time of the Prophet’s ministry. These cultic rites were integrated into the emerging new religion and through Qur’anic texts were stipulated as binding injunctions. The rites, however, acquired a new meaning, since Abraham is now claimed as the founder of the pilgrimage ritual (Q 22:26–28): And when We settled for Abraham the place of the Temple: Thou shall not associate with Me anything. And do thou purify My Temple for those that shall go about it and those that stand, for those that bow and prostrate themselves; and proclaim among men the Pilgrimage, and they shall come unto thee on foot and upon every lean beast, they shall come from every deep ravine that they may witness things profitable to them and mention God’s Name on days well-known over such beasts of the flocks as He has provided them: So eat thereof, and feed the wretched poor. Abraham’s act of sacrifice prefigures that of the believers during the pilgrimage. Through his willingness to sacrifice his own son, he passes a “test,” one that elevates him to the status of role model, imām. The appellation hints at the biblical promise that he will become “the father of many nations,” but reinterprets the genealogical promise as a spiritual one. According to the biblical tradition in Gen. 22:18 and the Jewish tradition of the “Merit of the Fathers,” zekhut avot, Abraham’s descendants are expected to use this righteous heritage to their advantage. In the Qur’an, however, after he is elevated to the status of role model, Abraham’s question about the status of his descendants is dismissed; Q 2:124: And when his Lord tested Abraham with certain words, and he fulfilled them, He said: “Behold, I make you a leader for the people.” Said he: “And of my seed (wa-min dhurriyyatī)?” He said: “My covenant shall not reach the evildoers.” Again, his readiness to offer up to God his most beloved child remains his greatest merit and, hence, also serves as the justification for upholding him as a role model of fidelity to God. This distinction is accorded to Abraham already in an early Meccan sura, Q 53:37, but it is only later, in the Medinan context, that it triggered the crucial revision of the until then accepted Jewish interpretation, whose genealogical entitlements are now rejected. In addition, Abraham sets another precedent that again affirms his status of role model and that simultaneously depicts the Urszene – the original enactment – of the Islamic sacrificial ceremony: the offering of a substitute animal sacrifice. Yet animal sacrifice in the Qur’an does not really bear a theological significance, since the ritual of sacrifice itself, which stands at the pinnacle of the pilgrimage in Medina, is interpreted anew. Although the ritual is sanctioned by a direct Qur’anic

78  Angelika Neuwirth directive, it is simultaneously demystified and reinterpreted as an act of piety, taqwā, “fear of God,” Q 22:36–37: And the beasts of sacrifice – We have appointed them for you as among God’s waymarks; therein is good for you. So mention God’s Name over them, standing in ranks then, when their flanks collapse, eat of them and feed the beggar and the suppliant. So We have subjected them to you; haply you will be thankful. The flesh of them shall not reach God, neither their blood, but fear of God (taqwā)70 from you shall reach Him. In contrast to Walter Burkert’s understanding,71 the passage does not speak of “sacrifice” in exact correspondence with the meaning of the word used in the biblical tradition. Although the slaughter of animals, as prescribed in old Arabian ritual, is continued, it does not accrue any power for the remission of sins. Only by one’s individual fear of God – the spiritual attitude in which the slaughter is to be performed – “shall [the offering] reach Him.” The offering, conventionally understood as an act performed for the remission of sin, henceforth becomes an act of obedience. All mythical dimensions are expurgated. In the end, only the piety of the individual, taqwā, eusebeia, counts. There is thus no reason for not accrediting the Qur’an as well with having facilitated the “end of sacrifice,” which Stroumsa has claimed for the other Late Antique religious cultures.

I mplications of the particular set of characters involved in Abraham’s sacrifice The rite of sacrifice in the Qur’an, despite its demystification, is, however, not entirely disempowered. By way of a typological association, it reacquires new meaning: it is elevated to the rank of an Abrahamic institution. Participants in the cult perform an imitatio Abrahami – an inestimable religious upgrading of the pagan pilgrimage rites. This in turn facilitated a new self-image of the worshippers who now themselves stood in the ritual tradition of Abraham. Despite the fact that the sacrificial offering was reconceived in Medina, one must keep in mind that offering up a sacrifice in the pagan context is an extraordinarily expressive act that contributes heavily to the affirmation of identity. The unique set of characters associated with the Abrahamic sacrifice, composed of a father as sacrificer and a son who is both a cosacrificer and the sacrifice itself, could not go unnoticed by a society that was sensitive to genealogical lineage. In fact, Abraham initially abrogated genealogical bonds with a spiritual one: he places God in place of his own father by choosing to leave the latter. But he also gives the father–son bond a new meaning by actively including his son in the sacrificial act. Though Abraham in the Qur’an does not establish – as the biblical context would suggest – an Abrahamic line, he does legitimate and consolidate the bond between father and son anew. Margaret Combs Schilling supports the thesis that the newly constructed connection of genealogy and sacrificial offering significantly contributed to establishing a patrilineal kind of thinking,

A “Religious Transformation in Late Antiquity” 79 that is, the conceptualization of social legitimacy primarily through the father.72 This observation, although derived from the traditional sacrificial practice of a particular region, might have been relevant already for the revelation’s direct recipients. Combs Schilling attributes a double impact to the dialectic created by the Qur’anic embedding of a father– son sacrifice into a father-renunciation story: through Abraham’s rejection of the idolatrous father, on one hand, and his readiness to sacrifice his own son, on the other hand, the dialectical story simultaneously delimits and empowers the patrilineal bond’s significance. In Combs Schilling’s words: Transcendence comes in because, as told in the Qur’an, the prophet Abraham had to deny his own father in order to remain faithful to the one God [. . .]. Yet the Qur’an also reinforces patrilineality by portraying the ultimate sacrifice that God demands of humans as the sacrifice of the most precious tie on earth – the father’s link to his male child – the fundamental patrilineal connection. The myth of sacrifice ennobles that bond over all others. So at the same time that the Qur’an underlines the limits of patrilineal affiliation [. . .], it reinforces patrilineality, for it was the father in connection with the son that made for connection to the divine and won for father and son – and by extension all of humanity – long life on earth and eternal life thereafter.73 For the later recipients of the Qur’an’s take on the Abrahamic sacrifice, who read the Qur’an at a time when genealogy and the old ideal of virility had gained value again, Comb Schilling’s conclusion is certainly a relevant consideration: the yearly sacrifice which is expected to be conducted annually by every Muslim paterfamilias crystallizes together the elements of both the social ideal of male hegemony and patrilineal identity.

The power of typology As for the Qur’an, one can go a step further and claim that the idea of the “synergetic interaction” between father and son – established in the Meccan text Q 37 and connected with the role attributed to Abraham as the founder of a sanctuary in Medina – strongly reactivated a typological interpretation of the Abraham story that had been fleshed out before: the sacrifice narrative in Q 37 is told in a nonemphatic, sober voice. Emotion is excluded from the tale so as to avoid any association with the Christian Passion story. The nameless individual to be sacrificed is “prudent” (v. 101) and “steadfast” (v. 102), so that no dramatic mood should arise. Most of all, through the consent of the one to be sacrificed, the sacrificer is emancipated from his tragic constraint to elevate loyalty to another being over the care for his own son. Thus, an analogy to the Christian Passion is excluded. Equally discarded is the Jewish belief in “the Merit of the Fathers,” the biblical promise that Abraham’s descendants will be blessed above all other peoples, which is explicitly disavowed in Medina in Q 2:124: “My covenant shall not reach the evildoers.”

80  Angelika Neuwirth Yet once established, this father–son synergy generated new important tropes (Sinnfiguren) for the emerging Kaaba cult. In Q 2:127, the task is given to Abraham and Ishmael – who had already appeared together in the late Meccan sura 14 – to build the Kaaba, God’s House, his Temple, for the cult’s adherents (v. 125). The Arabic word bayt is ambiguous; literally it means “house,” but as a sanctuary it may equally denote “temple,” a rendition chosen for our context to highlight the typological relationship which is constructed in the Medinan Qur’an between the Jerusalem Temple and the Kaaba.74 The intended sacrifice, which is not mentioned in Q 37, is here identified post facto: it is not Isaac. Rather, it seems that the already familiar figure of Ishmael, the Arabs’ tribal forefather, has taken his place. This, at least, is the understanding suggested by Q 2:127 which, as discussed earlier, presents the two patriarchs in their activity of building the “Temple,” an activity that includes the offering of a sacrifice, or of a prayer, to which the imperative taqabbal minnā, “accept from us,” seems to allude (see later). Abraham’s ensuing “prayer of the blessing of the Temple,” which is recited by both Abraham and Ishmael during the construction of its foundation walls, in some formulations reminds of Solomon’s dedication prayer upon completion of the Temple in 1 Kings 8:14–61.75 The section culminates in a plea for the ritual completion of the Meccan worship, which before was still incomplete, consisting exclusively of the pilgrimage rituals and the gestures of humility accompanying the ritual prayer – proskynesis and bowing and standing (Q 2:125). Important is the new demand that the worship rites should be completed through a verbal service. This specific plea is a vaticinatio ex eventu in the Qur’an, a prayer that has already come to fruition with the messenger’s ministry, as can be seen by returning to Q 2:127 and its context, in verses 127–129: When Abraham, and Ishmael with him, raised up the foundation of the Temple: ‘Our Lord, receive (this) from us; Thou art the All-Hearing, the AllKnowing;/and, our Lord, make us submissive (muslimūna) to Thee, and of our seed a nation submissive to Thee (ummah muslimah); and show us our holy rites, and turn towards us; surely Thou turnest, and art All-Compassionate;/ and, our Lord, do Thou send among them a Messenger, one of them, who shall recite to them Thy signs (ayāt), and teach them the Book and the Wisdom, and purify them; Thou art the All-Mighty, the All-Wise.’ Neither the act of constructing the “Temple” by Abraham and Ishmael, nor their prayer or their sacrifice, is biblically founded. Yet they are certainly not a Qur’anic ad hoc construction, as has long been presumed. Rather – as Joseph Witztum convincingly has demonstrated76 – it is a Qur’anic restaging of the Late Antique multifarious vita of Abraham. In order to demonstrate this, Witztum contextualizes both the construction activities of the two patriarchs (v. 127) and the prayers conducted by them with their underlying rabbinic and Christian traditions. Whereas in the Qur’an the construction of a sanctuary, a temple, bayt, is at stake, it is explicitly an altar which is the central subject of debate in the Jewish and Christian traditions. Thus, already Josephus (first century) depicts Isaac as taking

A “Religious Transformation in Late Antiquity” 81 part in the construction of the altar upon which he is to be sacrificed.77 In Christianity, the son’s participation in the preparation of his sacrifice figures critically at the heart of the Christian tradition, as various Syriac and Greek homilies from the fourth and fifth centuries CE adduced by Witztum demonstrate. These Christian sources interpret the event christologically: father and son, the “wise architects of faith,” erect an altar together, on which the salvific sacrifice of the son is to take place. As Witztum has demonstrated, this widespread typological version of the sacrifice narrative has left behind discernible traces in the Qur’an. In light of their wide circulation, one may presume that these narratives could have functioned as a catalyst for the Qur’anic depiction of the Kaaba’s construction. The designation of the Kaaba with al-bayt, “the House/the Temple,” though obviously no innovation of the Qur’an but introduced as already familiar in one of the earliest suras, Q 106:3, and frequently used in Medina, in this particular verse evokes biblical or more precisely postbiblical associations: It is worth noticing that the word bayt is the Arabic equivalent of the Hebrew bayit which designates the Temple. The Jerusalem Temple again is prefigured by the altar built by Abraham and Isaac. To find the image of the building of the “Temple,” bayt, by the two patriarchs Abraham and Ishmael, who also feature praying for acceptance – of their prayer or their sacrifice? – suggests that here a postbiblical scenario is being reproduced. The verse would then have to be understood as alluding to the Abrahamic sacrifice which extended into the building of the sanctuary. However that may be, one quickly notices that the story in the Qur’an is told without recognizable allegorical features. Its purpose seems to be the foregrounding of the one son of Abraham, that is not the biblical elect Isaac, by having him participate in the foundation of the sanctuary. That this is primarily a polemical exclusivist stratagem is indicated by the fact that this Ishmael-specific genealogy is nowhere in the Qur’an theologically exploited.78 What is common to both the rabbinic and the Qur’anic narrative is their peculiar hermeneutic: in both cases a significant figure is drawn down from the sacred realm of the biblical past into religio-political history to vindicate a social practice (the sacrifice offered in the Jerusalem Temple and during the Meccan Hajj) that has lived forth unto the present. Typological, though not allegorical, references are thus clearly discernible.79 If one expatiates on the structural similarities in each of the three – Jewish, Christian, and Qur’anic – respective takes on the father–son synergies in the sanctuary construction narratives of Late Antiquity, a clear parallel is discernible: Ishmael takes part in constructing the Kaaba in Mecca, as Isaac participates in building the sacrificial altar on Mount Moriah, and as ‘God the Son’ shares in the erection of the sacrificial altar at Golgotha according to the typological homilies. Still, this comparison is not really adequate: in the Qur’an, the father–son synergy lacks the mythical dimension that in the two other traditions is created theologically through the weighty notion of redemptive sacrifice. As is often the case in the Qur’an, one can speak here of de-allegorization,80 that is, that the Qur’an trims a christologically relevant narrative down to its sheer diegetic plot. Nevertheless, by upholding references to the older text’s authority, the basic biblical plot structure continues to contribute a surplus dimension of meaning to the Qur’anic story.

82  Angelika Neuwirth

 “counter-genealogy”: covenant replacing pedigree, A the prophetic line of succession (Medina) Ancestor worship and the patriarchal tradition, nasab, in the Qur’an are, as we saw, negatively connoted from the start. In verse Q 49:13, evoked as an introduction to this chapter, the existence of tribes and peoples is downgraded to a mere instrument for divine instruction: “O mankind, We have created you male and female, and appointed you races and tribes, that you may know one another. Surely the noblest among you in the sight of God is the most God-fearing of you. God is All-Knowing, All-Aware.” Pragmatic utility, not prestige – the text tries to suggest – lies at the foundation of tribal organization. By marginalizing both history and tribal history, a new bond was needed that provided historical depth to the community’s new awareness of “electedness,” of belonging to the “elect people,” though not genealogically but spiritually. Reuven Firestone suggests that the Qur’anic debate about election should have arisen only in the argument between early Muslims and those Jews and Christians who believed in their communities’ exclusive relationship with God.81 This may well be true for the polemic discussion of chosenness, such as documented in Q 2:113 and Q 5:15. It is, however, obvious that a counter-concept to the Jewish and Christian exclusive notion of chosenness emerged much earlier. The pagans’ old tribal model, foregrounding the forefathers, which was predominant throughout the community’s environment, was in the course of being substituted with a new orientation already in Mecca: for the messenger and his listeners, who consciously considered themselves part of the biblical tradition of God’s people, genealogical ancestral-based family bonds were replaced by the relationship with God’s earlier prophets, whom they regarded as their “spiritual forefathers.”82 They thus constructed a “genealogy of elects,” a “prophetic line of succession,” as a spiritual counter-model to a tribal genealogy allowing them to partake in divine election. In Medina the election of these prophets is programmatically laid out; see Q 3:33–34: God chose Adam and Noah and the House of Abraham and the House of Amram above all beings/the seed (dhurriyyah) of one another; God hears, and knows. Does this chain hold out against a genealogical verification? It is true that Adam and Noah, as the prime fathers of humanity, are genetically related and, by extension, Abraham’s house – Abraham’s descendants – falls into the same family line. But in contrast, the House of Amram, which according to the Qur’an represents the Holy Family and the Christian line of tradition,83 includes a list of figures well attested to in intertestamental literature, but only loosely related to the Abrahamites in Q 33:33–34 – they are even seen as a rivaling lineage. Dhurriyyah, therefore, seems to mean more than just a genetic relationship. What binds the four names – Adam, Noah, Abraham, and Amram – is evidently their rank as God’s covenantal partners (or, in Amram’s case, as the father of such a partner). It is noteworthy that the list of names is not new; the figures mentioned here feature – with a

A “Religious Transformation in Late Antiquity” 83 slight modification – in earlier Christian covenant lists as well.84 “Lineage,” distinguished here by the term dhurriyyah, thus appears to have been sublimated to a kind of electedness. Even though the figures mentioned are depicted as being genealogically related in Q 3:33–34 – dhurriyyata baʿḍihim min baʿḍ, “the seed of one another” – the criterion of common descent will conclusively be faded out85 and give way to chosenness. After a number of prophets and prophets’ families have been described as “elected,” eventually, in Q 33:7, the messenger himself is included in the prophetic succession: When we took compact from the Prophets and from thee, and from Noah, and Abraham, Moses, and Jesus, Mary’s son; We took from them a solemn compact, that He might question the truthful concerning their truthfulness; and He has prepared for the unbelievers a painful chastisement. What counts is the divine covenant: succession of prophetic lineage, a family of elected ones, replaces and supersedes the worldly bond of the tribe.86 The Qur’an thus offsets tribal history with a counter-history: not, however, by claiming a new election to replace the preceding elections of the Jews and Christians, but with a prophetic line of succession, which can be claimed by the pious believer as his spiritual ancestry universally. Firestone is right to stress the renunciation of a claim to an unconditioned electedness on the side of the new community.87 At the end of this development, Abraham takes up the leading role and becomes the spiritual ancestor over a community legitimized through prophets. He presides over a “house,” a faith community no longer exclusively traced to the Jews as conveyed in the verse of “prophetic election,” Q 3:33–34. Instead, the new role adopted by Abraham critically engages this verse and even reformulates it as a counter-argument against the Jews’ electedness. In the late-Medinan period, Abraham is depicted as the first pure servant of God, ḥanīf, who comes to venerate One God still without the guidance of the Mosaic Law. He is effectively a “just man from among the heathen peoples,” ummī. After the Prophet’s death, Abraham, as ancestral lord of a community, becomes the one biblical figure whose tradition, the ideal of “the House of Abraham,” Āl Ibrāhīm, should be continued, and who is thus included in Muslims’ quotidian prayers, at the end of which the following is uttered: God bless Muhammad and the House of Muhammad As you blessed Abraham and the House of Abraham! How the “House of Abraham” is constructed is neither explained in any great detail, nor is a word mentioned in reference to his role of being the Arabs’ tribal ancestor, let alone any privilege to be deduced from it. In contrast, Abraham is depicted as the messenger’s role model; the House of Abraham thus constitutes the nucleus of a religious community, which now, at the end of their development, is renewed through the implementation of Abraham’s plea unto God for the establishment of a verbal service (Q 2:127–129). That community is spiritual, not

84  Angelika Neuwirth genealogical, and thereby universally justified. What was once the privilege of Abraham’s genealogical descendants (Gen 22:17) – to benefit from and share in his merits as their ancestor – is now requested in the form of prayer for all pious persons. By this transformation, a long path has been traversed: starting from the “real,” historical Mecca previously dominated by genealogical lineage, and passing a phase replete with biblical narratives associated with the spiritual Jerusalem evoked in the listener’s imagination, until finally reaching the “New Jerusalem,” which in fact is a biblically encoded Mecca. Finally, with the positioning of Abraham as the ultimate role model and the founder of the Meccan sanctuary, this biblical figure, erstwhile loaded with genealogical associations, finally turns into the triumphant victor over genealogy.

Conclusion The title of this chapter, “A ‘Religious Transformation in Late Antiquity,’ ” announces an attempt to integrate Qur’anic exegesis into the framework of Guy Stroumsa’s concept of “religious mutations in Late Antiquity. The Qur’an was communicated in a time when society in the Arabian Peninsula was ready to undergo a cultic transformation, that is, to transition from a pilgrimage- and sacrifice-oriented cult to a new oral service based on individual piety. The group around the messenger had already taken a significant step on the path towards this transformation: their “care for the self” is clearly reflected in their eschatologically founded sense of individual responsibility for one’s own deeds. They are distinguished as a new community through their liturgical dedication, their inclination toward asceticism and monastic virtues, and, most of all, their adoption of the authority of Scripture; in other words, they practice a “communitarian religion.” Their opponents are not wholly untouched by this new orientation of Late Antiquity either; their pagan deities have lost their status as part of a pantheon and are reinterpreted as angels.88 What little is left of the opponents’ “pagan” attitudes is ancestral pride and their anthropocentric inclination toward a simultaneously heroic and hedonist lifestyle as configured in tribal ethics, a lifestyle which is clearly documented in profane poetry. As the debate with his detractors over the decisive role of loyalty intensified, the messenger increasingly referred to biblical historical precedence in order to spur on the transition out of clan-based relationships and into the bonds of a religious community. Abraham presented himself as the ideal role model for such a process. Having attained an individual relationship with God, he had managed to free himself from the shackles of genealogical loyalty. The same Abraham became a central figure as the new religious community disputed with Jewish and Christian learned men in Medina, where he was portrayed as reenacting his role as the founder of the central sanctuary – in a father–son synergy already prefigured in the two earlier traditions. His role as founding father of a sanctuary connected to a sacrificial cult was intertwined with a decisive amendment to the tradition: the community’s sacrificial offering, performed as the worshippers’ imitatio Abrahami, had ceased to entail any mythical implications since it was already

A “Religious Transformation in Late Antiquity” 85 understood as a sublimated offering. Moreover, any association of the sacrificial offering to genealogical privilege is blocked, not only for the Jews, whose claim to such an advantage is denied,89 but also for the Arabs, who could have derived from their relation to Abraham a similar claim analogous to the “Merits of the Fathers.” The cultic rites originally confirming tribal identity are turned into a succession of Abraham by the individual pious. Genealogy as a major concern of society is disempowered and elevated to the level of spiritually determined prophetic genealogy, in which Abraham plays the central role. In conclusion, the religion founded by Abraham – in accordance with Late Antique perceptions – is universal and grounded exclusively in personal piety.

Notes 1 This a revised and expanded version of an article first published in Scripture, Poetry and the Making of a Community (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014), 53–75, which had appeared in German in Genealogie und Migrationsmythen im antiken Mittelmeerraum und auf der arabischen Halbinsel, ed. Almut Renger and Isabel Toral Niehoff (Berlin: Edition Topoi, 2014), 201–230 and is printed with the permission of Oxford University Press. 2 Aziz al-Azmeh, The Emergence of Islam in Late Antiquity: Allāh and His People (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014). 3 ‘Late Antiquity’ has been presented as an ‘epistemic space’ where canonical or at least authoritative texts of ‘Antiquity’ are being re-read in a monotheist frame of reference; see Nora Schmidt, Nora Katharina Schmid, and Angelika Neuwirth (eds.), Denkraum Spätantike: Reflexionen von Antiken im Umfeld des Koran (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2016). 4 Unless otherwise stated, all subsequent English translations of suras are from Arthur J. Arberry’s, The Koran Interpreted (London: Allen & Unwin, 1955). 5 Partial citation from Q 49:13, a Medinan verse. 6 Josef van Ess, Theologie und Gesellschaft im II. und III. Jahrhundert Hidschra II (Berlin: De Gruyter, 1992), 404–441. 7 See James E. Montgomery, “Dichotomy in Jāhilī Poetry,” Journal of Arabic Literature 17 (1986): 1–20. 8 R. Stephen Humphreys, Muʿawiya ibn Abi Sufyan: From Arabia to Empire (Oxford: Oneworld, 2006), 43–61. 9 Cf. Gerald Hawting, The First Dynasty of Islam: The Umayyad Caliphate AD 661–750 (London: Routledge, 1986). 10 Cf. Omar Hamdan, Studien zur Kanonisierung des Korantexts. Al-Hasan al-Basris Beiträge zur Geschichte des Korans (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2006). 11 For the importance of genealogy before and during the early Islamic period, as well as for information about the most important genealogists Muḥammad ibn al-Sāʾib al-Kalbī (d. 763) and Abū l-Mundhir Hishām ibn Muḥammad ibn al-Sāʾib al-Kalbī (d. 819?), see the introduction to Werner Caskel, Gamharat An-nasab: Das Genealogische Werk des Hisam Ibn al-Kalbī (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1966), 19–81; cf. also Franz Rosenthal, “Nasab,” in: EI2 (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1991), vol. VII, 967–968. 12 Cf. Toral-Niehoff, “Der Prophet Muhammad und Seine biblische Verwandtschaft: Überlegungen zur Rolle von Genealogie und Identität in der frühen Abbasidenzeit” (unpublished lecture) and Caskel, Gamharat An-nasab, 39–41. 13 Guy G. Stroumsa, The End of Sacrifice: Religious Transformations in Late Antiquity (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2009) (Original Fr. edition: La fin du sacrifice. Les mutations religieuses de l’Antiquité tardive (Paris: Odile Jacob, 2005).

86  Angelika Neuwirth 14 Angelika Neuwirth, Der Koran als Text der Spätantike: Ein europäischer Zugang (Berlin: Verlag der Weltreligionen, 2010), 19–67. 15 The reconstruction of the early and middle Meccan suras has been published; see Angelika Neuwirth, Der Koran 1: Frühmekkanische Suren: Poetische Prophetie (Berlin: Verlag der Weltreligionen, 2011), and Der Koran 2/1: Frühmittelmekkanische Suren (Berlin: Verlag der Weltreligionen, 2017). 16 See also Michael Marx, “Ein Koranforschungsprojekt in der Tradition der Wissenschaft des Judentums: zur Programmatik des Akademievorhabens Corpus Coranicum,” in “Im vollen Licht der Geschichte” – Die Wissenschaft des Judentums und die Anfänge der Koranforschung, ed. Dirk Hartwig, Walter Homolka, Michael Marx, and Angelika Neuwirth (Würzburg: Ergon, 2008), 41–54. The research results are accessible online, see . 17 For a recent reconstruction, see Neuwirth, Der Koran 1, 15–72 and eadem, Der Koran 2/1, 21–81. 18 For a template against which Qur’anic statements concerning these discourses should be viewed see Peter Brown, The Body and Society: Men, Women, and Sexual Renunciation in Early Christianity (New York: Columbia University Press, 1988). The Qur’anic debates about these matters are discussed in the introduction to Neuwirth, Der Koran 2/1, 21–81. 19 Montgomery, “Dichotomy in Jāhilī Poetry,” 6. 20 Quoted following the translation by Robert G. Hoyland, Arabia and the Arabs from the Bronze Age to the Coming of Islam (London, New York: Routledge, 2001), 113, from: Abu Tammām, Al-Hamāsa, (Damascus: Sharh al-Tabrīzī, no date), 3–5. See for this ethos in general Andras Hamori, On the Art of Medieval Arabic Literature (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1974). 21 For a complete analysis, see Neuwirth, Der Koran 1, 106–112. 22 See Neuwirth, Der Koran 1, 125–132. 23 Arberry translates the title as “rivalry.” It is modified into “greed for abundance” to mark the referential relation to Q 108, where kawthar is translated as “abundance.” 24 Reference is most probably to the family graveyards familiar in the Late Antique Near East. Particularly spacious grave complexes with facilities for collective meals to be consumed during a ziyāra have been found in the Nabatean Petra and in the Palestinian Bet Guvrin. For the social importance of the ancestors’ tombs in Late Antiquity see Brown, The Body, 284–304. For the majoritarian understanding of the verse as a reference to the death of the addressees see Neuwirth, Der Koran 1, 125–133. 25 The following translation of Q 102 substitutes Arberry’s “rivalry” with “greed for abundance.” 26 See Stroumsa, The End of Sacrifice, 30–31. 27 See Neuwirth, Der Koran 1, 49f. 28 Stroumsa, The End of Sacrifice. 29 Stroumsa, The End of Sacrifice, 28. 30 Walter Burkert’s flawed thesis about sacrifice in Islam is an obstacle to properly understanding the decisive transformation process in the Qur’an. Burkert, in his otherwise groundbreaking work Homo Necans: Interpretationen altgriechischer Opferriten und Mythen (Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 1972), 19, incorrectly understood the continued practice of animal sacrifice during the pilgrimage as proof of the never interrupted adherence to a theologically founded sacrificial cult; see Stroumsa, The End of Sacrifice, 88. This balks at verse Q 22:36f, which explicitly deals with the theologically exclusive relevance of the sacrificer’s piety, thus sublimating the act of sacrifice; see Neuwirth, Der Koran als Text der Spätantike, 554–557. 31 Neuwirth, Der Koran 1, 44–50. 32 Gustav von Grunebaum, Islam: Experience of the Holy and Concept of Man (Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1966), 9.

A “Religious Transformation in Late Antiquity” 87 33 For further discussion on this sura, see Neuwirth, Der Koran 1, 378–394. 34 See Neuwirth, Der Koran 1, 437–444, for further discussion on the drastic change in formulation as compared with the Gospel text Mt. 18:21–35: “The Parable of the Unmerciful Servant.” Specifically, the comparison is drawn with the depiction of the indebted servant who begs his master not to sell him and his family into slavery. For a reading of the sura as the nucleus of the Qur’anic concept of justice see Angelika Neuwirth, Die Koranische Verzauberung der Welt und ihre Entzauberung in der Geschichte (Freiburg: Herder, 2017), 111–132. 35 For further analysis of the sura, see Neuwirth, Der Koran 1, 236–252. 36 See e.g. Q 70:22–29 and Neuwirth, Der Koran 1, 431–451. 37 See for the patristic discourse Brown, The Body, 5–32. 38 It is noteworthy that the Qur’an takes no interest in distinguishing between a human condition before and after the fall of Adam – a discourse that was of momentous significance to the Late Antique Church fathers, see Brown, The Body, 160–209. 39 Arberry translates: “No! I swear by this land!” Balad should, however, refer to albalad al-amin, Q 95:3, i.e. Mecca. 40 Arberry translates this line as “I have consumed wealth abundant.” The translation chosen here is the more literal. For further analyses of this line, see Neuwirth, Der Koran 1, 241–242. 41 See ʿAntara’s Muʿallaqah, v. 40, adduced by Hamori, On the Art of Medieval Arabic Literature, 11. 42 Cf. Neuwirth, Der Koran als Text der Spätantike, 672–722. 43 All biblical citations are taken from the King James translation. 44 Mt 25:41ff. 45 The adoption of this orientation is not documented in the Qur’an; it seems to have occurred in Middle Mecca, see Angelika Neuwirth, “Moses’ Exodus to the Holy Land Reconfigured in Muhammad’s Visionary Journey to the Remote Sanctuary,” (forthcoming). 46 For more on this, see Heinrich Speyer, Biblische Erzählungen im Qoran (Hildesheim: Georg Olms Verlag, 1988) [originally published sometime between 1937 and 1939 in Breslau]), 134–140. 47 James Kugel, How to Read the Bible: A Guide to Scripture, Then and Now (New York: Free Press, 2007), 90–96. 48 Kugel, How to Read the Bible, 90–96. 49 The Book of Jubilees, cf. Klaus Berger, Jüdische Schriften aus hellenistisch-römischer Zeit: II.3: Das Buch der Jubiläen (Gütersloh: Gütersloher Verlageshaus, 1981), 12:2– 4; cf. also Speyer, Biblische Erzählungen im Qoran, 164–166; 170f. 50 See the commentary on the sura in Neuwirth, Der Koran 2/1, 147–212. 51 Cf. Kugel, How to Read the Bible, 90–96; the tradition is found explicitly in the Book of Jubilees, 12:2–4. 52 Cf. Neuwirth, Der Koran als Text der Spätantike, 633–637. 53 Arberry however does translate dhurriyyah as “seed;” the King James Version of the Bible also translates the Hebrew zeraʿ as “seed.” 54 The “seed of Abraham” is also the subject of extensive Talmudic discussions, see for example the Palestinian Talmud, Nedarim 3:8, translated by Jacob Neusner, The Talmud of the Land of Israel (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1985), vol. 23, 66–67. 55 The -iyya ending is attached only to three Qur’anic lexemes; in its earliest use, it refers to a collective. 56 Nicolai Sinai, Fortschreibung und Auslegung: Studien zur frühen Koraninterpretation (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2006), 140–143. 57 Arberry correctly translates al-saʿy as “running,” taken to refer to the pilgrimage rite performed in Mecca. The more frequent translations of “working with him” (J. M.

88  Angelika Neuwirth Rodwell), “old enough to accompany him” (Tarif Khalidi) is in tune with the most frequent Qur’anic meaning of the root sʿy as “to strive for something,” which is also reflected in exegesis to underscore the son’s responsibility for his own decisions. In view of the amendment character of the over-long verse – which is obviously a Medinan addition to the Meccan text – the allusion to the pilgrimage ritual should however be taken seriously (see later). 58 Kugel, How to Read the Bible, 126–128, and idem, The Bible as It Was (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1997), 165–178. 59 See Pseudo-Philo in Kugel, How to Read the Bible, 127, for further discussion on the early Jewish reinterpretation of the biblical ʿAqedah – literally, “the binding” (of Isaac by Abraham) – as an act of sacrifice mutually agreed to by father and son. 60 Cf. Augustine in Kugel, How to Read the Bible, 128. For more on this adaptation’s theological impact and implications see Reuven Firestone, Journeys in Holy Lands: The Evolution of the Abraham-Ishmael Legends in Islamic Exegesis (Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1990), 116–151; idem, “Merit, Mimesis and Martyrdom: Aspects of Shiʿite Meta-Historical Exegesis on Abraham’s Sacrifice in Light of Jewish, Christian, and Sunni Muslim Tradition,” Journal of the American Academy of Religion 66 (1998): 93–116; Jon D. Levenson, The Death and Resurrection of the Beloved Son: The Transformation of Child Sacrifice in Judaism and Christianity (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1993), and Angelika Neuwirth, “Biblische Passionen als Herausforderung: Verhandlung, emotionale Entschärfung und Rekonstruktion des Abrahamsopfers im Koran,” Paragrana: Internationale Zeitschrift für Historische Anthropologie 21 (2011): 17–27. 61 Cf. Erik Aurelius, “Durch den Glauben gehorsam – durch Werke gerecht,” in Abraham, unser Vater. Die gemeinsamen Wurzeln von Judentum, Christentum und Islam, ed. Reinhard G. Kratz and Tilman Nagel (Göttingen: Wallstein, 2003), 98–111; Salomon Schechter, Some Aspects of Rabbinic Theology (New York: MacMillan, 1909), 179ff.; Firestone, Journeys in Holy Lands, 135–152; idem, “Merit, Mimesis and Martyrdom,” 93–116. 62 A later added section, not associated with the narrative, Q 37: 112f., appends the announcement of Isaac’s birth to the story. This addition emphasizes that Isaac will have as offspring one righteous son (Jacob) and a “manifest self-wronger” (Esau), or groups of righteous and wrong-doers. The later supplement emphasizes the newly adopted interpretation in Medina, which, in contrast to the Jewish tradition, does not have Abraham’s descendants categorically blessed. 63 See Joseph Witztum, “The Foundations of the House (Q 2:127),” BSOAS 72 (2009): 25–40; Sinai, Fortschreibung und Auslegung; Neuwirth, Der Koran als Text der Spätantike, 637–652, and Neuwirth, “Biblische Passionen als Herausforderung.” 64 Neuwirth, Der Koran als Text der Spätantike, 510–560. 65 Neuwirth, Die koranische Verzauberung der Welt. 66 Arberry correctly translates al-saʿy as “running,” taken to refer to the pilgrimage rite performed in Mecca. The more frequent translations of “working with him” (J. M. Rodwell) and “old enough to accompany him” (Tarif Khalidi) are in tune with the most frequent Qur’anic meaning of the root sʿy as “to strive for something,” which is also reflected in exegesis to underscore the son’s responsibility for his own decisions. In view of the amendment character of the over-long verse – which is obviously a Medinan addition to the Meccan text – the allusion to the pilgrimage ritual should be taken seriously (see later). 67 See for more details Neuwirth, Die koranische Verzauberung der Welt, 181–224. 68 Reuven Firestone, “Abraham,” in Encyclopaedia of the Qur’an, ed. Jane D. McAuliffe (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 2001), vol. I, 5–11. 69 Tilman Nagel, “Der erste Muslim: Abraham in Mekka,” in Abraham, unser Vater: Die gemeinsamen Wurzeln von Judentum, Christentum und Islam, 133–149; and idem, Mohammed: Leben und Legende (Munich: Oldenbourg Wissenschaftsverlag, 2008). 70 Arberry translates “taqwā” in v. 37 as “godliness”.

A “Religious Transformation in Late Antiquity” 89 71 Burkert, Homo Necans, 19. He erroneously understands the continuation of ritual animal slaughter during the pilgrimage as proof of the ‘sacrifice discourse’; see Stroumsa, The End of Sacrifice, 88. Yet the relevant verse, Q 22:36f., explicitly speaks of the exclusive validity of piety, the spiritual state in which the slaughter itself is successfully performed. Cf. Neuwirth, Der Koran 1, 554–557. 72 Cf. M. Elaine Combs Schilling, Sacred Performance: Islam, Sexuality and Sacrifice (New York: University of Columbia Press, 1989), 57f. 73 Combs Schilling, Sacred Performance. 74 Bayt had been used to denote the Kaaba in early Mecca, Q 101:3 and Q 52:4. It was replaced by al-masjid al-ḥarām in Q 17:1, where the Kaaba is focused as a site where liturgy is celebrated, only to reappear in Medina as an antipode of the Jerusalem Temple, see Angelika Neuwirth, Wie entsteht eine Schrift in der Forschung und in der Geschichte? Die hebräische Bibel und der Koran (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2017), 157–167. 75 Angelika Neuwirth, “The Spiritual Meaning of Jerusalem in Islam,” in City of the Great King: Jerusalem from David to the Present, ed. Nitza Rosovsky (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1996), 93–116 and 483–495. 76 Witztum, “The Foundations of the House (Q 2:127),” 25–40. 77 Witztum, “The Foundations of the House (Q 2:127),” 29. 78 See Caskel, Gamharat An-nasab, 39. 79 See Neuwirth, “Biblische Passionen als Herausforderung,” 17–27. 80 Neuwirth, Der Koran als Text der Spätantike, 561–512. 81 Reuven Firestone, “Is There a Notion of “Divine Election” in the Qur’an?” in New Perspectives on the Qur’an: The Qur’an in its Historical Context 2, ed. Gabriel S. Reynolds (New York: Routledge, 2011), 408. 82 Neuwirth, Der Koran 1, 365–367. 83 Angelika Neuwirth, “The House of Abraham and the House of Amram. Genealogy, Patriarchal Authority, and Exegetical Professionalism,” in The Qur’an in Context. Historical and Literary Investigations into the Qur’anic Milieu, ed. eadem, Nicolai Sinai and Michael Marx (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 2009, Reprint 2011), 499–532. 84 Cf. the prophetic line of succession of Butrus al-Bayt Raʾsī (Pseudo-Eutychios) cited by Samir Khalil Samir, “The Theological Christian Influence on the Qur’an. A Reflection,” in The Qur’an in its Historical Context, ed. Gabriel S. Reynolds (London: Routledge, 2008), 141–162, which conveniently replaces the House of Amram with Moses; cf. also Neuwirth, “The House of Abraham and the House of Amram.” 85 Cf. the Medinan amendment to the Middle Meccan sura Q 19:58. 86 See Neuwirth, Der Koran als Text der Spätantike, 230–234. 87 Firestone, “Is There a Notion of ‘Divine Election’ in the Qur’an?” 408. 88 Neuwirth, Der Koran 1, 642–685. For the broader background see Patricia Crone, “The Religion of the Qur’anic Pagans: God and the lesser Deities,” Arabica 57 (2010): 151–200. 89 See Q 2:124; 3:65–68 and the polemic against Jews and Christians summarized by Firestone, “Is There a Notion of “Divine Election” in the Qur’an?” 408.

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A “Religious Transformation in Late Antiquity” 91 Nagel, Tilman. Mohammed: Leben und Legende. Munich: Oldenbourg Wissenschaftsverlag, 2008. Neusner, Jacob. The Talmud of the Land of Israel, vol. 23. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1985. Neuwirth, Angelika. “The Spiritual Meaning of Jerusalem in Islam.” In City of the Great King: Jerusalem from David to the Present, edited by Nitza Rosovsky, 93–116 and 483– 495. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1996. Neuwirth, Angelika. “The House of Abraham and the House of Amram. Genealogy, Patriarchal Authority, and Exegetical Professionalism.” In The Qur’an in Context: Historical and Literary Investigations into the Qur’anic Milieu, edited by Angelika Neuwirth, Nicolai Sinai and Michael Marx, 499–532. Leiden: E. J. Brill, 2009, Reprint 2011. Neuwirth, Angelika. Der Koran als Text der Spätantike: Ein europäischer Zugang. Berlin: Verlag der Weltreligionen, 2010. Neuwirth, Angelika. “Biblische Passionen als Herausforderung: Verhandlung, emotionale Entschärfung und Rekonstruktion des Abrahamsopfers im Koran.” Paragrana: Internationale Zeitschrift für Historische Anthropologie 21 (2011): 17–27. Neuwirth, Angelika. Der Koran 1: Frühmekkanische Suren: Poetische Prophetie. Berlin: Verlag der Weltreligionen, 2011. Neuwirth, Angelika. Scripture, Poetry and the Making of a Community. Oxford: Oxford University Press 2014. Neuwirth, Angelika. Der Koran 2/1: Frühmittelmekkanische Suren. Berlin: Verlag der Weltreligionen, 2017. Neuwirth, Angelika. Die koranische Verzauberung der Welt und ihre Entzauberung in der Geschichte. Freiburg: Herder, 2017. Neuwirth, Angelika. Wie entsteht eine Schrift in der Forschung und in der Geschichte? Die hebräische Bibel und der Koran. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2017. Neuwirth, Angelika. The Qur’an and Late Antiquity: A Shared Heritage. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019. Neuwirth, Angelika. “Moses’ Exodus to the Holy Land Reconfigured in Muhammad’s Visionary Journey to the Remote Sanctuary.” (forthcoming). Rosenthal, Franz. “Nasab.” In EI2, vol. VII, 967–968. Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1993. Samir, Samir Khalil. “The Theological Christian Influence on the Qur’an: A Reflection.” In The Qur’an in its Historical Context, edited by Gabriel Said Reynolds, 141–162. London: Routledge, 2008. Schechter, Salomon. Aspects of Rabbinic Theology. New York: Macmillan, 1909. Schmidt, Nora, Nora Katharina Schmid, and Angelika Neuwirth (eds.). Denkraum Spätantike: Reflexionen von Antiken im Umfeld des Koran. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2016. Sinai, Nicolai. Fortschreibung und Auslegung. Studien zur frühen Koraninterpretation. Würzburg: Harrassowitz, 2006. Speyer, Heinrich. Biblische Erzählungen im Qoran. Hildesheim: Georg Olms Verlag, 1988 [originally published sometime between 1937 and 1939 in Breslau]. Stroumsa, Guy G. The End of Sacrifice: Religious Transformations in Late Antiquity. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2009. Stroumsa, Guy G. La fin du sacrifice. Les mutations religieuses de l’Antiquité tardive. Paris: Odile Jacob, 2005. Toral Niehoff, Isabel. “Der Prophet Muhammad und Seine biblische Verwandtschaft: Überlegungen zur Rolle von Genealogie und Identität in der frühen Abbasidenzeit.” Unpublished Lecture. van Ess, Josef. Theologie und Gesellschaft im II. und III. Jahrhundert Hidschra, vol. II. Berlin: De Gruyter, 1992. Witztum, Joseph. “The Foundations of the House (Q 2:127).” BSOAS 72 (2009): 25–40.

5 Meccan Gods, Jesus’ divinity An analysis of Q 43 Sūrat al-Zukhruf Walid A. Saleh

The mute barbarians The opponents of Muhammad did not live to tell their side of the story. Their world and ideology have to be reconstructed from the Qur’an, and fortunately there is much there to work with.1 Though the Qur’an did its best to undermine their image, belittling their intelligence and calling them cattle or worse (Q 7:179, Q 25:44 and Q 47:49), it had to answer to their trenchant criticism of Muhammad’s preaching and their passionate and sustained defense of the ways of their fathers. The later Islamic tradition was far less charitable. The portrait is one of marauding, murderous, infanticide-practicing brutes awaiting the light of Islam, a jāhiliyyah which ended with a new calendar – though some of these images are already present in the Qur’an. This portrayal of a mute, theologically lacking paganism has seeped not only into Islamic historiography but also into our reading of the Qur’an. Yet the opponents of Muhammad were not only articulate, as one can deduce from the Qur’an. Rather, some of their theological critiques of Muhammad’s preaching were devastating, and the Qur’an had to pay sustained attention to them. Arab paganism was not in a crisis. It was, however, also not ambitious; it was local, it lacked universal potential or a pan-Arab vision, and that was its undoing. This chapter will illustrate the cogent theological objections to Muhammad’s teaching raised by his opponents. These objections needed a theological response from Muhammad. The chapter is dedicated to an analysis of sura 43, which contains what I consider to be the most interesting defense of the gods of the Meccans against Muhammad’s teachings. The central issue in this sura is the status of Jesus and the ontological reality of the Meccan gods. Yet before I commence this task, I will give one example from another part of the Qur’an to illustrate how the tradition and modern translators have downplayed the theological counter-arguments of the Meccans, although the Qur’an itself preserved them. This example is given here to show that what we find in sura 43 is part of a larger ideological battle and that the Qur’an and Muhammad were struggling to counter objections that were cogent and powerful. What we find in the tradition of Qur’an commentary is the very opposite, a dismissal of these very arguments and a re-reading that presents them as frivolous and irrational. It is worth remembering that Muhammad’s

Meccan Gods, Jesus’ divinity 93 ministry in Mecca was a failure, which means that none of his counter-arguments had an impact on the majority of his audience.

The incoherent pagans of Arabia in the Tafsir tradition: Q 7:203 as an example The Qur’anic verse 7:203 – “and when thou bringest them not a sign, they say, ‘Why hast thou not chosen (ijtabaytahā) one? Say: ‘I follow only what is revealed to me from my Lord; this is clear testimony from your Lord, guidance and mercy for a people of believers” – has a peculiar trajectory in the interpretive tradition. The English translation I have just cited is Arberry’s translation, which clearly does not make sense: why would he choose one when he is refusing to offer one?2 The Arabic, however, might be partly to blame; in Abdel Haleem’s translation, it reads as follows (the verb underlined is the mistranslated word): ‫ قل انما اتبع ما يوحى الي من ربي هذا بصائر من ربكم وهدى ورحمة‬.‫واذا لم تأتهم بآية قالوا لوال اجتبيتها‬ ‫لقوم يؤمنون‬ When you do not bring them a fresh revelation, they say: ‘but can you not just ask for one’? Say: ‘I merely repeat what is revealed to me from my Lord. . . ’3 Abdel Haleem’s translation is attempting to make sense of a confusing verse. By choosing the meaning of āyah here to be a textual revelation, by translating the verb ijtabā as to “ask for,” and finally by translating attabiʿ to mean “to repeat (the revelation revealed to me),” rather than “to follow,” Abdel Haleem presents us with a more coherent statement. Muhammad is seen as capable of asking for a new revelation, which he refuses to do. The verse is, however, not talking about Quranic verses, but of signs, miraculous signs that affirm that he is indeed a prophet. A close look at the verse reveals that it is the verb ijtabā (underlined in the Arabic) that is causing the confusion. Rudi Paret, unlike Abdel Haleem, understood the meaning of the term āyah in this context to mean a “miracle” and not a “verse,” and his translation reads: “and when you do not bring them any sign, they say: why did you not choose one?” (“Und wenn du ihnen kein Zeichen bringst, sagen sie: Warum hast du dir keines ausgewählt?”).4 Paret in his translation is following a suggestion from the exegetical tradition; he, however, has far more insightful commentary on this verse in his Konkordanz, which I will discuss later. Translators have thus offered two meanings for ijtabā (“to ask” or “to choose”), but what could it mean? Moreover, the meaning of the verse is also dependent on the meaning of the word āyah (is it a verse or a miracle?). The verb ijtabā occurs 11 times in the Qur’an. In nine of these, the verb is used in a diametrically opposite context from the one here in verse Q 7:203; in these it is God who is the subject of the verb, and the yajtabī, performs this act towards the prophet(s) or in one instance the believers (Q 22:78).5 God “chooses,” “brings to himself,” or “selects” a specific named prophet or all the prophets or the believers. In one

94  Walid A. Saleh instance, the verb is used in its lexical meaning: “to bring to” or “be collected” as a tax or as a right for someone (this is in verse Q 28:57, speaking about the crops of the earth being brought to Mecca).6 The usage of the verb ijtabā in verse Q 7:203 is thus unique. The Meccans are asking Muhammad to earn or perform a sign. This would prove to be theologically unpalatable to later Muslims; hence, the confusion that we will witness in the exegetical tradition, which has in turn affected modern translations, as I have just recounted. Muqātil ibn Sulaymān (d. 150/767) understood the word āyah in Q 7:203 exactly as Abdel Haleem did (that it denotes a new revelation) but he translated ijtabā as “to fabricate” or “to lie”: [“If] you did not bring them a sign”: He [God] means a narration of Qur’anic verses, and this happened when the revelation ceased for a while in Mecca; “they said,” i.e. the unbelievers of Mecca, “if you only ijtabaytahā,” meaning, fabricate it yourself Muhammad, since they have already said, “bring another Qur’an or change it” [Q 10:15].7 We have here some of the elements that will be used by medieval exegetes to establish the meaning of this verse. These elements are, first, that Muhammad was asked for a new revelation (tying Q 7:203 to Q 10:15, where Muhammad was asked to change his preaching or replace it); second, that the Meccans were asking him to lie about his message, and, finally, that the verb ijtabā means “to lie” or “to fabricate.” Al-Ṭabarī likewise understood āyah to be a verse. He offered two meanings for the verb ijtabā: “to fabricate on your own accord” (iftaʿal, or ikhtalaqa, or aḥdath), a meaning close to the one offered by Muqātil; and “to receive it from God” (taqabbal or talaqqa).8 The interpretation offered by al-Ṭabarī is, however, more complicated, since his preamble does connect verse Q 7:203 to verse Q 3:179 (where God selects or chooses his messengers), already realizing that the verb here should be understood in relation to its usage in other instances in the Qur’an, a realization that is not pressed further. He simply presents us with the Sunni traditional understanding that seems intent on neutralizing the meaning. This is an example of how philology on its own was not enough a force to reconfigure traditional theological interpretations. Al-Ṭabarī comes down in favor of the first meaning, that the verb means “to lie,” citing lexicographers and grammarians who seem to have taken an interest in the verb ijtabā; the grammarians and philologists (al-Farrāʾ and Abū ʿUbaydah), however, offer support for understanding the verb to mean “to fabricate.”9 This is one of many examples where philological arguments are suspect, since they were clearly created to support the meaning offered by theologians and do not reflect an independent process. Al-Māturīdī, although he brought nothing new, introduced a complicating factor by proposing that the question in this verse could have been actually raised by the believers themselves in their quest for more confirmation of their faith (building on verses Q 9:124 and Q 47:20).10 Al-Wāhidi gathered a large number of opinions on the matter; however, he also offers nothing new here.11 Clearly, the verse has now acquired

Meccan Gods, Jesus’ divinity 95 what I would call a classical meaning with little dissent: that āyah here denotes a “verse” and ijtabā (according to most exegetes) means “to fabricate.” Yet the verse Q 7:203, one could argue, should not have been this difficult to decipher. Al-Ṭabarī knew to connect this verb to its other usages in the Qur’an. It is my contention that the exegetical tradition was rather unwilling to cede to or state the obvious. I am venturing to make this statement because the tradition would eventually betray itself and offer a radically different understanding of the verse. These hidden reversals happen so often that one can argue that it is a characteristic of the Qur’anic exegetical tradition that I now take to be a feature of its long history. Every so often, an exegete would break ranks and suggest another reading, a reading compelling enough to make us realize that the verse’s apparent meaning was not far from their grasp had they wished to see it. These contrarian readings, however, are buried deep in the tradition so that they are incapable of breaking free from the pull of the accepted understanding of a given verse. To make these readings central would have entailed a reconfiguring of how exegetes approached the Qur’an, which never happened in the traditional Sunni tradition. The contrarian readings remained a curiosity if, however, a testament to the impact of the philological revolution on all aspects of Islamicate culture. In this instance it is al-Rāzī who, clearly unsatisfied with the previous interpretation, gave us a detailed analysis of this verse and what this verb and the verse could have meant.12 He first understood āyah to be a miracle, reversing the consensus in the tradition and citing verse Q 17:90 as an example of the kind of signs asked from Muhammad, which were miraculous ruptures in the natural order. After citing the by then accepted interpretations of ijtabā, he rather hurriedly presents a new interpretation that takes note of the verse’s context and is based on its Qur’anic usage: Or it could mean: why do you (Muhammad) not suggest it to your God, if you are indeed stating the truth that your God harkens and hears your prayer and answers your supplication. Muhammad was ordered to reply what the Qur’an stated: “Say: I follow what is revealed to me from my God” that is, it is not up to me (Muhammad) to suggest to my God how to manage his affairs in any matter, I only wait for the revelation, and everything I was told to say I have declared to you, otherwise I should remain silent and desist from suggesting things: ‫ وعند هذا أمر‬,‫أو يقال هال اقترحتها على إلهك ومعبودك إن كنت صادقا في ان هللا يقبل دعاءك ويجيب التماسك‬ ‫ وهو قوله (قل إنما أتبع ما يوحى الي من ربي) ومعناه ليس لي ان اقترح على‬.‫رسوله ان يذكر الجواب الشافي‬ ‫ واال فالواجب السكوت وترك االقتراح‬,‫ وإنما انتظر الوحي فكل شيء أكرمني به قلته‬,‫ربي في أمر من األمور‬. This is indeed, I would agree with al-Rāzī, what the Meccans meant: if God is refusing to send a sign (the Qur’an never tires repeating this point) and the Qur’an consistently presents God as refusing to produce miracles, can you, Muhammad, ask Him for a sign? The verse Q 7:203, understood in this new light, becomes far more menacing, unrelenting in its critique of the monotheistic and prophetic

96  Walid A. Saleh claims of Muhammad, and as such the objection of the Meccans was worthy of a rebuttal; hence, the trouble the Qur’an took to answer their objections. This question is also dangerously alluding to instances in the Qur’an where Muhammad seems to want such miracles, only to be rebuked and chastised himself (Cf. Q 6:35; Q 13:31). The Meccans were stating this: if your God keeps repeating that he is not willing to give a sign, why then do you, as a prophet and a man of God, not play a role in this and demand from your God a sign? They are asking: Are you not able to earn it, ijtabā? Where does a prophet stand in relationship to God? Are you not close enough to God, of such a standing that you are also part of the process? The God who is earning these prophets unto Him, can you earn Him unto you? Is not your prophetic character such that you can ask? Especially since other prophets were capable of this, as Muhammad claimed and as the Meccans were reminding him (Q 6:24 – “we shall not believe in you untill we are given (shown) the same as previous prophets”). Muhammad, the Meccans were implying, is not a prophet like the others he keeps referring to; he has no standing in front of his God. He has no access to God. He is incapable of this reciprocal relationship that the Qur’an itself depicts between real prophets and this God. By using the very verb that Muhammad used to speak of God’s closeness to his other prophets, they are questioning Muhammad’s alleged closeness to God. Muhammad is not one of those who are earned unto God, nor able to earn God unto himself – hence the verb. That the Meccans should care to use a verb already used by the Qur’an to characterize God’s relationship to his chosen ones is indicative of the fact that they were listening all too attentively to Muhammad’s teaching and that they were pointing out glaring contradictions. The Meccans were raising a trenchant theological critique based on Muhammad’s own teachings. It is nothing short of a dissection of the notion of messengership as presented in the Qur’an. It is not a frivolous critique, as the commentators implied by their interpretation, which if we remember can be summarized as: you are a liar, so why don’t you lie a bit more. As mentioned earlier, Rudi Paret, in his Konkordanz, grappled with the verb ijtabā in verse Q 7:203, and he was one of the few who saw that there is a deeper issue in the verse. Here are his reflections in German: Dem Ausdruk lawla ijtabaytahā mag die Vorstellung zugrunde liegen, daß für die Gottesgesandten verschiedene Wunderzeichen (als Ausweise ihrer göttlichen Sendung) vorgesehen sind und sozusagen bereitliegen, so daß der einzelne jeweils nur eines herauszureifen braucht.13 This analysis is flawed: first, it is still taking the verb to mean “to select,” and also it presupposes that the Meccan are buying the arguments of Muhammad, rather than that they knew him to be incapable of producing a miracle and were pushing Muhammad to deny his own status as a man close to God. They were posing a question that shows that they understood that Muhammad had no leg to stand on – neither is his God producing a miracle, nor is Muhammad able to ask for a miracle.

Meccan Gods, Jesus’ divinity 97 The Meccans were offering their own understanding of Muhammad, challenging his positioning of himself in a unique role, one with access to God. They were defining what he is, and a struggle ensued between the Qur’an and the Meccans about how to understand Muhammad’s ministry, thus forcing the Qur’an to elaborate on the character of the messenger. The main features of this struggle are apparent in the persistent language in the Qur’an that emphasizes Muhammad’s humanness, that as a human he has no power to perform miracles, as well as the utter passivity of his role as a messenger: he is only delivering a message, nothing more. The Meccans are then portrayed as pushing their argument further, stating that this is precisely why they are not going to harken to his message and stating that not only has he no standing in front of his God, but he is deluded to think that he has merit to demand from his God. Muhammad is all too human, they agreed with the Qur’an, and hence he is no messenger; he is subject to the dictates of dahr (time) and manūn (fate). They realized that they had time on their side, and they will wait for the treacheries of fate, death itself natarabbaṣ rayb al-manūn (vicissitude of fate) (Q 52:30). An unsettling prospect, as even the Qur’an has to concede, thus forcing it to admit to the possibility that Muhammad might die before seeing the chastisement he had promised his people – admitted to in several places in the Qur’an, but for our purposes most notably in Q 43:41–42. The Meccans were worthy theological opponents of Muhammad. That is not what the exegetical tradition wanted to construct, a coherent Meccan critique of Muhammad’s preaching. This refusal to see in the Meccans a serious opponent to Muhammad’s preaching, I am arguing, is a major conceptual attitude of the traditional exegetical approach to the Qur’an that had a profound impact on what exegetes could conceive of and see, limiting the scope of what they understood the Qur’an to be stating. It is, moreover an image that we have inherited, and by “we” I mean most of scholarly Qur’anic studies. The Meccans were such that they were incoherent.

Sura 43: the eloquent unbeliever, the incoherent unbeliever Conceptually and methodologically, this chapter builds on the work of Angelika Neuwirth, especially her detailed analysis of sura 19 and sura 3 as they relate to Mary and Jesus.14 Neuwirth’s insight that the Qur’anic revelations were “communicated to the early listeners in response to particular discourses that the community was engaging in” and that “later communications (often being commentaries on earlier ones) can thus be presupposed to encapsulate those earlier debates” is at the basis of how I read sura 43 and its polemical attacks on the Meccans.15 Neuwirth refers to “intra-Qur’anic contexts” as the process through which the Qur’an grew.16 My study inverts her article on sura 19, which read sura 19 in light of sura 43 – it is a reading of sura 43 that uses sura 19 to illuminate the polemics in sura 43. Neuwirth has made incisive remarks about sura 43, and I will be building on these remarks to enlarge the scope of her arguments, seeking also to show that sura 43 is central in understanding of the position of the Meccans vis-à-vis the preaching of Muhammad. Her analysis of sura 43, however, is not a full analysis, it being part of her elucidation of sura 19.17

98  Walid A. Saleh I am thus more interested in understanding the position of the Meccans than in what Muhammad thought of Jesus. I will be arguing that the Jesus material in the Meccan Qur’an can only be understood by realizing how the Meccans were using Muhammad’s own preaching – in this case his stories about Jesus – against him and in defense of their gods. Neuwirth already highlighted the fact that sura 43 and sura 19 are not only thematically related but are also part of what Nöldeke has called ‘raḥmān suras’ and are seen as part of the Middle Meccan phase of Muhammad’s preaching.18 What this chapter will emphasize is that the initial preaching of Muhammad in sura 19 was bereft of any polemical Jesus material (already noted by Neuwirth) and, more importantly, that sura 43 was the setting for the response of Muhammad against the Meccans reuse of his Jesus preaching to defend their own gods. The main difference I have with Neuwirth is that I understand the argument of the Meccans as part of an articulated attack on the universal claims of Muhammad (and his monotheism). I do not take the Meccans as simply to be thinking that their “own deities, imagined as daughters of God, are better than Jesus.”19 They were raising a far more cogent argument. Moreover, there is no evidence that the Meccans had incorporated Jesus into their pantheon, as Neuwirth suggests, nor that they were overly concerned with Jesus.20 They rather used Jesus when Muhammad started preaching about him. The reference to divisions among groups in the sura is not about Christian sects, but actually about Jewish-Christian debates on the status of Jesus, and hence part of a far more insidious polemic against Muhammad’s universal God: how is a universal God producing religiously diverse communities, who are damning each other, they asked, and the Qur’an had to respond to these attacks.21

What sura Q 43 is about: structure and significance22 The Qur’an was unable but to admit that the Meccans were relentless opponents, forcing it to expend much energy and argumentation in order to fend off their blows against its preaching. In several instances they were dubbed as “eloquent opponents” (khaṣīm mubīn), for example, in verses Q 16:4 and Q 36:77.23 There was, however, a particular critique that so riled the Qur’an that it accused its opponents of being both cogent deniers (kafūr mubin, Q 43:15) and, a few verses later, that they were ‘ineloquent’ (ghayru mubīn, Q 43:18). This particular critique (and I will come to it soon) struck a nerve and the Qur’an would hit back hard, dedicating a whole sura to the issue, Q 43 Sūrat al-Zukhruf. So critical was the issue that the Qur’an did not hesitate to make a gendered argument the mainstay of the sura, in essence, a gendered critique of the Meccans and by extension of their gods: they were effete, effeminate, if not sodomites, and as such by definition frivolous (Q 43:18, more on this verse later).24 But by then, even such shaming was not enough; a more sustained counter-argument was needed. Fatherhood itself has to be denied. God is absolutely one. Sura Q 43, a grappling with the Meccans’ response to Muhammad’s critique of their daughters of God, has gone unexamined and will be the subject of this chapter.25 The accusation of incoherency (ghayru mubīn) here is foundational to

Meccan Gods, Jesus’ divinity 99 the argument of the sura, and it is part of a detailed response to the Meccans; we should not equate it with the approach found in the exegetical tradition. The exegetical tradition simply pretended that the Meccans had had no argument to start with. The word mubīn (clear) and derivatives thereof are used seven times in this sura alone: the Qur’an is mubīn (Q 43:2), human beings are “cogent deniers” (kafūr mubīn, Q 43:15), those raised in adornment are “ineloquent” ghayr mubīn (Q 43:18), Muhammad is an “eloquent messenger” (rasūl mubīn, Q 43:29), Muhammad’s opponents are in “manifest error” (ḍalāl mubīn, Q 43: 40), Moses is accused of being “barely eloquent” or “inarticulate” (wa-lā yakād yubīn, Q 43:52), and finally the devil is a “manifest enemy” (ʿaduww mubīn, Q 43:62) of humanity. Eloquence here is tied to masculinity, or more accurately, ineloquence is ascribed to femininity, and a female God and her effeminized followers are, if not mute, then ineloquent. The sura uses three main arguments to refute the attacks of the Meccans: the first is a gendered approach in which eloquence is impossible when it is feminine, the second is a denial that monotheism has conceptually allowed multiplicity of the Godhead or seeing God as a father, and finally, the refusal to admit that the universalism of stipulating one God necessarily entails uniformity in religious practices. Each of these themes will be tied to other minor themes: wealth is not a sign of grace, a universal God does not mean a unified global community, division among monotheists is not an indication that monotheism is false, etc. We have to understand that these counter-arguments were made in response to the arguments the Meccans were making. The Meccans were building on Muhammad’s own preaching to construct their own attacks, which made the Qur’an elaborate on what it meant when it mentioned Jesus as a sign of God’s mercy or what it meant when it said that God wants humanity to believe in Him alone. Neuwirth has already characterized the opening of sura 43 by its claim to “divinely warranted authenticity and human accessibility” as marking “the climax of the process of Qur’anic self-actualization.”26 “It is a clear book, an Arabic Qur’an, so that they understand it” (Q 43:2–3); the Qur’an is brooking no argument about its incoherence. As I said, its clarity is referenced throughout the sura by using this opening term six more times. I am, however, especially interested in verse 5, which has gone unnoticed in the preamble of this sura, a preamble that extends to verse 14.27 Q 43:5 reads (in Abdel Haleem’s translation): “Should we ignore you and turn this revelation away from you because you are insolent people?” This is an unclear statement, unless we tie it to the attack on the universalism of Muhammad’s message by the Meccans that appears later in the sura. The verse is a retort to their bewilderment as to why a messenger was sent to them now, in this moment in history, when they have been for eternity a nation who follows the tradition of their forefathers – objections raised further on in the sura (Q 43:20–22). The sura is already preparing the audience for the issues of contention between Muhammad and his audience. Why is Muhammad not leaving them alone? And why now all of a sudden is there a new revelation accusing a community that lived in pious observance of the cult of the ancestors of being impious and worshiping false gods? How is it not God’s will, for if it was not

100  Walid A. Saleh God’s will, we (the Meccans stated) would not have worshiped his angels (verse 20) for so long unperturbed. The rest of the introduction is familiar from other parts of the Qur’an and seems to be leading up to the heart of the matter, which starts in verse 15. This is the topic of the sura: Does God have equals? Or is God part of a pantheon? Verse 15 opens the second section of the sura, which consists of verses 15–22. Verse 15 reads: [Human beings] are assigning a portion from His creatures as His, human beings are eloquent in their denial of God. .‫وجعلوا له من عباده جزءا إن االنسان لكفور مبين‬ This is the only instance in the Qur’an of using the word juzʾ, “portion,” in such a construction. The word juzʾ is odd here, neutral in its implication and genderless – but not for long. When the Qur’an wanted to accuse human beings of polytheism or of worshiping more than one god, it typically used other expressions such as sh-r-k (“to associate”), nadd (“be equal”), āliha ghayr Allāh (“gods beside God”), āliha min dūn Allāh (“gods in addition to God”), etc.28 The anti-Christological core of this sura, which I will come to later, raises the possibility that juzʾ here might be an indication that the sura was grappling with the Christian dogma of the trinity (cf. Q 5:73 thālith thalātha, one of three). The Qur’an could be alluding to the theological notion of hypostasis, especially if we compare this verse with verse Q 2:260: and then divide (the birds) into parts and place these on different hills, and call them to you and they will run to you. ‫ثم اجعل على كل جبل منهن جزءا ثم ادعهن اليك يأتينك سعيا‬ By using the word juzʾ, God is seen as part of something else (a part), or his creatures are seen as part of him, a divided entity so to speak. The sura then launches into its critique of sonship or fathership of the Godhead, mocking the Meccans for their unjust division of spoils, giving God daughters when they would prefer sons: 16: Or has he taken daughters for Himself and favoured you with sons? 17: When one of them is given news of the birth of that which they claim God has, his face turns dark and full of anger. 18: the one who is brought up in adornment (or trinkets) – while he is incapable of eloquence. Here is then the first rebuttal to the Meccans – by their patriarchal standards, a woman is not equal to a man (cf. with Q 3:36 “verily a female is unlike the male”). A female child is a cause of distress; something is intrinsically flawed with a female – to ascribe such a creature to God is doubly ironic, almost insulting – while humans want, as it were, the better offspring for themselves

Meccan Gods, Jesus’ divinity 101 (an unjust division, as the Qur’an says in another sura in Q 53:22, “You have the male and give Him the female: what an unjust division”). But we have to keep in mind that this gendered argument is problematic in light of the sonship of Jesus that the Meccans will be raising later in the sura, and as such its cogency has been drastically weakened. This gendered discourse, used with ironic relish in earlier parts of the Qur’an (Q 53:21–22; Q 37:149, 153, and later in a late Meccan sura in Q 16:57), has lost its potency, and clearly something more is needed. Verse 18 is thus a new and concluding statement from the Qur’an about why a female deity is impossible. The ineloquence of the feminine is a new argument, a new stab at the mute gods of the pagans. But verse 18 is actually enigmatic, “the one who is in adornments grown – in arguments (or dueling) ineloquent,” cuts both ways: it seems to point to the absurdity of an eloquent female Godhead, or it could mean that their arguments are akin to a woman’s argument, which by definition is frivolous: adornment is not cogent. The domain of the feminine is the opposite of the eloquent. One cannot defend a female God and be eloquent. Adornment, in this sura, however, is a constant theme that is raised throughout and in different contexts. Adornment does not always mean the same thing. Verse 18 is the beginning of an engagement with surface appearances, with luxury and items of value, trinkets. Verse 53 accuses the enemies of Moses of asking him to adorn himself with gold that he might be believed: “were he not given gold bracelets (as sign of his prophecy), or bring the angels under his command.” An absurd demand – gold is not a measure of truth. Yet wealth is itself the issue, for the Meccans are tying possessing it with acquiring a right for proximity to the gods (verse 31 “if only this Qur’an was given to a mighty man of our two cities [we could have then listened]”). In response, the sura ties wealth to another theme in the Qur’an – tamattuʿ: enjoyment of this world in an oblivious life of complacency, believing that all that there is in life is this world. The state of being wealthy on this earth is not an indication of God’s grace, the sura wants to reiterate. The sura tackles this issue in verses 29–35 (Abdel Haleem’s translation): 29 I have let these people and their fathers enjoy (mattaʿtu) long lives, and now I have given them the Truth and a messenger to make things clear – 30 yet when the Truth came to them, they said, “This is sorcery. We do not believe in it,” 31 and they said, “Why was this Qur’an not sent down to a distinguished man, from either of the two cities?” 32 Are they the ones who share out your Lord’s grace? We are the ones who give them their share of livelihood in this world and We have raised some of them above others in rank, so that some may take others into service: your Lord’s grace is better than anything they accumulate. 33 If it were not that all mankind might have become a single nation [of disbelievers], We could have given all those who disbelieve in the Lord of Mercy houses with roofs of silver, sweeping staircases to ascend, 34 massive gates, couches to sit on, 35 and golden ornaments. All of these are mere enjoyments of this life; your Lord reserves the next life for those who take heed of Him.

102  Walid A. Saleh Here are golden ornaments again, silver roofs, all could be given to all humanity, even if they were unbelievers. God is declaring here that he could make everyone on earth rich beyond imagination, and it would change nothing of their moral worth. Wealth is not a measure, and God is not to be disputed with as to how he favors people (i.e. the poor). Prophets are chosen by God to deliver a message, even when they are of lowly origin (cf. verse 52, when Moses is called despicable and lowly). But in every community that has been warned by God, it is the rich and mighty (mutrafūhā, literally the decadent) who spearhead the opposition to God (verse 23). Wealth is corrupting. Wealth in this world is tied to oppression. Only in the afterlife does it signify grace. The same phrase that appears in Q 43:53 to describe a bracelet of gold is used twice to describe the adornment of the denizens of paradise (Q 18:31; Q 22:23; and Q 35:33), a pointed reference to wealth as appropriate in heaven. sura 43 picks up this theme at the end (verses 66–73). Wealth in the afterlife is real, mixed with joy and contentment and absence of fear. Adornment here is elaborate: trays and cups of gold, fruits, and delights, whatever the soul desires. It is also eternal. More pointedly, wealth in Paradise is denuded of its gendered valuation – men are the ones to be adorned. Materiality is at the heart of this reward, and as such the valorization of wealth is a common denominator: the unbelievers think it is a sign of God’s grace in this world, and the Qur’an believes the same – but in the next. The dispute concerns when wealth signifies grace. Here, the Qur’an is not denying wealth its positive meaning; it is simply relocating this to a different realm. It is this proximity in values that makes the disputes in the Qur’an unresolvable. The sura continues with verses 19–22, elaborating on the beliefs of the Meccans and why they are absurd. Here is the translation from Abdel Haleem: 19 They consider the angels – God’s servants – to be female. Did they witness their creation? Their claim will be put on record and they will be questioned about it. 20 They say, “If the Lord of Mercy had willed it, we would not have worshipped them,” but they do not know that – they are only guessing – 21 or have We perhaps given them a book before this one, to which they hold fast? 22 No indeed! They say, “We saw our fathers following this tradition; we are guided by their footsteps.” The arguments in this section attempt to undermine the claims of the Meccans by pointing to the fact that the Meccans have no Scripture to back up their assertions, and more importantly, by ridiculing their justification that they could not be worshiping the gods if the gods themselves did not want them to worship them. They have no authority but the customs of their fathers. The response to their statement (Q 43: 22) of following these customs opens the third section of the sura, the longest, from verses 23–56, which layers three stories from the bygone nations with alternating direct speech to the Meccans. The section (verses 23–25) starts with a general statement about rebellious cities and their decadent inhabitants (already discussed earlier) and moves to the story of Abraham and Moses. Each story is followed by a long rebuttal of the Meccans and their arrogance.

Meccan Gods, Jesus’ divinity 103 This section is familiar to us from the “punishment stories” paradigm. Nations are recalcitrant and are punished when they refuse the messengers. The most interesting part of this section is the speech of Pharaoh to his people (Abdel Haleem’s translation): 51 Pharaoh proclaimed to his people, “My people, is the Kingdom of Egypt not mine? And these rivers that flow at my feet, are they not mine? Do you not see? 52 Am I not better than this contemptible wretch who can scarcely express himself? 53 Why has he not been given any gold bracelets? Why have no angels come to accompany him?” The Pharaoh is comparing himself to Moses, who is found wanting: a king of Egypt, commanding its rivers, versus a despicable despised man who can barely make himself understood. Who is better? The question asked in verse 52 prepares the reader for the coming confrontation between Muhammad and the Meccans later in the sura, for this very formula is going to be used to raise the most devastating question by the Meccans. Apart from the general statement about other creatures being made a juzʾ (part) of God and the tying of gender to eloquence in verse 18, we are still on familiar ground in this sura. But at verse 57, the sura takes a strange turn. The story of Jesus, which the Qur’an has apparently used in a previous context (sura 19), that is to preach to the Meccans, has clearly been used by the Meccans against Muhammad, and not without some success. Having been chastised as angel worshipers claiming that the angels are daughters of God and females to boot, the Meccans then wonder how different their theology is from that of a deified Christ. Muhammad, having preached the story of Jesus, was caught off guard when it was used to undermine his own theology. This is the focal point of sura 43, and it is in this pericope that we encounter what was troubling the Qur’an about the claims of the Meccans and their attack on the preaching of Muhammad. The verses that cover this Christ–angels dispute are 57–65 (Abdel Haleem’s translation): 57 When the son of Mary is cited as an example, your [i.e., the Prophet’s] people laugh and jeer,29 58 saying, “Are our gods better or him?” – they cite him only to challenge you: they are a contentious people – 59 but he is only a servant We favoured and made an example for the Children of Israel: 60 if it had been Our will, We could have made you angels, succeeding one another on earth. 61 This [Quran] gives knowledge of the Hour: do not doubt it. Follow Me, for this is the right path; 62 do not let Satan hinder you, for he is your sworn enemy (ʿaduww mubīn). 63 When Jesus came with clear signs he said, “I have brought you wisdom; I have come to clear up some of your differences for you. Be mindful of God and obey me: 64 God is my Lord and your Lord. Serve Him: this is the straight path.” 65 Yet still the different factions among them disagreed – woe to the evildoers: they will suffer the torment of a grievous day!

104  Walid A. Saleh Neuwirth has already shown that this pericope was the model for an insertion in the sura 19 (verses 34–40), which undermined any use of the Jesus story against Muhammad.30 The Qur’an first preached of Jesus as a miraculous child and a sign of God only for the Qur’an to add a resolute confirmation that Jesus was a human being – a creature of God. But more on that later.

The exegetical tradition and verse Q 43:58 Before I come back to analyze this section, I would like to show how the Muslim exegetical tradition dealt with Q 43: 57–58. The exegetical tradition would construct an elaborate structure to undermine the focal point of Chapter 43, thus rendering one of the main arguments of the Meccans moot, not unlike what it did with verse 7:203 discussed earlier. Verses Q 43:57–58 are the central theme of the sura; here we encounter the Meccan critique of Muhammad’s claim of belonging to a tradition of monotheism that includes Christianity in it. These verses confronted the exegetical tradition with an intractable problem: the fact that the Meccans were raising serious objections to Muhammad’s preaching and thus stand absolved in their refusal to desert their gods. More troubling is the length that the Qur’an went to address this criticism, making it all the more necessary to belittle the argument, if not to completely misconstrue it. The Islamic exegetical tradition misread (I would argue deliberately) the whole cluster of verses around Jesus in sura 43 and would offer what is in effect an elaborate justification that turns our attention away from this chapter to sura 21, and in particular to verse Q 21:98, “You (disbelievers) and what you worship instead of God will be fuel for Hell: that is where you will go.” An elaborate story about why verse Q 21:98 was revealed is told (sabab al-nuzūl): when the verse I just translated was revealed, the Meccans came and asked Muhammad if all the false gods will burn in hell; having answered yes, they responded that if any being that is worshiped will be burnt in hell, would not Jesus and the angels be burned also, since they are worshiped by some? They would not mind being in the company of their gods and Jesus and the mysterious ʿUzayr of the Jews, they affirmed. Muhammad was dumbfounded (supposedly by such a cogent argument), and God saw to it to solve this problem by revealing verse 101 of the same sura, where those who are already saved are spared this fate – which was taken to mean Jesus and his mother. It is this whole episode that was being referred to (we are told) in sura Q 43:57–81. The Meccans were raising an objection about why their gods will be burned and not Jesus. This is not about anything else but the fate of their gods in the coming world. The fictive narrative produced to inform us about the reason behind the revelation of verses in sura 21 is used to interpret and reconfigure how the Islamic tradition understood sura 43. In this tradition, sura 43 is nothing but a childish complaint of the Meccans that their gods are going to be burned while Jesus will not, although the Qur’an asserted the opposite! I am arguing that sura 21 was understood in light of the need to mitigate the situation in sura 43. The purpose was to undermine the impact of the Jesus cluster in sura 43, and to that end a

Meccan Gods, Jesus’ divinity 105 fictive narrative (sabab al-nuzūl) was used to construct a story in which the Meccans were raising a frivolous issue with Muhammad, which can be boiled down to this: God said he will burn all the false gods, but isn’t Jesus a god, and hence by Muhammad’s definition a false one (and the angels also), so God will have to burn them, and if so, then we don’t mind this. When the Qur’an supposedly qualified who will be burned of the false gods (excluding Jesus and his mother), the Meccans objected to the injustice as Q 43:57–58 indicates. Of course, the inanity of the whole argument is also jarring – that is, the Meccan are depicted as unable to understand that Muhammad was not claiming that Jesus is a god; as such, Jesus did not claim divinity and would not be punished. The use of this story to understand sura 43 points to the real problem that needed to be avoided: verses Q 43:57 onwards could not be left embedded in their sura and understood through their context there, for then we would end up with a Meccan critique that made a mockery of all of the preaching of Muhammad. This sabab al-nuzūl (reason for revelation), although organically related to sura 21, is thus primarily used in sura 43. It appears fully formed in Muqātil in reference to verse Q 43:57, and by changing the context of this verse reframes the whole discourse of sura 43.31 Al-Ṭabarī has an added explanation of the Meccans’ displeasure with Muhammad’s mentions of Jesus in his preaching: Muhammad apparently wanted them to worship him as their God instead of their angels – already an absurdity. Al-Ṭabarī does mention the traditional interpretation, and he even has a garbled hadith that joins the two interpretations into an incoherent tradition. This is a remarkably awkward approach to this verse, and one does wonder when the tradition would get its act together to face up to the verse.32 Al-Thaʿlabī is no better here, repeating al-Ṭabarī’s approach.33 Al-Wāḥidī adds nothing new.34 The mainstream Sunni exegetical tradition was unwilling to see that there is a problem here. Al-Māturīdī was unhappy with the episode about why the verse was revealed, finding it exceedingly irrational and hence improbable; a roundabout way of saying that even unbelievers can’t be that stupid.35 He, however, still upheld the traditional interpretation. The early exegetical tradition was uniform in ascribing an irrationality to the Meccans that was used to understand all their utterances. They are not only described as animal-like in the Qur’an; they are presented as incapable of being rational in the exegetical tradition. Once again, we have to see in this exegetical approach a hermeneutical lens that is based on an ideological conviction that the Meccans could not have been possibly a rational people. The language of the Qur’an is here not only clear, however, but, as we will see, the tradition itself would eventually come round and attempt to face the verses as they are. I am inclined to see in such similar approaches a pattern, and hence a mode of interpretation that set the tone as to how one was supposed to read the Qur’an.

The meaning of pericope Q 43:57–65 The first to state what the verse is about is al-Zamakhsharī. Having offered the by then usual reflections on Q 43:57, al-Zamakhsharī stated that perhaps it is related

106  Walid A. Saleh to God denouncing the Meccan’s worship of angels, for they said that they don’t stand alone in their practices, since the Christians have made Jesus a son of God and worshiped him, and they stand a tad more justified in this, for they merely attributed to God angelic progeny, while they (the Christians) associated Him with humanity. Al-Zamakhsharī then added that the verse accused them of false analogy and argumentation. Here is his interpretation: ‫ المالئكة بنات هللا وعبدوهم – ما لنا بدعا من القول وال فعلنا نكرا من‬:‫ويجوز ان يقولوا – لما أنكر عليهم قولهم‬ ّ ‫ فان النصارى جعلوا المسيح ابن هللا وعبدوه ونحن‬,‫الفعل‬ ‫ فانا نسبنا اليه المالئكة وهم‬,‫أشف منهم قوال وفعال‬ ‫ فقيل لهم مذهب النصارى شرك باهلل ومذهبكم شرك مثله وما تنصلكم مما أنتم عليه بما‬.‫نسبوا اليه األناسي‬ .‫أوردتموه اال قياس باطل بباطل‬ It could also mean that when they were accused of worshipping the angels as the daughters of God, they replied that we are not unique in this regard, nor is our deed unknown before us. For the Christians have made Christ a son of God and worshiped him. We are far more subtle here, both in word and deed, for we ascribed to God the angels as daughters (a closer affinity surely, both being spiritual beings), while they (the Christians) made a human his son. They were answered that the religion of the Christians is polytheism and your religion is polytheism like it. You justifying your position by this comparison is a fallacious argument (literally using wrong to justify wrong).36 This is indeed the issue here. It is not that the Meccans were saying that “our gods are better than Jesus” – a frivolous statement and inconsequential, but that also does not fit the pericope. Nor was this an address targeted at a syncretic community who had incorporated Jesus into their pantheon. It was a retort to the preaching of Muhammad (when Jesus was mentioned to them, your people said. . .). This interpretation of al-Zamakhsharī, penetrating as it is, is presented as an after-thought, after one reads the more established interpretation, where the sabab al-nuzūl story anchors the verse in a divine historical narrative that one does not wish to escape from. Al-Rāzī would give this interpretation more prominence by placing it first instead of last. He is, however, not willing to reconfigure his understanding of the sura in light of this explanation.37 It is not only that the Meccans had some good points to raise, but (I am arguing) they were forcing Muhammad to confront issues that he had not anticipated. Their argumentation has to be seen as an integral part of the development of the preaching of Muhammad, just as Neuwirth has suggested. The Christological problem in the Qur’an (as presented in sura 19 and 43) has thus to be seen as responding to the counter-arguments of the Meccans – as Neuwirth suggested, but it cannot be seen as addressed to a syncretic community which has already included Jesus in their pantheon.38 sura 19 and 43 are thus not connected to a Christian audience, nor for that matter to an audience that was Christconcerned. Muhammad, preaching the story of Jesus as part of the continuation of the biblicalization of Middle Meccan period, where the stories from the Bible become more central, did not anticipate the use of Jesus against him.

Meccan Gods, Jesus’ divinity 107 The audience who, having been called upon to “take an example” from the story of Jesus, used it for their own purposes in two ways. They argued that the divinity of the daughters of God, the Goddesses of their pantheon, was no less irrational or different from that of the Christians (daughtership and sonship are hardly ontologically different, notwithstanding the Qur’an’s gendered tonguein-cheek teasing of the Meccans about giving God what they would not want, since the Christians cannot be accused of that). More importantly, they held that as humanity is historically made up of diverse religious communities, there was never a universal religion that Muhammad could come and ask them to conform to now. This forced the Qur’an to take the splintering of human communities as a sign of God’s wisdom, but not without betraying the serious theological problem that this state of ikhtilāf (verse Q 43:65) in human history raises for the positing of a universal God who is supposedly manifestly accessible to rational human beings. Muhammad was asking the impossible and arguing falsely that there is a rational or self-evident truth in his preaching by pointing to human history to argue for it. Having preached sura 19 (without the anti-Divine Christ pericope Q 19:34–40, which is a Medinan insertion), the Meccans were quick to point the absurdity of Muhammad criticizing them for worshiping the daughters of God. These two thorny issues are raised in sura 43, such that it has to be seen as one of the central suras in the Qur’an that tackled the issue of the fatherhood of God. Sura 43, read in this light, is thus serving a double function, answering the Meccans’ equation of their gods to Jesus (and we should remember that their comparison is not meant to state that their gods are better, but rather that there is no difference and as such they are not going to replace their gods with any new God). The other function of the sura is to offer a new Christological understanding of the character of Jesus, hence my reading of juzʾ in verse 15. The response of the Qur’an to the analogy of the Meccans (qawmaka) is that Jesus was ʿabd, a creature, a parable (mathalan) to the Israelites. Moreover, the angels are not a special form of divine beings, but rather creatures that could possibly replace humanity and populate the earth, and as such do not warrant worshiping. God, if he so wished, would have made earth populated by angels (Q 43:60) – a statement to be understood as an insistence that angels are a similar order of beings to humans in that they are created; they could have replaced humanity. Jesus is made to preach a reconciliatory message to the Israelites – although here the Qur’an is creating a new problem for its paradigm that messengers were sent to disbelieving nations. Sending Jesus to monotheistic Jews is another problem, since one would presume that the Jews were already monotheists. Jesus thus apparently came to clarify issues of dispute (Q 43:63: to clarify some of the disputes that you are fighting over). Yet the parties did quarrel among themselves, a clear reference to the polemical differences between Jews and Christians (Q 43:65). The Qur’an is here forced to admit to the rift between Christian and Jewish communities and to admit to the absence of a unified monotheistic tradition.

108  Walid A. Saleh

The conclusion of sura 43 After a heaven and hell pericope (section 5, Q 43:66–77), the sura concludes by returning to the topic at hand: does God have progeny? The pericope (Q 43:78– 89) starts with Muhammad stating that he has brought truth to his people (verse 78), but they have made up their minds and God is as determined as they are in insisting on the truth revealed (verse 79, a mirror image expression that is used repeatedly in the Qur’an – God mimicking the acts of the resolute believers). The sura reaches a defiant cry at verse 81, “Say: If God indeed had a son I would be the first to worship His son” ‫قل ان كان للرحمن ولد فأنا أول العابدين‬. An honest response to conflicting claims to truth: the Qur’an is open to the possibility of changing its mind, but it is so certain of its claims, it is making this bold wager.39 Then comes a defiant assertion of one sovereign ruler of the universe in verse 84: “He is the God in the heavens, He is the God on earth, He is wise, all knowing.” This is the only instance in the Qur’an that we encounter such a formulation – for a text that was fond of repeating formulas, this is unique. The usual understanding of this verse is that it is about the idols or the gods of the Meccans. There is another possibility, one that is based on the last two verses of this sura, which can only remind one of the crucifixion scene from the Gospel of Luke (23:34). The Qur’an, in verse 89, has Muhammad state: “Lord, this is a people that does not believe.” “Forgive them and say “Peace” for they will come to know.” ‫ فاصفح عنهم وقل سالم فسوف يعلمون‬.‫وقيله يا رب إن هؤالء قوم ال يؤمنون‬. I think the Qur’an has already realized that it has to offer an alternative and meaningful narrative of the life of Jesus and has begun to formulate a narrative that fits its understanding of the role of messengers of God, thus anticipating the antiChristian polemic addressed to Christians that would appear later in the Medinan Qur’an. Later on, the Qur’an will deny the crucifixion and speak of an assumption of Jesus. Jesus’ life, more than any other biblical figure, was reconfigured to fit a universal paradigm of prophetic history. In this paradigm, messengers are human. Thus, Jesus is pointedly called a “slave, ʿabd ” of God; messengers were sent to specific people; the Qur’an tells us that Jesus was sent to the Israelites, robbing Christianity of any universal claims to salvation; messengers were always vindicated by God, and so was Jesus vindicated by God (cf. Q 61:14). Jesus is thus rendered into a typical messenger, similar to any in the Qur’an. The last two verses of sura 43 actually invert the Gospels’ climactic narrative into a Muhammad narrative about God’s unity. The sura thus is a long counter-argument, not only countering the worship of angels, but also attempting to reshape Jesus into the image of Muhammad. Sura 43 read in this light is certainly one of the most intriguing examples of the preaching of Muhammad – a mirror image of a Gospel narrative in which only God is the sovereign, and elements of the narrative of Jesus’ last moments are refashioned into a moment of resigned desperation that would characterize the last phase of Muhammad’s career in Mecca.

Meccan Gods, Jesus’ divinity 109

Notes 1 See Patricia Crone, Qur’anic Pagans and Related Matters (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 2016) for a series of articles on the Meccans. 2 Arthur J. Arberry, The Koran Interpreted (London: Allen & Unwin, 1955), ad loc. 3 Muhammad A. S. Abdel Haleem, The Qur’an: A New Translation by M. A. S. Abdel Haleem (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008), 108. 4 Rudi Paret, Der Koran: Übersetzt von Rudi Paret (10th edition. Stuttgart: Kohlhammer, 2007 [1977]), 125. 5 Q 22:78; Q 16:121; Q 20:122; Q 68:50; Q 19:58; Q 6:87; Q 3:179; Q 42:13; and Q 12:6. 6 The root j-b-a will be used for one of the technical terms of taxation (jibāyah) in early Islamic times. 7 Here, Muqātil uses the verse Q 10:15 to explain verse 7:203; 10:15 has the same phrase “I only follow what is revealed to me.” Muqātil, Tafsīr, ed. Abd Allāh Shiḥātah (Cairo: al-Hayʾah al-Maṣrīyah al-ʿĀmah li-al-Kitāb, 1983), vol. 2, 82–83. 8 Al-Ṭabarī, Jāmiʿ al-Bayān, ed. ʿAbd Allāh al-Turkī (Cairo: Dār Hajar, 2001), vol. 10, 654–657. 9 Al-Ṭabarī, Jāmiʿ al-Bayān, vol. 10,656–657. 10 Al-Māturīdī, Taʾwīlāt al-Qur’ān, ed. Ahmet Vanlıojlu, et al. (Istanbul, Dār al-Mīzān, 2006), vol. 6, 151. 11 Al-Wāḥidī, al-Basīṭ, ed. Muḥammad al-Fawzān, et al. (Riyadh: Jāmiʿat al-Imām Muḥammad Ibn Saʿūd al-Islāmiyya, 2009), vol. 9, 559–563. 12 Fakhr al-Dīn al-Rāzī, al-Tafsīr al-kabīr aw Mafātīḥ al-ghayb (Beirut: Dār al-Kutub al-ʿIlmiyyah, 2009), vol. 15, 106. 13 “The expression lawla ijtabaytahā can be understood in light of the notion that every messenger has various signs [which proves they are divine messengers] available to them and so to speak readily available, so that all each one of [the messengers] needs to do is to select from them.” Rudi Paret, Der Koran: Kommentar und Konkordanz (2nd Edition. Stuttgart: Kohlhammer, 1977), ad loc. 14 See chapters 12 “Imagining Mary, Disputing Jesus: Reading Sūrat Maryam (Q 19) and Related Meccan Texts in the Context of the Qur’anic Communication Process,” 328–358; and chapter 13 “Mary and Jesus: Counterbalancing the Biblical Patriarchs: A Re-reading of Sūrat Maryam (Q 19) in Sūrat Āl ʿImrān (Q 3),” 359–384, in eadem, Scripture, Poetry and the Making of a Community: Reading the Qur’an as a Literary Text (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014); see now also eadem, “A ‘Religious Transformation in Late Antiquity’: Qur’anic Refigurations of Pagan-Arab Ideals Based on Biblical Models,” 63–91 above. 15 Neuwirth, Scripture, 330. 16 Neuwirth, Scripture, 330. 17 Neuwirth, Scripture, 345–348. 18 Neuwirth, Scripture, 330, esp. note 13. 19 Neuwirth, Scripture, 346. 20 Neuwirth, Scripture, 347. 21 See below further on this point. 22 I divide sura Q 43 into the following six sections: 1) verses 1–14 (introduction), 2) verses 15–22 (attack against female goddesses), 3) verses 23–56 (punishment stories with reflective discourse against the Meccans), 4) verses 57–65 (the core of the surah, Meccans polemic against Muhammad and his Christ preaching), 5) verses 66–77 (heaven and hell), and 6) verses 78–89 (conclusion, back to the one God and absence of progeny). For another division see Neuwirth, Studien zur Komposition der mekkanischen Suren (Berlin: De Gruyter, 1980), 283. 23 The verses are almost identical: “We created the human being from a clot and behold he is an eloquent opponent.”

110  Walid A. Saleh 24 For the commentary tradition on this verse see Aisha Geissinger, Gender and Muslim Construction of Exegetical Authority: A Rereading of the Classical Genre of Qur’an Commentary (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 2015), 47–53. 25 The only Western scholar to analyze some aspects of this sura is Neuwirth, as part of her understanding of sura 19. See note 14 for reference. 26 Neuwirth, Scripture, 346. 27 See note 22 earlier for my division of sura Q 43. 28 The Qur’an uses all the variations of the root sh-r-k (verb, noun, etc.); a common phrase is jaʿalū li-Allāh shurakā (they created partners for God); see for example Q 6:100; Q 13:16, 33. The root n-d-d (equal) is actually only attested in the same phrase in the Qur’an (see Q 41:9; Q 39:8 among many). For the phrase min dūn Allāh, one of the most common phrases in the Qur’an see (Q 2:165 or Q 5:76). For ghayr Allāh “other than God,” see for example Q 52:43, for the phrase min ilāh ghayrih (“a god other than Him”) see Q 7:65 among many. 29 This is a strange translation, the Arabic word is yaṣiddūn, “to resist,” “turn away.” 30 Neuwirth, “Imagining Mary,” 342–344. 31 Muqātil, Tafsīr, ad loc. 32 Al-Ṭabarī, Jāmiʿ al-Bayān, ad loc. 33 Abū Isḥāq Aḥmad b. Muḥammad al-Thaʿlabī, al-Kashf wa-l-bayān ʿan tafsīr al-Qur’ān, ed. Ṣalāḥ Bāʿuthmān, et al. (Jeddah, Dār al-Tafsīr, 2015), ad loc. 34 Al-Wāḥidī, al-Basīṭ, ad loc. 35 Al-Māturīdī, Taʾwīlāt al-Qurʾān, ad loc. 36 Maḥmūd b. ʿUmar al-Zamakhsharī, al-Kashshāf ʿan ḥaqā’iq ghawāmiḍ al-tanzīl wa-ʿuyun al-aqāwīl fī wujūh al-ta’wīl, ed. ʿĀdil Aḥmad ʿAbd al-Mawjūd and ʿAlī Muḥammad Muʿawwaḍ (Riyadh: Maktabat al-ʿUbaykān, 1998), ad loc. 37 Al-Rāzī, Mafātīḥ al-Ghayb, ad loc. 38 Neuwirth, Scripture, 347. 39 The exegetical tradition here would rewrite the Qur’an, having no other choice but to do that. For the torturous response of the exegetical tradition see the summary in Mawsūʿat al-tafsīr bi-al-ma’thūr, ed. Musāʿid al-Ṭayyār (Riyadh: Markaz al-Dirasāt al-Qur’ānīyah, 2017), v. 19:713–717, and the references there.

Bibliography Abdel Haleem, Muhammad A. S. The Qur’an: A New Translation by M. A. S. Abdel Haleem. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008. Arberry, Arthur J. The Koran Interpreted. London: Allen & Unwin, 1955. Crone, Patricia. Qur’anic Pagans and Related Matters. Leiden: E. J. Brill, 2016. Geissinger, Aisha. Gender and Muslim Construction of Exegetical Authority: A Rereading of the Classical Genre of Qur’an Commentary. Leiden: E. J. Brill, 2015. al-Māturīdī, Abū Manṣūr. Taʾwīlāt al-Qurʾān, edited by Ahmet Vanlıoğlu et al. Istanbul: Dār al-Mīzān, 2005–7. Muqātil b. Sulaymān. Tafsīr, edited by ʿAbd Allāh Maḥmūd Shiḥāta. Cairo: al-Hayʾah al-Maṣrīyah al-ʿĀmah li-al-Kitāb, 1979–89. Neuwirth, Angelika. Scripture, Poetry and the Making of a Community: Reading the Qur’an as a Literary Text. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014. Neuwirth, Angelika. Studien zur Komposition der mekkanischen Suren. Berlin: De Gruyter, 1980. Paret, Rudi. Der Koran: Kommentar und Konkordanz. 2nd Edition. Stuttgart: Kohlhammer, 1977. Paret, Rudi. Der Koran: Übersetzt von Rudi Paret. 10th Edition. Stuttgart: Kohlhammer, 2007 [1977].

Meccan Gods, Jesus’ divinity 111 al-Rāzī, Fakhr al-Dīn. al-Tafsīr al-kabīr aw Mafātīḥ al-ghayb. Beirut: Dār al-Kutub al-ʿIlmiyyah, 2009. al-Ṭabarī, Muḥammad b. Jarīr. Tafsīr al-Ṭabarī: Jāmiʿ al-bayān ʿan ta’wīl āy al-Qurʾān, edited by ʿAbd Allāh al-Turkī. Cairo: Dār Hajar, 2001. al-Ṭayyār, Musāʿid (ed.). Mawsūʿat al-tafsīr bi-al-maʾthūr. Riyadh: Markaz al-Dirasāt al-Qur’ānīyah, 2017. al-Thaʿlabī, Abū Isḥāq Aḥmad b. Muḥammad. al-Kashf wa-l-bayān ʿan tafsīr al-Qur’ān, edited by Ṣalāḥ Bāʿuthmān et al. Jeddah: Dār al-Tafsīr, 2015. al-Wāḥidī, Abū al-Ḥasan ʿAlī b. Aḥmad. al-Tafsīr al-basīṭ, edited by Muḥammad al-Fawzān et al. Riyadh: Jāmiʿat al-Imām Muḥammad Ibn Saʿūd al-Islāmiyya, 2009. al-Zamakhsharī, Maḥmūd b. ʿUmar. al-Kashshāf ʿan ḥaqā’iq ghawāmiḍ al-tanzīl wa-ʿuyun al-aqāwīl fī wujūh al-ta’wīl, edited by ʿĀdil Aḥmad ʿAbd al-Mawjūd and ʿAlī Muḥammad Muʿawwaḍ. Riyadh: Maktabat al-ʿUbaykān, 1998.

Part II

The Qur’an and the Bible

6 Gentile purity law from the Bible to the Qur’an The case of sexual purity and illicit intercourse Holger M. Zellentin Examining the example of sexual norms, the present contribution will illustrate how Judeo-Christian legal culture endured from the time of the Acts of the Apostles up to the time of the Qur’an. The conceptual distinction between Jewish and gentile ethnicity underlying this legal culture, though repeatedly modified and often de-emphasized in various ways and by several groups and authorities, remained a powerful hermeneutical paradigm in most forms of Christianity.1 The gentile purity observations, though partially softened or even questioned by church fathers, especially since the fourth century CE, will be shown to have remained part of mainstream Christianity throughout Late Antiquity even when Christians began to deny the legal – and thereby also the theological – implications of Jewish ethnicity. Christian authorities maintained and developed, and in some cases actually expanded, the scope and the urgency of the gentile purity regulations, always in close dialogue with the Hebrew Bible and at times also with Encratitic (i.e. strictly ascetic) forms of Christianity. Judeo-Christian legal culture was thus never constitutive of a separate group. Instead, it remained part of early Christianity and continued to inform the worldview of Christian or even Jewish groups throughout Late Antiquity and beyond, simultaneously preparing the legal culture that forms the Qur’an’s point of departure. Previous scholarship by others and myself has recognized the link between Leviticus 17–26 and the early Christian purity regulations2 and the fact that these regulations were followed throughout Late Antiquity,3 as well as the continuity between Christian purity observances and those promulgated in the Qur’an.4 The novel contribution here presented is the illustration of the continuity with which Christians sought to impose those purity laws that the Hebrew Bible applied to non-Israelites on all of humanity from the first century of the Common Era to the seventh and beyond. In a hermeneutical continuity adjacent to the legal one, the development of these gentile purity regulations includes the repeated evocation of the gentile purity laws of the Hebrew Bible and the slow specification and expansion of the Levitical laws for non-Israelites. Both phenomena can be observed throughout Late Antiquity and up to the Qur’an. The following is part of my broader project of delineating the continuity of the relevance of purity regulations for non-Israelites throughout early Christianity and rabbinic Judaism up to the time of the Qur’an;

116  Holger M. Zellentin parallel publications present the ongoing relevance of the laws pertaining to incest and food and aim for a broader synthesis of the material.5 I have introduced the concept of “Judeo-Christian legal culture” in the past, arguing for its relevance for both Late Antique and Qur’anic studies – including the differentiation between this concept and the unstable term “Jewish Christianity.”6 The earliest followers of Jesus saw themselves and others either as Jews or as gentiles, and their ethnicity determined their respective pursuit of purity.7 From the onset of the Jesus movement, those who endorsed the gentile purity regulations applied the entirety of the biblical commandments – or at least those of ongoing relevance after the Temple’s destruction – to Jews. At the same time, I have argued previously that most Christians up to the seventh century and beyond imposed on gentiles those biblical purity laws pertaining to non-Israelite aliens found in Leviticus and Deuteronomy – along with criminal and social laws that these Christians derived from the Bible (which are, of course, at times hard to distinguish from those common throughout the Mediterranean and the Levant).8 In other words, while the Latin, Greek, and Syriac churches in various ways softened the ongoing distinction between Jews and gentiles, especially after the fourth century, and eventually questioned it, most Christians maintained the legal obligations for gentiles that we find in the early church.9 It is difficult to determine the prominence of Judao-Christian legal culture throughout the first seven centuries of Christianity. It seems to be taken for granted by the Gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles, and its rules were followed by all Christian authorities up to the fourth century – yet this is not to deny that there were divergent voices from early on.10 The fourth century brought something of a change, at least in the Latin and Greek churches. Despite the likely absence of independent groups (such as those ancient heresiologists and some recent scholars imagine as “Jewish-Christian”), I have argued that especially past the fourth century CE we have scant, yet clear, evidence of the ongoing development of Judeo-Christian legal culture within the mainstream of Judaism and Christianity – yet not necessarily always at its discursive and political centers.11 Judeo-Christian legal culture at the very least included the dual endorsement of both the Torah and the Gospel, of Moses and of Jesus, as two religious symbols that do not diminish but complement each other – in their respective orientation towards either the Jews or towards the gentiles as two separate ethno-religious entities.12 The notion of Judeo-Christian legal culture, if understood as upholding rather than (con)fusing a demarcation of Jewish and gentile ethnicity, can indeed help us understand the discourse demanding a set of purity regulations for gentiles as different from those imposed on the Jews. While Judeo-Christian legal culture can be illustrated to have touched all forms of Christianity, it coexisted with other, contrasting Christian views of Jewish and gentile ethnicity. Church fathers in the Latin- and Greek-speaking worlds, especially past the fourth century, increasingly saw Jewish ethnicity as obsolete; they conceived of all believers as gentiles and of Jewish ethnicity as irrelevant at best. Many Syriac Christians, in turn, saw the church in full continuity with the people of Israel, composed of “the peoples” and of “the people.” The Qur’an, I will argue,

Gentile purity law from the Bible to the Qur’an 117 endorses Judeo-Christian positions as defined earlier, reforming them and ultimately seeking to supersede them along with Judaism and Christianity. Conceiving of Christians as Israelites (rather than as gentiles, thus putting the Qur’an in line with the Syriac tradition), the Qur’an presents its own Abrahamic tradition as the true “gentile” religion predating and transcending Jewish and Christian claims of exceptionalism, thereby seeking to supersede Judaism and Christianity along with Judeo-Christian legal culture. We should thus not imagine Islam to have arisen out of “Jewish-Christian” communities. The ongoing differentiation of Jewish and gentile followers of Jesus as stipulated by Judeo-Christian legal culture would have made it difficult, if not impossible, to allow for the creation or maintenance of such alleged separate groups, all the more so under the pressure of the rabbis’ and the churches’ increasing emphasis on a parting of the ways after the fourth century.13 Instead, as I have argued and will now further illustrate, Judeo-Christian legal culture permeated mainstream Christian groups, and we find echoes of it in parts of the rabbinic movement as well.14 This legal culture informs the backdrop of the purity laws with which the Qur’an partially identifies and which it partially seeks to supersede. I will attempt to prove my claims by way of illustrating the historical development that leads us from the sexual purity regulations for gentiles in Leviticus to those formulated partially in “Mecca” and mainly in “Medina.”15 The most efficient way to argue for the ongoing continuity of the gentile purity laws is to trace them historically. We will first turn, then, to the onset of the tradition of the sexual purity requirements in the so-called Holiness Code – the passage comprising Leviticus 17–26 that most scholars see as having been redacted at least in partial distinction from the main body of Leviticus (Part I of this chapter). This will be followed by a consideration how these requirements were extended to all of humanity by the early Jesus movement, a turn attested to in the Letters of Paul, in the Acts of the Apostles, and in early rabbinic Judaism (II). We will then further trace the development of the gentile purity regulations throughout Late Antiquity (III), especially in texts subscribing to Judeo-Christian legal culture (IV), and up to the Meccan and the Medinan Qur’an (V and VI), concluding this chapter with an evaluation of the evidence.

I. Gentile purity regulations from the Noahide covenant to the Holiness Code In its historical narrative, the Hebrew Bible places the laws specifically pertaining to the Israelites in the framework of God’s much older relationship with all of humanity. The purity laws given to Moses and viewed as binding upon all Israelites were preceded by another covenant between God and Noah; it is the two laws on blood attached to this covenant that determined all later gentile purity regulations.16 After the flood, God explicitly allowed all humans to consume animals, yet He also required them simultaneously never to consume blood and not to spill human blood (see Gen. 9:1–7).17 The sequel of the narrative then prepares the sexual purity laws against illicit intercourse, which, we will see, Leviticus depicts

118  Holger M. Zellentin as the “uncovering of nakedness.” Noah is reported to have planted a vineyard and to have lain drunk in his tent (a story that, we will see, the Clementine Homilies denounce as a satanic falsification of Scripture). Here, his son “Ham, the father of the Canaanites, saw the nakedness of his father” (‫)וירא חם אבי כנען את ערות אביו‬ and told his brothers. Shem and Japheth then “covered their father’s nakedness (‫ )ויכסו את ערות אביה‬and are blessed, while “Canaan,” that is, the people descending from Ham, is cursed for “what his youngest son had done to him” (‫את אשר‬ ‫( )עשה לו בנו הקטן‬Gen. 9:20–27). Since the term “seeing” someone’s nakedness can also denote sexual relations (see, e.g. Lev. 20:17, “he saw her nakedness and she saw his nakedness” (‫)וראה את ערותה והיא תראה את ערותו‬, some early Jewish traditions, as well as some modern scholars, understood the Bible as intimating that Ham sexually abused his own father during the latter’s drunken sleep.18 The Bible itself, which does not normally shy away from graphic depictions, does not explicate what Ham did to Noah, and we should perhaps understand the text as deliberately ambiguous, indicating that “seeing” someone’s nakedness can be a sexual infringement of a person’s right comparable to illicit intercourse. It is noteworthy in this context that the next chapter of Genesis indicates that the inhabitants of Sodom, the city associated with the sexual assault of males, are Canaanites, and thereby Ham’s children (see Gen. 10:15–19; we will return to the symbolical importance of Sodom later). It can therefore not be denied that the Bible’s (likely younger) legislation against incest and sexual intercourse between men in Leviticus 18 at least evokes the language used in Genesis 9, and the story of Noah thus remains symbolically potent. In Leviticus, the concept of “your father’s nakedness” which “you must not uncover” (‫לא תגלה‬ . . . ‫ערות אביך‬, Lev. 18:7) – that is, the prohibition of the inversion of Ham’s transgression – became the basis of the prohibition of incest and all adjacent sexual laws, which are in turn conceived of as the “deeds of Canaan” (‫מעשה ארץ כנען‬, see Lev. 18:3), that is, of Ham’s offspring.19 Along with the two prohibitions of spilling and consuming blood, equally found in Genesis 9, these sexual prohibitions form the very basis of all later gentile purity regulations, from those of the Bible to those of the Qur’an. The language in Genesis, however, does not yet mention purity. This is not surprising, for overall, the biblical purity regulations are generally focused on Israelites; in later Jewish thought, gentiles as such cannot, in general, be defiled or defiling – as the Talmud puts it, “who has no purity law cannot contaminate.”20 Yet contrary to this general strand in Israelite and then Jewish thought, priestly sources, including the Holiness Code, came to understand the Noahide covenant, or the laws attached to it, to imply that activities such as the slaughter of animals to idols, the consumption of animal blood, and the shedding of human blood, as well as the touching of corpses and illicit sexual contact actually defile gentiles as well as Israelites, as the Leviticus makes amply clear.21 The specific relationship between the biblical system of purity and sexual activity has recently been studied in great detail by Eve Levavi Feinstein, on whose scholarship I will rely in this chapter.22 My own purpose in the following is not to elucidate the Bible, but the way in which it informed Late Antique notions of sexual purity and illicit sexual relations among non-Jews. In a broader sense, we will see that the issue

Gentile purity law from the Bible to the Qur’an 119 of gentile purity inherent to the Hebrew Bible explains much about the history of Late Antique religions: whereas the rabbis and some church fathers saw purity as rarely, if ever, applicable to gentiles, Judeo-Christian legal culture and the Islamic tradition did.23 All the traditions, however, understand the laws regulating sexual purity that are first attested in Leviticus 18–26 and then repeated in the Qur’an as largely applicable to all of humanity. The Bible’s priestly sources extend the idea of purity to gentiles. Food regulations are here understood in the context of avoiding the pollution one incurs through idol worship, and the associative prohibition of improper slaughter and shedding human blood is reinforced as “defiling the land.” The prohibition of such defilement is extended beyond the Israelites to the gerim, “the residents,” that is, the non-Israelites that formed part of Israelite society.24 Since early Christians understood the laws governing the gerim as universally applicable, as will be seen later, I will, for the purposes of simplicity, designate the biblical laws given to the gerim as gentile purity laws; I will discuss the relationship of these laws to the rabbinic Noahide laws in due course.25 Idol worship, to begin with, is prohibited not only to Israelites but also to gerim already in Deuteronomy (Dtn. 29:10–29). The prohibition of idol worship provides the frame narrative in which the gentile purity laws are presented in Leviticus 17 as well. After a short condonation of consuming properly slaughtered animals, this text likewise denounces the Israelite practice to “offer their sacrifices to goat-demons, to whom they prostitute themselves” (Lev. 17:7), here associating cultic and sexual transgressions. The text then extends some purity regulations not only to Israelites but also to the gerim. These gentiles were required to follow certain purity laws and enjoyed certain privileges as long as they observed the purity laws. The Hebrew Bible allows for the circumcision of those aliens who wish to partake of the paschal feast, but it does not demand them to be circumcised in general terms (see Ex. 12:48–49 and Num. 9:14). In other words, the gerim in the Bible remained distinguishable from Israel, unless they underwent circumcision, and plausibly even then. Leviticus 17 dramatically expands the two-fold prohibition of blood to gentiles found in Genesis by prohibiting idol meat and foodstuffs contaminated with blood, such as carrion and improperly slaughtered meat.26 The focus of the present chapter is the interlinked issue of sexual purity and illicit intercourse as they pertain to gentiles in biblical, Jewish, Christian, and Islamic thought. The key sources for the laws of all three later traditions are Genesis and Leviticus, either as texts or as embodied traditions. The first crucial passage that will prove important for understanding the Late Antique sexual purity laws is the requirement for purification through washing for both gentiles and Israelites, not after sex, but in case they should ever consume carrion, according to Leviticus 17:15: And every soul who eats that which died of itself (‫)נבלה‬, or that which was torn by beasts (‫)וטרפה‬, whether he is a countryman (‫)באזרח‬, or a ger (‫)ובגר‬, he shall both wash his clothes (‫ )וכבס בגדיו‬and bathe himself in water (‫)ורחץ במים‬, and be unclean until the evening (‫ ;)וטמאו עד הערב‬then shall he be clean (‫)וטהר‬.27

120  Holger M. Zellentin This requirement for washing after the consumption of impure meat is not the only passage in which the Hebrew Bible extends the requirement of purification to gentiles. Gerim were also to wash after contracting impurity during the ritual of the red heifer (see Num. 19), and they would need to wash were they to contract impurity during the ritual of the Day of Atonement (according to Lev. 16:29), which presupposes that they were allowed to participate in some way – as they were allowed to participate in other cultic activity. The fact that the gerim also were allowed to bring burnt offerings (see Lev. 17:8 and 22:18 and Num. 15:14– 31, which goes as far as stating that “one Torah and one code shall be for you, and for the ger who sojourns with you,” see Num. 15:16) makes it all but certain that the ritual regulations pertaining to access to the sanctuary applied to them in their entirety (even if we cannot be certain about what exactly they could or could not do). The biblical gerim thus had to remain pure not only for the sake of the sanctity of the land, but also for the sake of the sanctity of the sanctuary – which may have implied, at least for a Late Antique audience, that they would need to wash after contracting sexual impurity. Strictly speaking, there is of course no biblical basis for such a requirement. The gentiles are not mentioned when Leviticus, in an earlier passage, in Lev. 15:16–18, details the requirement to wash after sexual intercourse: 16. And if any man’s semen goes out from him, then he shall wash in water (‫ )ורחץ במים‬all his flesh (‫)את כל בשרו‬, and be unclean until the evening (‫וטמא‬ ‫)עד הערב‬. 17. And every garment (‫)וכל בגד‬, and every skin, on which the semen is, shall be washed with water (‫)וכבס במים‬, and be unclean until the evening (‫וטמא‬ ‫)עד הערב‬. 18. The woman also with whom the man, with discharge of semen, shall lie, they shall both bathe themselves in water (‫)ורחצו במים‬, and be unclean until the evening (‫)וטמאו עד הערב‬. While this passage is addressed to Israelites alone, Late Ancient exegetes would have had much reason to understand it as tacitly intending to include the gerim – such as the fact that the language here employed is reminiscent of that which we find in Leviticus 17:15, in the instructions for Israelite and gerim alike to wash after becoming impure through eating carrion. The vocabulary by which Leviticus 11–17 describes ritual washing after a variety of defilements is indeed quite stable, and washing after sexual intercourse is no exception. Both texts instruct a man to wash in water (‫ )ורחץ במים‬all his flesh (‫ )את כל בשרו‬and to be unclean until the evening (‫)וטמא עד הערב‬. We cannot be certain whether or not some Christian readers understood the specification “whether he is one of your own country, or a ger” found in Lev. 17:15 to apply to the instruction in Lev. 15:16–19 as well, yet we do know that some Christians extended the law of washing after intercourse to apply to gentiles, as we will see. The identity of vocabulary between the two laws – that requiring male and female Israelites to perform ablutions and remaining impure until the evening

Gentile purity law from the Bible to the Qur’an 121 after being in contact with an emission of semen and that requiring both gentiles and Israelites to perform ablutions after the consumption of carrion – is more than noteworthy. Leviticus again employs the same language to command that whoever touches any object that has previously been in contact with a woman during her menstruation “shall wash his clothes (‫)וכבס בגדיו‬, and bathe himself in water (‫)ורחץ במים‬, and be unclean until the evening (‫( ”)וטמא עד הערב‬Lev. 15:27).28 These commandments about washing after sexual intercourse and after the menses are addressed to Israelites only, and the rabbis generally accept them as binding for all Jews.29 The rabbis, however, do not consider gentile semen as defiling at all, and in this stand in clear contrast to the later Christian and Islamic understanding of Leviticus.30 The main body of sexual purity regulations for gentiles is spelled out in Leviticus 18. Evoking Ham’s sin not to have covered his father’s nakedness (‫)ערות אביו‬ in Genesis 9:22, Leviticus prohibits Israelites and gentiles alike to engage in the “uncovering of nakedness” (‫לגלות ערוה‬, Lev. 18:6) of “your father” (‫ערות אביך‬, Lev. 18:7) and other close kin, a concept that is then defined in detail as involving a number of illicit sexual relations ranging from incest to adultery (i.e., sex with another man’s wife) and intercourse with a menstruating woman. The list begins with the specific laws on incest, such as marriage to one’s father’s wife, which are spelled out in detail in Lev. 18:6–18, which I treat in a separate study.31 In addition, Leviticus lists nonincestuous forms of the “uncovering of nakedness,” sc. of sexual transgressions, in the following words: 19. Also you shall not approach (‫ )לא תקרב‬a woman to uncover her nakedness, as long as she is put apart for her menstrual uncleanness (‫)בנדת טמאתה‬. 20. Moreover, you shall not sexually lie (‫ )לא תתן שכבתך לזרע‬with your neighbor’s wife, to defile yourself with her (‫)לטמאה בה‬. 21. And from your seed (‫ )ומזרעך‬you shall not let any pass through the fire to “Molech” (‫)למלך‬, nor shall you profane the name of your God; I am the Lord. 22. You shall not lie with men, as with women (‫ ;)לא תשכב משכבי אשה‬it is abomination (‫)תועבה הוא‬. 23. Neither shall you lie (‫ )לא תתן שכבתך‬with any beast to defile yourself with it (‫ ;)לטמאה בה‬nor shall any woman stand before a beast to lie down to it; it is perversion (‫)תבל הוא‬. 24. Defile not you yourselves (‫ )אל תטמאו‬in any of these things; for in all these the nations (‫ )הגוים‬are defiled (‫ )נטמאו‬which I cast out before you; 25. And the land is defiled (‫ ;)ותטמא‬therefore, I do punish its iniquity upon it, and the land itself vomits out its inhabitants. 26. You shall therefore keep my statutes and my judgments, and shall not commit any of these abominations (‫ ;)התועבת האלה‬nor any of your own nation, nor any gerim who resides among you (‫)והגר הגר בתוככם‬.32 With the single exception of bestiality, this list of prohibited sexual partners, just as the preceding one defining incest, is formulated almost exclusively from

122  Holger M. Zellentin the perspective of a male penetrating his partner during intercourse; only later legislations tended to supplement this with the cognate prohibitions for the penetrated female or male partner, as we shall see. Leviticus marks the applicability of its sexual purity laws to the gerim in two ways. In addition to explicating that the gerim are among the addressees of the prohibitions (in Lev. 18:26), it makes it very clear that the disregard of these laws by the non-Israelites – and especially by Ham’s children, the Canaanites – who previously inhabited the land led to their expulsion, graphically depicted as the land’s “vomiting.” While the text does not specify whether the nations had been previously warned against their alleged transgressions, the prohibition of the “uncovering of nakedness” parallels the depiction of the nations inhabiting the land as sexually unclean and as inherently idolatrous, and therefore unfit for marriage, in later biblical texts.33 Intriguingly, we will see that the Bible translation that became the predominant version of Eastern Christianity, the Peshitta, understood the prohibition to “give one’s seed to Molech” as the prohibition to marry pagan women, thereby perpetuating the ancient discourse associating religious aberrations with sexual ones. The Hebrew Bible, to sum up, understands the shedding of human blood, the consumption of animal blood, idolatry, illicit sexual relations, and magic as one continuum of defilement, prohibited to every human who resides in the Holy Land: to the Israelites, to the resident aliens, and, post facto, even to the nations that were expelled. It is not difficult to find ancient Near Eastern parallels for the prohibitions of adultery, incest, or bestiality.34 When discussing gentile purity laws throughout Late Antiquity, we will thus consider not only the laws themselves but also their references to Leviticus 18, their presentation as a concrete cluster of sexual laws, and perhaps most importantly, their presentation as laws safeguarding gentile purity. When turning to the Late Antique evidence, we also should keep in mind that the regulations that are explicitly addressed to Israelites and gerim alike in Leviticus 17 and 18 are then followed by a number of laws in Leviticus 19, which may or may not constitute a continuation of the gentile purity requirements; these include the prohibition of theft (Lev. 19:11 and 13), of the cross-breeding of animals (Lev. 19:19), of various forms of magic (19:26 and 31), and of cheating in measures (Lev. 19:35). Paul and the early rabbis, we will see, understand some of these laws as binding on gentiles as well. In Leviticus 20, the Bible then explicitly reverts to purity regulations whose applicability includes Israelites as well as gerim. The prohibitions here reiterated as applicable to gerim as well include the consultation of magicians (Lev. 20:6 and 27), cursing one’s parents (Lev. 20:9), and a list of sexual transgressions similar to the one found in Leviticus 18: adultery (Lev. 20:10), incest (Lev. 20:11–12, 14, 17, 19–21), a man having sex with a man “as with a woman” (Lev. 20:13), bestiality (Lev. 20:15–16), and sex with a menstruating woman (Lev. 20:18). Moreover, some of the regulations dovetailing with those for gentiles in Genesis and Leviticus are equally repeated in the prophetic literature, namely in Ezekiel, who presents a list of transgressions that merit the death of an Israelite and whose avoidance guarantees life. These include the consumption of idol meat (Ez. 18:6, 11 and 15), sex with another man’s wife

Gentile purity law from the Bible to the Qur’an 123 (Ez. 18:6, 11 and 15), and sex with a woman during her menstruation (Ez. 18:6), as well as the shedding of blood (Ez. 18:10) and robbery (Ez. 18:6, 10, 12, and 16). Even though these regulations are addressed to Israel alone, the strong affinity between this list and that of Leviticus led some church fathers to understand the laws given by Ezekiel 18 as applicable to gentiles as well. As I have previously argued, they are equally affirmed in Qur’anic law.35

II. Illicit sexual relations in the first and second century CE Some late biblical sources, especially after Ezra and Nehemiah, emphasize the impurity of non-Israelites, who are here associated with idol worship.36 In a similar vein, some Jewish texts written during the Second Temple period, such as Jubilees and the Damascus Document, consider universal regulations for gentiles, yet these texts do not come near to considering gentile purity.37 It is therefore difficult to assess the fate of the gentile purity regulations before the turn of the first millennium. On the one hand, it is clear that the laws of the Holiness Code pertaining to gerim were not understood as applicable to all gentiles. The indiscriminate exclusion of gentiles from the inner precincts of the Jerusalem Temple, or the attempts to exclude them from the Temple altogether, suggests that gentiles were not viewed as capable of the requisite degree of purity necessary for admission to the sanctuary.38 We do not, on the other hand, find any indication in early rabbinic literature that gentiles would be considered categorically to be impure, as several important studies have recently indicated. The Tosephta, we will see, likely based its rules for gentiles on the Holiness Code, which would indicate that the early rabbis at least saw them not only as not defiling but also as susceptible to purity. It is thus plausible – yet quite impossible to prove or disprove – that the mainstream Jewish attitude towards gentiles considered them pure in principle and that the applicability of the laws given to the gerim, the gentiles living in Israel, in Leviticus 19–26, was simply assumed.39 What matters for our purposes is that these laws were seen as applicable to gentiles by the early Christians and rabbis. As a starting point for the Late Antique reception history of these laws, a brief look at the way in which one of the biblical regulations on sexual purity were read in the translations of Leviticus gives us a sense of the further development of its rules. Most Jewish and Christian translations of the Bible into Greek, Latin, Aramaic, and Syriac – especially the Septuagint, the Vulgate, the Targumim, and the Peshitta, which largely came to being between the third century BCE and the fifth century CE – translate most of the sexual purity regulations without much adornment in a rather literal sense. At the same time, these texts all update the Levitical prohibitions, making them applicable to their own time and context. An illustrative example is the development of the biblical prohibition to “let any of your seed pass through the fire to Molech” (Lev. 18:21), either a prohibition of sacrificing one’s “seed” to a specific Canaanite deity or perhaps even to “the king,” as the Hebrew ‫ מלך‬can equally be read.40 The prohibition would not have made much sense in the Jewish diaspora, where the worship of Molech was unknown. Accordingly, the Septuagint of Leviticus, composed in Ptolemaic Egypt, instead

124  Holger M. Zellentin proscribes to Israelites and gentile alike not to give “your seed (τοῦ σπέρματός σου) . . . to serve the ruler (λατρεύειν ἄρχοντι, Lev. 18:21),” likely prohibiting their offspring to serve foreign kings or deities.41 Jubilees, most importantly, understands the prohibition as intermarriage of one’s children with gentiles.42 Likewise, the Vulgate, largely produced in late-fourth-century Palestine, does not speak about “passing” one’s seed through the fire, but to “consecrate it to the idol Molech” (consecretur idolo Moloch), perhaps reflecting a discursive context in which forms of service in a pagan shrine were still a relevant topic.43 All these translations, and including some of the Jewish Targumim, unsurprisingly understand the Hebrew Bible’s “seed” as designating one’s “offspring.”44 The Peshitta, however, the “Christian” Aramaic Bible, part of which may well have been produced by Jewish translators, renders the translation somewhat more concretely, prohibiting to give from “your seed (zrʿk) to make a foreign woman pregnant” (lmbṭnw nwkrytʾ).45 The Peshitta thus understands the “seed” in Lev. 18:21 more concretely as the sexual excretion of an Israelite male and the prohibition as that of engendering offspring with a “foreign” woman. This translation, which stands in line with the understanding of the verse in Qumran and in the Book of Jubilees, thus turns the prohibition into a proscription of sexual intercourse with pagans, in the mold of Ezra and Nehemiah.46 We will see that the interpretation of Lev. 18:21 as prohibiting intercourse with pagans remained determinative for Christian and Islamic law, which unanimously adopts rulings against marriage with pagans. The rabbis seem to have been aware of the understanding of Lev. 18:21 attested by Jubilees, or more likely by the Peshitta (which is also attested in a marginal note to one late Targum), and they initially rejected it stringently; the Mishna states that anyone who (publically) translates “and from your seed, you must not give to pass to Molech” as “and from your seed, you must not give to pass to heathendom (‫ ”)בארמיותא‬should be silenced with a sharp rebuke.47 The Palestinian Talmud explains that such an interpretation of the verse, “to give to pass to heathendom,” which it equally rejects, means exactly what it means in the Peshitta: “to marry a foreign woman (‫ )נושא ארמית‬and to procreate sons that would be enemies of God,” a reading equally corroborated by the Babylonian Talmud.48 The rabbis, of course, did not permit a Jew to marry a non-Jew anyways, so why would they so strongly resist such a reading which could have easily been squared with Jewish law?49 While we cannot fully answer the question, part of their reasoning may well be found in the ways in which Christians read and applied the Peshitta’s prohibition of intermarriage with pagans.50 Independently of the specific reading of Lev. 18:21 that we find in the Peshitta, the Christian prohibition to intermarry with Jews or pagans, or later with Christians of another denomination, was a central topic of the Jesus movement from the times of Paul onwards.51 Such a prohibition came to permeate Latin, Greek, and especially Syriac Christian discourse in no unclear terms; its appreciation in ethnic and religious terms is paramount in contextualizing the Qur’an’s own take on religious ethnicity and intermarriage. Authorities of the Western and of the Eastern churches endorse such a prohibition of intermarriage, albeit with varying degrees of intensity.52 The third chapter of the Didascalia Apostolorum, a church order whose form was in flux throughout Late Antiquity, may be the most symptomatic for the present

Gentile purity law from the Bible to the Qur’an 125 purposes:53 here, a forceful statement is issued that “it is not lawful for a Christian to give a woman to any kind of marriage . . . with a people from outside our fold (lʿmʾ dlbr mn drtn), nor to a heretic, nor to those who are strange to us in faith (dnwkryyn ln bhhmnwtʾ).”54 The prohibition of a woman whose faith is “strange,” on the one hand, echoes the prohibition of engendering offspring with a nwkrytʾ, a “strange woman,” in the Peshitta of Leviticus 18:4. On the other hand, the insistence of marriage within the “faith” and within the “people,” widespread in the Syriac sources, will equally be shared by the Qur’an’s mitigated prohibition of intermarriage, which allows the intermarriage of Muslims with those from among the “People of the Book,” but prohibits it to those perceived as entirely outside the “faith” (Q 2:221, Q 5:5, Q 60:10) The intertwined Jewish and Christian history of the prohibition to “pass one’s seed to Molech” as a prohibition of intermarriage thus illustrates well how much the text of Leviticus remained “alive” throughout Late Antiquity and how the Christian reading and Christian law on the topic prepared the respective legislation of a prohibition of intermarriage which we will find in the Qur’an. With the exception of bestiality – which is less prominent in Christian law and does not feature at all in the Qur’an – the sexual purity laws of Lev. 18:19–26 (in many cases along with the injunction to wash after intercourse in Lev. 15:16–18) remained acutely relevant throughout all forms of Christianity.55 The specific rulings based on Leviticus 18, and even the acknowledgement of the text as constitutive of the laws in question, of course, varies from century to century and from church to church. The Qur’an itself does not directly acknowledge or cite Leviticus at all; it merely refers to previous revelation in the most general terms.56 Yet the long history of reading Leviticus prepares the Qur’an’s legislation in concrete and demonstrable terms. A broader consideration of the reception history of the laws promulgated for the gerim in Leviticus 17–26 helps us see the continuity of Islamic and Late Antique legal culture. Of special significance for locating the Holiness Code at the center of Christian discourse are the historical Paul along with the Acts of the Apostles.57 The historical Paul, to begin with, in his preserved letters seems to endorse the separation of Jews and gentiles, and he discusses the consumption of idol meat by gentiles (see 1 Cor. 8 and 10), but not that of ritual slaughter or of the consumption of blood.58 It is in Paul’s discussions of sexuality and other crimes that the gentile purity regulations according to Leviticus 17–26 are most apparent. In his writing to the gentiles in Corinth, to begin with, Paul explicitly singles out a form of incest outside genetic family relations but highlighted in Leviticus 18. Paul complains that among the Corinthians there is “a man . . . living with his father’s wife” (i.e. his stepmother) after his father’s death (see 1 Cor. 5:1), evoking the specific prohibition in Leviticus 18:8 and 20:11, along with similar prohibitions in “gentile” law. Intriguingly, Paul designates this as porneia, a central term throughout Christian literature on whose meaning much depends (I will return to the history of scholarship later): • Literally, porneia designates “sex with prostitutes,” which is obviously not the meaning in which Paul employs it when railing against a union he sees as incestuous–based on his view that the rules of Leviticus 18 apply to gentiles as well.

126  Holger M. Zellentin •



Elsewhere in Christian literature, porneia often should be translated as “fornication,” namely sexual intercourse between unmarried people (as distinct from “adultery,” which involves sex with another man’s wife or with another woman’s husband). There is of course no general law against fornication in the Hebrew Bible: just as adultery here is prohibited only in terms of sex with another man’s wife, so is the only restriction against extramarital intercourse imposed on Israelite women living in their paternal household and seeking to marry (see Dtn. 22:13–20). Paul, by contrast, reflects part of the broader Late Antique tendency to extend the rules against fornication to include gentiles and men, which we will discuss in some detail.59 Paul’s use of the term porneia, however, is broader yet: I will argue that Paul, as well as the Acts of the Apostles and most Christian texts affirming the Decree of the Apostles, use the Greek term and its cognates specifically to designate the transgressions listed in Leviticus 18. In these cases, we should simply translate the Greek term porneia or its Latin or Syriac equivalents, fornicatio and znywtʾ, as “illicit sexual intercourse.”

The meaning of porneia, hence, can denote prostitution, its extension to fornication, or the applicability of Leviticus 18 to all of humanity. I will argue that this view can be traced from Paul throughout much of rabbinic Judaism and Late Antique Christianity to the time of the Qur’an. Paul, for one, illustrates being informed by the transgressions listed in Leviticus 17–26 in more than one way. In Galatians 5:19–21, Paul complains in general terms about practices including porneia as well as “impurity” (ἀκαθαρσία), “idolatry” (εἰδωλολατρία), and “sorcery” (φαρμακεία); while such prohibitions are hardly surprising, they fully correspond with the gentile purity regulations not only in Leviticus 18 but also in Leviticus 19:26 and 31 and in Deuteronomy 29:10–29.60 Indeed, like many later witnesses we will examine, Paul arguably uses the Greek term porneia (to which we will return) in a way that presupposes the entirety of the prohibitions given in Leviticus 18, suggesting that Paul holds an inclusive view of the applicability of the laws of Lev. 17–26 not only to Israelites but also to gentiles. In the most well-known passage listing vices, in 1 Corinthians 6:9–10, Paul gives a comparable list of persons whose offenses he designates as so egregious that they would bar them from “inheriting the kingdom of God.” While such offenses are of course universally punishable, criminal offenders such as thieves (κλέπται) and robbers (ἅρπαγες, see also Rom. 13:9) conform to the prohibitions in Leviticus 19:11 and 13. Paul’s list in 1 Corinthians, unsurprisingly, again includes “idolaters” (εἰδωλολάτραι) and “those engaging in illicit sexual intercourse” (πόρνοι), the general category of Leviticus 18 and 20. Most specifically relevant to the current inquiry, Paul includes in his list two types of sexual practitioners whom we once again find singled out in the gentile purity regulations of Leviticus: adulterers (μοιχοὶ), according to Leviticus 18:20 and 20:10, and the two male sexual partners, who are described as active (ἀρσενοκοῖται) and passive (μαλακοὶ), respectively. Paul’s censoring of sex between men, of course, reflects Greco-Roman concepts as much as Levitical law: the distinction between

Gentile purity law from the Bible to the Qur’an 127 the two partners of sexual intercourse between men arguably reflects Roman sensibilities.61 Paul’s language, at the same time, points directly to Leviticus: the term arsenokoitai, “to lie with a male,” – likely a Pauline neologism – is most likely based on the Septuagint’s circumscription of sex between men in Leviticus 18:22 (μετὰ ἄρσενος οὐ κοιμηθήσῃ κοίτην γυναικός, lit. “with a male do not lay [in the way of lying on] a woman’s bedstead”). The term malakoi, in turn, further qualifies the original law of Leviticus, enlarging the exclusive focus beyond that on the penetrating male, thereby including both partners of male homosexual intercourse, as also specified in Leviticus 20:13.62 Paul’s concept of porneia, of illicit sexual intercourse, then, clearly builds on Leviticus 18 both lexically and legally – yet his list in 1 Corinthians, just like the one in Galatians, is equally representative rather than exhaustive.63 The historical Paul, then, is an important first witness to the ways in which the Christian tradition began to apply the laws for the gerim found in Lev. 17–26 to all gentiles, yet Paul’s approach here is less then systematic. It is not the historical Paul, but the Acts of the Apostles, redacted in the late first or early second century CE, which give the fullest early picture of the discourse that helped pave the way for the Christian and Qur’anic “universalization” of the Levitical gentile purity regulations.64 Along with the Gospel of Matthew and the Book of Revelation, Acts is one of the texts within the New Testament canon that maintains a clear separation between Jews and gentiles, along with a clear focus on gentile purity (even if its context of transmission within the Christian canon has been understood, unhistorically, to dismiss such notions).65 Acts emphasizes ritual purity by portraying Paul as dismissing related slander against him. Paul is accused of teaching “all the Jews living among the Gentiles to forsake Moses” and “not to circumcise their children or observe the customs” (Acts 21:21). Paul then dismisses such scandalous gossip; in Acts 21:26, he is portrayed as responding to it by endorsing ritual purity publicly and unapologetically, in word and in deed: Then Paul took the men, and the next day, having purified himself, he entered the temple with them, making public (διαγγέλλων) the completion of the days of purification (τοῦ ἁγνισμοῦ) when the sacrifice would be made for each of them. The text, far from enacting or demanding the law’s abrogation, enacts and demands of Jews to keep the law and presents Paul as a fully observant Jew and as having “in no way committed an offence against the law of the Jews” (Acts 25:6) until the end of his recorded ministry.66 The law for Jews, according to Acts, includes the entirety of the Bible’s purity regulations. With Acts – a text that was fundamental in the shaping of the term “Christian” – Christianity thus contains a seed that, long after Jesus’ death and the destruction of the Temple, still presupposed the Jewish observance of ritual purity.67 Acts also does not contemplate the fusion of gentile and Jewish ethnicities. Instead, it maintains such a separation and specifies certain purity requirements

128  Holger M. Zellentin as binding for believing gentiles. In doing so, Acts orients itself towards the Noahide Covenant and the requirements for resident aliens spelled out in the Holiness Code. In order to dispel the impression that imposing these purity laws on the believers residing outside the Holy Land would constitute an innovation, the text emphasizes that the apostles were divinely guided and that they followed the Law of Moses in doing so. The key passage for our purposes is the famous “Council of Jerusalem” in Acts 15, which illustrates the text’s firm commitment to gentile purity. The apostles, in their reported address to the gentiles, take up James’ suggestion and write as follows (Acts 15:29):68 For it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to impose on you (pl., μηδὲν . . . ἐπιτίθεσθαι ὑμῖν) any further burden (βάρος) than these required ones: that you abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols (εἰδωλοθύτων) and from blood (αἵματος) and from what has been strangled (πνικτῶν) and from illicit sexual intercourse (πορνείας). The most important word in this passage is the plural “you.” The context makes it very clear that this so-called “Decree of the Apostles,” issued by “the apostles and the elders,” is directed to “the gentiles” (τοῖς ἀπὸ τῶν ἐθνῶν, Acts 15:19). In this decree, Acts does not broach how Jews who endorsed Jesus were to observe the Jewish law. As we have seen, full observance is taken for granted and the allegation of aberration therefrom an insufferable insult. In line with its endorsement of Israelite law, Acts even depicts Paul as commissioning the circumcision of one of his gentile acolytes “because of the Jews who were in those places” that he intended to visit (see Acts 16:3). Difficult as it may be to square this act with the thoughts on circumcision of gentiles expressed by the historical Paul, Acts here does not advocate the idea that all gentiles should “be circumcised and ordered to keep the Law of Moses” (Acts 15:5, see also 15:1).69 Requiring circumcision for all would be the view of the believing Pharisees, which Acts rejects, based on Peter’s dream showing him that gentiles should not be called “profane or unclean” (Acts 10:28). The attitude of Acts, which allows individuals to be circumcised without demanding circumcision for all gentiles, rather aligns itself with that of the Hebrew Bible towards its gerim, who require no circumcision even for Temple worship, yet are free to get circumcised should they want to (see earlier, pages 119–122) – and this attitude equally squares with the actual commandment Acts imposes on gentiles. Indeed, the brief catalogue of prohibitions in Acts follows the injunctions imposed on resident aliens in Leviticus very closely. While the text does not cite Leviticus in our sense of the word, it can be shown to take knowledge of the laws for granted, as scholars have long noted.70 Acts, when first iterating its decree, points both to the issue of gentile purity and to the biblical source of its reasoning, as can be seen in Peter’s statement in Acts 15:19–21: Therefore, I have reached the decision that we should not trouble (μὴ παρενοχλεῖν) those gentiles who are turning to God, but we should write

Gentile purity law from the Bible to the Qur’an 129 to them to abstain (τοῦ ἀπέχεσθαι) from the pollutions (τῶν ἀλισγημάτων) caused by idols (τῶν εἰδώλων) and by illicit sexual intercourse (καὶ τῆς πορνείας) and by things strangled (καὶ τοῦ πνικτοῦ) and by blood (καὶ τοῦ αἵματος). For in every city, for generations past, Moses has had those who proclaim him, for he has been read aloud every Sabbath in the synagogues. The understanding of porneia, of illicit sexual intercourse, should be governed cumulatively by all the evidence; I here rely on my understanding of the laws about impure food and incest. As Wehnert has shown, the term “strangled” meat, though rare in the first two centuries, occurs a handful of times in rabbinic and in other Jewish and Christian sources to indicate improperly slaughtered meat.71 Acts, in its prohibition of the pollutions incurred through idol meat, through illicit sexual intercourse, through things strangled, and through blood, thus explicitly promulgates for all gentile followers of Jesus four of the injunctions that the Hebrew Bible had already imposed on resident aliens.72 By prohibiting “idol meat,” Acts relies on the respective prohibition in Leviticus 17:7–9. By prohibiting “blood,” it evokes the double prohibition against shedding and consuming blood already given in Genesis 9:6 and repeated in Leviticus 17:10–14. By prohibiting “strangled” (i.e. improperly slaughtered meat) the text refers to the prohibition of carrion and animals torn by beasts of prey in Leviticus 17:15–16, since the term “strangled” is equally used by the rabbis and several Greek writers to specify improperly slaughtered meat. The same continuity from Leviticus through Acts to Late Antique Christianity (and eventually to the Qur’an) that marks the prohibition of blood and improperly slaughtered meat also applies to the prohibition of incest laws spelled out in Leviticus 18:6–18.73 The prohibition of illicit sexual intercourse in Acts in this context of the prohibitions to gentiles of the very foodstuff prohibited to the gerim in Leviticus 17 therefore likely designates the prohibition to gentiles of all the sexual relations found in Leviticus 18 that already governed the writings of the historical Paul. A further investigation corroborates the cumulative conclusion. The term porneia, used by the historical Paul as well as by Acts, may not have been used in the Septuagint of Leviticus 18, yet it still indicates just this context, as Wehnert has persuasively shown.74 Malina has long ago argued that the term porneia, which is used in the Decree of the Apostles, is not used in its more specific meaning of “whore-mongering,” but rather to designate the broad category of sexual transgressions we find grouped together especially in Leviticus 18.75 Moreover, we have seen the historical Paul’s designation of relations with the spouse of one’s deceased father, prohibited in Leviticus 18:8 and 20:11, as porneia in 1 Cor. 5:1. Paul’s focus on Leviticus 18 is corroborated by his denunciation of sex between men in Romans 1:27 and in 1 Cor. 6:9–10, which he expands by adding a denunciation of “unnatural” (παρὰ φύσιν) sex between women. In all this, Paul’s usage of language is typical: as Wehnert has shown in his discussion of Malina, texts as diverse as the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Targumim, and several Greek apocrypha designate any forbidden sexual relation as porneia or, respectively, as its Hebrew equivalent ‫זנות‬.76 Crucially, even the rabbis label both incestuous and

130  Holger M. Zellentin nonmarital sexual relations as ‫זנות‬, effectively using the term as a full equivalent to the biblical “uncovering of nakedness” (without, however, abandoning the latter term for the former, as we will see).77 In short, we can understand the prohibition of “idol meat,” “blood,” “things strangled,” and “illicit sexual intercourse” in Acts as a full and unreserved endorsement of extending the laws for the gerim in Leviticus 17 and 18 to all gentile believers in Jesus. The connection between the Decree of the Apostles to the gentile purity regulations of Leviticus can also be corroborated contextually. Acts evokes “the Law of Moses” (15:21) in its decision, pointing to the origin of its covenantal rules in Leviticus.78 By stating that his laws have been read “in every town,” Acts points to the applicability of the laws even outside the land of Israel, allowing for the identification of the gerim in Leviticus with all gentiles in the entire known world.79 Simultaneously, the text here evokes the gentile visitors of synagogues whom it takes for granted (see e.g. Acts 14:1); its underlying logic seems to be that since these gentiles already have heard the law, imposing on them those Mosaic purity rules which pertain to non-Israelites would not constitute much of an innovation.80 Peter is being portrayed as having no authority to invent these laws: indeed, he comes across as having weighed the option proposed by his opponents, to require gentile believers in Jesus to convert to Judaism, against the requirements for resident aliens found in Leviticus. By the apostles’ alleged choice of the latter option, the pollutions to be avoided by the gerim dwelling among Israel thereby became the model for the gentile purity regulations in Acts. These gentile purity regulations in Leviticus, I hold, in turn became the dominant model for Christianity and Islam and closely correspond to those in Judaism.81 The importance of the gentile purity laws for Acts can be corroborated not only by the parallel example of Paul, predating Acts, but also by that of the tannaitic rabbis, whose earliest written records were composed in the late third or early fourth century CE.82 It should first be noted that these early rabbis construct the gentile purity regulations not in the context of the Ten Commandments, as some Second Temple traditions apparently did,83 but in close dialogue with God’s covenant with Noah according to Genesis 9, as specified in Leviticus 17–26, in a way similar to Acts – yet with a different understanding of which type of “blood,” exactly, would be prohibited to Jews and gentiles.84 In the Tosephta’s commentary on idol worship, in Avodah Zarah 8:4, the tannaitic rabbis speak of seven commandments given to Noah: The children of Noah were commanded concerning seven things: concerning a legal system (‫)הדינין‬, and concerning idol worship (‫)עבוד’ זרה‬, and concerning cursing the Name (of God, ‫)קיללת השם‬, and concerning the uncovering of nakedness (‫)גילוי עריות‬ and concerning the spilling of blood (‫)שפיכות דמים‬, and concerning theft (‫)הגזל‬. and concerning a limb from a living being (‫)אבר מן החי‬.85

Gentile purity law from the Bible to the Qur’an 131 While the relationship between biblical and tannaitic rabbinic law is not always straightforward, this list, in the Tosephta as well as in its later parallels, seems to draw on the gentile purity regulations of the Hebrew Bible, especially in Genesis and Leviticus.86 The list indeed parallels some commandments that the rabbis would see as “natural,” yet we should not make the mistake of considering the commandments given to Noah as “natural law” in the vein of later Christian discourse, even if the rabbis raise precisely this possibility.87 The rabbis, of course, saw some laws to be self-evident, yet their view of law is exclusively that of “positive law,” that is, as owing its validity to having been given by God even where a given law might overlap with other possible sources of establishing human conduct.88 The exegetical relationship between the Tosephta and Leviticus 17–26 is strongly suggested in the nearly full overlap of their respective prohibitions for gentiles, which is embedded in shared language. As we have seen, idol worship is prohibited to resident aliens in Leviticus 17:7–9 and in Deuteronomy 29:10–29; blasphemy (“and he who misuses the name,” ‘‫ )ונקב שם יה‬in Leviticus 24:16; and “to uncover the nakedness,” ‫לגלות ערוה‬, in Leviticus 18 and 20. The “spiller” of human “blood,” ‫שפך דם האדם‬, is incriminated in Genesis 9:6, and theft is prohibited in Leviticus 19:11 and 13 (“and do not rob,” ‫)ולא תגזל‬. The rabbis, finally, derive the prohibition of “a limb from a living being” from the “blood-soul of flesh” (‫)בשר בנפשו דמו‬, a difficult compound expression that appears in Genesis 9:4 and in Leviticus 17:10.89 The Decree of the Apostles, we have seen, prohibits gentiles from consuming the borderline cases of carrion and mangled animals in line with its understanding of “strangled meat” and of the impure nature of such meat according to Leviticus 17:15. The rabbis, in contrast, based on an exemption in Deuteronomy 14:21, allow for the consumption of such meat by gerim, differentiating between live blood and the blood contained in carrion.90 Hence, the hermeneutics of the tannaitic rabbinic regulations for gentile purity regulations largely overlap with those implied in Acts and Paul, even if the resulting laws are partially different when it comes to the nature of blood. In contrast with the New Testament texts, the Tosephta, in prohibiting “the spilling of blood” (‫)שפיכות דמים‬, “the uncovering of nakedness” (‫)גילוי עריות‬, and “theft” (‫ )גזל‬uses precisely the terms we find in Gen. 9:6 and Lev. 18:6; its prohibition of “blasphemy” is equally reminiscent of the prohibition addressed to the gerim in Lev. 24:16.91 The specific terminology, within its rabbinic context, makes it all but certain that the prohibition here includes all types of the “uncovering of nakedness” named in Leviticus 18, including incest, adultery, and sex during a woman’s menses – just as they are most likely included in the definition of porneia, or illicit sexual intercourse, in Paul’s letters and in Acts. Several rabbinic sources, moreover, confirm the obvious reading of the term “uncovering of nakedness” as assuming the entirety of Leviticus 18 and adjacent texts.92 The relevance of Leviticus 17 and 18 for the rabbis’ Noahide laws, finally, can be corroborated by noting that some rabbis apparently employed all the laws addressed to the sons of Noah and to the gerim in Genesis and in Leviticus 19–26, respectively, as the basis of the Noahide Laws. This becomes clear when considering the further prohibitions that the Tosephta stipulates in the name of

132  Holger M. Zellentin individual authorities, in the sequel of the text cited earlier. These additional prohibitions have often been neglected in previous scholarship on the matter: • • • • •

The prohibition of the consumption of “blood from a living being” (‫)הדם מן החי‬. The prohibition of castration (applicable to humans and animals, ‫)הסירוס‬ The prohibition of magic (‫)הכשפים‬ The prohibitions spelled out in Parashah Bnei Noah (i.e. Genesis 6:9–11:32). The prohibition of certain forms of cross-breeding (‫)הכלאים‬.93

This expanded list, and the explicit prohibition to gentiles of “blood from a living being” and magic, is repeated in all Late Antique reiterations of the Noahide laws after the Tosephta, that is, in the fourth-century commentary on Genesis Bereshit Rabbah as well as in the Palestinian and Babylonian Talmudim. However, while these later amoraic texts repeat the laws for gentiles found in the Tosephta, they do not engage any further with the text of Leviticus.94 It is only in the early Tosephta that we can perceive a focus on the regulations for gerim in Genesis and in Leviticus, which share the same prohibitions (see pages 119–122 earlier): • • • •



The added prohibition of “blood from a living being,” in addition to the consumption of “a limb from a living being,” reflects an expansion of the rabbis’ reading of Genesis 9:4 and Leviticus 17:10.95 The prohibition of cross-breeding (‫ )כלאים‬appears in Leviticus 19:19, where the same term is used (see also Dtn. 22:9–11; the derivation is indirect). The prohibition to gentiles to castrate animals is likely based on the prohibition to accept for sacrifice castrated animals from gentiles according to Leviticus 22:24. The general prohibition for gentiles to practice magic (which the Talmud later expands to include practices such as divination, wizardry, and necromancy, based on Deuteronomy 18:10, see Babylonian Talmud, Sanhedrin 56b) is stipulated in Leviticus 20:6 and 27. Finally, gentiles must observe all the laws given in the biblical “pericope of the sons of Noah” (i.e. Gen. 6:9–11:32), which begins with the Noahide Covenant as spelled out earlier, as well as several further prohibitions of magic.

We can thus confirm that the Tosephta’s consensus on the laws that are applicable to gentiles, as well as its expansion of specific stipulations, reflect the rabbis’ engagement with the very same scriptural materials with which Paul and Acts were engaging. The outcome of their deliberations seem largely to overlap – with the one clear difference of the rabbis’ lenient reading of blood, which clearly contrasts with the stringent understanding of Acts and in the Christian movement more broadly, as we will see. The early rabbis, just like Paul and Acts, seem to have understood not only many of the prohibitions in Leviticus 17–18 and 20–26 but also some of those in Leviticus 19 to apply to gerim, and thereby to all of humanity as well.

Gentile purity law from the Bible to the Qur’an 133 Despite the discrepancies of detail, it is clear that both the tannaitic rabbis and Acts base their gentile purity regulations on the Noahide covenant and on the gentile purity regulations of Genesis and of Leviticus. This triangular relationship allows us to see in how far both the early Christian and the rabbinic stream of Jewish thought agreed on the issue of gentile purity requirements and where exactly they parted ways – two issues not sufficiently clarified in previous scholarship known to me. The reading of the gentile purity regulations suggested by Wehnert and others thus allows us to see that both the Christian and the rabbinic sets of rules include the following core prohibitions: • • •

Idol worship, and especially meat slaughtered for idols, as spelled out in Deuteronomy 29 and in Leviticus 17. Illicit sexual intercourse, or porneia, and the “uncovering of nakedness,” including such prohibitions as that of adultery, incest, and sexual intercourse with a woman during her menstruation, as specified in Leviticus 18. “Blood,” including the spilling of human blood and the consumption of flowing animal blood, as intimated in Genesis 9 and Leviticus 17.96

The only discrepancy between the Christian and Tosephta’s sets of gentile purity regulations, hence, concerns the precise nature of blood. To reiterate, the Decree of the Apostles prohibits gentiles from consuming the borderline cases of carrion and mangled animals in line with its prohibition of “strangled meat” and of the impure nature of such meat according to Leviticus 17:15 (as fully corroborated by much of the patristic evidence), whereas the rabbis, based on Deuteronomy 14:21, allow for the consumption of such meat by gentile, in line with their distinction between “blood from a living being” and the blood contained in carrion.97 The substantial overlap between the positions found in Acts and in the rabbinic corpus now places us in a position to appreciate the growth of the gentile purity laws in later forms of Christianity, as well as the Qur’an.98 We will see that the regulations found in Leviticus, prominently including the sexual laws, were generally seen as binding by Late Antique Christian (and, of course, Jewish) authorities, and often, but not always, were evoked when these laws were discussed. While the laws remained largely stable up to the nascence of Islam, the interpretation of the laws for gentiles as purity rules was endorsed by some, but not by all, Christians; the discourse of purity as pertaining to gentiles was in turn increasingly rejected by many church fathers (as well as by the rabbis, as we have seen on pages 129–133 earlier), but maintained in Judeo-Christian legal culture and reemphasized in the Qur’an.

III.  The gentile purity regulations throughout Late Antiquity Böckenhoff has long shown that the mainstream tradition in Late Antique Christianity of the Latin, the Greek, and the Syriac churches implemented the food laws of the Decree of the Apostles in its entirety. The practice was unchallenged up to the fourth century and continued locally well into the Middle Ages and beyond; as

134  Holger M. Zellentin noted earlier, scholars subsequent to Böckenhoff have endorsed his overall sense that most Late Antique Christians, by and large, simply followed “the law” for gentiles – all the while keenly avoiding calling it thus.99 While Wehnert and others have in turn illustrated the clear connection between Leviticus and Acts, a recent study by myself expands the evidence for the prominence of these laws in various genres of Christian discourse and seeks to shed light on the doubly canonical origin of these food laws within the Christian Bible, as enshrined in Leviticus 17 and as affirmed in the Acts of the Apostles.100 The origin of these laws in Leviticus is clear, yet Christians have developed a distinct understanding of the gentile purity regulations. To reiterate, in contrast to the rabbinic legislation sketched earlier, which is equally based on Lev. 17–18, the Christian understanding thereof includes the prohibition of nonflowing blood. When it comes to food laws, it is the Christian rather than the rabbinic iteration of the purity regulations that will eventually inform the practices of the Qur’an’s audience, who shared a strict aversion to blood in general, as well as many of the details of later Christian developments of the law. In the following, I will seek to illustrate that Christians also based their regulations concerning illicit sexual intercourse on the gentile purity regulations found in Leviticus 18, just like they did with the laws concerning food in Leviti­ cus 17, and that we should consider the practices of nascent Islam first and foremost in the context of Late Antique Eastern Christian law – without, of course, dismissing the local Arabian and general Near Eastern practices, and especially including the rabbinic ones, with which the nascent Qur’anic community seems equally largely familiar. Illicit sexual intercourse, or porneia, and its prohibition may almost seem too central and too broad a topic to discuss it longitudinally in a meaningful way; its symbolic centrality to Late Antique Jewish, Christian, and Islamic legal culture may be second only to that of idol worship and food laws. The study of sexual laws furthermore faces the problem of the general nature of such norms throughout the Ancient Near East. The prohibition, or at least the disapproval, of some of the sexual practices classified as illicit sexual intercourse in Leviticus 18, unsurprisingly, were widely shared in the Greco-Roman as well as in the Persian world. The four prohibitions of adultery, bestiality, sex during a woman’s menstruation, and some aspects of sex between males were part of an ancient moral koine that surpassed and encompassed the laws found in the Hebrew Bible.101 Yet the disapproval or even the prohibition of a practice, on the one hand, and an understanding of it as forming part of a discrete set of divine laws for gentiles, on the other, is not the same, and the specificity of the laws in question, as well as the recurrent reference to Leviticus in Late Antique Christian texts, allow a level of confidence that we are dealing with a well-defined normative tradition. A more pressing issue is the fact that a comprehensive study of all sexual laws endorsed by Late Antique Christians runs the risk of confirming the obvious, namely, that the Qur’an assumes continuity with the Bible, as well as with Judaism and Christianity.102 Hence, the most effective way to consider which legal tradition, if any, would be most relevant for the Qur’an’s sexual laws is to focus on the reception history of the four “Levitical” concepts that it highlights. A brief discussion

Gentile purity law from the Bible to the Qur’an 135 of the status of the Decree of the Apostles in various strands of Christianity, which includes the general prohibition of illicit sexual intercourse, will show that some Christians shared the rabbis’ clear sense of the Levitical origin of the sexual laws that are applicable to gentiles.103 A good example of this is the Didascalia Apostolorum, which warns that “he that covets the wife of his companion, or his servant, or his maidservant, is already an adulterer and a thief and is condemned of the defilement as are they who lie with a male (bṭmʾwtʾ ʾyk shkby ʿm dkrʾ) by our Lord and Teacher Jesus Christ.”104 The Didascalia Apostolorum here clearly refers to Lev. 18:22 by connecting adultery with the impurity of sex among men and to Lev. 19:11 and 13 by connecting it with theft. It also maintains its focus on intercourse between males, without, in this instance, addressing either sex between women or sex between a woman and a man married to someone else.105 Just as in the case of the food laws, however, we can see that the church fathers understood the Levitical laws regarding gentile sex in a way that is distinct from the rabbinic understanding of the same laws. The tannaitic rabbinic understanding, we have seen earlier, largely consists of the simple statement that the “uncovering of nakedness,” as defined in Leviticus 18, is prohibited to all gentiles.106 We have already seen that most Christians, in contrast to the rabbis, understood the gentile purity laws to prohibit (gentile) Christians from intermarriage with idolaters. They also placed a special emphasis on the prohibition of intercourse during the menses. Moreover, we will see that many Christians throughout Late Antiquity added the requirement of ritual washing after sexual intercourse, and especially before prayer, according to their understanding of the gentile purity regulations, effectively expanding the validity of the respective regulations in Leviticus 15 (see page 120 earlier) to the gentile purity law. Before turning to the development of the gentile purity laws throughout Christian Late Antiquity, let me point again to the surprising degree of agreement on the applicability of the gentile purity laws that we find between the first Christians and the rabbis, which was mirrored by a similar agreement among the churches. The Decree of the Apostles was officially endorsed in its entirety, including the laws pertaining to both food and sex, by Eastern and Western churches, as partially illustrated by Böckenhoff. The authors of many of the relevant canons can be shown to have connected the Decree of the Apostles with the gentile purity regulations found in Leviticus concerning the prohibition of incest, as well as the prohibition of carrion, blood, and improperly slaughtered animals according to Leviticus 17 and 18.107 Such references are equally pervasive, if not to the same degree as the food laws, when it comes to explicit references to the nonincestuous sexual transgressions according to Lev. 18.108 The examples collected by Böckenhoff engender an overwhelming sense that the large majority of synods, the church canons, the church historians, and individual church fathers up to the time of the Qur’an and beyond endorsed the gentile purity regulations as spelled out in Acts of the Apostles, as discussed earlier (see pages 123–130). The entire Decree of the Apostles is confirmed in the Synod of Gangra in the fourth century CE109 and reconfirmed by the Second Council of Constantinople in the sixth century CE,110 as well as by the Council in Trullo (i.e., the

136  Holger M. Zellentin Quinisext Council) at the end of the seventh century.111 The decree is confirmed in the Latin as well as in the Syriac version of the Didascalia Apostolorum.112 Crucially, the East Syrian church, after the sixth-century reforms of the catholicos Mar Aba, equally took Leviticus 18 as applicable to its Christian constituents.113 Also of special relevance for us is the testimony of the Apostolic Constitutions in the fourth century, which, in 6:12, endorses the decree and explicitly identifies it with the laws given to Noah and other figures living “before the Law:” Therefore I decree that we should not trouble (μὴ παρενοχλεῖν) those from among the gentiles who turn to God, but to ordain for them (ἀλλ’ ἐπιστεῖλαι αὐτοῖς) that they abstain from the pollutions caused by the nations (τῶν ἀλισγημάτων τῶν ἐθνῶν), and by what is sacrificed to idols (εἰδωλοθύτου), and by illicit sexual intercourse (πορνείας) and by blood (αἵματος), and by things strangled (πνικτοῦ), for these were given to the ancients before the Law as natural (τοῖς πρὸ τοῦ νόμου φυσικοῖς): Enos, Enoch, Noah, Melchizedek, Job, and any others that were among them.114 The Apostolic Constitutions, a text originally composed in Greek yet spread throughout the world of Christendom in a variety of languages, recasts the laws given to Noah in a new framework.115 While keeping to the original, if amended, language of purity employed in the Acts of the Apostles by evoking the “pollutions caused by the gentiles,” the text introduces the well-established concept of “natural” law in juxtaposition to the nomos of the Torah – an implicit fusion of natural and positive law that we find in both the West and the East Syrian traditions, as we will see later.116 The Apostolic Constitutions thereby endorse the Decree of the Apostles emphatically, all the while recasting the central role which the Acts of the Apostles, as well as Leviticus 17 and 18, accord to gentile purity in terms of the “natural” avoidance of pollution. In line with this tendency, we will see that the universal Christian and rabbinic agreement on upholding the sexual laws found in Leviticus is accompanied by a tendency in many Christian writings to deemphasize or even reject the issue of the purity of the land. I will call this tendency the “dismissive” attitude. When considering actual practice, however, which we will do by combining the negative evidence of dismissive writings with direct attestations of purity observance, we will see that the majority of Late Antique Christians took purity, as based on a selective reading of Leviticus, including the gentile purity regulations, to be part of their tradition. I will call this the “appreciative” attitude towards gentile purity. A smaller collection of texts, finally, and especially those attesting to JudeoChristian legal culture, endorse not only the gentile purity regulations but also the concept of purity and thereby prepare the specific Qur’anic recasting of purity. I will call this the “expansive” attitude.117 However, all three attitudes – the dismissive, the appreciative, and the expansive one – share an unwavering commitment to upholding those sexual laws given to the gerim in Leviticus, more often than not by directly engaging the Hebrew Bible. Most churches enforced their sexual regulations by strict sanctions, ranging from penitence to excommunication; for adulterers, the punishment could include

Gentile purity law from the Bible to the Qur’an 137 obligatory divorce, as well as the prohibition to remarry for a certain period of time or permanently.118 Some church fathers past the fourth century CE, it is true, began to undermine the gentile food laws stipulated in Genesis, Leviticus, and Acts. By and large, however, they upheld the laws pertaining to food and incest, expanding and explaining the Decree of the Apostles and paying detailed attention to the language used in Genesis 9, Leviticus 17–26, and, as mentioned earlier, Ezekiel 18.119 To reiterate, the Apostolic Constitutions and the Didascalia Apostolorum constitute clear examples for the relevance of Leviticus for the formulation of sexual laws as well as for the transformation of purity discourse. We have seen that both texts endorse the Decree of the Apostles as universal laws given to all gentiles at the same time as recasting its underlying emphasis on gentile purity. The Apostolic Constitutions understand the entire Decree of the Apostles as natural law. We can now further consider how the Apostolic Constitutions, in 6:28, link their sexual laws not only to the Decree but also to a number of other biblical sources, esp. Lev. 18 and 20: All these things are forbidden by the laws (τοῖς νόμοις); for thus say the (divine) pronouncements (τὰ λόγια): You shall not lie with mankind as with womankind (Lev. 18:22). For such a one is accursed, and you shall stone them with stones: they have wrought abomination (Lev. 20:13). Every one that lies with a beast, slay him: he has wrought wickedness in his people (Ex. 22:19, cf. Lev. 18:23 and 20:15). And if any one defile a married woman, slay them both: they have wrought wickedness; they are guilty; let them die (cf. Lev. 20:10 and Deut. 22:22). . . . These things the laws have forbidden, but they have honored marriage, and have called it blessed, since God has blessed it who joined male and female together.120 The Apostolic Constitutions here endorse most of the sexual laws given in Leviticus 18, prohibiting sex between men, bestiality, and adultery (understood as sex between anyone other than wife and husband). Yet in a way typical for Late Antique Christian legal hermeneutics, the text does not keep its focus on Leviticus 18 and on that text’s insistence on the extension of the regulations to non-Israelites. Instead, the Apostolic Constitutions freely turn to any law originally addressed to the Israelites, in Exodus as well as in Deuteronomy, citing some passages while paraphrasing others, and, in line with the Acts of the Apostles, extend the applicability of passages only given to Israelites to humanity as a whole. In line with this ethnically undifferentiated reading of the Bible’s sexual laws, the Christian text also makes no mention of the context of purity expressed in Leviticus 18. Instead, the immediate prequel of the passage just cited, Apostolic Constitutions 6:28, conceptualizes the sexual laws regarding sex between men and bestiality as part of natural law and depicts adultery as transgressions of the long-standing Christian reading of Genesis 2:24 (which depicts a couple as “one flesh”): If, therefore, the difference of sexes was made by the will of God for the generation of multitudes, then must the conjunction of male and female be

138  Holger M. Zellentin also acceptable to His mind. But we do not say so of that mixture that is contrary to nature (παρὰ φύσιν βδελυκτὴ μῖξις), or of any unlawful practice (ἡ παράνομος πρᾶξις); for such are enmity to God. For the sin of Sodom is contrary to nature (παρὰ φύσιν ἐστὶν), as is also that with brute beasts. But against the law (παράνομον) are adultery (μοιχεία) and πορνεία (here, likely “fornication”); the one whereof is impiety (ἀσεβήματα), the other injustice (ἀδικία), and, in a word, no other than a great sin. But neither sort of them is without its punishment in its own proper way. For the first ones (i.e. those engaging in sex between men and bestiality) attempt the dissolution of the world (διάλυσιν κόσμου), and endeavour to make the natural course of things (τὰ κατὰ φύσιν) to change for one that is unnatural (παρὰ φύσιν); but those of the second sort (i.e. the adulterers) are unjust by corrupting others’ marriages, and dividing into two what God has made one (cf. Matthew 19:6 and parallels), rendering the children suspect, and exposing the true husband to the snares of others. And fornication (πορνεία) is the destruction of one’s own flesh, not being made use of for the procreation of children, but entirely for the sake of pleasure, which is a mark of incontinency, and not a sign of virtue.121 Discussing sex between men and adultery exclusively from a male perspective, the Apostolic Constitutions even use the Pauline phrasing originally describing sex between women as “unnatural” (παρὰ φύσιν, see Romans 1:26) and apply it to sex between men.122 In its juxtaposition of natural and unnatural law, the text now displays a more narrow usage of the term porneia, which here likely designates the “natural” transgression of fornication. The Christian text, on the one hand, stands in clear tradition with Leviticus 18. The passage, on the other hand, illustrates well how the Apostolic Constitutions, while endorsing the biblical sexual regulations for gentiles in their entirety, have dissolved the legal concept of purity rules pertaining to gentiles. Instead, the Apostolic Constitutions develop their own exegetical and hermeneutical framework to explain these laws in terms of natural and positive law, “dismissing” the apparent hermeneutics of Acts and their focus on the hermeneutical context of Leviticus 17 and 18 – the purity of the land and of the sanctuary – as well as any other approach to gentile purity that had prevailed in earlier Christian texts. The trend to fuse natural and positive law so clearly displayed in the Apostolic Constitutions equally informs the writings of the West and East Syrian tradition. For example, Ephrem, the fourth-century father revered throughout Syriac Christianity, in his First Hymn on Virginity (3), sees humans as guided either by Scripture or by nature: Scripture (ktbʾ) that teaches, nature (kynʾ) that proclaims: both admonish man. Set between the two is his iniquity, so that nature (kynʾ) admonishes him if it lead to sin one without the Law and Scripture (ktbʾ) will rebuke him if it lead to sin one of the Law.123

Gentile purity law from the Bible to the Qur’an 139 Ephrem here applies the widespread image of a two-fold revelation, through nature and through Scripture, which we find throughout Syriac literature (and, of course, centrally in the Qur’an) to a binary yet unified concept of law. A more specific application of the similar two-fold concept of law to cases of sexual transgression can be found in the sixth-century East Syrian catholicos Mar Aba. In his treatise on Leviticus 18, he also classifies sex between males and with animals as “unnatural” (dlʾ bkynʾ) and as breaking the rules that had governed all creatures since the dawn of creation (mn brshyt), classifying the breach as contravening natural law – all the while making it very clear that the respective prohibition of Lev. 18:22 fully applies to his community.124 Just like the Apostolic Constitutions, Mar Aba then cites Paul’s description of sex between women as “unnatural” (παρὰ φύσιν in Paul’s Greek, see Romans 1:26) and equally applies it to sex between men. And just like the Apostolic Constitutions, Mar Aba then blames the Sodomites for introducing the practice and breaking with the natural law that had prevailed since creation.125 Mar Aba’s testimony, along with that of the Apostolic Constitutions, then, shows how some strands of Late Antique Christianity took the legal prescriptions of Leviticus 18, yet not their anchoring in purity discourse, as acutely relevant for themselves. The laws of the Apostolic Constitutions pertaining to sexual intercourse of a man with a woman during her menstruation illustrates the dismissive strategy of keeping the gentile law outside of a purity framework even more clearly. The text commences by strongly dismissing the notion that a woman abstains from the Eucharist during her menses, thereby rejecting the connection of the menses and ritual impurity we had seen in Leviticus 18: For if you think, O woman, when you are seven days in your separation (ἐν ἀφέδρῳ), that you are void of the Holy Spirit, then if you should die suddenly you will depart void of the Spirit, and without assured hope in God; or else you must imagine that the Spirit always is inseparable from you, as not being in a place. But you stand in need of prayer and the Eucharist, and the coming of the Holy Ghost, as having been guilty of no fault in this matter. For neither lawful mixture (i.e. marital intercourse, νόμιμος μίξις), nor child-bearing (λέχος), nor the menstrual purgation (αἵματος φορά), nor nocturnal pollution (ὀνείρωξις μιᾶναι), can defile the nature of a human (μιᾶναι δύναται ἀνθρώπου φύσιν), or separate the Holy Spirit from him. Nothing but impiety (ἀσέβεια) and unlawful practice (παράνομος πρᾶξις) can do that.126 The Apostolic Constitutions address a belief likely held by members of its community that is paralleled in the Didascalia Apostolorum, a previous version of which stands at the basis of the Apostolic Constitutions but whose preserved Latin and Syriac texts postdate it.127 The Holy Spirit, these Christians are alleged to hold, would not reside in them during the time of their menstruation, and a woman’s ritual purity would be compromised through the menstrual cycle, childbearing, or lawful sexual intercourse, just as a man’s would through an unintended nocturnal emission of semen, a case discussed in Leviticus 15:16.128 The reason for the

140  Holger M. Zellentin belief is quite clearly the conception that such a woman would be impure; the text dismisses the notion and encourages women both to pray and to receive the communion during the menstrual cycles.129 The Apostolic Constitutions thus dismiss the notion of ritual purity pertaining to sexual intercourse and the menstrual cycle and clearly display the dismissive attitude towards gentile purity itself. Yet just like in the case of other sexual laws applicable to gentiles, this very same text, in 6:28, upholds precisely the law given to gentiles in Leviticus 18:19 not to engage in marital intercourse during the menses: Therefore, neither is the natural purgation (ἡ φυσικὴ κάθαρσις) abominable before God (βδελυκτὴ Θεῷ), who has ordered it to happen to women within the space of thirty days for their advantage and healthful state, who do less move about, and keep usually at home in the house. Nay, moreover, even in the Gospel, when the woman with the flow of blood (αἱμορροούσης) touched the saving border of the Lord’s garment in hope of being healed, He was not angry at her, nor did complain of her at all; but, on the contrary, He healed her, saying, “Your faith has saved you” (Matthew 9:22). When the natural (i.e., purgations, φυσικῶν) do appear in the wives, let not their husbands approach them, out of foresight for those (children) to be begotten (προνοίας ἕνεκεν τῶν γεννωμένων); for the Law (ὁ νόμος) has forbidden it, for it says: “You shall not come near your wife when she is in her separation” (see Leviticus 18:19 and Ezekiel 18:6).130 The Apostolic Constitutions here prohibit intercourse during the menses for two reasons. First, citing medical considerations, the fear is expressed that conception during the menses would somehow affect the child, likely by leading to its deformation. This medical view of the biblical prohibition of sex during a woman’s menses is broadly attested to in Late Antique Christian source.131 Then, the Apostolic Constitutions here clearly endorse the law laid out in Leviticus, prohibiting any couple, regardless of their ethnicity, to have sexual intercourse during a woman’s menses. At the same time, the text assures women that their condition is not one of impurity; the case for the absence of impurity is argued again both with reference to nature and to the Gospels, the famous case of a hemorrhaging woman touching Jesus.132 We can see thus the combination of enforcing the gentile purity laws found in Leviticus, yet again without their underlying concern for ritual purity, which in this case are replaced by medical considerations. The Apostolic Constitutions, of course, represent but a small part of Late Antique Christianity and were not universally accepted.133 While their wording may be unique and their theology not universally shared, their general approach to the gentile purity regulations broadly stands in line with Latin, Greek, and Syriac Christendom. A similar strategy, of upholding the biblical law all the while deemphasizing its ritual significance, can be found throughout early Christianity. I have previously discussed the testimony of the Didascalia Apostolorum, another text illustrative of the dismissive attitude towards sexual purity which, like the Apostolic Constitutions, uphold the sexual regulations for gentiles found in Leviticus

Gentile purity law from the Bible to the Qur’an 141 17 and 18, all the while polemicizing against the concept of ritual purity and its enduring attractiveness to many within the text’s community.134 The same dismissive strategy of upholding the law for gentiles while dismissing the notion of purity as such can also be found across patristic literature. Augustine, for example, when commenting on Leviticus 18:19, observes that “although he (i.e., Moses) has already sufficiently forbidden this (i.e., intercourse during a women’s menses, likely referring to Lev. 15:19), he repeats the prohibition here lest he seem to have spoken figuratively.”135 Here and elsewhere Augustine thus endorses the sexual gentile purity regulations attested in Leviticus 18 and repeated in Ezekiel 18 as valid law.136 For Jerome, for Augustine, for the Apostolic Constitutions, for the Didascalia Apostolorum, and for many other Late Antique Christians, the laws of Leviticus 18 and Ezekiel 18 happened to retain their validity, yet they clearly lost their symbolic foundation in the discourse of ritual purity, which Augustine explicitly rejects as “laughable.”137 We can thus summarize that most Christians kept the sexual laws the Hebrew Bible prescribes for gentiles with many clear reference to Leviticus 18, while more than a few church fathers dismissed the concept of ritual purity in which they were originally embedded. The patristic attitude, by and large, was dismissive towards ritual purity, especially after the fourth century onwards. The gentile purity requirements as stipulated in Leviticus seem to have prevailed without the hermeneutical framework in which they were first formulated; the implicit nature of the scriptural hermeneutics through which Acts relies on Leviticus was, as so often, apparently first self-evident and later largely forgotten. It is by no means clear, however, when and where the Christian dismissal of gentile purity became the opinion of the majority. To the contrary, there are abundant early Christian testimonies endorsing the notion of gentile purity, largely within the framework of Judeo-Christian legal culture, attesting to the appreciative and the expansive attitudes towards gentile purity. The most important witnesses to this trend come from the church of Alexandria. For Alexandrian Christians, who upheld an expansive attitude towards the notion of ritual purity, the Eucharist had substituted the temple sacrifices, and the restrictions to enter the Temple now governed the partaking in the Christian liturgy.138 In an important letter, Dionysius, a third-century bishop of Alexandria and a student of Origen, states the following: Concerning women in their menstrual separation (ἐν ἀφέδρῳ), whether it is right for them in such a condition to enter the house of God, I think it unnecessary even to inquire. For I think that they, being faithful and pious, would not dare in such condition either to approach the holy table or to touch the body and blood of Christ. For even the woman who had the twelve-year discharge (ῥύσιν) and was eager for a cure touched not him but only his fringe. It is unobjectionable to pray in any state and to remember the Lord in any condition and to beseech him to obtain aid, but he who is not completely pure in both soul and body (καθαρὸς καὶ ψυχῇ καὶ σώματι) shall be prevented from approaching the holy and the holy of holies.139

142  Holger M. Zellentin Dionysius, in his letter, declares women during their menstruation to be impure, and therefore ineligible to enter the church and the altar, here described in terms of the Jerusalem Temple. Dionysius’ view, and even his use of the example of “woman with the flow of blood” (see Matthew 9:22), clearly contrasts with that which we saw in the Apostolic Constitutions. Whereas the latter text emphasizes that Christ did not berate the woman for touching him and that he therefore saw her as pure, the bishop emphasizes that the woman touched only the fringe of Jesus’ garment, since she knew that she was impure.140 Dionysius then goes on to discuss his view, shared with his teacher Origen, that sexual intercourse and nocturnal seminal emissions may jeopardize purity, indicating his broad understanding of the Israelite purity laws found in Leviticus as applicable to his gentile audience.141 In his application of the laws of Leviticus 15 to his gentile audience, he represents exactly the point of view so clearly dismissed in the Apostolic Constitutions we saw earlier. Dionysus is by far alone in his appreciative, and even expansive, attitude towards Israelite purity laws. In addition to the audiences reprimanded in the later Apostolic Constitutions and in the Didascalia Apostolorum, numerous early church canons, and especially those from Alexandria, prohibit women during their menses not only to engage in sexual intercourse but also to partake of the communion.142 While the ritual uncleanness of a woman during her menstruation and after childbirth is not explicitly extended to the gerim in Leviticus 12:2–8, Christians did have good reasons to understand these laws as obligatory. In addition to the likely general applicability of the sexual purity laws to the gerim already in the Hebrew Bible, including menstrual laws and washing after intercourse, to which we will soon turn, Christians had clear precedent to the applicability of these laws in Mary’s impurity after childbirth as recorded in Luke 2:22–40, as well as in the strong emphasis placed on menstrual purity in the widely received Protoevangelium of James.143 Despite the quibbles of many important church fathers such as Augustine and Chrysostom, such rituals remained central to the church until the seventh century and beyond. Pope Gregory the Great, for example, flourishing just before the emergence of the Muslim community in Arabia, used his power in the Roman church to encourage women not to enter the church during their menses or after childbirth.144 The most conspicuous aspect of the expansive Christian attitudes towards Israelite sexual purity laws may be that of washing after intercourse, again originally prescribed to Israelites, not to gentiles, in Leviticus 15:16–18. In order to assess how widespread the practice of washing was among Late Antique Christians, it is again important to consider the ongoing polemics against the practice before turning to the positive evidence. A close reading of several examples of the pervasive polemics against such practices proves instructive. The Didascalia Apostolorum dismisses any restrictions from participation in the liturgy based on the menstrual cycle along with washing after sexual intercourse (26): On this account, a woman (’ntt’) when she is in the way of women, and a man when an issue (dwb’) comes forth from him, and a man and his wife when

Gentile purity law from the Bible to the Qur’an 143 they have intercourse and rise up one from another – without restraint, without bathing (sḥyn), let them assemble (ntknshwn) for they are pure (ddkyn).145 The Didascalia Apostolorum, in addition to insisting that women are always pure, regardless of their menstrual state or of when they last engaged in sexual intercourse with their husbands, of course, does not negate the gentile purity regulations in their entirety. In its twenty-fourth chapter, the Didascalia Apostolorum includes a paraphrase of the Decree of the Apostles, prohibiting “that which is sacrificed” (dbyḥʾ), “blood” (dmʾ), “that which is strangled” (ḥnyqʾ), and “illicit sexual intercourse” (znywtʾ).146 The Didascalia Apostolorum, we have seen, understands these prohibitions in the context of the “uncleanness” of Leviticus 18. Likewise, both the Latin and the Syriac text initially understood the prohibition of illicit sexual intercourse in line with Leviticus 18 as including the prohibition of intercourse during the menses, which both the Latin and the Syriac texts do affirm explicitly (even if this prohibition, in one place, is explicitly revoked in the Syriac text in a possibly Islamicate emendation).147 Yet just like the Apostolic Constitutions, the Didascalia Apostolorum seeks to deemphasize the context of ritual purity and rejects an expansive understanding of sexual purity laws found in the Hebrew Bible not without ridicule, as it states elsewhere in chapter 26: Be thus minded therefore concerning everyone, concerning those who observe issues and the intercourse of marriage; indeed, all these observances are foolish and harmful. For if, when a man shall leave intercourse, or flux come out from him, he must be bathed, let him also wash his mattress – and he will have this travail and unceasing vexation: he will be bathing and he will be washing his clothes and his mattress, and he will not be able to do anything else . . . on this account, beloved, flee and stay away from observances which are such.148 It is tempting to read these statements merely as evidence of the dismissive attitude towards ritual purity described earlier. Yet it is equally quite evident that members of the community addressed by the Didascalia Apostolorum were observing the practice of ritual washing after sexual intercourse as stated in Leviticus 15. Hence, these Christians understood not only Leviticus 17 and 18 but also parts of Leviticus 15 as applicable to all believers and endorsed a Christian sense of ritual purity that was based on their understanding of the church as the Temple and of the female, as well as the male body, as susceptible to impurity, displaying the appreciative and even the expansive attitude towards gentile purity. It is hard to overemphasize how far the discussion of ritual purity permeated early Christian discourse. Appreciative and dismissive attitudes towards such practices often intersected, just as they intersected in the dispute between the Didascalia Apostolorum and members of its congregation. The Apostolic Constitutions, we saw earlier, seems also at odds with its purity-observant audience. More intriguingly, the Apostolic Constitutions itself offers support for both sides of the debate. At one point the text, as it has been transmitted, seems to reject

144  Holger M. Zellentin the necessity to wash after sexual intercourse, stating that a man and a woman who “company together (συνερχόμενοι) in lawful marriage, and rise from one another, may pray without any observations, and without washing are clean (μὴ λουσάμενοι καθαροί εἰσιν).”149 Elsewhere, however, the same text exhorts its audience to wash before prayer in general, leaving no doubt about the significance of the order: “let the faithful, whether men or women when they rise from sleep, before they go to work, when they have washed themselves (νιψάμενοι), pray.”150 The discrepancy between the two passages points towards two divergent streams in Christian thought on washing, which can be found throughout early Christianity.151 How pervasive was the practice to wash after sexual intercourse and before prayer throughout early Christianity? Did authorities such as those composing the Didascalia Apostolorum or the Apostolic Constitutions prevail over those who endorsed a sense of ritual purity? Three final examples illustrate that the debate remained central not only in the Syriac but also in the Latin and Greek churches. Gregory the Great, to begin with, writing in the Latin West in the sixth century, endorsed not only the rule that women would refrain from entering the church after giving birth to a child or during menstruation, but equally, in a measured and independent way, approved washing after sexual intercourse, after involuntary emission of semen, and before prayer. Importantly, Gregory endorsed such rules all the while dismissing the necessity for bodily ritual purity.152 John Chrysostom, addressing his audience in fifth-century Constantinople, seeks to dismiss such observances as “Jewish,” all the while giving us good evidence that his audience, like Gregory the Great, maintained the very rituals that vexed this church father: Whosoever comes from the bed (ἀπὸ κοίτης), it is said, is not clean (οὐκ ἔστι καθαρός). Those things are not polluted (βδελυρὰ) which arise from nature (τὰ ἀπὸ φύσεως), O ungrateful and senseless Jew, but those which arise from choice. For if marriage is honorable and pure (καθαρὸς), why forsooth do you think that one is even polluted (μιαίνεσθαι) by it?153 Chrysostom contrasts his dismissal of washing after intercourse with conventional practice, with what “is said,” then denouncing the rule, in his typical manner, as a Jewish one.154 Despite his negative attitude towards gentile purity, the Archbishop of Constantinople gives us a glimpse of the practices of his constituency which, just as those of the Apostolic Constitutions and the Didascalia Apostolorum, seem very much to have purified themselves after sexual intercourse, as he explicates elsewhere: And while thou, fresh from the company (συνουσίας) of your own wife, darest not pray, although this is no blame at all (οὐδὲ ἔγκλημα τοῦτο), do you lift up your hands, fresh from reviling and insult, which brings after it no less than hell, before you have well cleansed yourself (πρὶν ἢ καθᾶραι σαυτὸν καλῶς)? And how do you not shudder? Tell me. Have you not heard Paul, saying, “Marriage is honorable, and the bed undefiled (ἡ κοίτη ἀμίαντος)?” (see Hebrews 13:4). But if on rising from the undefiled bed (τῆς ἀμιάντου

Gentile purity law from the Bible to the Qur’an 145 κοίτης), you dare not draw near in prayer, how do you, coming from the bed of the devil, call on that awful and terrible name?155 The diverging attitudes we found throughout early Christianity, which alternatively appreciate, expand, or reject washing and ritual purity, mark the parallel divide between Chrysostom and his audience. Here, as well as in many other parts of the early Christian church, it seems that the congregations were well attuned to many aspects of ritual purity, whereas part of the leadership vehemently opposed them, or at least sought to reinterpret them. The following testimony of Eusebius may epitomize the variety of the landscape. In his Ecclesiastical History, he describes the ritual washing necessary to enter the recently constructed Basilica in Tyre: (39) But when one comes within the gates he does not permit him to enter the sanctuary immediately, with impure and unwashed feet (ἀνάγνοις καὶ ἀνίπτοις ποσὶν); but leaving as large a space as possible between the temple and the outer entrance, . . . (40) he has placed symbols of sacred purifications (ἱερῶν . . . καθαρσίων . . . σύμβολα), setting up fountains opposite the temple which furnish an abundance of water (πολλῷ τῷ χεύματι τοῦ νάματος). This is the first halting-place of those who enter.156 In the Hebrew Bible, it is the priests who had to wash hands and feet before entering the sanctuary (see Ex. 30:20–1), a practice equally endorsed by the rabbis.157 For the Christians of Tyre, the rule was binding at least regarding the feet; the church father accepts and reinterprets it. Eusebius describes the purification of the feet, witnessing to real water at the same time as insisting that we are dealing only with a symbolic action. In this, the situation in Tyre and the way in which Eusebius depicts it epitomize what is perhaps the mainstream Christian attitude towards ritual purity. While some church fathers vehemently opposed the mere notion of ritual observance, most Christians, it seems, generally accepted practices of ritual purification but left their original Scriptural context behind. Christians thus tended to accept, expand, specify, and occasionally deny the biblical rulings, and similar practices survive well into the Middle Ages, or even beyond. Crucially, while the church fathers carefully studied the rulings in the Holiness Code in the same way as the authors of Acts likely did, they did so within a different hermeneutical framework: the careful differentiation between Israelite and gentile law in Leviticus that I designate as Judeo-Christian legal culture still shaped Christian sexual purity norms, yet the underlying hermeneutics had long been forgotten. The very core of the gentile purity regulations was left intact regarding sex as well as regarding food, and in many ways, these regulations even seemed to grow in certain times and at certain places. In his study on ritual observances of the church fathers, Tomson concludes the following: In the context of their liturgy, the ancient Christian fathers both kept reading the Scriptures of Israel and acknowledged the observance of certain purity rules in the church. . . . But in their exegesis, they declared that Jesus had

146  Holger M. Zellentin abolished the purity laws as practiced by the Jews. If this is not hypocritical, at the very least it is contradictory.158 Evyatar Marienberg likewise complains that the church fathers’ “logic is lacking.”159 Both scholars may describe the mainstream Christian attitude correctly, yet they might have come to a different conclusion had they considered the development of the Christian tradition, at whose core we find the gentile purity regulations stipulated in Genesis, Leviticus, and Ezekiel and endorsed in Acts. As the distinction between Jews and gentiles faded, Christians maintained the purity rules originally formulated for gentiles. The “contradiction,” or “lack of logic,” first and foremost resides in the eye of the modern beholders, who do not recognize the fact that the Hebrew Bible spelled out a set of purity laws for gentiles – even if it has to be admitted that the Christian recognition of their own legal hermeneutics had waned early on. Most Christians then kept and even expanded the laws, all the while divorcing them from the purity discourse in which they were originally embedded. The tension within the Christian hermeneutics noted by Thomson and Marienberg thus results from the legacy of the gentile purity laws in a context in which the legal hermeneutics of their original setting is forgotten. Yet there are, of course, two texts that do maintain the differentiation between Jews and gentiles along with the gentile purity regulations, albeit in their very own ways: the Clementine Homilies and the Qur’an, to which we will now turn.

IV.  Sexual purity in Judeo-Christian legal culture The Clementine Homilies, whose preserved text was edited in the fourth or fifth century CE, endorse the entirety of the gentile requirements found in Leviticus, along with the precepts to wash after intercourse and before prayer. The text also places these requirements in the framework of gentile purity, all the while rejecting the very idea of a sanctuary (or, for that matter, of a holy land). The Homilies were written in Greek, in the narrative form of a Late Antique romance that constitutes the framework of its extensive apostolic teachings, usually given in the form of theological-philosophical dialogues – the name “homilies” is as ill fitting as their secondary attribution to Clement of Rome and therefore their common moniker as pseudepigraphical.160 I have previously sketched the close relationship – along with important differences – of the legal culture we find in the Clementine Homilies to that of the Qur’an; the following considerations in turn locate the legal discourse of the Clementine Homilies more broadly in Late Ancient Christian discourse. It is crucial to note that while there is no extant full translation of the Clementine Homilies into Syriac, Arabic, or Ethiopic, we have clear partial evidence that the text was well received in all three of these languages. While the following considerations consider only the Greek evidence, I stipulate a much broader reception history for the text. Scarcity – and by no means absence – of evidence, as so often, is not evidence of scarcity or absence of the texts, and more importantly, of the legal practices they endorse.161

Gentile purity law from the Bible to the Qur’an 147 As in the case of the New Testament documents we have briefly considered, the Homilies’ ethnic considerations parallel their approach to Israelite and gentile purity. The text clearly stipulates what also seems to underlie at least the legal reasoning of Acts, namely, that there are two distinct ways to salvation. Jews need to obey the Mosaic Law; gentiles need to follow the teaching and the laws given by Jesus, whom the Clementine Homilies depict as the “true prophet.” The Clementine Homilies thus explicitly formulate the framework of ethnic separation and concomitant endorsement of Jewish and gentile ethnicity that we saw at work in the Acts of the Apostles and other earlier texts; I suggest designating this specific ethno-legal framework as Judeo-Christian. While the Homilies endorse the same gentile purity regulations that were practiced in many Christian communities, they also spell out a theological position not explicated in any other text belonging to the Jesus movement: Jesus is the son of God, yet not divine; Jews, at least in theory, do not need Jesus; and the gentiles, at least in practice, do not need Moses.162 In this, the Homilies endorse a theological model of the ethnic separation between Jews and gentiles that is akin to the one that was largely selfunderstood for the authors of Acts and other earlier texts. The Jews, for the Homilies, need to observe all laws given in the Torah; these laws are assumed but never discussed in detail.163 In parallel, the Homilies summarize God’s commandments to the gentiles in the words of the Apostle Peter, as follows: And this is the service He has defined: to worship Him only, and believe only in the prophet of truth (τῷ τῆς ἀληθείας μόνῳ πιστεύειν προφήτῃ), and to be immersed (βαπτισθῆναι) for the remission of sins (εἰς ἄφεσιν ἁμαρτιῶν), and thus by this pure dye (τῆς ἁγνοτάτης βαφῆς) to be born again unto God by saving water (διὰ τοῦ σῴζοντος ὕδατος); to abstain from the table of demons (τραπέζης δαιμόνων), that is, from food offered to idols (εἰδωλοθύτων), from carrion (νεκρῶν), meat strangled (πνικτῶν) or caught by wild beasts (θηριαλώτων), and from blood (αἵματος); not to live any longer impurely (μὴ ἀκαθάρτως βιοῦν); to wash after lying with a woman (ἀπὸ κοίτης γυναικὸς λούεσθαι); that they (i.e. the women) observe the menses (ἄφεδρον φυλάσσειν); that all should be sober-minded, given to good works (εὖ ποιεῖν), refraining from wrongdoing (μὴ ἀδικεῖν), looking for eternal life from the all-powerful God, and asking with prayer and continual supplication that they may win it.164 This list of observances, like that in Leviticus, is mainly addressed to men, but its side-note about menstruation also addresses women. The teaching of Jesus as

148  Holger M. Zellentin portrayed in the Clementine Homilies is based on the Decree of the Apostles and ultimately on Leviticus 17 and 18, and shares much with earlier Christians who endorsed the notion of gentile purity. While one should never reduce a text to the sum of its elements, the precise identification of antecedents to both the concepts and the language used in the Homilies shows how deeply the text is immersed in a broad tradition: Peter’s speech in the Clementine Homilies is partially modeled on the one Peter gives during the Pentecost in Acts 2; the call here to the audience to immerse (βαπτισθήτω) for the “remission of your sins” (εἰς ἄφεσιν τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν ὑμῶν) follows the earlier text quite closely – save, of course, the reference to immersion in the name of Jesus Christ in Acts, which the Homilies replace by a baptism unto God.165 • The Homilies’ imagery of “saving water” had been phrased similarly already by Origen and Cyprian of Carthage.166 • The Homilies require washing after sexual intercourse and, as indicated elsewhere, before prayer; this stands in line with the injunction to do so given to Israelites – but not to gentiles – in Leviticus 15:18. We have seen that despite the qualms about the practice by some authorities, washing before prayer, especially after intercourse, seems to have persisted in many churches throughout the Christian world and was endorsed by a number of authorities. • The Homilies present the problematic nature of idol meat in line with the views originally expressed by Paul, further developed by Origen as I discuss elsewhere, as food pertaining to the “table of the demons” (τραπέζης δαιμονίων, see 1. Corinthians 10:22).167 • The text then presents the teaching of Jesus and his disciples, as preserved by the apostles, as containing the clear and unequivocal endorsement of the purity observances known from Acts: the prohibition of meat sacrificed to idols, of blood, and of strangled meat, follows the wording used in the Acts of the Apostles (see e.g. Acts 21:25). The gentile purity laws in the Homilies focus on ritual purity, yet instead of using the term porneia that we found in Acts, the Homilies only specify one aspect of “the uncovering of nakedness” found in Leviticus: the abstinence from intercourse during a woman’s menses, as specified in Leviticus 18:19.168 • Moreover, the Homilies intersperse the items originally listed in Acts with two prohibitions based on two categories of meat problematic for gentiles that are also found in Leviticus 17: after the prohibition of idol meat, the Homilies explicate the prohibition of carrion (νεκρῶν); after the prohibition of strangled meat, the Homilies explicate the prohibition of animals killed by wild beasts, using the same term we find in the Septuagint’s rendering of Leviticus (θηριάλωτον, Lev. 17:15). The same understanding of “strangled” meat, I argue elsewhere, was found in Jerome and in the Canons of the Apostles, and likely shared by Augustine and most Christian authorities.169 •

The Clementine Homilies thus explicate their understanding of the Decree of the Apostles in light of Leviticus 17 and 18 and in light of the way in which it has

Gentile purity law from the Bible to the Qur’an 149 been understood in previous Christian tradition. The Clementine Homilies, often perceived as a marginal text, could be said to stand in conversation with a broader range of Early Christian gentile purity regulations than usually admitted. We have seen that while the biblical understanding of gentile purity, as part of the Israelite collective purity system, was focused on the land and on its Sanctuary; the Homilies do not regard the instructions regarding the Sanctuary to be part of the Torah and transform the biblical purity laws into a system focusing on the gentile individual.170 Instead of purity in the service of the holiness of land or place, the text understands ritual purity in the framework of a demonology that in turn rests on North African thought epitomized by Clement, Origen, and Tertullian, as I have sought to illustrate elsewhere.171 The demons can attack the humans only if these first defile themselves through impure food or sexual conduct, as God is portrayed in explaining to them: [B]ut if any of those who worship me go astray, either committing adultery (ἢ μοιχευσάμενοι), or practicing magic, or living impurely (ἀκαθάρτως), or doing any other of the things which are not well-pleasing to me, then they will have to suffer something at your (sc. the demon’s) hands or those of others, according to my order. But upon them, when they repent, I, judging of their repentance, whether it be worthy of pardon or not, shall give sentence. . . . But you (sc. the believers) ought to know that the demons have no power over anyone, unless first he be their table-companion; since not even their chief can do anything contrary to te law imposed upon them by God.172 Purity in the view of the Clementine Homilies becomes necessary in order to fend off the evil spirits, who are allowed to attack only once someone willingly brings impurity over himself or herself. The demons, in turn, seek to inhabit human bodies in order to partake in the joys of idolatry or illicit sexual intercourse: But the reason why the demons (δαίμονας) delight in entering into men’s bodies is this. Being spirits, and having desires after meats and drinks (βρωτὰ καὶ ποτὰ), and sexual intercourse (συνουσίαν), but not being able to partake of these by reason of their being spirits (πνεύματα), and wanting organs fitted for their enjoyment, they enter into the bodies of men, in order that, getting organs to minister to them, they may obtain the things that they wish, whether it be meat, by means of men’s teeth, or sexual intercourse (συνουσίας), by means of the genitalia (αἰδοίων).173 In line with the broad Christian tradition associating illicit sexual intercourse with satanic impulses, this passage describes the demons’ appetites in human terms.174 The Homilies do not restrict the fulfillment of the demons’ appetites as occurring merely through sacrificial meat and drink: they seem to be partaking in and enjoying all the meat one eats and all the wine one drinks, as well sexual intercourse, regardless of whether it is licit or illicit. Yet only illicit pleasures would have allowed the demons to inhabit the body in the first place, and the illicit activities mentioned in the text are clearly based on Leviticus 18: in addition to intercourse

150  Holger M. Zellentin with a woman during her menses, in the passage earlier, the text singles out incest, sex between men, adultery, and bestiality as vices promoted by Greek mythology.175 It should be added that the patriarchs are cleared of any such behavior: the text denounces the biblical tradition that Noah became drunk on his own wine as a satanic falsification of Scripture, allowed by God to be entered into some texts, along with the instructions regarding the sanctuary, only to test the mettle of true believers.176 In addition to the text’s endorsement of gentile purity and its full, if unsurprising, validation of the sexual laws of Leviticus 17, the text lists ritual washing after intercourse, “to wash after lying with a woman (ἀπὸ κοίτης γυναικὸς λούεσθαι),” as a requirement for gentiles. Gentiles, to reiterate, are not commanded to wash after intercourse in the Hebrew Bible. According to the Holiness Code, resident aliens are, of course, required to wash after the consumption of carrion or animals torn by wild beasts (see Lev. 17:15), as they are after contracting corpse impurity (see Numbers 19:2). We have seen that many Christians practiced ritual washing before prayer and especially after intercourse and saw the menstrual cycle as incompatible with entering a church or receiving the Eucharist. These Christians thus saw a larger number of commandments as applicable to gentiles than only those imposed on the non-Israelites explicitly in Leviticus 17–26, thereby displaying the expansive attitude vis-à-vis the gentile purity regulations. The Homilies, in requiring gentiles to wash after intercourse, continue this trend and for the first time offer a more systematic legal and theological catalogue of observations, along with a theoretical explanation, based on demonology. It is thus possible, yet difficult to prove or disprove, that for the first four Christian centuries, many of the practices here endorsed were simply self-understood without the need for explanation and that many Christians continued to observe them long thereafter. The Homilies not only stipulate washing after sexual intercourse but equally suggest that washing is especially necessary before prayer – the text repeatedly portrays Peter’s respective ritual observance.177 Peter is, of course, Jewish and therefore bound by the entirety of the Mosaic Law, according not only to Acts but also according to the Homilies. Yet the repeated portrayal of his complete immersion and the text’s pervasive praise of purity and washing, along with its exhortations against impurity and filth, make it quite likely that the text equally followed the tradition of requiring washing before prayer attested to in other Christian communities, as spelled out earlier. In addition, the Homilies’ third requirement for gentiles to wash, “to be immersed (βαπτισθῆναι) for the remission of sins (εἰς ἄφεσιν ἁμαρτιῶν),” should be understood in both the context of “Christian” baptism and in the context of “Jewish” ritual immersion.178 The Homilies thus formulate a distinct theology of sexual purity, which incorporates the prohibition of sex during a woman’s menses – in line with Leviticus 18 – along with Jewish and Christian aspects of atoning baptism, all of which are equally contextualized in the Middle Platonist goal of purifying the body along with the soul. The following passage connects these themes explicitly: Therefore approach, be ye righteous or unrighteous. For if you are righteous, immersion (βαπτισθῆναι) alone is lacking in order to salvation. But if you

Gentile purity law from the Bible to the Qur’an 151 are unrighteous, come to be immersed (τῷ βαπτισθῆναι) for the remission of the sins formerly committed in ignorance. . . . However, it is necessary to add something to these things which has not community with man, but is peculiar to the worship of God (θρησκείας θεοῦ). I mean purification (καθαρεύειν), not approaching to a man’s own wife when she is in separation (ἐν ἀφέδρῳοὔσῃ), for so the law of God commands. But what? If purity (τὸ καθαρεύειν) be not added to the service of God (τῇ τοῦ θεοῦ θρησκείᾳ), you would roll pleasantly like the dung-flies. Wherefore as man, having something more than the irrational animals, namely, rationality, purify (καθάρατε) your hearts from evil by heavenly reasoning, and wash (πλύνατε) your bodies in the bath (λουτρῷ). For purification (τὸ καθαρεύειν) according to the truth is not that the purity (καθάρσεως) of the body precedes that of the heart, but that purity (τὸ καθάριον) follows goodness.179 The Homilies here present baptism as leading to salvation and continuous washing as necessary for the double purification of body and mind (or “heart,” in its Greco-Semitic jargon). The Homilies, have thus at least three identifiable frameworks in which this addition can be placed: in the Homilies’ biblical grounding, in their Jewish and Christian baptismal theology, and in their Middle Platonist context. The development of the gentile purity regulations, which Acts based on Leviticus, can thus be traced throughout Late Antiquity. Some church fathers abandoned or at least de-emphasized the observances, while the majority of Christians seems to have generally maintained them quietly. At the same time, one legal strand of the Jesus movement – unlikely to be embodied in a separate community yet intellectually traceable from Origen and Dionysius of Alexandria to the Clementine Homilies – expanded them and began to elaborate on them ever more emphatically at the same time that these observances came under pressure from some church fathers. If we count the vehement discourse against washing after sexual intercourse and before prayer we saw earlier as part of the evidence that these practices were attractive to many Christians – and this seems likely – than the evidence for Judeo-Christian legal culture up to the fourth century CE is thus relatively clear from the point of view of its content, and it is clearly geographically widespread. The evidence past the fourth century CE, by contrast, is restricted to text such as the Clementine Homilies and a few others, both in the context of their composition and of their reception history, which can be located geographically from Rome to Syria, or even to Mesopotamia, and from Ethiopia to North Africa.180 While these texts constitute evidence for understanding the practices the Qur’an takes for granted, we will see that the Qur’an in turn, along with texts such as the letters of Gregory the Great, constitutes important evidence at least for local persistence of Christian gentile purity up to the seventh century. We have seen that the Apostolic Constitution and the Didascalia Apostolorum and church fathers such as Chrysostom and Augustine denounced the established Christian practices of ritual purity carried within their community, and thereby reflected the wide historical spread of these observances in the fourth century

152  Holger M. Zellentin along with their opposition to them. Why, then, have historians been so reluctant to connect the dots pointing to the ongoing importance of Christian notions of gentile purity? It can certainly be said that we often mistake patristic polemics for historical fact, yet that does not explain the extent of our likely misreading. It is the heresiologial tradition that in my mind casts a far longer shadow over the historical memory of Christian notions of gentile purity. The heresiologists’ effective creation of a concept of heretical Christian groups has prevented us from seeing that the practices attributed to them were hardly marginal, and certainly not “heretical,” if measured by their widely attested observance. Epiphanius of Salamis, for example, writing in the late fourth century CE, denounces practices very much akin to those endorsed in the Clementine Homilies and attributes them to the “Ebionites” and the “Nazoreans” of Palestine, a place he knew well.181 Despite Epiphanius’ fanciful elaborations and his dependence on previous authorities, we cannot dismiss the likelihood that some of the practices he describes were actually followed in Palestine – albeit not necessarily in separate communities, as he wants us to believe. According to an often-quoted passage in Epiphanius, for example, the fictional heresiarch Ebion added the rule . . . that a man must immerse himself in water every day he has been with a woman, after he leaves her, any water he can find, the sea or other. Moreover, if he meets anyone while returning from his plunge and immersion in the water, he runs back again for another immersion, often with his clothes on, too!182 Likewise, Epiphanius describes a likely invented group called the “Ebionites” as “defiled themselves” since they “often have much to do with sex,” adding that “they use the water lavishly for their own reassurance, and think that they have purification through immersions.”183 Epiphanius’ slurs should not, of course, be used to write church history, and the very existence of the groups he describes has rightfully been doubted.184 Yet his attempt to connect to a specific group Christian practices that we saw was widespread across several sociolinguistic barriers again suggests that the practice itself was followed not by sectarian, but rather likely by mainstream Christians in Palestine. The very specific endorsement of the practice to wash after sexual intercourse in the testimony from Alexandria and from Tyre, from Rome we have seen earlier and its detailed rejection in Constantinople, and in the Latin and the Syriac version of the Didascalia Apostolorum, and, of course, also in the Apostolic Constitutions, corroborate a widespread practice reaching from Rome to Syria and from Mesopotamia to Ethiopia. We can thus locate the practice of the gentile purity regulations around all of Arabia as perhaps almost universally followed up to the fourth century, and at least as widely so up to the seventh century – especially if we take the Qur’anic evidence into account in our quest to define plausible Arabian attitudes towards gentile purity in the seventh century CE.

Gentile purity law from the Bible to the Qur’an 153

V. The gentile purity regulations in the Meccan Qur’an The final two parts of this chapter will focus on sexual purity regulations in the Qur’an. I follow the traditional separation between a Meccan and a Medinan layer of the Qur’an as a general reading guide to the text, remaining to be corroborated by further philological criticism.185 The view of sex expressed in the Medinan suras and the terminology employed here, by and large, build on that expressed in the Meccan suras. That being said, we will see that the Medinan suras of the Qur’an display a far more developed framework of legal rulings on sexual conduct than the Meccan ones and that the emerging language of Islamic sexual purity is only more fully developed here. The Qur’an as a whole can be argued to endorse aspects of Judeo-Christian legal culture in as far as it differentiates between “Israel” and the nations and continues to impose the gentile purity regulations on non-Israelites within a legal hermeneutical framework predicated on Moses and Jesus.186 Yet at the same time, the Qur’an clearly departs from its Judeo-Christian predecessors in several ways. In line with Syriac churches that saw themselves not only as the “spiritual” or the “true” but also as the ethnic Israel – constituted of “the people” and “the peoples” – the Qur’an recasts both Jews and Christians as two factions among the one people of Israel.187 In other words, it perceives Jews and Christians as two parties vying for supremacy among the “the sons of Israel” and thereby frames both within the respective self-identities of rabbinic Jews and Syriac Christians. The perceived ethnic fusion of Jews and Christians as two groups within Israel allows for the Qur’an’s reconstitution of its own community as the truly “gentile,” or perhaps more specifically Ishmaelite, alternative to both Israelite subgroups, preparing its claim to return to the original, pre-Israelite “Abrahamic” religion.188 In contrast to those whom it portrays as Israelites, it recasts Abraham as the true “gentile” (ḥanīf), in whose heritage it places the true religion of its own followers.189 The original law, in the Qur’an’s view, therefore predates the purity laws given to Israel as a result of their sins, such as that of the Golden Calf. It is only these punitive laws which were in turn abrogated by Jesus (a view shared with the Didascalia Apostolorum); Jesus’ abrogation is reiterated and reinforced by the Qur’an’s own prophet.190 While endorsing the ethnic distinctiveness of Israel, the Qur’an thus equally presents this distinctness as historically contingent. The Qur’an thereby erodes the borders between Jewish, Christian, and Muslim identity by seeking to fuse food regulations and allowing intermarriage between Muslims and the “People of the Book” – but not with idolaters, as we will see.191 While it upholds Israelite distinctness to a degree, we can thus consider the Qur’an to be a turning point and perhaps even an end marker of the type of Judeo-Christian legal culture that has manifested itself throughout Late Antiquity. With noteworthy exceptions, the Qur’an’s foundational role for Islamic civilizations had long distracted from the intimate relationship with the Jewish and Christian tradition in which the text places itself. A closer look, however, reveals that the cultural and linguistic boundary between the communities reflected in the Qur’an

154  Holger M. Zellentin and in the Syriac Didascalia Apostolorum is not necessarily more distinct than, say, the respective boundary between Byzantine Christianity and East Syrian Christianity. Building on the foundational work of figures such as Abraham Geiger, Heinrich Speyer, Joseph Horovitz, and others, the field of Qur’anic studies is currently undergoing a reorientation that I have elsewhere named its “Syriac shift,” which illuminates how closely the Qur’an and its audience were familiar with Syriac Christian culture and how precisely the Islamic Scripture sets itself apart from Syriac Christianity. Angelika Neuwirth, Gabriel Reynolds, Sidney Griffith, and Joseph Witztum have illustrated that the Bible as well as rabbinic and Syriac texts such as the homilies of Jacob of Serugh, the Cave of Treasures, and the Didascalia Apostolorum offer us glimpses of a world closely related to that of the Qur’an. Yet we should conceive of this shared world mostly, if not entirely, within the framework of a shared oral culture and reject any notion of “textual influence” unless strong evidence suggests a more intimate textual relationship, which is rare.192 Rather, in general, the similarity of Judeo-Christian legal culture attested in written texts allows us to conceive of an overlap in living discourse and practice. The affinity of the Qur’an and Syriac culture is doubly meaningful: it attests to the prevalence of Syriac culture in the milieu of nascent Islam, yet it also points to the key difference between Syriac culture and the Qur’an’s Arabic and Islamic self-identity, which some scholars see as less pronounced.193 The Qur’an, indeed, reinterprets the culture not only of Syriac Christianity but also that of rabbinic Judaism, and it sees both against the background of the Arabic cultural and linguistic horizon of the nascent Islamic community, eventually setting Muslims apart from both Jews and Christians.194 On the “gentile” Muslims, the Qur’an eventually imposes the gentile purity regulations regarding food and sex, but with important modifications. In line with the Clementine Homilies and other witnesses, the Qur’an takes an expansive view of gentile purity and continues the hermeneutical process that began in the Holiness Code – it reduces ambiguity and specifies rules in close dialogue with Leviticus and its Late Antique jurisprudential history, and it does so by expanding rules to gentiles that were initially addressed to Israelites. While the Qur’an’s Meccan suras already decree rules pertaining to food in the context of idolatry and the fear of demons, the largest part of the gentile purity regulations are found in the Qur’an’s Medinan suras, which are traditionally, and in my view correctly, associated with the final period of the Muslim community’s foundational phase. Here, the central context of the purity laws, in addition to a remaining concern about demons, becomes the annual pilgrimage to the sanctuary, akin to yet distinct from the Bible’s association of purity with the desert Tabernacle and the Temple. The Qur’an thus endorses the symbolic discourse of ritual purity focused on the individual found in the Clementine Homilies, yet it also connects this discourse to the purity of new space, substituting the Meccan sanctuary for the Levitical emphasis on the holiness of the land of Israel and of the Israelite sanctuary.195 The relationship between the Meccan Qur’an and the biblical and Late Antique purity regulations are perhaps best illustrated by beginning with the case of illicit sexual intercourse so central to the previous traditions. By and large, we should understand the term porneia, from the Acts of the Apostles throughout Christianity,

Gentile purity law from the Bible to the Qur’an 155 and including the concept of znywtʾ in the Syriac tradition, along with the concept of znwt in early rabbinic literature, in roughly the same way as Late Antique Jews and Christians understood all the transgressions singled out in Leviticus 18 as “the uncovering of nakedness.” The Qur’an similarly prohibits specific forms of incest in close dialogue with Leviticus 18, and it prohibits sexual intercourse during the menses, adultery, marriage to idolaters, and sex between men, remaining silent, like many Late Antique texts, only on the topic of bestiality.196 The precise overlap regarding the gentile sexual purity laws of Leviticus and the Qur’an is noteworthy in and of itself. As is the case with gentile purity laws regarding food and incest, moreover, I will seek to illustrate that the nascent Muslim community, especially in Medina, was finely attuned to the Christian understanding of the gentile purity laws regarding sex and ritual washing. Hence, it is justified to describe the latter as the Qur’an’s legal point of departure. We have seen that most Christian texts, with important exceptions, presuppose rather than list the sexual purity laws enfolded in the concept of illicit sexual intercourse. The Qur’an seems to employ a similar overarching concept of “illicit sexual intercourse.” Although aspects of this concept are occasionally spelled out, gaining a clear grasp of its terminology demands some comparative philologically. The Arabic term zinā, to begin with, is a lexical cognate to Hebrew znwt, Aramaic znwtʾ, and Syriac znywtʾ, which, we have seen, can designate “illicit sexual intercourse” more broadly or “fornication,” as well as “prostitution” more specifically. In the Qur’an, however, zinā does not necessarily denote the broad catalogue of sexual transgressions mentioned in Leviticus 18. The Meccan Qur’an uses the term in an open way that cannot be determined with full certainty, it could designate a broad range of sexual transgressions. We will find, however, that the Medinan Qur’an uses zinā in a way that suggests that it denotes “fornication” in a narrower sense, namely, sexual intercourse between a man and a woman not married to each other, regardless of their marital status otherwise – a transgression under which, we will see, the Qur’an also seems to subsume adultery, in this case not following the Greek Christian precedent to distinguish between adultery (μοιχεία) and fornication (πορνεία), which we encountered earlier.197 It is likely, yet not certain, that the Meccan usage of zinā implies the same meaning of “fornication” that we see in the Medinan suras. Yet even without a conclusive definition of the term’s meaning, we can see that the way in which the Meccan Qur’an uses the term zinā shows many signs of its continuity with Late Antique sexual purity discourse. In addition to and sometimes along with zinā, the Qur’an uses the far broader term fāḥishah/faḥshāʾ, which in turn does designate all forms of illicit sexual intercourse, both in the Meccan and the Medinan suras. It is this latter term that thereby constitutes a far closer parallel in meaning to the Jewish and Christian concepts of “illicit sexual intercourse” designated especially by the broad tradition of Christian implementation of the Decree of the Apostles as porneia in the Greek, as fornicatio in Latin, and as znywtʾ in the Syriac. The Qur’an’s usage of both terms, zinā and fāḥishah/faḥshāʾ, in my view, stands in direct continuity with many of the legal and cultural norms attached to the notion of illicit sexual intercourse throughout Late Antiquity.

156  Holger M. Zellentin The root z-n-y occurs only twice in the Meccan suras, once in Q 17:32 as the noun al-zinā and once in Q 25:68 as a third-person masculine plural imperfect verb in the first form, as yaznūna. In neither occurrence does the context help us determine its meaning directly; both times, however, the passages are revealing if read in their broader Qur’anic and Late Antique context. In Q 17:32, zinā is qualified as a fāḥishah, a “shameful act,” and the latter term allows us to draw some conclusions about the former one as well. It is the term fāḥishah or its cognate faḥshāʾ that clearly describes a broad variety of sexual transgressions in other Meccan suras, including the attempt to seduce Josef in Q 12:24 by a woman married to someone else, as well as sex between men in Q 7:80, Q 27:54, and Q 29:28 (to which we will return). Committing fāḥishah/faḥshāʾ, moreover, is, in Q 7:28, at least discursively associated with the sin of Adam and his wife, which, in Q 7:27 led to Satan “stripping them of their garments to show them their nakedness” (yanziʿu ʿanhumā libāsahumā li-yuriyahumā sauʾātihimā), at least in the literal sense.198 It seems thus already plausible that fāḥishah and faḥshāʾ could designate a concept describing all forms of illicit sexual intercourse, akin to “uncovering of nakedness” in the Bible and “illicit sexual intercourse” in Jewish and Christian discourse, designated by the Hebrew znwt, Greek πορνεία, Aramaic znwtʾ, and Syriac znywtʾ in its broad meaning. The same meaning of fāḥishah and faḥshāʾ seems to be maintained in the Medinan parts of the Qur’an, as we will see.199 The conceptual affinity between the Qur’anic terms fāḥishah/faḥshāʾ, “a shameful act,” on the one hand, and the broad biblical, rabbinic, and Christian notion of “illicit sexual intercourse,” on the other, points to a specifically shared discourse on morality. In addition to the conceptual affinity of Satan’s “uncovering of the nakedness” of Adam and his wife in Q 7:27–28, where the Qur’an – in dialogue with Syriac narratives – takes the biblical metaphor back to one concrete iteration thereof, the Qur’an’s repeated association of fāḥishah/faḥshāʾ with Satan evokes the Christian association of illicit sexual intercourse and the devil, as we have seen, for example, in the demons’ desire for illicit sexual intercourse found throughout Late Antique Christianity.200 The Qur’an’s conceptuality of “illicit sexual intercourse” is thus a distinct Arabic one that remains in close dialogue with the concept of “the uncovering of nakedness” in the Bible and stands even closer to the Christian iteration of this notion as “illicit sexual intercourse.” It is against this background of the continuity of the term fāḥishah/faḥshāʾ with Late Antique sexual purity regulations that we can contextualize not as much the Meccan meaning but the usage of the term zinā in Q 17 Sūrat al-Isrāʾ and in Q 25 Sūrat al-Furqān, as well as the Meccan usage of the term fāḥishah/faḥshāʾ to describe sex between males. In both the Meccan passages in which the term occurs, zinā is forbidden in an immediate and in a broader context of lists of other precepts reminiscent of the specific rules well known from the Holiness Code and its Late Antique reception history. In Sūrat al-Isrāʾ, zinā is proscribed just before the prohibition of murder (Q 17:32–33) in a longer list that closes with a prohibition of shirk, “associationism,” that is, of associating another deity or divine persona with God (Q 17:39). “Associationism” is a Qur’anic term that includes not only idolatry but

Gentile purity law from the Bible to the Qur’an 157 also heresies, especially Jewish and Christian forms of impure monotheism.201 In Sūrat al-Furqān, the prohibition of zinā (wa-lā yaznūna) is equally given in the immediate context of the prohibition of associationism and murder (Q 25:68). The Meccan Qur’an’s joint prohibition of murder, associationism, and zinā thus clearly evokes the biblical grouping of murder, idolatry, and the “uncovering of nakedness” through which Leviticus 17 and 18 expands the commandments given to Noah in Genesis 9. The Qur’an’s joint prohibition of the three acts also reminds us of the prohibition of “blood,” idol meat, and illicit sexual intercourse in the Decree of the Apostles that shaped the Late Antique Christian tradition. The same prohibitions, of course, feature among the rabbinic regulations for gentiles. More specifically, however, we should note that the rabbis understand the sins of murder, idolatry, and the “uncovering of nakedness” as especially egregious, necessitating that Jews must at all times suffer martyrdom rather than acquiesce in being forced into committing any of them.202 While the evidence in this case is succinct, it seems quite likely that the specific immediate affinity of murder, associationism, and zinā in the Meccan Qur’an thus points to the moral universe shared with the Christian as well as with the rabbinic tradition. The broader context corroborates this impression. Both times zinā is prohibited in the Meccan Qur’an, the immediate clusters are embedded in a wider cluster of precepts which I have previously argued reflect the broader legal culture of Syriac Christianity. In Sūrat al-Furqān, the prohibition of zinā, polytheism, and murder is preceded by an exhortation to be humble and peaceful (Q 25:63), to hold nightly vigils (verse 64), by a warning of hell (verses 65–66), and an exhortation to charity (verse 67); it is succeeded by an exhortation to repent (verses 70–71), the prohibition of false testimony and of heeding to gossip (verse 72), a reminder to heed God’s signs (verse 73), to take comfort in one’s family and one’s role among the Godwary (verse 74), and the promise of paradise (verses 75–76). A parallel list of precepts, in this case with zinā and murder near its center, can be found in Sūrat al-Isrāʾ, and a related one in Q 6 Sūrat al-Anʿām (here, with the term fāḥishah taking the place of zinā).203 All three lists are reminiscent of the legal discourse in the Syriac tradition, especially as offered by the Didascalia Apostolorum, as I have argued previously, thereby pointing again to the specific Late Antique context of the Qur’an’s sexual purity regulations.204 Yet while the Qur’an shares its moral symbolism to a degree with the Christian and the rabbinic tradition, it is clear that its literary presentation is unmistakably its own: the entire catalogue in Sūrat al-Furqān, for example, functions as a dramatic coda to the sura as a whole, and it is structurally set apart through a literary frame of its own which emphasizes “peace” in the here and in the hereafter.205 The structural framework achieved by an opening and a closing, and by its three central positioning of specific crimes, dovetails with the extra emphasis the text places on the prohibition of murder, associationism, and zinā: whoever commits any of these three sins can expect that the punishment will be “doubled for him on the Day of Resurrection” (Q 25:68).206 Hence, while it is unsurprising that the Qur’an would prohibit zinā more specifically and illicit sexual intercourse more broadly, we can conclude that it does so in dialogue with the Syriac Christian legal tradition and

158  Holger M. Zellentin possibly also with the rabbinic one, all the while placing the Jewish and the Christian legal culture into a literary and legal framework entirely of its own. Overall, however, in the prohibitions of illicit sexual intercourse in the Meccan as well as in the Medinan Qur’an, there is no direct reference to the topic of natural law that we saw so prominently discussed in the Apostolic Constitutions and throughout the East and West Syrian Christian tradition. The Qur’an, however, shares the tendency of Christian texts to place the issue of sex between men in a category of its own, describing it, in its own way, as “unnatural,” in this respect mirroring rather precisely the legal category of natural law, as expressed, for example, in the Apostolic Constitutions and by Mar Aba. “Lot’s people” in the Meccan Qur’an act in many ways like their biblical counterparts act in Sodom: the Qur’an depicts the episode of the rape attempted by Lot’s people in a way that condemns sex between men, consensual or not. We have seen that the prohibition of sex between men, just like the remainder of the gentile purity laws, finds at least its symbolical framework in the story of Noah in Genesis 9. (Here, Ham’s failure to “cover his father’s nakedness,” led to the curse of his son Canaan and thereby of the Sodomites, who are part of Canaan’s offspring and accused of attempted male rape in Genesis 19:5, just as the Canaanites are accused of practicing sex between men in Leviticus 18; see pages 117–123 earlier.) The Qur’an, while sharing the story known from Genesis 19 and the proscription of sex between men found in Leviticus 18:22, integrates the ethnic politics of the story in its own prophetic framework in which prophets are sent to their own people.207 The originally Canaanite Sodomites, hence, become Lot’s “brothers,” as he indeed calls them figuratively in the Bible.208 In its narrative about Lot’s people and their punishment, I have argued elsewhere, the Meccan Qur’an, moreover, reflects a retelling of various Palestinian rabbinic traditions.209 The way in which sex between men is condemned, however – for example, in Q 7 Sūrat al-Aʿrāf 80–81 – does not correspond either to the biblical or the rabbinic, but rather to the Christian tradition: 80 And Lot, when he said to his people, “Do you commit a shameful act (ʾa-taʾtūna l-fāḥishata) in which no one has preceded you (pl.) from among the worlds (mina l-ʿālamīn)? 81 Indeed you come to men lustfully (shahwatan) instead of women! Rather, you are a profligate lot.” Lot’s accusation in Q 7:80, which is repeated in Q 29:28 almost verbatim and slightly differently in Q 27:54, frames the actions of Lot’s people as a “shameful act,” fāḥishah (the same term used further to qualify zinā in Q 7:32), which I suggested earlier designates a broad category of sexual sins akin to “the uncovering of nakedness” according to Leviticus 18. We should note that the Meccan Qur’an uses the very common root ʾ-t-y (in the first form) to designate the “committing” of the “shameful act” only in the three cases where it describes sex between men; the Medinan Qur’an equally applies this root to “shameful acts” that include sex between men, as we will see.

Gentile purity law from the Bible to the Qur’an 159 The Qur’an’s notion that “no one has preceded” the Sodomite’s sex between men recalls the Christian notion of sex between men as “unnatural.”210 We have seen this widespread Christian idea summarized by the Apostolic Constitutions, which claim that “the sin of Sodom is contrary to nature (παρὰ φύσιν ἐστὶν)” and that those engaging in sex between men “attempt the dissolution of the world (διάλυσιν κόσμου), and endeavour to make the natural course of things (τὰ κατὰ φύσιν) to change for one that is unnatural (παρὰ φύσιν).”211 Likewise, Mar Aba, in his treatise on Leviticus 18, classified sex between males and with animals as “unnatural” (dlʾ bkynʾ) and as breaking the rules that had governed all creatures since the dawn of creation (mn brshyt).212 In its evocation of breaking the immutable rules of nature and the lack of precedent for sex between men before Sodom, the Qur’an clearly echoes the concepts of sex between men – yet, of course, not the language – used by the Apostolic Constitutions and by Mar Aba, again pointing to a broad cultural (yet not a literary) continuity. We can thus place the Meccan’s Qur’an’s prohibition of sex between men, as well as that of its prohibition of illicit sexual intercourse more broadly, in the framework of the Christian reception of the gentile purity laws. The Meccan Qur’an, in other words, assumes its audience to be familiar with the prohibition of both and integrates these prohibitions in its legal and prophetological narrative without further specifying their nature or possible actions against those transgressing them. The discourse of sexual purity per se is absent in the Meccan suras – this can only be found in the Medinan suras, along with a further elaboration on the sexual purity laws which once again point to their biblical origin along with their Christian and rabbinic reception history.

VI.  Sexual purity in the Medinan Qur’an The Medinan parts of the Qur’an offer a much more comprehensive picture of sexual law and sexual purity, all the while continuing to develop the discourse of the Meccan Qur’an – as well as of the Late Antique, mainly Christian, tradition. We will first consider the legislation on sexual transgressions depicted as fāḥishah/faḥshāʾ, “shameful act,” and zinā, in the Medinan suras and then move towards the symbolism of sexual purity linked to these concepts. Q 2:169 and Q 2:268, to begin with, associate faḥshāʾ with Satan’s temptation, in line with the Meccan and the Christian tradition.213 In a few cases, the Medinan suras of the Qur’an, just like in the Meccan ones, use the nouns fāḥishah and faḥshāʾ to describe a range of sexual transgressions that are more often than not left unspecified, corresponding to the broad biblical notion of the “uncovering of nakedness” according to Leviticus 18 in its Jewish and Christian reading.214 Most of the occurrences of the term, however, allow for a more specific definition of what the term signifies and which Late Antique traditions it presupposes. A first notable occurrence, Q 4:15–17, describes the “committing” of a fāḥishah, an unspecified sexual act committed by women or by men: 15 And those (wa-llātī, f., pl.) that commit a shameful act ( yaʾtīna l-fāḥishata, f., pl.), any of your women (min nisāʾikum), produce against them four

160  Holger M. Zellentin witnesses from yourselves, and if they testify, detain them in houses until death takes them (yatawaffāhunna l-mawtu), or God decrees a path for them. 16 And those two (wa-lladhāni, m.) that commit (yaʾtiyānihā, i.e., such an act), among you (minkum), chastise them both; but if the two of them repent (fa-in tābā) and reform, let both of them alone. Indeed, God is clement, merciful (allāha kāna tawwābā raḥīmā). 17 Repentance before God is only for those who commit evil (yaʿmalūna s-sūʾ) out of ignorance (bi-jahālatin), then repent promptly (yatūbūna min qarībin). It is such whose repentance God will accept (yatūbu llāhu), and God is knowing, wise. 18 But repentance is not for those (wa-laysati t-tawbatu li-lladhīna) who go on committing misdeeds (yaʿmalūna s-sayyiʾāti): when death approaches any of them, he says, “I repent now (ʾinnī tubtu l-āna).” Nor is it for those who die while they are faithless. For such We have prepared a painful punishment. The “shameful act” committed by the women in the first case, in Q 4:15, can be deduced quite securely by the one committed by the two people in the second one, in Q 4:16, and vice versa; the verses shed light on each other based on their structural parallelism. The fact that an all-female group is designated by the plural female relative pronoun “those” (allātī) in verse 15 indicates that the group designated by the dual male relative pronoun “those two” (alladhāni) in verse 16 are two men. The fact that a dual is used for the two men in verse 16, in turn, makes it clear that two women are designated in verse 15.215 The passage thus proscribes sex between two (or more) women in verse 15 and sex between two men in verse 16, and the proscription stands in line with the portrayal of sex between men as “unnatural” in the Meccan passages Q 7:80, Q 27:54, and Q 29:28 discussed earlier.216 Along with these Meccan passages, moreover, Q 4:15 and 16 apply the verb ʾ-t-y (in the first form) to describe the very same transgression.217 There is thus much to corroborate our suggested reading based on the Qur’an itself. However, while the Medinan Qur’an’s legal procedure to establish the transgression and its proposed punishment are entirely its own, we should also note that its discussion of repentance, mercy, and sinners who repent on their deathbed in Q 4:15–18 are broadly, yet perceivably, reminiscent of Syriac Christian discourse, perhaps best epitomized by procedures pertaining to sex between men in the Syriac Canons of Ancyra and by monastic sources, while the specific punishment for females put forward by the Qur’an seems to follow rabbinic precedent for repeat offenders. The Qur’an’s continuity with Late Antique Christian discourse is supported through a basic literary analysis of the passage. The key theme of the Qur’anic passage Q 4:15–18 is repentance. The root t-w-b occurs six times in verses 16–18, making it very clear that only those who male sinners repent immediately will have God accept them, while those who hold on until their deathbed will not. (It is likely, yet not certain, that women are equally allowed to repent.) Q 4:15–18, and especially its topics of sex between men, repentance, mercy, the formal investigation of the matter, and the “exclusion” until the end of life, can be compared

Gentile purity law from the Bible to the Qur’an 161 fruitfully with the penitential prescriptions for those found guilty of bestiality or sex between men as expressed, for example, in the Canons of Ancyra, especially in their Western Syriac iteration dating from the turn of the sixth century CE.218 These canons permanently exclude from physically entering the church two categories of men depicted as the most extreme of sinners, namely, those found guilty of bestiality and those engaging in sex “with men” (ʿm dkrʾ), especially so if their acts are ongoing.219 In this canon’s preceding ruling, we learn that those guilty of bestiality (and of sex with males according to the earliest Latin translation) have to be in penance (btybwtʾ) for 15 or 25 years, or, if they are older, until just before the end of their lives, when they can again receive the Eucharist – a harsh penalty otherwise only reserved for murderers.220 For the younger sinners, “their life in penitence (dbtybwtʾ) shall be examined and according to this shall be made worthy of compassion (lmrḥmnwtʾ); and if there are persons insatiable in sin of this kind, their penitence (tybwtʾ) shall be prolonged.”221 This canon is different from the Qur’an’s ruling: it speaks of men alone, includes the discussion of bestiality alongside that of sex between men, and proposes starkly different punishments, especially so when excluding male believers from the church until the end of their life rather than confining female ones to a house until death. Such confinement, however, is not unprecedented, insofar as it echoes a rabbinic punishment for repeat offenders; see Mishna Sanhedrin 9:5 and Babylonian Talmud Sanhedrin 81b.222 A relationship between the ruling on sex between men in the Canons of Ancyra and in the ruling in Sūrat al-Nisāʾ, however, becomes discernible if one compares the two texts in light of their thematic and literary affinities more closely. The language used in the West Syriac versions of the Canons of Ancyra and in the Qur’an suggests only broad affinity; themes of penitence and mercy, described in the Syriac text with the Syriac twb and rḥm, are, of course, as widespread in the Syriac tradition as they are in the Qur’an; here – and especially in our passage Q 4:16 – described with the cognate Arabic roots t-w-b and r-ḥ-m.223 The shared topic of sex between men is also unsurprising; we have seen it discussed throughout Late Antiquity and in the Meccan Qur’an. Yet the way in which the Qur’an’s presents its rulings still suggests that the Canons of Ancyra are of great importance to reconstruct the practices of the nascent Qur’anic community. Both texts, after all, deal with the issue of sex between male sex within the community by addressing a closely connected set of topics: • • •

Both lay out a procedure of examination. Both discuss acceptable ways of penance. Both address the topic of ongoing sinners.224

Likewise, the Qur’an’s explicit denial of mercy for those in Q 4:18 who, “when death approaches any of them, he says, ‘I repent now,’ ” clearly reflects widespread Christian and rabbinic teachings on repentance. In the Christian monastic tradition, for example, we find many prominent narratives of sexual sinners who repent just before their death, thereby having fully earned their salvation; the Babylonian rabbis, in their own right, shared such stories about those who

162  Holger M. Zellentin gained salvation in one hour. As Nicolai Sinai demonstrates in his contribution to this volume, the Meccan Qur’an already rejects this tradition in its depiction of Pharaoh’s death.225 The Qur’an’s rejection of sexual sinners repenting only when death approaches them in the Medinan verse Q 4:17, therefore, is also best understood as being addressed to an audience familiar with the open attitude towards repentance in extremis we find in Christian and in rabbinic culture. The Qur’an’s teaching on sex between men and between women therefore does not reflect any specific Christian document, yet the topics it addresses clearly reject the teachings and certainly the practice of penitence for sexual transgressions cherished by the Christians known to or among its audience. The passage, moreover, shows how intimately the Qur’an’s nascent Islamic law code stands in dialogue with Late Antique understandings of Leviticus 18 in general and of the prohibition of sex between males in Leviticus 18:22 specifically, showing the legal affinity of the terms fāḥishah, on the one hand, and the biblical concept of “uncovering of nakedness” in its rabbinic and Christian understanding (as Hebrew znwt, Greek porneia, Aramaic znwtʾ, and Syriac znywtʾ), on the other. The Qur’an’s rulings on sexual regulations thus fully engage a discernible Late Antique tradition, yet they are never bound by its precedent. The remainder of the occurrences of the term fāḥishah in Sūrat al-Nisāʾ equally begin to develop rulings that set the stage for independent Qur’anic jurisprudence, all the while being alert to biblical, rabbinic, and Christian paradigms: •





The direct sequel of the passage discussed in Q 4:19, for example, uses the term fāḥishah to describe an unspecified sexual transgression by the widow of a relative; the legal context here is that of the remarriage of a deceased brother’s wife as specified in Deuteronomy 25:5–6.226 Q 4:22 designates a man’s marriage to the former wife of a man’s father as fāḥishah, reflecting the similar rule in Lev. 18:8 and 20:11 alongside its rich Late Antique history of legal implementation (as well as, incidentally, Paul’s outrage over exactly this matter, which Paul called porneia).227 The final ruling on fāḥishah in Sūrat al-Nisāʾ occurs in Q 4:25, where it describes an unspecified sexual act committed by married slave women. The ruling of reducing the punishment for a married slave women guilty of fāḥishah by half corresponds inversely to another case, the one doubling the punishment for the wives of the prophet guilty of fāḥishah in Q 33:30. Both these rules have limited biblical (and rabbinic) precedent and again depart from it. The exceptional, and milder, punishment of a married female slave is akin to, yet different from, the biblical case of a man having sex with a betrothed slave woman, which is discussed in Lev. 19:20–20. The exceptional, in this case harsher, punishment for the wives of the prophet is akin to, yet different from, the exceptional punishment of the daughter of a priest found guilty of adultery in Lev. 21: 9.228

In all these cases, we can discern a biblical, Christian, or rabbinic precedent, but we can equally see again and again that the Qur’an is in no way constrained by

Gentile purity law from the Bible to the Qur’an 163 previous law. Rather, it develops its ruling as applicable to the specific issues facing the nascent Islamic community. The second term to be considered in light of the Qur’an’s ways of dealing with the Late Antique heritage of Leviticus 18 is the concept of zinā, which, we have seen, can never clearly be defined by its usage in the Meccan suras. The term root z-n-y appears in two Medinan passages. The first one is no more specific than the Meccan instances: in Q 60:12, the prophet is instructed to accept into the community believing women who turn to him and to plead for them to God, yet only under the condition that they do not to engage in zinā (walā yaznīna) and abstain from a list of other transgressions closely resembling those found in Q 17:29–33 and Q 25:63–67 – as well as to the laws put forward by the Didascalia Apostolorum, as discussed earlier.229 The term zinā in Q 60:12 does not allow us to determine the meaning of zinā, yet, importantly, it suggests that these women are in need of protection and therefore not under the protection of a husband. Q 24 Sūrat al-Nūr is more specific: here, we learn about an act committed concurrently by a female and a male person: As for the zāniyah and the zānī, strike each of them a hundred lashes, and let not pity for them overcome you in God’s law, if you believe in God and the Last Day, and let their punishment be witnessed by a group of the faithful. 3 The zānī shall not marry anyone but a zāniyah or an associator, and the zāniyah shall be married by none except a zānī or an associator, and that is forbidden to the faithful. 4 As for those who accuse honorable women and do not bring four witnesses, strike them eighty lashes, and never accept any testimony from them after that, and they are transgressors, 5 excepting those who repent after that and reform, for God is indeed allforgiving, all-merciful. 2

The Qur’an’s law is here removed from, yet still in dialogue with, the Bible and with the Christian and the rabbinic traditions. While lashes are the standard noncapital punishment legislated by the rabbis, the punishment of 100 lashes exceeds the biblical limit of 40 lashes (see Dtn. 25:3), as well as the rabbinic one of 39 (see Babylonian Talmud Makkot 22a). The Talmud, however, allows for exceptions, and the Qur’an’s punishment of 80 lashes for a false witness closely corresponds to the punishment for a false witness as proposed by Rabbi Meir (see Mishna Makkot 1:3).230 Second, it would seem that the zānī and the zāniyah have had extramarital heterosexual intercourse: “fornication,” in the broad sense, which would fall clearly within the rabbinic and especially the Christian understanding of sexual intercourse as permissible only within wedlock (as outlined on page 126 earlier). The general prohibition for Muslims to marry either a zānī or a zāniyah in the passage under consideration in Q 4:23, hence, could be understood as including cases

164  Holger M. Zellentin in which either one or both of the two accused of a transgression were unmarried in the first place, suggesting that their transgression would be “fornication” more broadly (yet inclusive of cases of “adultery” in the Christian sense). Such broad understanding of the term zinā as describing “fornication” would correspond to a variety of other rulings in the Qur’an. •

• •

In Q 4 Sūrat al-Nisāʾ 24–25, the Medinan Qur’an (after a long list of forbidden relations intimately connected to the incest regulations of Leviticus 18:6–18) decrees that sexual intercourse is permissible only within wedlock, which was not necessarily the case in pre-Islamic Arabia or in the Hebrew Bible. Joseph Witztum has, moreover, shown that this passage also suggests that Muslims are only allowed to marry “chaste” women, those who never engaged in extramarital sex, a finding in line with the passage’s reading here proposed.231 A similar insistence of sexual intercourse only within wedlock will be corroborated by the discussion of Q 5:5 later. The fact that the women in Q 60:12 (discussed earlier) who must not to engage in zinā are also not under the protection of a husband, as we sought to establish earlier, would corroborate a broad understanding of their crime as any extramarital sexual intercourse of unmarried people.

While zinā thus very likely denotes “fornication,” we should, however, not exclude the possibility that the term zinā may well designate adultery as well, as it has traditionally been understood. The Late Antique legal context of the Qur’an’s prohibition, as well as parallel legislation in the Qur’an regarding marriage to associators, corroborates this possibility. In the Hebrew Bible, it was unlawful for the high priest to marry a zōnāh, a prostitute, or a ḥălālāh, a Hebrew term describing a woman, even unmarried, who had extramarital sex of any kind (see Lev. 21:14). This rule was followed by the rabbis for priests, as well as by most Christian groups for clergy.232 Some Christian communities, however, based on Roman law and on Matthew’s equation of a man’s marriage to an adulteress with adultery (see Matthew 19:9 and 5:32), also demanded that a woman be divorced in case she was found guilty of adultery, and placed a range of restrictions on her later remarriage. Both the Greek and the Syriac fathers held a variety of positions prohibiting marriage with either a man or a woman guilty of adultery, either for a period of repentance or forever.233 On the one hand, we can thereby see that the Qur’an’s prohibition to marry a fornicator stands in continuity with aspects of Christian law. On the other hand, it is also quite plausible that the Qur’an demands divorce in all cases of adultery, as is suggested not only by the Christian precedent but can also be derived from a parallel case of the prohibition of marriage to an associator. The Qur’an’s prohibition of believers to marry a zānī or a zāniyah in Q 24:3, we have seen, is paralleled by the prohibition for them to marry associators. This law brings us back again to the Late Antique Christian understanding of Leviticus 18:21: the Peshitta already read the prohibition to “pass one’s seed to Molech” in

Gentile purity law from the Bible to the Qur’an 165 Lev. 18:21 as a prohibition of marrying idolatrous foreigners (a reading specifically rejected by the rabbis), and in line with this law, Christians have largely prohibited any marriage between a member of their community and those perceived as idolatrous, or even those perceived as heretical, unless they converted (see pages 123–125 earlier). The Qur’an equally prohibits marriage to those it designates as associators, and it takes the prohibition even further in case of “unbelief”: Q 60:10 gives three respective instructions: •

Muslims should not send those women who have embraced faith and have thus come as emigrants (muhājirātin, plausibly fleeing from Mecca to Medina) back “to the unbelievers” (ila l-kuffāri). • These women are now unlawful for their former husbands, and these unbelieving husbands are unlawful for them (lā hunna ḥillun lahum wa-lā hum yaḥillūna lahunna). • Likewise, unbelieving women (al-kawāfir) should be divorced. I would argue that if unbelief is a reason for what seems like a mandatory divorce, according to Q 60:10, then extramarital sex may well be a reason for such a mandatory divorce in Q 24:2–5 as well, which would in turn suggest that either the zānī or the zāniyah, or both, may well have been married to someone else at the time of being found guilty. Their prohibition to marry a believer does not indicate that they were necessarily unmarried at the moment of intercourse, but that they will be, once convicted. While this reading is admittedly no more than a plausible construal, both the Christian precedent and the arguable parallel regarding the mandatory divorce in case of one partner’s unbelief suggest that the Qur’an’s concept of zinā does not generally distinguish between fornication and adultery: the term seems to designate both since the act itself invalidates any marriage to another person. Intriguingly, parallel passages elsewhere in the Medinan Qur’an, most explicitly so in Sūrat al-Baqarah, present the prohibition of marriage to an associator just before another central precept known from Leviticus 18:19, that of intercourse during the menses, which shows that the Qur’an here again remains in close dialogue with Late Antique sexual purity regulations: Q 2:221 Do not marry (m., pl.) female associators (f., al-mushrikāti) until they embrace faith. And a faithful slave girl (wa-la-ʾamatun muʾminatun) is better than a female associator (min mushrikatin), though she (i.e. the female associator) should please you (m., pl.). And do not [let your women] marry male associators (al-mushrikīn) until they embrace faith (ḥattā yuʾminū). And a faithful slave (wa-la-ʿabdun muʾminun) is better than an associator (min mushrikin), though he should please you (m., pl.)

166  Holger M. Zellentin Those summon to the Fire, but God invites to paradise and pardon, by His will, and He clarifies His signs for the people so that they may take admonition. Q 2:222 They ask you concerning the menses (ʿani l-maḥīḍi). Say, “It is hurtful” (huwa ʾadhan) So keep away from women (al-nisāʾ) during the menses, And do not approach them (taqrabūhunna) till they are pure (ḥattā yaṭhurna) And when they become pure (taṭahharna), go into them as God has commanded you. Indeed, God loves the penitent and He loves those who keep pure (al-mutaṭahhirīn). In order to assess the compositional logic behind the fusion of the themes of intermarriage and sex during the menses, a brief consideration of the legal and literary context of this passage is paramount. The Qur’an’s clear prohibition of intermarriage with associators in Q 2:221 is addressed to men and pertains both to the men themselves and to the women under their authority. Just as the prohibition concerning zinā we have seen in the Meccan passages Q 17:29–33 and Q 25:63–67, the rules about intermarriage and sexual intercourse during the menses in Q 2:221–222 are promulgated in a broader legal context, which in turn overlaps with its literary surrounding in a variety of ways.234 In contrast to the Meccan legal passages, however, it is far more difficult to establish the compositional unit in which we find Q 2:221–222. Marianna Klar’s recent study of Sūrat al-Baqarah has persuasively argued that considerations of rhyme must equally be taken into account when seeking to appreciate the sura’s complex synchronic and diachronic history. While we cannot here engage Klar’s compelling arguments, we can take her caveats into account by focusing only on the most immediate literary context of Q 2:221–222 as defined by rhyme, which is constituted by the (largely legally focused) segment Q 2:214–232.235 Within this larger segment, we can detect a clear compositional principle that occurs in verses Q 2:215–223: here, six times, the audience asks a specific question (wa-yasʾalūnaka), and six times, the prophet is instructed to speak (qul) to them; he then provides the answer to their question. We will thus use the passage Q 2:215–223 as the immediate context of Q 2:221–222, allowing for an efficient contextualization without necessitating a more in-depth study of the sura’s compositional features. The question posed to the prophet indicates the change in status of the Qur’an’s prophetic leader in Medina, which is reflected in the legal focus of Sūrat al-Baqarah in its entirety. While the same setting, with the audience inquiring and the prophet answering, already occurs in Meccan suras (see e.g., in Q 17:85 and Q 20:105); the topics there deal not with law but with broader questions of theology and eschatology.

Gentile purity law from the Bible to the Qur’an 167 (Such inquiries also continue in this sura; see Q 2:186). The legal inquiries in Q 2:215–223 can thus be attributed to the prophet’s growing responsibilities, which goes hand in hand with a growing distance from Late Antique Jewish and Christian legal precedents.236 Given the six-fold verbatim repetition in the description of the legal scenario, we can thus take the passage as a literarily cohesive context that lets us guide our understanding of the laws put forth within it. The cohesion of the passage is admittedly limited: not every topic that is mentioned is introduced in response to a question, and in one verse (219), two questions are asked and answered. Yet even without a closer study of the passage, a consideration of the topics that occur illuminates the laws on illicit sexual intercourse: • •

• • • • •

In verse 215, the audience asks about charity, including for orphans. Verses 216–218 discuss warfare (Q 2:216–218); in verse 217, the audience asks about warfare in the holy months (ash-shahr l-ḥarām), which is discouraged – but “fighting” (qitālun) is allowed if the enemy keeps one “from God’s way” (ʿan sabīli llāhi) or from “the sacred place of prostration” (wa-lmasjidi l-ḥarāmi). In verse 219, the audience asks once about wine and a divinatory practice (al-maysir) and again about charity. In verse 220, the audience again asks directly about orphans. Verse 221 discusses intermarriage. In verse 222, the audience asks about intercourse during menses. Verse 223 discusses the permissibility of marital intercourse whenever a man desires.

The literary format of the passage points clearly to the demands of an independent community, whose rules governing warfare go beyond those of the Meccan Qur’an and beyond the rules of previous Christian legislation such as, say, the Didascalia Apostolorum, which was equally not composed under self-rule.237 The broader context of Sūrat al-Baqarah, in turn, evokes Israelite kingship and especially Israelite warfare (i.e., fighting “in the way of God,” fī sabīli llāhi, Q 2:246) as a legal precedent for its own military struggles in a way that is unique to the Qur’an (Q 2:246–251).238 Likewise, the Qur’an’s attention to purity in the context of the sacred places of prostration and of warfare only contains faint echoes of the biblical concerns for the purity of the Israelites and of their sanctuary.239 At the same time, the collation of legal topics points to legal continuity along with the emergence of a new code of law. The Qur’an’s combined focus on charity, the care for orphans, the issue of the permissibility of alcohol, sexual intercourse in general, and intercourse during a woman’s menses for once is comparable to the concerns we find in Late Antique Christian texts such as the Didascalia Apostolorum.240 The passage under consideration, moreover, shows how closely the Qur’an stands in dialogue with biblical discourse on gentile purity, as well as with its Christian understanding. The Qur’an’s prohibition in Q 2:222, “do not approach (pl.) them,” taqrabūhunna (i.e. one’s wives during the menses), is

168  Holger M. Zellentin verbally reminiscent of the biblical prohibition “do not approach (sg.),” lʾ tqrb (i.e. a woman during her menses) (Lev. 18:19, equally preserved in the Aramaic renderings of the law such as lʾ ttqrb, in the Peshitta, or in the rendering of Ezekiel 18:18 such as lʾ ntqrb in the Didascalia Apostolorum).241 We have seen how centrally the prohibition of intercourse during a menses features in Christian law throughout Late Antiquity and how unambiguously the law was endorsed.242 Yet it is the language of purity in the Qur’an here employed that points most clearly to the fact that the Qur’an’s community shares its symbolic discourse with the Judeo-Christian legal culture as emphasized most fully by examples such as those taken from the early Alexandrian church and by the Clementine Homilies – texts reflecting the expansive attitude towards gentile purity.243 The Clementine Homilies demand that “purification (καθαρεύειν), not approaching a man’s own wife when she is in separation (ἐν ἀφέδρῳοὔσῃ),” is “peculiar to the worship of God” (θρησκείας θεοῦ), just as the Qur’an commands: “do not approach them (taqrabūhunna) until they are pure (ḥattā yaṭhurna)” since God “loves those who keep pure” (al-mutaṭahhirīna, see Q 2:222).244 The Qur’an’s language is strikingly different from that of the Clementine Homilies to a degree that textual influence can be fully ruled out even if there were a Syriac version of the latter text. (The Qur’an’s usage of the root ṭ-h-r, of course, is a full cognate to Hebrew, Aramaic, and Syriac ṭ-h-r, as well as conceptually akin to Greek καθαρός as used in the Clementine Homilies).245 Yet the concept of viewing sexual abstinence during menstruation as a central rule of ritual purity, obligatory for the believers in the Homilies and in the Qur’an, respectively, is perhaps nowhere expressed as emphatically as it is in the two texts here discussed – unless, of course, one were to include the testimony of the early Alexandrian church and perhaps the more speculative testimony of those Christian communities who were at odds with their leaders regarding the observance of ritual purity.246 All this points to a continuity of oral discourse, and most importantly, of legal practice between the West Asian, North African, and Arabian Christian communities, on the one hand, and the emerging Qur’anic practice in Medina, on the other. We should therefore still see the Qur’an’s discourse on purity in dialogue with JudeoChristian legal culture at precisely the moment in which the nascent Muslim community begins to emancipate itself in the realm of politics, of religious symbolism, and, of course, of law – in the present sura, for example, when it comes to the specific legislation on marriage to slaves.247 We may not know if the passage Q 2:215–223 reflects the depicted historical circumstance of the community asking the prophet for guidance, likely as that may be. Regardless, we can determine the concerns of the Qur’an’s audience, as expressed in its questions, to be closely aligned with those of those Christians who had an expansive attitude towards gentile purity. Q 2:215–223 thus shows that the Medinan Qur’an introduces the sexual purity laws regarding intermarriage and sexual intercourse during the menses in a way which reflects their biblical origin in two ways. First, the laws are embedded in a discursive context signaling the Israelite self-understanding of the embattled Medinan community. Second, the

Gentile purity law from the Bible to the Qur’an 169 laws follow the Christian tradition in their emphasis on the importance of abstinence during the menses not only among Israelites but among all believers. We can add one further observation. We have seen that it is the Christian Scripture that connects the prohibition of intercourse during the menses in Lev. 18:19 to that of intermarriage. Christians, we have seen, understood Lev.18:21, the prohibition of sacrifice of once offspring to Molech, as a prohibition of intermarriage with idolaters (especially so in the Peshitta’s reading, which was broadly shared by Christians, see pages 123–125 earlier). Given that the compositional history of Q 215–223 has not been assessed, we should not overrate the joint occurrence of the laws against intermarriage and against intercourse during the menses. Yet we should note that from a biblical and Late Antique perspective, the juxtaposition of the two prohibitions – albeit it in inverted order – in Q 2:221 and 222 again corroborates the continuity of legal discourse. Another marker of the prevalence of the importance of the expansive attitude towards gentile purity in the Medinan community can be seen in the requirement for ritual washing, the rule originally addressed to the Israelites which, for many Christians, complements the understanding of the gentile purity requirements in Leviticus 17 and 18 (see pages 117–123 earlier). In Q 5 Sūrat al-Māʾidah, in a passage partially reminiscent of Q 4:24–25, as well as of Q 4:43, the Qur’an updates Jewish and Christian rules of food and intermarriage before legislating on the necessity to wash after sexual intercourse and before prayer: Q 5:5 Today, all the good things (al-ṭayyibāt) have been made lawful to you: – the food of those who were given the Book is lawful to you, and your food is lawful to them – and the chaste ones from among faithful women (wa-l-muḥṣanātu mina l-muʾmināti), and chaste women (wa-l-muḥṣanāt) of those who were given the Book before you, when you have given them their dowries, being chaste (m., pl., muḥṣinīna), not in license (ghaira musāfiḥīna, m., pl.), nor taking paramours (walā muttakhidhī ʾakhdānin). Should anyone renounce his faith, his work shall fail and he will be among the losers in the Hereafter. Q 5:6 O you (pl.) who have faith! When you stand up for prayer (qumtum ʾila ṣ-ṣalāti), wash (fa-ghsilū) your faces and your hands up to the elbows, and wipe (wa-msaḥū) a part of your heads and your feet, up to the ankles. If you are impure (junub), purify yourselves (fa-ṭṭahharū). But if you are sick, or on a journey,

170  Holger M. Zellentin or any of you has come from the privy, or you have touched women (ʾau lāmastumu n-nisāʾa), and you cannot find water, then make ablutions (fa-tayammamū) with good ground (ṣaʿīdan ṭayyiban) and wipe a part of your faces and your hands with it. God does not require to put you to hardship, but He desires to purify you (yuṭahhirakum), and to complete His blessings upon you so that you may give thanks. Q 5:7 Remember God’s blessing upon you and His covenant with which He has bound you when you said, ‘We hear and obey’ (samiʿnā wa-ʾaṭaʿnā) and be wary of God. Indeed, God knows best what is in the breasts. In line with its repeated evocation of Jewish and Christian law, Q 5:5–7 (along with its prequel) combines several aspects central to the sexual purity regulations found in Judeo-Christian legal culture, based on the Christian understanding of the purity laws of Leviticus 15, 17, and 18 concerning food, intermarriage, and washing after sexual intercourse and before prayer: •

• •



More generally, the Medinan Qur’an’s evocation of “good,” that is, pure “things” (al-ṭayyibāt, Q 5:5); “good,” that is, pure “ground” (ṣaʿīdan ṭayyiban, Q 5:6); and “washing,” “wiping,” “making ablutions,” and “impure” in Q 5:6 evoke the discourse combining purity and worship not only in the Hebrew Bible but also within the expansive understanding of gentile purity we have seen throughout Late Antique discourse.248 More specifically, the Qur’an here declares the identity of Jewish, Christian, and Muslim regulations pertaining to food, positing the full overlap of God’s instructions for these groups (rather than actual practice).249 The passage allows Muslim men to marry Jewish and Christian women, as long as they are “the chaste ones” (al-muḥṣanāt, Q 5:5), that is, as long as they did not and do not engage in extramarital intercourse. The permission of faithful women corresponds to the inverse legislation in Q 2:221, in Q 24:2–5, and in Q 60:10 prohibiting marriage to associators or unbelievers (see pages 163–166 earlier). In prohibiting such marriages, the Qur’an again evokes both rabbinic and Christian marriage law, which prohibits Jews and Christians from marrying pagans in line with Lev. 18:21. Yet neither rabbis nor Christians allowed for any exceptions: for the former, any gentile, regardless of religious practice, was prohibited for Jews, and for the latter, Jews as well as Christians considered “heretics” remained unlawful to marry.250 In the present formulation, we should note that the prohibition for Muslims to be “in license,” musāfiḥīna (m. pl.), uses the rare root s-f-ḥ (which is used in a similar sense only in Q 4:24–25). Importantly, the same root describes the

Gentile purity law from the Bible to the Qur’an 171







• •

prohibition of “spilled blood” in Q 6:145, thereby once again symbolically connecting the discourse of purity of sex and food, which equally marks the expansive Christian notion of gentile purity.251 The requirement to wash before prayer in Q 5:6, more specifically, stands in line with the broad Christian trend to wash before prayer, for which we have seen abundant positive and negative evidence throughout Late Ancient Christianity (see pages 142–148 earlier). The particular washing of faces, hands, part of the head, and feet, as commanded in Q 5:6, was emphasized in rabbinic ritual in a comparable (yet slightly diverging) way, whereas the washing of hands, of feet, or of the entire body before prayer was equally practiced by Christians – and denounced by some church fathers – in North Africa, in Constantinople, in Tyre, and in Rome.252 In addition to the usage of the command to “purify yourselves” (ṭahharū, Q 5:6), using the same root ṭ-h-r we already encountered in Q 2:222, the language of purity in the present passage is marked by God’s “desires to purify you” (yuṭahhirakum), which stands in especially close relationship to the view recorded in the Clementine Homilies, that “purification (καθαρεύειν) . . . is peculiar to the worship of God” (θρησκείας θεοῦ); see page 168 earlier. As has long been noted, the requirement to wash after using the privy and the permission to use sand instead of water if necessary can equally be found in the rabbinic tradition.253 Washing after sexual intercourse, as commanded to the Israelites in Lev. 15:16–18, and for Muslim men in Q 5:6, was equally a topic of contention for Late Antique Christians; evidence for the practice, as well as polemics against it, abound from the Latin West to the Syriac East throughout Late Antiquity (see pages 139–152 earlier).

The legal material is doubly embedded in a literary framework highlighting the roles of Jesus and Moses. God’s desire “to purify you (yuṭahhirakum)” without necessitating “hardship” evokes the Qur’an’s and indeed the Christian view that Jesus “relieves them (i.e. the Israelites) of their burdens and shackles that were upon them” (Q 7:157).254 The entire passage finally concludes with an evocation of the Israelite covenant “with which He has bound you when you said, ‘We hear and obey’ (samiʿnā wa-ʾaṭaʿnā, Q 5:7),” a phrase that the Qur’an elsewhere connects with the Israelites and with Moses.255 The Qur’an’s categories thus largely coincide with Judeo-Christian legal culture, allowing the Islamic Scripture to formulate a new system of Islamic sexual purity regulations in close dialogue with a broad cross-section of Jewish and Christian practice and narrative. The Qur’an’s engagement of both the Jewish and the Christian understanding of sexual purity, and especially its close continuity with the Late Antique tradition of gentile sexual purity as based on Leviticus 18, as reflected in the Decree of the Apostles and especially – yet by no means exclusively – in its expansive understanding, can be argued to function as a unifying legal hermeneutical principle. Likewise, the Qur’an is nowhere in any obvious way bound by precedent, highlighting its

172  Holger M. Zellentin categorical subsumation of its engagement with Jewish and Christian practice under the demands of its prophetology, which, we can see, allows for the religious distinctness of the Islamic reiteration of the laws for the gentiles we find in the Hebrew Bible and in their Late Antique reception history.

Conclusion All these considerations show a clear arch of law defining sexual purity for gentiles from the Bible to the Qur’an. These laws commence in the biblical rules given to Noah and his sons, and thereby to all of humanity; they continue in the laws given to non-Israelites in Leviticus 18; and they are eventually expanded to all gentiles by the Christian tradition (including the understanding of “giving one’s seed to Molech” as the prohibition to intermarry with pagans and heretics), as well as by the rabbinic one (which does not mention the specific prohibition of intermarriage for gentiles). Among the Christian attitudes towards these sexual purity laws, we have seen the dismissive attitude which accepts the laws, all the while downplaying their scriptural context of gentile purity, as well as an appreciative attitude, which simply endorses the laws. In parallel, we have seen that many Christians throughout Late Antiquity, at times with the blessing of the church leaders and sometimes without it, have expanded the purity laws equally to include ritual washing after sexual intercourse and before prayer. The Qur’an fully adopts the sexual laws for gentiles in dialogue with both rabbinic and Christian understandings of the gentile purity laws, with a special affinity with the expansive attitude towards sexual purity. In its Medinan phase, the Qur’an equally begins to formulate what became the foundation for an independent Islamic legal code that places sexual purity laws in the framework of the holiness of time and space, in dialogue with, yet clearly distinct from, respective Israelite concepts. The overlap of law between the Bible in its Christian understanding, including the prohibition of sexual intercourse during a woman’s menses, adultery, intermarriage with pagans or heretics, and sex between men, as well as the injunctions to wash before prayer or after intercourse, may be noteworthy in and of itself, especially when considering the parallel cases of the laws governing food and incest. Yet such practices are widespread; it is therefore the Qur’an’s way of embedding its legal discourse, and additional factors, which mark the specific affinity between the sexual purity laws of the Qur’an and the Bible—as it was understood by Christians, and especially by Judeo-Christian legal culture, which inclined towards the appreciative and expansive attitude towards gentile purity regulations. Considering Late Antiquity from the point of view of the development of the gentile purity regulations allows us to see three phenomena that seem not to have been duly considered in previous scholarship. First and foremost, we have to come to terms with the ways in which the heritage of the gentile purity regulations formulated in Leviticus 17 and 18 shaped Christianity, Judaism, and Islam throughout Late Antiquity. The evidence here presented amounts to only a part of the legal continuity – as mentioned earlier, a parallel study on the laws of incest and food reinforces the evidence. The legal relevance of Leviticus for the Acts of

Gentile purity law from the Bible to the Qur’an 173 the Apostles had been well established by Wehnert and others, and its importance for the rabbis and for the church fathers may not surprise. Yet it is quite remarkable that Leviticus is also invoked as basis for Christian practice even by those church fathers who seek to dismiss the provisions of the Decree of the Apostles, and it is of the greatest importance for the emerging field of Late Antique Qur’anic studies how intimately the nascent Muslim community engaged the Hebrew, the Aramaic, or perhaps even an orally transmitted Arabic Bible. Second, a longitudinal study of the three divergent traditions of understanding the Decree of the Apostles – here designated as the dismissive, appreciative and expansive attitudes – suggest that the dismissive attitude of many church fathers towards gentile sexual purity may have remained a minority position for far longer than hitherto assumed. Previous studies have shown that the gentile purity regulations were widely obeyed throughout Late Antiquity and, of course, remained legally binding throughout much of the Middle Ages. The importance of gentile sexual purity practice and discourse for the formation of Late Antique Jewish and Christian identity emerged clearly in the present study. The neglect, if not the factual abrogation, of the symbolism of gentile purity inherent in the Decree of the Apostles by parts of the Latin, Greek, and even the Syriac church past the fourth century can now be seen in a starker contrast to the appreciative and expansive Christian attitudes towards gentile sexual purity, which in turn stand closest to the context of nascent Islam. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, we can see the continuity of the legal tradition of understanding the Decree of the Apostles in an expansive way throughout all of Late Antiquity. It is the broad legal consensus with which the Christian majority endorsed the Decree of the Apostles, shared by the dismissive, the appreciative, and the expansive attitude, that allows us safely to state that the legal continuity between the Hebrew Bible and the Qur’an can only be explained by the fact that the Decree of the Apostles was endorsed by Christians from the second to the seventh century. It seems that the gentile sexual purity regulations were transmitted to the nascent Qur’anic community and that this community continued to develop them further. Judeo-Christian legal culture and its clear separation of ethnic and legal concepts attached to Jews and gentiles constituted an aspect of nascent Christianity that may or may not have lasted until it was recast in the particular context of early Islam. The regulations for gentiles endorsed by this culture, however, remained as central for the Muslims as they had been for many, if not most, Late Antique Christians.

Notes * The writing of this chapter was made possible with the generous support of the British Academy and the Leverhulme Trust. My gratitude to Nicolai Sinai for his invaluable detailed comments and criticisms, which have much improved the quality of this chapter. I transliterate Syriac as well as Jewish Aramaic and Hebrew in accordance with the early defective (i.e. nonvocalized) tradition, as follows: ʾ b g d h w z ḥ ṭ y k l m n s ʿ p ṣ q r sh t. The vocalized text of the Qur’an is that of ʿĀṣim (transmitted by Ḥafṣ), that is, the Cairo text. Translations of the Qur’an follow Sayyid ʿAli Quli Qaraʾi; translations of the Hebrew Bible largely follow the Jewish Publication Society translation; those

174  Holger M. Zellentin of the New Testament the New Revised Standard Version; rabbinic texts follow the Soncino translations, those of patristic texts, unless otherwise noted, follow the AnteNicene Fathers. I have modified most translations to give a more literal sense of the text. 1 In the definition here used, the term “Judeo-Christian legal culture” describes those strands within the Jesus movement that maintained a separation between Jewish and gentile ethnicity and obliged gentiles to maintain those purity laws the Hebrew Bible had imposed on aliens residing in the land of Israel. These purity laws proscribe the unwarranted shedding of human blood, the consumption of blood, of improperly slaughtered animals, and of idol meat, and the engagement in illicit sexual relations such as adultery, incest, or sexual relations during a woman’s menses. The slow development of these “gentile purity regulations,” the history of which forms the object of this chapter, can be traced from the Hebrew Bible, throughout Late Antiquity, and to the Qur’an; these regulations also form the basis of subsequent Islamic purity regulations; see notes 4 and 5 later. 2 See for example Friedrich Avemarie, Neues Testament und Frührabbinisches Judentum (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2013), 773–800; Peter J. Tomson, “Jewish Purity Laws as Viewed by the Church Fathers and by the Early Followers of Jesus,” in Purity and Holiness: The Heritage of Leviticus, ed. Marcel J. H. M. Poorthuis and Joshua Schwartz (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 2000), 73–91; William Loader, The Septuagint, Sexuality, and the New Testament: Case Studies on the Impact of the LXX in Philo and the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2004); Markus Bockmuehl, Jewish Law in Gentile Churches: Halakhah and the Beginning of Christian Public Ethics (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 2000); and Jürgen Wehnert, Die Reinheit des “christlichen Gottesvolkes” aus Juden und Heiden: Studien zum Historischen und Theologischen Hintergrund des Sogenannten Aposteldekrets (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht), 1997. 3 The classical study remains that of Karl Böckenhoff, Das apostolische Speisegesetz in den ersten fünf Jahrhunderten: Ein Beitrag zum Verständnis der quasi-levitischen Satzungen in älteren kirchlichen Rechtsquellen (Paderborn: Schöning, 1903); Böckenhoff’s derisive attitude towards purity laws is typical of much of the existing scholarship. A more helpful approach is displayed by David M. Freidenreich, Foreigners and Their Food: Constructing Otherness in Jewish, Christian, and Islamic Law (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2011). 4 See Holger M. Zellentin, The Qurʾān’s Legal Culture: The Didascalia Apostolorum as a Point of Departure (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2013); cf. François de Blois, “Naṣrānī (Ναζωραῖος) and ḥanīf (ἐθνικός): Studies on the Religious Vocabulary of Christianity and of Islam,” Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies 65 (2002): 1–30. 5 A first installment of this work was my monograph The Qurʾān’s Legal Culture; a second part is titled “Judaeo-Christian Legal Culture and the Qurʾān: The Case of Ritual Slaughter and the Consumption of Animal Blood,” in Jewish Christianity and the Origins of Islam, ed. Francisco del Río Sánchez (Turnout: Brepols, 2018), 117–159. I have submitted a study titled “Law in the Medinan Qurʾān: The Case of Biblical Incest Law and it’s Qur’anic Re-Iteration,” to appear in a volume edited by Nicolai Sinai entitled Unlocking the Medinan Qur’an (under review with Brill); I am equally preparing a monograph on Law and Literature: From the Bible to the Qurʾān, which is under contract with Oxford University Press. 6 For my definition of “Judeo-Christian legal culture” see p. 115 earlier. Notable recent works on “Jewish Christianity” include Edwin K. Broadhead, Jewish Ways of Following Jesus: Redrawing the Religious Map of Antiquity (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2010); Matt Jackson-McCabe, Jewish Christianity Reconsidered (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2007); and Charlotte Elisheva Fonrobert, “Jewish Christians, Judaizers, and Christian Anti-Judaism,” Late Ancient Christianity, ed. Virginia Burrus (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2005), 234–254. An illustrative definition of “Jewish Christianity”

Gentile purity law from the Bible to the Qur’an 175 of special relevance for the present topic can be found in Patricia Crone’s recent twopartite article arguing for the value of this difficult concept for the study of the Qur’an. Crone proceeds carefully to a degree, and almost always comprehensively, yet her following definition of the term – based in turn on that of Edwin Broadhead – lumps together Jewish and gentile ethnicity and is therefore unhelpful: “ ‘Jewish-Christianity’ is a modern term for the beliefs of those followers of Jesus who saw devotion to Jesus as part of God’s covenant with Israel, not as a transfer of God’s promise of salvation from the Jews to the gentiles. Some of them regarded Jesus as a prophet, others saw him as a heavenly power, but all retained their Jewish identity and continued to live by the law.” See Patricia Crone, “Jewish Christianity and the Qurʾān (Part One),” Journal of Near Eastern Studies 74 (2015): 225; see also eadem, “Jewish Christianity and the Qurʾān (Part Two),” Journal of Near Eastern Studies 75 (2016): 1–21; both chapters are also published jointly in eadem, The Qurʾānic Pagans and Related Matters: Collected Studies in Three Volumes (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 2015), vol. 1, 225–276 and 277– 314. See also Sidney Griffith, The Bible in Arabic: The Scriptures of the “People of the Book” in the Language of Islam (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2013), esp. 36–40 and cf. de Blois, “Elchasai – Manes – Muḥammad: Manichäismus und Islam in Religionshistorischem Vergleich,” Der Islam 81 (2004): 31–48 and Shlomo Pines, “Notes on Islam and on Arabic Christianity and Judaeo-Christianity,” Jerusalem Studies in Arabic and Islam 4 (1984): 135–152. 7 On the broad overlap of late ancient law, the Bible, and the Qur’an see Zellentin, The Qurʾān’s Legal Culture, 1–76 as well as idem, “Law in the Medinan Qurʾān.” Whereas Crone and others see “Jewish-Christianity” as a religious movement separate from other forms of Judaism and Christianity (see the previous note), numerous scholars have dismissed the patristic evidence for such a separate group as historically doubtful; past the fourth century, it disappears in Western sources, and largely in the Eastern ones as well. 8 On earlier evidence on Jewish Christianity and the historical value of heresiology see the useful (if overstated) remarks by Daniel Boyarin, “Rethinking Jewish Christianity: An Argument for Dismantling a Dubious Category (to which is Appended a Correction of my Border Lines),” Jewish Quarterly Review 99 (2009): 7–36; see also Eduard Iricinschi and Holger M. Zellentin (eds.), Heresy and Identity in Late Antiquity (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2007), cf. Oskar Skarsaune and Reidar Hvalvik (eds.), Jewish Believers in Jesus: The Early Centuries (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 2007). 9 On the persistency of Judeo-Christian legal thought see notes 4 and 5 earlier; see also Holger M. Zellentin, “Aḥbār and Ruhbān: Religious Leaders in the Qurʾān in Dialogue with Christian and Rabbinic Literature,” in Qurʾānic Studies Today, ed. Angelika Neuwirth and M. Sells (New York: Routledge, 2016), 262–93; and Zellentin, The Qurʾān’s Legal Culture, esp. 175–202. 10 See e.g. 1 Timothy 4:3 and the Letter to the Hebrews, on the latter see e.g. Daniel Weiss and Holger M. Zellentin, “Purity and the West: Christianity, Secularism and the Impurity of Ritual” (with Daniel Weiss), Purity and Danger Now: New Perspectives, ed. D. Weiss, S. Schnall, and R. Duschinsky (Abingdon: Francis & Tayler, 2016), 181–204. 11 See Zellentin, The Qurʾān’s Legal Culture, esp. 155–202. This is to say that the Christian mainstream continued to endorse this legal culture, while the orthodox elites began to undermine it, especially in the fourth century onwards, as I will seek to illustrate by the examples of Chrysostom and Augustine on pages 141–148 later. 12 On the ethnic distinction between Jews and gentiles see already Zellentin, The Qurʾān’s Legal Culture, 22–25; for the distinction in the Late Antique church more generally see pages 123–130 and 133–152 later. 13 Evidence for the largely rhetorical nature of the “parting of the ways” between Judaism and Christianity has been collected in the often-cited volume edited by Adam Becker

176  Holger M. Zellentin and Annette Yoshiko Reed, The Ways That Never Parted: Jews and Christians in Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2007); cf. also Daniel Boyarin, Border Lines: The Partition of Judaeo-Christianity (Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2004). 14 See Zellentin, The Qurʾān’s Legal Culture, 180–99; idem, Rabbinic Parodies of Jewish and Christian Literature (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2011), 51–94 and 137–227; see also Philip Alexander, “Jewish Believers in Early Rabbinic Literature (2d to 5th Centuries),” in Jewish Believers in Jesus: The Early Centuries, ed. Oskar Skarsaune and Reidar Hvalvik (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 2007), 659–744. 15 On the usefulness of the Jewish evidence for establishing a chronology of the Qur’an see Holger M. Zellentin, “The Synchronic and the Diachronic Qurʾān: Sūrat Yā Sīn, Lot’s People, and the Rabbis,” in The Fragment and the Whole: Approaching Religious Texts in a New Perspective, from Mesopotamia to Arabia, ed. Asma Hilali (Oxford: Oxford University Press), forthcoming. I argue for a spatial and chronological differentiation between these materials; the identification of Qur’anic references to al-masjid al-Harām and al-madīnah to the places now known as Meccan and Medina is likely, yet not yet verified. The basis of a robust consensus on the matter has been laid out by Nicolai Sinai, The Qur’an: A Historical-Critical Introduction (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2017), esp. 40–58 and 111–137; see also idem, “The Qur’an’s Dietary Tetralogue: A Diachronic Reconstruction,” Jerusalem Studies in Arabic and Islam, forthcoming, which refines the chronological model I employed in Zellentin, “The Case of Ritual Slaughter and the Consumption of Animal Blood.” 16 The narrative in Gen. 8:20–22–9:17 does not technically predicate the validity of the covenant on the double prohibition of blood, yet the laws pertaining to blood in Gen. 9:1–6 are framed within God’s decision (ibid., 8, 20–22) and his subsequent covenantal promise (ibid. 9:8–17) not ever to flood the entire earth again. The rabbis and the church fathers, we will see, return to this passage when discussing gentile purity laws. To the best of my knowledge, however, neither the rabbis nor the church fathers explicitly tied the human obligations to the covenant with Noah, see e.g. Bereshit Rabbah 34:11 and 44:5, Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechetical Lecture 3 (On Baptism), 5; Saint Augustin, Against Heresies 3:11:8; and John Chrysostom, Homily 14 (On Hebrews), 4; see also Stephen D. Benin, “Commandments, Covenants and the Jews in Aphrahat, Ephrem and Jacob of Sarug,” in Approaches to Judaism in Medieval Times, ed. David R. Blumenthal (Chico, CA: Scholars Press, 1985), 135–156. 17 Genesis here thematically associates two prohibitions which remain interdependent in later jurisprudence: the consumption of animal blood is here associated with the spilling of human blood; see Zellentin, “The Case of Ritual Slaughter and the Consumption of Animal Blood,” 121–127. 18 See e.g., the translations of the passage in Aquila, Symmachus, and Theodotius; see also the rabbinic interpretation in Bavli Sanhedrin 70a (cf. already Bereshit Rabbah 36:7, where Noah is castrated), and see David M. Goldenberg, “What Did Ham Do to Noah?” in “The Words of a Wise Man’s Mouth Are Gracious” (Qoh 10,12): Festschrift for Günther Stemberger at his 65th Birthday, ed. Mauro Perani (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2005), 257–266; James L. Kugel, Traditions of the Bible: A Guide to the Bible as It Was at the Start of the Common Era (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1998), 222–223; and already Albert Baumgarten, “Myth and Midrash: Gen. 9,20–29,” in Christianity, Judaism and Other Greco-Roman Cults: Studies for Morton Smith at Sixty, ed. Jacob Neusner (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1975), vol. 3, 55–71. On rabbinic views on “homosexuality,” see e.g. Daniel Boyarin, “Are There Any Jews in ‘The History of Sexuality’?” Journal of the History of Sexuality 5 (1995): 333–355. 19 For a comprehensive commentary on Leviticus 18 and a review of recent literature see Thomas Hieke, Levitikus: Zweiter Teilband: 16–27 (Herders Theologischer Kommentar zum Alten Testament (Freiburg im Breisgau: Herder, 2014), 645–696. For the

Gentile purity law from the Bible to the Qur’an 177 discourse of normative sexuality in the Hebrew Bible see e.g. Jonathan Patrick Burnside, “Strange Flesh: Sex, Semiotics and the Construction of Deviancy in Biblical Law,” Journal for the Study of the Old Testament 30 (2006): 387–420. 20 See Babylonian Talmud Nazir 6a-b and note 30 later. 21 See Christine Hayes, Gentile Impurities and Jewish Identities: Intermarriage and Conversion from the Bible to the Talmuds (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002), 39. On the concept of the Holiness Code see especially Jacob Milgrom, Leviticus 17–22: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2007); cf. Israel Knohl, The Sanctuary of Silence: The Priestly Torah and the Holiness School (Winona Lakes: Eisenbrauns, 2007). For a recent reevaluation of Hayes’ findings and on the issue of gentile corpse impurity in rabbinic thought, see also Vered Noam, “Another Look at the Rabbinic Conception of Gentiles from the Perspective of Impurity Laws,” in Judaea-Palaestina, Babylon and Rome: Jews in Antiquity, ed. Benjamin Isaac and Yuval Shahar (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2012), 89–110; and cf. Hyam Maccobi, “Holiness and Purity: The Holy People in Leviticus and Ezra-Nehemiah,” in Reading Leviticus: A Conversation with Mary Douglas, ed. John F. A. Sawyer (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1996), 158. 22 See Eve Levavi Feinstein, Sexual Pollution in the Hebrew Bible (New York: Oxford University Press, 2014). 23 While it is not possible to give a detailed account of the central and manifold function of ritual purity in the cultures to be discussed in the following, it is clear enough that purity in the Hebrew Bible functioned mostly within the symbolical discourse based on the sanctuary. Late Antique purity discourse, I have argued elsewhere, first moves towards recontextualizing purity in the framework of demonology (in continuity cognizant of the biblical association of idolatry with impurity). While the Meccan Qur’an preserves reminiscences of identifying demons with impurity, the Medinan Qur’an at least partially returns to, or maintains, the biblical or Arabian paradigm of associating purity with a holy space and the pilgrimage, eventually declaring the gentile purity laws to be universally applicable, see Zellentin, “The Case of Ritual Slaughter and the Consumption of Animal Blood,” 148–158. The continuity of the Judeo-Christian legal culture and Islamic views of purity – Sunni as well as especially Shiʿite – remains undertheorized; see the helpful notes on the relationship of biblical and Qur’anic purity by Marion Holmes Katz, Body of Text: The Emergence of the Sunnī Law of Ritual Purity (Albany, NY: University of New York Press, 2002), esp. 29–58; and see now David Freidenreich, “Holiness and Impurity in the Torah and the Quran: Differences Within a Common Typology,” Comparative Islamic Studies 6 (2010): 5–22. 24 The exact status of the gerim and the related toshavim in the Bible remains subject of scholarly debate; an exact determination of the social realities of Israelite society can be bracketed for the current inquiry. On the ger in the biblical context see for example Joram Mayshar, “Who Was the ‘toshav’?” Journal of Biblical Literature 133 (2014): 225–246; Reinhard Achenbach, “gêr – nakhrî – tôshav – zâr: Legal and Sacral Distinctions Regarding Foreigners in the Pentateuch,” in The Foreigner and the Law: Perspectives from the Hebrew Bible and the Ancient Near East, ed. idem, Rainer Albertz, et al. (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2011), 29–51; Saul Olyan, Rites and Rank: Hierarchy in Biblical Representations of Cult (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2000), 69–74; and Jan Joosten, People and Land in the Holiness Code: An Exegetical Study of the Ideational Framework of the Law in Leviticus 17–26 (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1996). 25 The rabbis understood the biblical gerim to be proselytes, and in turn constructed the additional category of the ger toshav who abstains from idolatry and a selection of additional laws, ranging from those given to the “sons of Noah” to the entire Torah – with the single exception of the prohibition to eat carrion (i.e. the so-called ‫גר אוכל‬ ‫נבילות‬, see Bavli Avodah Zarah 64b and see e.g. Bava Metsiʿa 70b-71a). These specific rabbinic categories are crucial to understand the rabbinic views of non-Jews; however,

178  Holger M. Zellentin unlike the category of the “sons of Noah” to be discussed on pages 130–133 later, they have little relevance for the current inquiry. On the status of the ger in Second Temple Judaism, which resembles the biblical and Christian context more closely, see e.g. Christine E. Hayes, Gentile Impurities and Jewish Identities, esp. 61–67; see also Shaye Cohen, The Beginnings of Jewishness: Boundaries, Varieties, Uncertainties (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2001), 140–174. 26 See Zellentin, “The Case of Ritual Slaughter and the Consumption of Animal Blood,” 121–127. 27 On the biblical context of the passage see e.g. Hieke, Levitikus, 637–639. 28 For an informative overview of the issues of purity and pollution in the Hebrew Bible with a survey of the vast scholarly literature, see Feinstein, Sexual Pollution in the Hebrew Bible, 13–19. 29 While the rabbis placed moderate emphasis on impurity contracted through sexual intercourse (see e.g. the discussion in Bavli Berakhot 21a-22b), they dedicated considerable attention to the issue of impurity of a woman during and after her menstruation, see esp. the tractates Nidah in the Mishna, the Tosephta, and the Talmudim; on the issue of menstrual purity in rabbinic and Christian thought see Zellentin, The Qurʾān’s Legal Culture, esp. 90–93, and Charlotte Elisheva Fonrobert, Menstrual Purity: Rabbinic and Christian Reconstructions of Biblical Gender (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2000). 30 As Hayes aptly summarizes, “[i]f a Gentile woman discharged semen from an Israelite it is unclean. If an Israelite woman discharged semen from a Gentile, it is clean” (m. Miq 8:4, see Hayes, Gentile Impurities, 111). In other words, the Israelite semen retains its defiling capacity within a gentile woman, whereas the gentile semen does not acquire the capacity to defile within an Israelite woman. 31 The study of the incest laws from the Bible to the Qur’an, which includes a discussion of the term “uncovering of nakedness” in its biblical and Late Antique context, is discussed in Zellentin, “Law in the Medinan Qurʾān”; see also Stephen D. Ricks, “Kinship Bars to Marriage in Jewish and Islamic Law,” in Studies in Islamic and Judaic Traditions: Papers Presented at the Institute for Islamic-Judaic Studies, ed. idem and William M. Brinner (Atlanta: Scholar’s Press, 1986), 123–143. On the cohesive relation between incest laws and other sexual legislation in the Hebrew Bible (including an overview of previous scholarship) see Feinstein, Sexual Pollution in the Hebrew Bible, 167–170, and Adrian Schenker, “What Connects the Incest Prohibitions with Other Prohibitions Listed in Leviticus 18 and 20,” in The Book of Leviticus: Composition and Reception, ed. Rolf Rendtorff, et al. (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 2003), 162–188. 32 On the passage see Hieke, Levitikus, 650–654 and 676–697. 33 See note 21 earlier and note 36 later. 34 The present study will use the term “adultery” in its Near Eastern context as describing sex with another man’s wife; the definition is, of course, broadened in Late Antique discourse to include sex with another woman’s husband, as we will see. For Ancient Near Eastern sexual laws see the helpful short overview by Harry A. Hoffner, “Incest, Sodomy, and Bestiality in the Ancient Near East,” in Orient and Occident: Essays in Honor of C. H. Gordon on the Occasion of His Sixty-Fifth Birthday, ed. Harry A. Hoffner (Neukirchen-Vluyn: Neukirchener Verlag, 1973), 81–90; on the relationship between biblical and Ancient Near Eastern Law see e.g. Johnson M. Kimuhu, Leviticus: The Priestly Laws and Prohibitions from the Perspective of Ancient Near East and Africa (New York: Peter Lang, 2008) and David P. Wright, Inventing God’s Law: How the Covenant Code of the Bible Used and Revised the Laws of Hammurabi (New York: Oxford University Press, 2009); on the broader continuities of Ancient Near Eastern, biblical, and Qur’anic law see Zellentin, “Law in the Medinan Qurʾān.” 35 See Zellentin, The Qurʾān’s Legal Culture, 55 and 68. Note that Clement of Alexandria, in his Paedagogus 1:10, quotes Ezekiel 18:4–9 in its entirety (including the

Gentile purity law from the Bible to the Qur’an 179 prohibition of sex during a woman’s menses), specifying that these words should guide the conduct of Christians; see also notes 131, 136, and 147 later. 36 The views of Deuteronomy, Ezra, Nehemia, and later prophets on gentile impurity are only indirectly pertinent for the current inquiry; on the biblical context see Hayes, Gentile Impurities, esp. 27–34; see also Feinstein, Sexual Pollution in the Hebrew Bible, 132–157; see note 21 earlier. 37 For a useful recent discussion of the evidence see esp. Moshe Lavee, “The Noahide Laws: The Building Blocks of a Rabbinic Conceptual Framework in Qumran and the Book of Acts,” Megillot: Studies in the Dead Sea Scrolls 10 (2013): esp. 87–90 [Hebrew]. 38 On attempts to exclude gentiles from the Temple in the Second Temple period see e.g. Hayes, Gentile Impurities, 50–55. 39 On the purity of gentiles see note 21 earlier. In order to determine the ritual status of gentiles in the Jewish mainstream in Palestine and in the diaspora, the best evidence may be archaeological; access to the Temple’s precinct for gentiles would be an especially interesting case, and Josephus and Philo allow for some inferences on gentile purity. Yet the greatest difficulty in determining Second Temple gentile purity regulations would remain a definition of “mainstream” or “common Judaism” (perhaps along with the underlying notion of “covenantal nomism” as first formulated by Ed Parish Sanders) as suggested e.g. in Adele Reinhartz and Wayne O. McCready (eds.), Common Judaism: Explorations in Second-Temple Judaism (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2011) and Seth Schwartz, Imperialism and Jewish Society: 200 B.C.E. to 640 C.E. (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2001). It is crucial to remember that most of our historical records relate to sectarian groups, whose attitudes may have evolved in conscious delineation from a real or perceived majority or elite. In this respect, it should be noted that Jubilees 7:20 also contains an attempt to universalize the laws given to Noah as applicable to all gentiles. The sexual laws here included are “to cover the shame of [the] flesh” and guarding one’s soul “from fornication and uncleanness and all iniquity;” there is no indication that Jubilees would see the laws given to the gerim in Lev. 17–26 applicable to gentiles; see Lavee, “The Noahide Laws,” 73–114. 40 For an attempt to illuminate the historical context of the biblical prohibition see e.g. Francesca Stavrakopoulou, King Manasseh and Child Sacrifice: Biblical Distortions of Historical Realities (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2004), and see Hieke, Levitikus, 679–688. 41 The traditional understanding that ἄρχον, “ruler,” reflects a euphemistic translation of the deity Molech (‫ )ּמֹלְֶך‬as “king” (‫) ֶמלְֶך‬, while plausible, has been persuasively questioned by Sarah Pearce, see eadem, “Translating for Ptolemy: Patriotism and Politics in the Greek Pentateuch?” in Jewish Perspectives on Hellenistic Rulers, ed. Tessa Rajak, et al. (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2007), 169–172, but see Theodoret of Cyrus, Questiones in Letiticum XXV as cited in Hieke, Levitikus, 685; see also Philo’s comment on the passage in On Special Laws 3:29. 42 See Jubilees 30:7–11 and Shaye Cohen, “From the Bible to the Talmud: The Prohibition of Intermarriage,” Hebrew Annual Review 7 (1983): 34–36. 43 Note that the Vulgate equally renders the Hebrew term qdsh hwʾ lyhwh, lit. “sacred to G’d” (in Joshua 6:19 and 24) as consecretur, designating confiscation for the sacred treasury (as opposed to the general destruction) of the silver, gold, bronze, and iron vessels among the spoils of Jericho. On the demise of the shrines of Palestine see Doron Bar, “Continuity and Change in the Cultic Topography of Late Antique Palestine,” in From Temple to Church: Destruction and Renewal of Local Cultic Topography in Late Antiquity, ed. Johannes Hahn, et al. (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 2008), 275–298. 44 Targum Neofiti, for example, specifies that it is “from your sons” (wmbnyk) that one is not allowed to give to Molech, yet a marginal note to the manuscript (at Lev. 20:2) specifies that the prohibition pertains to having sexual relations, as

180  Holger M. Zellentin in the Christian tradition (see pages 124–125 later). Targum Onkelos translates the Hebrew, as usual, in a very literal way, preserving the figurative meaning of “seeds;” likewise, Targum Pseudo-Jonathan prohibits to pass one’s seed through the fire for “foreign worship” (lpwlḥnʾ nwkrʾh). On the translation history see Kugel, Traditions of the Bible, 425–427. 45 On the afʿel form of the verb bṭn see Michael Sokoloff, A Syriac Lexicon: A Translation from the Latin, Correction, Expansion and Update of C. Brockelmann’s Lexicon Syriacum (Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns, 2009), 139. 46 See Kugel, Traditions of the Bible, 425–427. A similar interpretation is also given in the Scholia on Leviticus by Barhebraeus, see Martin Sprengling and William Creighton Graham, Barhebraeus’ Scholia on the Old Testament, Part I: Genesis – II Samuel (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1931), 172; see also Lev. 20:2, ibid., 175. 47 Mishna Megillah 4:9, see also Sifre Devarim 171 (218F); on the Targumim, see note 44 earlier. 48 See Palestinian Talmud Megillah 4:10 (75c) and Sanhedrin 16:11 (27b), and Bavli Megillah 25a. The Bavli restricts the saying to apply to Israelite men alone and attributes it as a past opinion of the school of Rabbi Ishmael, leaving its acceptability open; see already Cohen, The Beginnings of Jewishness: Boundaries, Varieties, Uncertainties, 253–257. 49 On the general prohibition for Jews to marry non-Jews see Mishna Makkot 12:1. 50 The reason the rabbis would reject the Peshitta’s reading of Lev. 18:4 may well be their view that the Christian gentiles in the rabbis’ view remained ‫בארמיותא‬, “in heathendom,” unless they converted to Judaism – how could they thus be prohibited to intermarry with other heathens? Such an interpretation of legal polarization, to be sure, is rendered somewhat less striking if one considers the possible Jewish prehistory of the Peshitta, by the attestation of the reading in Jubilees, as well as the “marginal” attestation of the same translation in one Jewish Targum. There may have been other reasons for the rabbis to reject the interpretation. 51 See already 1 Cor. 7:12–16 and 39, and the likely secondary passage in 2 Cor. 6:14. 52 Intermarriage between Christians and non-Christians was prohibited across the Christian world; see already the early-fourth-century Synod of Elvira (can. 16 and 17) and the mid-fourth-century council of Laodicea (can. 10:31). The fifth-century General Council of Chalcedon (can. 14), in a slightly milder tone, prohibits such unions between members of the lower ecclesiastical grades and “heretical” women. While the Latin church forbade these marriages, it did not declare them invalid. In the Greek church, however, such marriages between Catholics and “heretics” were declared null and devoid, for example, in the seventh-century Council in Trullo (can. 72). In the West Syriac tradition, the Testament of Our Lord Jesus Christ, part of the Clementine Octateuch, instructs any Christian who wishes to marry to “marry a Christian, a believing women (mhymntʾ) of the race (gnsʾ) of the Christians who is able to keep her man in the faith (bhymnwtʾ)” (see Arthur Vööbus, The Synodicon in the West Syrian Tradition I (Corpus Scriptorum Christianorum Orientalium 367 (Louvain: Secrétariat du CorpuSCO, 1975), 28. Likewise, the ruling of Chalcedon prohibiting clergy to marry “heretics” was equally included in the Syriac translation of the text (see ibid., 135). In a collection of canons attributed to fifth-century Maruta, bishop of Maipherkat, we find prohibitions against intermarriage of Christians and of their offspring (can. 20, 32–35, see Oscar Braun, De Sancta Nicaena Synodo: Syrische Text des Maruta von Maipherkat nach einer Handschrift der Propaganda zu Rom (Münster: Verlag von Heinrich Schöningh, 1898), 74, 82–84. In the East Syrian tradition, finally, we also find a similar general prohibition to marry pagans in the sixth-century Epistola Pragmatica (47) of the Nestorian Mar Aba the Great, which even prohibited marriage with recent converts to all Christians; see Oscar Braun, Das Buch der Synhados oder Synodicon Orientale: Die Sammlung der Nestorianischen Konzilien, zusammengestellt im neunten Jahrhundert (Amsterdam: Philo Press, 1975 [1900]), 131; see the good

Gentile purity law from the Bible to the Qur’an 181 summaries in Jean Dauvillier and Carlo De Clercq, Le mariage en droit canonique oriental (Paris: Recueil de Sirey, 1936), 164–171 and in Athanase Hage, Les empêchements de mariage en droit canonique oriental: étude historico-canonique (Beyrouth: n.p., 1954), 121–131. 53 The roots of the Didascalia Apostolorum may lie in the second or third century, yet the Greek fragments testifying to the onset of the tradition tell us next to nothing about its early form and content. The first complete copies of the Didascalia Apostolorum are a fifth-century CE Latin version, preserved on a palimpsest, and an expanded Syriac version, whose earliest manuscript dates from the early eighth century CE. On the dating of the Didascalia Apostolorum see Zellentin, The Qurʾān’s Legal Culture, 43–50. 54 Didascalia Apostolorum, chapter three, Arthur Vööbus, The Didascalia Apostolorum in Syriac I (Corpus Scriptorum Christianorum Orientalium 401; Louvain: Secrétariat du CorpuSCO, 1979), 51. On the materials collected in the third chapter of the Didascalia Apostolorum see Vööbus, The Didascalia Apostolorum in Syriac, Chapters I-X, Translated by Arthur Vööbus (Corpus Scriptorum Christianorum Orientalium 402; Louvain: Secrétariat du CorpuSCO, 1979, *39–*43. The “ethnic” reasoning behind the ruling of the Didascalia Apostolorum is typical of Syriac Christian discourse, see my comments in Zellentin, The Qurʾān’s Legal Culture, 163–164; for ethnic reasoning in the Greek church see Denise Kimber Buell, Why This New Race: Ethnic Reasoning in Early Christianity (New York: Columbia University Press, 2005). 55 The issue of bestiality appears only rarely in patristic discourse, and even then rather indirectly. Augustine, for example, mentions the tradition that Jupiter had sex with human women in the transfigured form of an animal (City of God: 4:27), a topic that also arises in the Clementine Homilies (6.21.2). The issue finds more attention in legal literature. The penance for a man guilty of bestiality, for example, is determined in the Synod of Ancyra (can. 16 and 17); see Sara Parvis, Marcellus of Ancyra and the Last Years of the Arian Controversy (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006), 8–37, and Heinz Ohme, “Sources of the Greek Canon Law to the Quinisext Council (691/2),” in The History of Byzantine and Eastern Canon Law to 1500, ed. Wilfried Hartmann and Kenneth Pennington (Washington, DC: The Catholic University of America Press, 2012), 39–41. The same canon is equally incorporated in the Syriac “Collection of all the Canons of the Holy Apostles and the Synods of the Fathers” (49, see Vööbus, The Synodicon in the West Syrian Tradition I, 57) as well as in the Syriac translation of “the Canons of the Synod of Ancyra” (can. 15–16, see ibid., 98); the translation stems from the turn of the sixth century CE. ibid., 4. For an overview of animal sexuality in the Middle Ages see Joyce Salisbury, The Beast Within: Animals in the Middle Ages (Abingdon: Routledge, 2011), 61–80. 56 On the Qur’an’s relationship to the Bible, which is “everywhere and nowhere in the Qur’an,” see Griffith, The Bible in Arabic, 2 and 54–96, on the Qur’an and Psalms see Angelika Neuwirth, Scripture, Poetry, and the Making of a Community: Reading the Qur’an as a Literary Text (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014), 76–101. 57 I treat the letters of Paul and the portrayal of Paul in the Acts of the Apostles as distinct, if obviously interrelated, sources, reflecting starkly different perspectives of the same historical events. I will thus differentiate between “the historical Paul,” the author of his authentic letters, and “Acts,” a secondary yet equally valuable source. Some of the problems of the historical reliability of Acts are starkly outlined, for example, in Clare K. Rothschild, “Pisidian Antioch in Acts 13: The Denouement of the South Galatian Hypothesis,” Novum Testamentum 54 (2012): 334–353. For a more conservative position and a spirited, if somewhat apologetic discussion of the difficulties in relating Acts to Paul see e.g. Frederick Fyvie Bruce, The Acts of the Apostles: The Greek Text with Introduction and Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1990), 46–59. 58 See Zellentin, “The Case of Ritual Slaughter and the Consumption of Animal Blood,” 127–133. It should be pointed out that Paul’s theology of blood in Christ’s atoning sacrifice (see e.g. Romans 3:25 and 5:9, and 1 Corinthians 10:16 and 11:25) would

182  Holger M. Zellentin certainly have distracted from the issue of blood as defiling as spelled out in the Hebrew Bible (see page 117 earlier). For an overview and Christian interpretation of the relevant sources see Romano Penna, Paul the Apostle: Wisdom and Folly of the Cross: A Theological and Exegetical Study (Louisville, MN: Liturgical Press/Glazier, 1996), vol. 2, 24–44. 59 Paul uses the image of “one flesh” (from Gen. 2:24) as signifying the irrevocable marital union of the partners in sexual intercourse in 1 Corinthians 6:16 and 15:39; see also Ephesians 5:31, Matthew 19:3–12 and Mark 10:2–9. For a discussion of the broad developments within Christian marriage law see Zellentin, “Law in the Medinan Qurʾān.” On the relationship of Roman incest discourse and Paul’s reference to Leviticus 18:8 and 20:11 see Paul Hartog, “ ‘Not Even Among the Pagans’ (1 Cor 5:1): Paul and Seneca on Incest,” in The New Testament and Early Christian Literature in GrecoRoman Context: Studies in Honor of David E. Aune, ed. John Fotopoulos (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 2006), 49–62. 60 Leviticus 19:26 and 31 prohibits various forms of magic without addressing gentiles; in Deuteronomy 29:11, the text explicitly addresses “your gerim who are in your midst” before moving on to chastise idol worship; see page 119 earlier. While these prohibitions are hardly surprising, their cumulative nature points to an understanding of gentile law shared between Paul and the later rabbis, as we will see. Paul also includes “revilers” (λοίδοροι), which, if their insult were directed against God and his apostles or one’s parents, would fall under the prohibition of blasphemy and cursing one’s parents we find in the gentile purity regulations of Leviticus 24:16. However, we should also note that Paul’s entire list includes topics not named in Lev. 17–26, such as people guilty of other forms of social misconduct, namely the greedy (πλεονέκται) and the drunkards (μέθυσοι). 61 The notion of “homosexuality,” it has been pointed out, is a broad cultural construct whose implications make it unwieldy in the discussion of ancient notions. It is the more specific focus on sex between men that falls into the legal and cultural purview of ancient cultures. On the nuanced attitudes towards sex between men and the clear distinction between the active and the passive partner in the Late Republic and the Roman Empire see the fine study by Eva Cantarella, Bisexuality in the Ancient World (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2002 [1992]), 120–186; on Ancient Near Eastern attitudes more generally see note 34 earlier. 62 On the cultural context of ἀρσενοκοῖται and μαλακοὶ in the New Testament and early Judaism see Raymond F. Collins, First Corinthians (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1999), 239; on the same topic see also Romans 1:27, 1 Corinthians 6:9–10, and Timothy 1:10. 63 Paul more generally condemns “lust” between men in Romans 1:27. In both lists, in Galatians 5:19–21 and in 1 Corinthians 6:9–10, Paul does not present a systematic list of transgressions he sees as most egregious, which he arguably assumes to be self-evident. It thus seems that Paul in both lists tends to focus on borderline cases more so than on prohibitions he takes for granted. Paul does not specifically accuse his audience or warn them of the gravest of offenses that he lays at the feet of humanity as a whole, such as murder (Romans 1:29, see also Rom 13:9) or disrespect towards parents (Rom. 1:30). In 1 Corinthians, Paul rather accuses some among his audience to have been guilty of the sexual transgressions when he concludes his list by stating that “this is what some of you used to be” (1. Cor. 6:11), whereas in Galatians, he warns his audience not to engage in such acts (Gal. 5:21). Rather than designating such sexual transgressions as especially egregious, Paul may well have had more hope that those he portrays as sexually deviant would repent, unlike hardened murderers. 64 The earliest witness of Acts come from the third century CE; I am inclined to date the text to the early second century. For a brief overview of the various positions regarding the composition of the text see Joseph A. Fitzmyer, The Acts of the Apostles: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary (New York: Doubleday, 1998), 51–54.

Gentile purity law from the Bible to the Qur’an 183 65 On law and ethnic identity in the Gospel of Matthew see Holger M. Zellentin, “Jesus and the Tradition of the Elders: Originalism and Traditionalism in Early Judean Legal Theory,” in Beyond the Gnostic Gospels: Studies Building on the Work of Elaine H. Pagels, ed. L. Jenott, et al. (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2013), 379–403; on the Jewish background of Revelation see e.g. David Frankfurter, “Jews or Not? Reconstructing the ‘Other’ in Rev 2:9 and 3:9,” Harvard Theological Review 94 (2001): 403–425. For the ethnic self-identity of Acts see Wehnert, Die Reinheit des “christlichen Gottesvolkes” aus Juden und Heiden, and pages 127–130 later. 66 We cannot, of course, confirm whether the claim made by Acts is historically accurate. The historical Paul clearly ties legal obligation to ethnicity. His statement in 1 Corinthians 9:21, “to those outside the law I became as one outside the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law) so that I might win those outside the law,” on the one hand, indicates that he may well have seen himself as of permeable ethnicity, and thereby as not, or not always, bound by the legal requirements for Jews. On the other hand, Paul’s nuanced view of his own status may have been misunderstood by his contemporaries (as it remains poorly understood to this day), and the depiction in Acts may well reflect the stance of the historical Paul (see note 57 earlier). The issue cannot and need not be resolved; what matters is that Acts sees Paul as both Jewish and as observant. 67 While Acts was likely composed after the destruction of the Temple (see note 64 earlier), it does not indicate that the destruction of the sanctuary would alter any of the ritual laws for Jews or for gentiles. For a thorough discussion of the attitudes of Acts to the Jewish law see Stephen G. Wilson, Luke and the Law (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983), 59–102. 68 Note also the parallels in Acts 15:20, to be discussed later, and in Acts 21:25. For the manuscript evidence – and especially the case of the marginal so-called “Western” tradition that lacks the references the “things strangled” – see Wehnert, Die Reinheit des “christlichen Gottesvolkes” aus Juden und Heiden, 21–106. The inclusion of “strangled” meat is clearly original; the omission occurs only in the Greek manuscript Cambridge University Library Manuscript number 2.41 (the so-called “Codex Bezae”) and in the Latin Codex Gigas. The omission is likewise attested in Irenaeus, Adversus Haereses 3.12.17 (=3.12.14.20), only the Latin is preserved, see William Wigan Harvey, Sancti Irenaei episcopi Lugdunensis Libros quinque adversus haereses (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1857), vol. 2, 70); in Cyprian, Treatise 12 (To Qurinius), 3.119, see CSCL 3.3, ad loc.; as well as in the fourth-century pseudonymous commentary on Galatians attributed to Ambrosiaster (2:2), CSEL 81, ad loc., and see Böckenhoff, Das apostolische Speisegesetz, 90–93. Despite its poor attestation and further signs of interpolation, this version has been eagerly accepted as the original form by some scholars; see the summary in Wehnert, Die Reinheit des “christlichen Gottesvolkes” aus Juden und Heiden, 26 note 8. Freidenreich has suggested that Tertullian would be familiar with the decree in its “Western variant (omitting reference to ‘strangled meat’);” this is not necessarily the case as we will see later; see Freidenreich, Foreigners and their Food, 253. 69 For the view of the historical Paul on circumcision see Galatians 2 and Romans 3–4; for a magisterial discussion of the evidence in Romance see Stan Stowers, A Rereading of Romans: Justice, Jews, and Gentiles (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1994). 70 The most complete work on the topic remains that of Wehnert, Die Reinheit des “christlichen Gottesvolkes” aus Juden und Heiden; Wehnert presents a helpful history of previous scholarship in ibid., 14–20. The first work to argue for the engagement of Leviticus 17 in the Decree of the Apostles, according to Wehnert, may have been Albrecht Ritschl, “Das Verhältnis der Schriften des Lukas zu der Zeit ihrer Entstehung,” Theologische Jahrbücher 6 (1847): 293–304; see also the influential work by Wilson, Luke and the Law. 71 See Wehnert, Die Reinheit des “christlichen Gottesvolke” aus Juden und Heiden, 228–30, and Zellentin, “The Case of Ritual Slaughter and the Consumption of Animal Blood,” 127 note 32.

184  Holger M. Zellentin 72 The verb ἀπέχεσθαί τινος, “to abstain from sth.,” governs the genitive τῶν ἀλισγημάτων, “of the pollutions”; note that the ongoing genitival form of all nouns describing the four prohibited categories arguably – yet not necessarily – indicates that pollution occurs through each of them; see already Wehnert, Die Reinheit des “christlichen Gottesvolkes” aus Juden und Heiden, 239–245. 73 See note 5 earlier. 74 See Wehnert, Die Reinheit des “christlichen Gottesvolkes” aus Juden und Heiden, 239–245. 75 See Bruce Malina, “Does Porneia Mean Fornication?,” Novum Testamentum 14 (1972): 10–17; note also the objections by Joseph Jensen, “Does Porneia Mean Fornication? A Critique of Bruce Malina,” Novum Testamentum 20 (1978): 161–184. More recently, Kyle Harper correctly concluded that “the word πορνεία so effectively and so dramatically condensed the differences between pre-Christian and Christian sexuality that it requires some effort to reenter the sexual culture of the Mediterranean at a time when sexual norms were immanent in patterns of social reproduction,” see idem, “Porneia: The Making of a Christian Sexual Norm,” Journal of Biblical Literature 131 (2011): 383. Unfortunately, Harper dismisses the close relationship between Leviticus 18 and the term porneia and, seemingly unaware of Wehnert’s seminal work, dismisses the logic behind the Decree of the Apostles as “notoriously unclear,” see ibid., 376. 76 See Wehnert, Die Reinheit des “christlichen Gottesvolkes” aus Juden und Heiden, 232–233. 77 Mishna Yevamoth 9:5 and Ketuvot 5:1, and pages 130–133 later. 78 It should be noted that the author of Acts acutely remembers the covenant with Abraham and the narratives of Genesis (see e.g. Act 3:25 and 7:8, cf. Luke 1:72 and 22:20); the prominence of the covenant with Noah and the laws given to the resident aliens do not, therefore, stand out thematically. 79 For a thoughtful consideration of the diaspora context of Acts (and a radically diverging reading of the text itself) see Roland Deines, “Das Aposteldekret: Halacha für Heidenchristen Oder Christliche Rücksichtnahme auf Jüdische Tabus?” in Jewish Identity in the Greco-Roman World, ed. Jörg Frey, Daniel R. Schwartz, et al. (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 2007), 323–395. 80 Wehnert does consider Luke’s application of the laws of the gerim to all gentiles as legal innovation; while this may well be the case, we should not dismiss the alternative scenario sketched earlier, that these laws were more widely accepted as guiding gentile purity among the Jews of Palestine or that of the diaspora. The issue would require a further study of the status of the “god-fearers,” the gentile acolytes found attested throughout the Jewish diaspora, about whom we know next to nothing. For god-fearers in Acts see e.g. J. Brian Tucker, “Godfearers: Literary Foil or Historical Reality in the Book of Acts?” Journal of Biblical Studies 5 (2005): 21–39; for some of the pertinent archaeological finds see Irina A. Levinskaya, “The Inscription from Aphrodisias and the Problem of the God-Fearers,” Tyndale Bulletin 41 (1990): 312–318. 81 An argument that could be raised against the present interpretation not addressed by Wehnert is that Acts seems to dismiss the possibility, specified in Leviticus 17:15, to purify oneself by washing should one consume carrion or meat torn by wild animals, as well as the general permission – to gentiles – to consume such meat in Deuteronomy (which the rabbis endorsed). By choosing one exegetical path over another, Acts effectively makes one of the legal “burdens” on the gentiles more stringent all the while claiming leniency. Acts, of course, actually simplifies the law and reduces its ambiguity in a way that proved effective for it to last throughout Late Antiquity and beyond in a way that was largely unchallenged, as we will see. 82 The difficult task of relating the gentile purity laws of Acts to those of the rabbis has been undertaken, for example, in Bockmuehl, Jewish Law in Gentile Churches, 145–174.

Gentile purity law from the Bible to the Qur’an 185 83 See notes 37 and 39 earlier. 84 On the rabbinic Noahide Laws see most recently Yishai Kiel, “Noahide Law and the Inclusiveness of Sexual Ethics: between Roman Palestine and Sasanian Babylonia,” Jewish Law Annual 21 (2015): 59–109; Moshe Lavee, “The Noahide Laws,” 73–114 [Hebrew]; and the classical study by David Novak, The Image of the Non-Jew in Judaism: An Historical and Constructive Study of the Noahide Laws (New York: Edwin Mellen, 1983), but see note 87 later. 85 See Moses Samuel Zuckermandel, Tosephta: Based on the Erfurt and Vienna Codices (Jerusalem: Bamberger & Wahrmann, 1937), 473. Note that the sentence “a limb from a living being” only appears a little later in the text of the Vienna manuscript; the Erfurt manuscript cites it as translated here. 86 Important later parallels include Midrash Bereshit Rabba 34:8, Palestinian Talmud Avodah Zarah 2.1 (40c, 14–25), Babylonian Talmud Chullin 92a-b and Bavli Sanhedrin 56a – 60a. The later explanation of the hermeneutics in the Babylonian Talmud distracts from this fact, as I hope to argue in a separate publication. In Babylonian Talmud Sanhedrin 56a-60b, the rabbis seek to derive the Noahide laws from a number of sources, esp. from Genesis 2–6. While the passage makes occasional use of the gentile purity laws, it does so only since these laws are applicable to Jews and gentiles alike, thereby including the ger as Jew, not as gentile. The understanding of the ger not as a gentile but as a proselyte in amoraic rabbinic culture made the laws given to the gerim in Leviticus 17–26 obsolete for the Babylonian Talmud. In my view, the Tosephta, in contrast to the Babylonian Talmud, understands the gerim as gentiles, and, like Acts, it universalizes the laws given to them. 87 David Novak has argued that the notion of natural law is pertinent for the study of the rabbinic Noahide Laws; see idem, The Image of the Non-Jew in Judaism, and idem, Natural Law in Judaism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008). I share the reservations against the concept voiced by Bernard S. Jackson, “The Jewish View of Natural Law,” Journal of Jewish Studies 52 (2001): 136–145; see now also Christine Hayes, What’s So Divine about Divine Law: Early Perspectives (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2015), 356–369. The concept of natural law, of course, may still be helpful for contemporary Jewish discourse, see now Anver M. Emon, Matthew Levering, and David Novak (eds.), Natural Law: A Jewish, Christian, and Islamic Trialogue (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014). The interesting suggestion by Boaz Cohen to compare the rabbinic Noahide laws to the Roman ius gentium, however, should not be rejected just because the rabbis “did not have any such power over any group of non-Jews,” as Novak would have it (see idem, Natural Law, 150). The rabbis equally legislated on the Temple after its destruction; their application of law is always a secondary consideration. On Cohen’s hypothesis see idem, Jewish and Roman Law: A Comparative Study (New York: The Jewish Theological Seminary, 1966), 26ff. On natural law in Christianity and in the Qur’an, see pages 136–140 and 158–159 later. 88 An early rabbinic source, Sifra Aharei Mot 13:9, for example, suggests that laws against robbery (‫)הגזלות‬, fornication (‫)והעריות‬, idol worship ([‫)וע[בודת]’א[לילים‬, blasphemy (‫וקללת‬ ‫)השם‬, and the spilling of human blood (‫ )ושפיכות דמים‬would need to be written down even if they had not been given; see Louis Finkelstein, Sifra, or, Torat Kohanim: According to Codex Assemani Levi (New York: Jewish Theological Seminary of America, 1956), ad loc. While the early rabbis likely saw these laws, which equally form part of the Noahide Laws, as constitutive of a functioning society, we should be careful not to impose the Greek and later Christian notion of “natural law” on rabbinic thought in any simplistic way. Natural law, in turn, seems to be ironized by a statement attributed in to R. Johanan in the Babylonian Talmud, who reportedly said: “If the Torah had not been given, we would have learned about modesty (‫ )צניעות‬from the cat, and about robbery (‫ )וגזל‬from the ant, and about fornication (‫ )ועריות‬from the dove. Worldly manners (‫ ?)דרך ארץ‬From the cock that first coaxes and then copulates (‫”!)שמפייס ואחר כך בועל‬

186  Holger M. Zellentin (Babylonian Talmud Eruvin 100b). The Talmud (despite Rashi’s attempt at rationalization) here dismisses the idea that anything “natural” should guide human interactions. This corroborates the conclusion spelled out clearly by Hayes, namely, that “[t]he cumulative evidence provided by the sources examined . . . strongly suggests that the Talmudic rabbis did not understand the Noahide laws in primarily natural law terms. Moreover, the Babylonian Talmud’s unprecedented construction and subsequent contestation of an alternative position that does represent Noahide law in natural law terms suggests that the rabbinic rejection of a natural law view of Noahide law was a self-aware one”; see eadem, What’s So Divine about Divine Law, 370. 89 See Sifra Shemini 2:4 and 6:1, Pesiqta de Rav Kahana 12:1, Babylonian Talmud Sanhedrin 56a-59b. 90 Deuteronomy 14:21, addressing Israelites, specifies that “You shall not eat of any thing that dies of itself (‫ ;)נבלה‬you shall give it to the ger who is within your gates (‫לגר אשר‬ ‫)בשעריך‬, that he may eat it; or you may sell it to a foreigner (‫ ;)לנכרי‬for you are a holy people to the Lord your God.” The law in Deuteronomy 17:15 stands in some tension with the instruction given to the ger not to eat carrion, which is implicit in the following instruction: “And every soul who eats that which died of itself (‫)נבלה‬, or that which was torn by beasts (‫)וטרפה‬, whether he is one of your own country, or a stranger (‫)ובגר‬, he shall both wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean (‫ )וטמא‬until the evening; then shall he be clean.” By declaring the ger to be a proselyte, the amoraic rabbis alleviate this tension, whereas the Christian (and later Qur’anic) law take no consideration of Dtn. 14:21, instead implementing the logic underlying Lev. 17:15. 91 The Tosephta prohibits “cursing the Name (of God, ‫)קיללת השם‬,” whereas Lev. 24:16 censors “and he who misuses the name of G’d,” ‫ ;'ונקב שם יה‬both texts share the direct reference to God’s “name.” Likewise, the Tosephta uses the nominal form of “theft,” or “robbery,” ‫הגזל‬, whereas the Bible uses the verbal form, “do not steal,” ‫ולא תגזל‬. See also note 89 earlier. 92 For an illustration of how the rabbis specify “the uncovering of nakedness” according to Leviticus 18, including instances of incest, see e.g. Mishna Sanhedrin 7:4, Keritoth 1:1, Palestinian Talmud Sanhedrin 7.5 (24c) and Babylonian Talmud Sanhedrin 53a55b; see also note 31 earlier and note 198 later. 93 Tosephta Avodah Zarahh 8:4, Zuckermandel, Tosephta, 473. 94 See Midrash Bereshit Rabba 34:8, Palestinian Talmud Avodah Zarah 2.1 (40c, 14–25), Babylonian Talmud Chullin 92a-b and Babylonian Talmud Sanhedrin 56a – 60b and see note 86 earlier. Note that the Palestinian Talmud expands the number of prohibitions to 30 laws without spelling out the additional ones. According to Babylonian Talmud Chullin 92a-b, the “sons of Noah” (i.e. the gentiles), had indeed accepted to fulfill 30 laws, yet actually “they only follow (‫ )אין מקיימין אלא‬three: they do not write a ketubah (marriage certificate) for males, they do not weigh the flesh of the dead in the market, and they respect (‫ )שמכבדין‬the Torah.” The rabbinic view here is marked by realism as much as by sarcasm at least in the first two cases. The phrase “they do not weigh the flesh of the dead in the market” (‫)שוקלין בשר המת במקולין‬, to begin with the second one, evokes the martyrdom of Rabbi Aqiva, about whom it is reported that “they weighed his flesh in the market (‫ )ששוקלין בשרו במקולין‬after he was killed by the Romans; see Babylonian Talmud Menahot 29b and Berakhot 61b. While the story of Rabbi Aqiva may well indicated that the gentiles have crossed even one of the last boundaries, it seems more likely that the text suspects the gentiles of following only external forms of piety. Even if the flesh of dead is not available for sale publicly, gentiles are clearly guilty of the spilling of blood, contravening the prohibition in Genesis 9:1–7. In parallel with the first case, this implies that the gentiles allowed sex between males in contravention of Lev. 18:22, even if they do not officially recognize marriages between men (as occurred, of course, in the case of Nero, see Suetonius Nero 28 and Dio Cassius Epitome 62.28); sex between men was prohibited by Constantius II, see

Gentile purity law from the Bible to the Qur’an 187 Theodosian Code 9.7.3 and see Craig A. Williams, Roman Homosexualities (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010), 279–286). The Talmud’s double irony suggests that the alleged “honor” which the gentiles bestow on the Torah may equally be less than perfect; alternatively, it may be reference to the limited legal autonomy accorded to the Jews under the Sasanians, see e.g. Geoffrey Herman, A Prince without a Kingdom: The Exilarch in the Sasanian Era (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2012). 95 See note 89 earlier. 96 Given that an undrained “limb from a living” being would likely fall under the category of “blood” in Acts, the prohibition of such meat would likely constitute a further overlap. 97 Later rabbinic iterations of Noahide laws include a wide variety of legal specifications; the relevance of the laws of the gerim in Leviticus 17–26 here loses relevance along with the amoraic rabbinic reinterpretation of the ger as proselyte. On the divergence of later rabbinic Noahide law from Israelite law see Hayes, What’s So Divine about Divine Law, 356–369. 98 Another text clearly focused on gentile purity regulations is the Didache; I take its opening address “to the nations” (τοῖς ἔθνεσιν) as historically accurate (if not necessarily original to the text). The Didache’s fundamental laws are almost entirely congruent with the gentile purity regulations given in Leviticus 17, 18, and 20: “Do not commit murder; do not commit adultery (οὐ μοιχεύσεις); do not corrupt boys (οὐ παιδοφθορήσεις); do not have illicit sex (οὐ πορνεύσεις); do not steal; do not practice magic (οὐ μαγεύσεις); do not practice witchcraft (οὐ φαρμακεύσεις); you shall not murder a child, whether it be born or unborn” (Did 2:2, on magic and idolatry see also 3:4, on theft 3:5). This central list is fully congruent with the gentile purity regulations found in Lev. 17–26 and has special affinities with its application to gentiles both by Paul and by the rabbis. Further relevant laws in the Didache include the prohibition of blasphemy (Did. 3:6), cognate to Lev 24:16, and the positive commandment to love one’s neighbor as oneself (Did. 1:2), as spelled out in Leviticus 19:18. Unsurprisingly, we also find a prohibition of “meat offered to idols,” later in the document (Did. 6:3). It is unclear, however, that the text engaged Leviticus as clearly as Acts did. By the time the Didache was composed, which may well have been in the second or third century CE, these rules may have already been generally accepted as part of the emerging Christian legal tradition. Moreover, the Didache does not make any reference to the central prohibition of “blood” and improperly slaughtered meat, endorsed by a majority of Christian texts (as “strangled” meat) as well as, mutatis mutandis, by the rabbis (as “limb” or “blood” from a living being). The way in which the Didache understands the gentile purity regulations, therefore, may be closer to that of Paul than to that of Acts. On the dating and context of the Didache see the useful collection edited by Clayton N. Jefford, The Didache in Context: Essays on Its Text, History, and Transmission (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1995). 99 See Böckenhoff, Das apostolische Speisegesetz in den ersten fünf Jahrhunderten, and idem, Speisesatzungen mosaischer Art in Kirchenrechtsquellen des Morgen- und Abendlandes (Münster: Verlag der Aschendorffschen Buchhandlung, 1907) and see note 3 earlier. 100 I corroborate and slightly expand Böckenhoff’s findings in Zellentin, “The Case of Ritual Slaughter and the Consumption of Animal Blood,” 132–148; see notes 4 and 5 earlier. 101 See notes 34 and 61 earlier. 102 On this intricate legal relationship see Zellentin, The Qurʾān’s Legal Culture, esp. 1–54, see also idem, “Law in the Medinan Qurʾān,” and note 191 later. 103 Unsurprisingly, the church fathers’ exegetical engagement of Leviticus is overall rather concise. For a helpful discussion of the Christian exegesis on Leviticus see Daniel Stökl Ben Ezra, The Impact of Yom Kippur on Early Christianity (Tübingen:

188  Holger M. Zellentin Mohr Siebeck, 2003), 261–289; an important Syriac text missing here is Mar Aba’s sixth-century treatise on Leviticus 18; see Eduard Sachau, Syrische Rechtsbücher. Dritter Band: Corpus juris des persischen Erzbischofs Jesubocht: Erbrecht Oder Canones des persischen Erzbischofs Simeon: Eherecht des Patriarchen Mâr Abhâ: Aus der römischen Handschrift (Berlin: Georg Reimer, 1914), 258–285 (Syriac with a German and, for the more salacious parts, Latin translation). 104 Didascalia Apostolorum I, chapter one, see Vööbus, The Didascalia Apostolorum in Syriac I, 12. 105 The Didascalia Apostolorum, of course, disapproves of sex between anyone other than a husband and a wife; for its denigration of a sex between a man and a “foreign woman” (ʾnttʾ nwkrytʾ) or a prostitute (znytʾ) see e.g. Didascalia Apostolorum, chapter 26, see Vööbus, The Didascalia Apostolorum in Syriac II, 263. 106 Later rabbinic laws for Jews and gentiles, by contrast, diverge, see note 84 earlier. 107 See Zellentin, “The Case of Ritual Slaughter and the Consumption of Animal Blood,” 132–148, and see notes 3 and 4 earlier. 108 See Zellentin, “Law in the Medinan Qurʾān.” 109 Synod of Gangra, Canon II, PL 67, 55–56; the observance is reaffirmed in the epitome, ad loc., see also Böckenhoff, Das apostolische Speisegesetz, 78–79. 110 See Richard Price, The Acts of the Council of Constantinople of 553: With Related Texts on the Three Chapters Controversy (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2009), 111. 111 Council of Trullo, 692, canon 67, see Eduard Schwartz, et al. (eds.), Acta Conciliorum Oecumenicorum, Series Secunda II, Pars 4: Concilium Constantinopolitanum a. 691/2 in Trullo habitum (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2013), ad loc.; see also Böckenhoff, Speisesatzungen mosaischer Art, 4. 112 Didascalia Apostolorum, chapter 24, see R. H. Connolly, Didascalia Apostolorum: The Syriac Version Translated and Accompanied by the Verona Latin Fragments (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1929), 209; Arthur Vööbus, The Didascalia Apostolorum in Syriac II, 237. See also “Further Canons of Jacob of Edessa” in Arthur Vööbus, The Synodicon in the West Syrian Tradition; as well as Athanasius of Balad, Letter, François Nau, “Littérature canonique syriaque inédite,” Revue de l’Orient Chrétien 14 (1909): 128–130, on Athanasius also Robert G. Hoyland, Seeing Islam as Others Saw It: A Survey and Evaluation of Christian, Jewish and Zoroastrian Writings on Early Islam (Princeton, NJ: Darwin Press, 1997), 148 and Zellentin, The Qurʾān’s Legal Culture, 5–17. 113 On the reforms of Mar Aba and the importance of Leviticus see Lev Weitz, Syriac Christians in the Medieval Islamic World: Law, Family, and Society (PhD Dissertation, Princeton University, 2013), 135–170; Richard Payne, A State of Mixture: Christians, Zoroastrians, and Iranian Political Culture in Late Antiquity (Oakland, CA: University of California Press, 2015), 108–117; and Manfred Hutter, “Mār Abā and the Impact of Zoroastrianism on Christianity in the 6th Century,” in Religious Themes and Texts of Pre-Islamic Iran, ed. Carlo G. Cereti, et al. (Wiesbaden: Dr. Ludwig Reichert Verlag, 2003), 167–173. I am discussing the importance of Mar Aba more fully in Zellentin, “Law in the Medinan Qurʾān.” 114 Apostolic Constitutions 6:12 (82–87); see B. M. Metzger, Les Constitutions Apostoliques (Paris: Éditions du Cerf, 1987), vol. 3, ad loc. 115 On the mitigated relevance of the Apostolic Constitution for the Qur’an, especially when compared with the Didascalia Apostolorum, see Zellentin, The Qurʾān’s Legal Culture, 46–47, note 57. Anton Baumstark argues that part of the Apostolic Constitutions is actually of Egyptian origin; see idem, “Aegyptischer Oder antiochenischer Liturgietypus in AK I – VII?” Oriens Christianus 7 (1907): 388–407; Baumstark’s arguments for an Egyptian setting are accepted by Stephen Gero, “The So-Called Ointment Prayer in the Coptic Version of the Didache: A Re-Evaluation,” The

Gentile purity law from the Bible to the Qur’an 189 Harvard Theological Review 70 (1977): esp. 73 and 81. On the distinctly “gentile” identity of the Apostolic Constitutions, see F. Jacob Eliza Boddens Hosang, Establishing Boundaries: Christian-Jewish Relations in Early Council Texts and the Writings of Church Fathers (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 2010), 118–22, and Michele Murray, “Christian Identity in the Apostolic Constitutions: Some Observations,” in Identity and Interaction in the Ancient Mediterranean: Jews, Christians and Others: Essays in Honour of Stephen G. Wilson, ed. Zeba A. Crook and Philip A. Harland (Sheffield: Sheffield Phoenix Press, 2007), 179–194. On the Apostolic Constitutions and their fate in Eastern and Western churches more broadly, see Hubert Kaufhold, “Sources of Canon Law in the Eastern Churches,” in The History of Byzantine and Eastern Canon Law to 1500, ed. Hartmann and Pennington, 266–270; and Heinz Ohme, “Sources of the Greek Canon Law to the Quinisext Council (691/2),” in ibid., 28–33; Frances Margaret Young, “The Apostolic Constitutions: A Methodological Case-Study,” in Studia Patristica, Volume XXXVI: Papers Presented at the Thirteenth International Conference on Patristic Studies Held in Oxford 1999. Critica et Philologica, Nachleben, First Two Centuries, Tertullian to Arnobius, Egypt before Nicaea, Athanasius and His Opponents, ed. Maurice F. Wiles, et al. (Leuven: Peeters, 2001), 105–115, for further bibliography see Zellentin, The Qurʾān’s Legal Culture, 48 note 58. 116 The development of the concept of natural law in Greco-Roman philosophical discourse has recently been summarized with great clarity by Hayes, see eadem, What’s So Divine About Divine Law, 60–89, on natural law in the Bible see ibid., 24–31 and 38–39, as well as the philosophical approach taken by Matthew Levering, “God and Natural Law: Reflections on Genesis 22,” in The Threads of Natural Law: Unravelling a Philosophical Tradition, ed. Francisco José Contreras (Dordrecht: Springer, 2013), 65–84. A good summary of the patristic view of natural law can be found in Norman Doe (ed.), Christianity and Natural Law: An Introduction (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017), esp. 1–57; Matthew Levering, “Christians and Natural Law,” in Natural Law, 66–111; see also Jonathan Yates, “The Use of Rom. 2, 14–15 in the Christian Latin Tradition ca. 365 – ca. 411 – Augustine Excepted,” in Studia Patristica Vol. XLIV: Papers Presented at the Fifteenth International Conference on Patristic Studies held in Oxford 2007, ed. Averil Cameron, Markus Vinzent, et al. (Leuven: Peters, 2010), 213–226 and William A. Banner, “Origen and the Tradition of Natural Law Concepts,” Dumbarton Oaks Papers 8 (1954): 49–82. For a good summary of the notion of natural law in its classical Greek philosophical context see e.g. Ross Corbett, “The Question of Natural Law in Aristotle,” History of Political Thought 30 (2009): 229–250. I am not aware of any treatments of the notion of natural law in Syriac Christianity. 117 For similar attitudes toward the purity of food and blood see Zellentin, “The Case of Ritual Slaughter and the Consumption of Animal Blood,” 132–148. The three categories of dismissive, appreciative, and expansive should, of course, not be seen as stable and clearly distinguishable schools; the labels often partially overlap and are merely an expression of my understanding of the demonstrable legal attitude of the sources in question. 118 On punishments for adultery, see pages 160–164 later. The actual punishments vary very widely, based on geographical, cultural, and chronological factors; a full consideration transcends the limits of the present study, see e.g. Alexis Torrance, Repentance in Late Antiquity: Eastern Asceticism and the Framing of the Christian Life c.400–650 CE (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013), 197–208; Joseph Grotz, Die Entstehung des Bußstufenwesens in der vornicänischen Kirche (Freiburg im Breisgau: Herder, 1955); and G. Wagner, “Bußdisziplin in der Tradition des Ostens,” in Liturgie et rémission des péchés: Conférences Saint-Serge, XXe Semaine d’études liturgiques: Paris, 2–5 juillet 1973 (Rome: Edizioni Liturgiche, 1975), 251–264. An exemplary list of punishments for sexual crimes in the West Syrian tradition can

190  Holger M. Zellentin be can be found in the fourth-century Synod of Ancyra, which, e.g., excludes from the community for a set number of years, see can. 11, 16, 17, 20, 21, and 24. The Synod, as mentioned earlier, has also been included in the Western Syrian tradition as can. 10, 15, 16, 19, 20, and 24, with some variance in severity and formulation; see Vööbus, The Synodicon in the West Syrian Tradition I, 97–101 and note 55 earlier. Note that Böckenhoff lists a number of cases in which both Eastern and Western church fathers who explicitly permitted the consumption of foodstuff normally prohibited under duress (a ruling we will equally find in the Qur’an), see idem, Speisesatzungen mosaischer Art, 1–10. 119 See Zellentin, “The Case of Ritual Slaughter and the Consumption of Animal Blood,” 132–148 and idem, The Qurʾān’s Legal Culture, 55–76. 120 Apostolic Constitutions 6:28, 26–40; Metzger, Les Constitutions Apostoliques, ad loc. See also Apostolic Constitutions 8:32 on fornication. 121 Apostolic Constitutions 6:28 (9–25); Metzger, Les Constitutions Apostoliques, ad loc. The notions of “natural” and “unnatural” is important throughout the Apostolic Constitutions, see also ibid., 1:3, 50; 2:14, 44; 3:9, 11; 6:11, 27; and 7:2; 40. 122 On sex between women in Christian law and in the Qur’an see note 222 later. Note that Tertullian, likewise, comments on Romans 1:26 by differentiating between natural and divine revealed law, see idem, De Corona 6. 123 Text according to Edmund Beck, Des Heiligen Ephraem des Syrers Hymnen de Virginitate [Textus] (Louvain: Secrétariat du CorpusSCO, 1962), vol. 1, 2; translation according to Kathleen E. McVey, Ephrem the Syrian: Hymns (New York: Paulist Press, 1989), 262. The juxtaposition of nature and Scripture can be found elsewhere in Ephrem, as Beck remarks, see e.g. de Fide 65:2, de Paradiso 5:2, Contra Haereses 28:11f and Prose Refutations of Mani, Marcion and Bardaisan 2:171f. A comparable attitude towards divine and natural law can already be found in Aphrahat, see e.g. Adam Isaac Lehto, Divine Law, Asceticism, and Gender in Aphrahat’s “Demonstrations,” with a Complete Annotated Translation of the Text and Comprehensive Syriac Glossary (PhD Dissertation, University of Toronto, 2003). Overall, the study of concepts of law in the Syriac tradition remains underdeveloped. 124 Sachau, Syrische Rechtsbücher, 258, see also 280–282. 125 Sachau, Syrische Rechtsbücher, 280–282. 126 Apostolic Constitutions 6:27, 10–19; Metzger, Les Constitutions Apostoliques, ad loc. For the parallel text in the Didascalia Apostolorum chapter 26 see Vööbus, The Didascalia Apostolorum in Syriac II, 256; on the passage see also Fonrobert, Menstrual Purity, 174–179. 127 See also Fonrobert, Menstrual Purity, 174–179; Fonrobert discusses a passage in the Didascalia Apostolorum chapter 26, see Vööbus, The Didascalia Apostolorum in Syriac II, 256, which constitutes a very close parallel to Apostolic Constitutions 6:27, 10–19. On the dating of the Didascalia Apostolorum see note 53 earlier. 128 Pollution through unintentional nocturnal emission is one of the purity laws only addressed to the Israelites which found its application to gentiles by the broad Christian approach to the sexual purity laws of Leviticus, as we will see on page142 later. The rabbis were quite concerned with nocturnal pollution as well, see e.g. Babylonian Talmud Moʿed Qatan 25a. 129 See Fonrobert’s broader discussion in eadem, Menstrual Purity, 160–210. 130 Apostolic Constitutions 6:28, 48–59; Metzger, Les Constitutions Apostoliques, vol. 2, 387. 131 Jerome, for example, when commenting on the prohibition of sexual intercourse during the menses in Ezekiel 18:5–6, holds that a child conceived during menstruation will be physically deformed, a view shared by many other sources; see Jerome, Commentary on Ezekiel 18:6 (PL 25:1173/CCSL 25:235), see also Evyatar Marienberg, “Qui coierit cum muliere in fluxu menstruo . . . interficientur ambo (Lev. 20:18): The

Gentile purity law from the Bible to the Qur’an 191

132

133 134 135 136

137 138

Biblical Prohibition of Sexual Relation with a Menstruant in the Eyes of Some Medieval Christian Theologians,” in Shoshannat Yaakov: Jewish and Iranian Studies in Honor of Yaakov Elman, ed. Shai Secunda and Steven Fine (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 2012), 271–284 and Marienberg, Niddah: Lorsque les juifs conceptualisent la menstruation (Paris: Les Belles Lettres, 2003), 114–116. The Clementine Homilies (19:23), a tradition that clearly endorses ritual purity, equally held that conception during the menses is harmful for a child, see Nicole Kelley, “The Theological Significance of Physical Deformity in the Pseudo-Clementine Homilies,” Perspectives in Religious Studies 34 (2007): 77–90. On the further background of the patristic attitude see also Jennifer Schultz, “Doctors, Philosophers, and Christian Fathers on Menstrual Blood,” in Wholly Woman, Holy Blood: A Feminist Critique of Purity and Impurity, ed. Kristin De Troyer, et al. (Harrisburg: Continuum, 2003), 97–116. According to Ottavia Niccoli, the Christian association of conception during menstruation and the deformation of a child goes back to a scribal error in the fourth century, see eadem, “ ‘Menstruum Quasi Monstruum’: Parti mostruosi e tabu’ mestruale nel ’500,” Quaderni storici 15 (1980): 10, and see note 35 earlier and notes 136 and 147 later. The Gospel story about Jesus and the hemorrhaging woman, of course, likely affirmed purity discourse; see Thomas Kazen, “Jesus and the Zavah: Implications for interpreting Mark,” in Purity, Holiness, and Identity in Judaism and Christianity: Essays in Memory of Susan Haber, ed. Carl S. Ehrlich, et al. (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2013), 112–143; see already Susan Haber, “A Woman’s Touch: Feminist Encounters with the Hemorrhaging Woman in Mark 5.24–34,” Journal for the Study of the New Testament 26 (2003): 171–192. See note 115 earlier. See Zellentin, The Qurʾān’s Legal Culture, 77–126. Augustine, Quaestiones in Levitico in 64 (PL 34:64 and CCSL 33: 219, line 1584); my gratitude to Thomas O’Loughlin for pointing me to this source. When commenting on Ezekiel, Augustine likewise argues that the commandments listed in Ezekiel 18.1–32 “are not to be taken in a metaphorical sense” and thereby remain somehow valid for Christians – the list, of course, explicitly includes intercourse during a woman’s menstruation, see idem On Merit and the Forgiveness of Sins, and the Baptism of Infants III.12 (21); see Roland Teske, Augustine: Answer to the Pelagians (New York: New City Press, 1997), vol. 1, 134). Augustine here comments on 1 Corinthians 7:14 and understands Paul’s “sanctification” as abstinence during the menses. Augustine, of course, hastens to add “that there is no other valid means of making Christians and remitting sins, except by men becoming believers through the sacrament according to the institution of Christ and the Church” (ibid.) making it clear that the observance of the law is not a legal requirement. On the validity of Ezekiel 18 in Christian law see also notes 35 and 131 earlier and notes 138, 147, and 179 later. Augustine, Contra Faustum XXXII.13, see Zellentin, “The Case of Ritual Slaughter and the Consumption of Animal Blood,” 136–138. For a broader overview of the ritual status of women in Late Antique Christianity see Fonrobert, Menstrual Purity, 160–209; Shaye Cohen, “Menstruants and the Sacred in Judaism and Christianity,” in Women’s History and Ancient History, ed. Sarah. B. Pomeroy (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1991), 273–299 (esp. 287–90 on Alexandria) and Dorothea Wendebourg, “Die alttestamentlichen Reinheitsgesetze,” Zeitschrift für Kirchengeschichte 95 (1984): 149–170. On abstinence from the Eucharist during the menses see also Canon 2 of Dionysius of Alexandria (264 C. E., see Charles Lett Feltoe (ed.), The Letters and Other Remains of Dionysius of Alexandria (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1904), 102–103) and Canon 6–7 of Timotheus of Alexandria (381 C. E., see Périclès-Pierre Joannou, Discipline générale antique (IVe – IXes.) (Grottaferratta-Rome: S. Nilo, 1964), vol. 2, 243–244)

192  Holger M. Zellentin and the Canons of Hippolytus (see Wilhelm Riedel (ed. and trans.), Die Kirchenrechtsquellen des Patriarchats Alexandrien (Leipzig: Deichert, 1900), 209), cited by Sr. Vassa Larin, “Ritual Impurity,” St Vladimir’s Theological Quarterly 52 (2008): 275–292. See also Tomson, “Jewish Purity Laws as Viewed by the Church Fathers and by the Early Followers of Jesus,” 73–91, and Zellentin, The Qurʾān’s Legal Culture, 93 note 23. 139 PG 10:1281, on the significance and the source see Cohen, Menstruants and the Sacred in Judaism and Christianity, 287–290. 140 On the story of the hemorrhaging woman in Matthew and its parallels see note 132 earlier. 141 On Origen’s views see e.g. Theol. Selecta in Ezechielem 13: 816:54; on Origen’s view that sexual intercourse renders unfit for receiving the Eucharist see David G. Hunter, “The Reception and Interpretation of Paul in Late Antiquity: 1 Corinthians 7 and the Ascetic Debates,” in The Reception and Interpretation of the Bible in Late Antiquity, ed. Lorenzo DiTommaso, et al. (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 2008), 176–179; see also Henri Crouzel, Virginité et marriage selon Origèn (Paris: Desclée de Brouwer, 1963), 55. 142 A similar view can be found, for example, in Timothy of Alexandria, Canonical Replies 6 and 7; for further sources see notes 138 and 141 earlier. See already Arthur Marmorstein, “Judaism and Christianity in the Middle of the Third Century,” Hebrew Union College Annual 10 (1935): 230, 8 and idem, Religionsgeschichtliche Studien (Skotschau: Marmorstein, 1910), I, 26–35. 143 On Purity in the Protoevangelium of James see esp. Lily Vuong, Gender and Purity in the Protevangelium of James (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck), 108–148. 144 Gregory essentially leaves the observance of female purity (and many other rules) to the believers to decide; see Marienberg, “Qui coierit cum muliere in fluxu menstruo . . . interficientur ambo (Lev. 20:18),” 275–280; on Gregory see also page 144 later. Exclusion of women from the church after childbirth, we should note, despite the dismissal of medieval authorities such as Thomas of Aquinas, was maintained or at least memorized in some Eastern and even Western congregations well into modernity. See idem, Summa Theologica 64:3, where he engages the rulings of Jerome and Augustine, see also 80:7. On the Western tradition of the purification of women in the Middle Ages and even beyond see e.g. Paula M. Reider, On the Purification of Women: Churching in Northern France (1100–1500) (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006) and David Cressy, “Purification, Thanksgiving and the Churching of Women in Post-Reformation England,” Past and Present 141 (1993): 106–146. 145 Didascalia, Apostolorum chapter 26, Vööbus, The Didascalia Apostolorum in Syriac II, 262.21–263.2. 146 Didascalia Apostolorum, chapter 26, Vööbus, The Didascalia Apostolorum in Syriac II, 236.9–10, 237.3–4. 147 The Didascalia Apostolorum, citing Ezekiel 18, at one point endorses the prohibition to approach (ntqrb) one’s wife during her menses, using a term that denotes engaging in intercourse (Didascalia Apostolorum, chapter six, Vööbus, The Didascalia Apostolorum in Syriac I, 67.11). Later, however, in a passage in which the Latin Didascalia Apostolorum forcefully repeats this prohibition (see Connolly, Didascalia Apostolorum, 255), the Syriac text explicitly exhorts husbands to “cleave” (nqpyn) to their wives during menstruation (chapter 26, ibid., 262.13, see already Zellentin, The Qurʾān’s Legal Culture, 91–92 note 12. 148 Didascalia Apostolorum, chapter 26, Vööbus, The Didascalia Apostolorum in Syriac II, 259.8–261.1. 149 Metzger, Les Constitutions Apostoliques, 6:39, 17–20. 150 Metzger, Les Constitutions Apostoliques 8:32, 54–55. 151 Note that Tertullian, On Prayer 13, while speaking out against ritual washing, allows for washing after any interaction with humans (conversationis humanae), in Ernest

Gentile purity law from the Bible to the Qur’an 193 Evans, Tertullian’s Tract on the Prayer: The Latin Text, with Critical Notes, an English Translation, an Introduction and Explanatory Observations (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1953), 18–19; see also Johannes Zellinger, Bad und Bäder in der altchristlichen Kirche. Eine Studie über Christentum und Antike (Munich: Max Hueber, 1928), 101–104 and Wendebourg, “Die alttestamentlichen Reinheitsgesetze,” 164. 152 Gregory the Great, Registrum Epistolarum XI, Letter 64 (to Augustine), esp. questions eight to eleven. See Betram Colgrave and Roger Aubrey Baskerville Mynors, Bede’s Ecclesiastical History of the English People (Oxford: Oxford University Press), 1969, 89–99. On the relevance and authenticity of the text see Marienberg, “Qui coierit cum muliere in fluxu menstruo . . . interficientur ambo (Lev. 20:18),” 277–80, Rob Meens, “Ritual Purity and the Influence of Gregory the Great in the Early Middle Ages,” in Unity and Diversity in the Church, ed. Robert N. Swanson (Oxford: Blackwell, 1996), 31–43 and idem, “Questioning Ritual Purity: The Influence of Gregory the Great’s Answers to Augustine’s Queries about Childbirth, Menstruation, and Sexuality,” in St. Augustine and the Conversion of England, ed. Richard Gameson (Stroud: Sutton, 1999), 174–186. 153 See John Chrysostom, Homily on Hebrews 33 (PG 63: 227D-228, 1–6), see also David C. Ford, Women and Men in the Early Church: The Full View of St John Chrysostom (South Canaan, PA: St. Tikhon’s Seminary Press, 1995), 57. 154 On Chrysostom’s rhetoric see Robert L. Wilken, John Chrysostom and the Jews: Rhetoric and Reality in the Late 4th Century (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1983). 155 John Chrysostom, Homily in Mathew 51, MPG 58, 516, 34–44. Elsewhere, Chrysostom goes as far as intimating that all law is obsolete when stating the following: “You see how many varieties of uncleanness (ἀκαθαρσιῶν) there are. She after the marriagebed (ἀπὸ λέχους) is unclean. How, tell me? Did not He make sperm and procreation? Why then is the woman unclean, unless something further was intimated? . . . For if she is unclean who has had sexual intercourse (τῇ ἑαυτοῦ πλησιάζειν), much more she who has committed fornication. . . . And many kinds of uncleanness would be found, if it were necessary to recount them all. But these things are not now required of us (ἀπαιτούμεθα). But all is transferred to the soul” (idem, Commentary on the Epistle to Titus, Homily 2, MPG 62:681, 22–36). Again, Chrysostom’s vehemence attests to the prevailing attitudes of his contemporaries. 156 Eusebius, Historia Ecclessiastica 10.4, cited according to Gustave Bardy, Eusèbe de Césarée. Histoire ecclésiastique (Paris: Éditions du Cerf, 1967), vol. 3, ad. loc. 157 The tannaitic rabbis insist on the washing of hands and feet before entering the Sanctuary (see e.g. Mishna Kelim 1:9), whereas later rabbinic tradition emphasizes the washing of hands, feet, and face, just like the Qur’an (see e.g. Babylonian Talmud Shabbat 25b), see Zellentin, The Qurʾān’s Legal Culture, 104. On the washing of hands in Christianity and in rabbinic literature more broadly see Yair Furstenberg, “Defilement Penetrating the Body: A New Understanding of Contamination in Mark 7.15,” New Testament Studies 54 (2008): 176–200. 158 Tomson, “Jewish Purity Laws as Viewed by the Church Fathers and by the Early Followers of Jesus,” 77–78. 159 Marienberg, “Qui coierit cum muliere in fluxu menstruo . . . interficientur ambo (Lev. 20:18),” 284. 160 See Zellentin, The Qurʾān’s Legal Culture, esp. 77–126 and 175–202. The study of the Clementine Homilies (and Recognitions, a related Latin text) has gained much attention over the past decade or so, see e.g. Pierluigi Piovanelli and Tony Burke (eds.), Rediscovering the Apocryphal Continent: New Perspectives on Early Christian and Late Antique Apocryphal Texts and Traditions (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2015); Stanley F. Jones, Pseudoclementina Elchasaiticaque inter judaeochristiana:

194  Holger M. Zellentin Collected Studies (Leuven: Peeters, 2012); Frédéric Amsler, Albert Frey, et al. (eds.), Nouvelles intrigues pseudo-clémentines – Plots in the Pseudo-Clementine Romance. Actes du deuxième colloque international sur la littérature apocryphe chrétienne, Lausanne-Genève, 30 août – 2 septembre 2006 (Prahins, Switzerland: Zèbre, 2008); and Philippe Luisier (ed.), Studi su Clemente Romano. Atti degli incontri di Roma, 29 marzo e 22 novembre 2001 (Roma: Pontificium Institutum Orientalium Studiorum, 2003). 161 The direct evidence of the continuing relevance of the Clementines Homilies, along with the broader Clementine tradition, especially in Syriac, Arabic, and Ethiopic translation, past the fourth century allows for a possible historical bridge between the fourth and the seventh century. See e.g. Geneviève Gobillot, “Two Arabic Epitomes of the Pseudo-Clementines. Texts of Sinai (MS. No. 508) and British Museum (MS. XXVIII, add. 9965),” in Christian Apocrypha: Receptions of the New Testament in Ancient Christian Apocrypha, ed. Jean-Michel Roessli and Tobias Nicklas (Göttingen: Vandenoeck & Ruprecht, 2014), 213–233; Alessandro Bausi, Il Qalēmenṭos etiopico: La rivelazione di Pietro a Clemente, I libri 3–7 (Napoli: Istituto Universitario Orientale, 1992); idem, “San Clemente e le tradizioni clementine nella letteratura etiopica canonico-liturgica,” in Studi su Clemente Romano: Atti degli incontri di Roma, 29 marzo e 22 novembre 2001, ed. Philippe Luisier (Rome: Pontificio Istituto Biblico, 2001), 13–55; Stanley F. Jones, “Evaluating the Latin and Syriac Translations of the Pseudo-Clementine Recognitions,” Apocrypha 3 (1992): 237–257; Alessandro Bausi, “Presenze clementine nella letterature etiopica,” Studi classici e orientali 40 (1990): 289–316; Sylvain Grébaut, “Littérature éthiopienne pseudo-clémentine. III. Traduction du Qalêmentos,” Revue de l’Orient chrétien 16 (1911): 72–81, 167–175, 225–233; 17 (1912): 16–31, 133–144, 244–252, 337–346; 18 (1913): 69–78; and 19 (1914): 3; François Nau, “Note sur le prologue de la Didascalie arabe et sur quelques apocryphes arabes pseudo-clémentins,” Journal asiatique X, 17 (1911): 319–323; and Anton de Lagarde, The Pseudo-Clementine Recognitions and Homilies (10–14) in Syriac (Gorgias Press, 2012 [1861]); as well as the previous note. 162 The text states the following: “Neither, therefore, are the Hebrews (Ἑβραῖοι) condemned on account of their ignorance of Jesus, by reason of Him who has concealed him, if, doing the things commanded by Moses, they do not hate him whom they do not know (ὃν ἠγνόησαν μὴ μισήσωσιν). Neither are those from among the nations (οἱ ἀπὸ ἐθνῶν) condemned, who know not Moses on account of Him who has concealed him, provided that these also, doing the things spoken by Jesus, do not hate him whom they do not know (μὴ μισήσωσιν ὃν ἠγνόησαν),” Clementine Homilies 8:7; Bernhard Rehm, Die Pseudoklementinen I: Homilien (Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 1969), 127, see also Zellentin, The Qurʾān’s Legal Culture, 23–24. Note that the Clementine Recognitions do not maintain a similar separation of Jewish and gentile ethnicity, instead constructing Christians as Israelites; see Buell, Why this New Race, 71–73. 163 There is no consensus as to whether the Homilies’ conception of the Jewish law is based on any rabbinic or diaspora community, or whether it is altogether idiosyncratic. While research by Reed and others persuasively points to the importance of rabbinic ideas for the Homilies, it should be noted that its radical rejection of Temple theology and of the integrity of the Hebrew Scriptures (see pages 149–151 later) sets the text starkly apart from the fundamentals of rabbinic dogma. While rabbinic ideas are clearly found within the Homilies, this text’s view of Judaism would be more easily compatible with the broad notion of “Common Judaism” (see note 39 earlier) than with the rabbinic movement itself. On the importance of rabbinic ideas for the Homilies see e.g. Donald H. Carlson, Jewish-Christian Interpretation of the Pentateuch in the Pseudo-Clementine Homilies (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2013), 111–136; Annette Y. Reed, “Heresiology and the (Jewish‑)Christian Novel: Narrativized Polemics in the Pseudo-Clementines,” in Heresy and Identity in Late

Gentile purity law from the Bible to the Qur’an 195 Antiquity, ed. Eduard Iricinschi and Holger M. Zellentin (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2008), 273–298; as well notes 131 and 160 earlier. 164 Clementine Homilies 7:8, Rehm, Die Pseudoklementinen I: Homilien, 120; see also 7:4 and 8:19. 165 The precise phrase “for the remission of sins” (εἰς ἄφεσιν ἁμαρτιῶν) is also used in the New Testament in order to institute the Eucharist, see Matthew 26:28, see also Mark 1:4, Luke 1:77, 3:3, and 24:47. 166 Origen, Commentary on John 13:176, see Cécile Blanc, Origène. Commentaire sur saint Jean (Sources chrétiennes 222; Paris: Éditions du Cerf, 1975), ad loc.; see also Cyprian of Carthage, Epistle LXXII (To Jubaianus) 1, CSEL 3.3; ad loc. 167 See Zellentin, “The Case of Ritual Slaughter and the Consumption of Animal Blood,” 139–142. 168 The Clementine Homilies, of course, elsewhere denounce πορνεύσασα ἢ μοιχευσαμένη in general, likely designating here not illicit sexual intercourse in general but “fornicating and adultery” in particular, see e.g. 3:28, Rehm, Die Pseudoklementinen I: Homilien, 67 as well as 4:21, where “adultery” (τῆς μοιχείας) is denounced, see Rehm, Die Pseudoklementinen I: Homilien, 91). 169 See Zellentin, “The Case of Ritual Slaughter and the Consumption of Animal Blood,” 144–148. 170 The Clementine Homilies, for example in its third chapter, consider commandments concerning sacrifice a satanic interpolation of Scripture, see e.g. Carlson, JewishChristian Interpretation of the Pentateuch in the Pseudo-Clementine Homilies, 51–77, on the falsification of scripture see note 176 later. 171 See Zellentin, “The Case of Ritual Slaughter and the Consumption of Animal Blood,” 139–142, and see already Böckenhoff, Das apostolische Speisegesetz, 61–63. 172 Clementine Homilies 8:19–20, Rehm, Die Pseudoklementinen I: Homilien, 129. 173 Clementine Homilies 9:10, Rehm, Die Pseudoklementinen I: Homilien, 135. “Drink” (ποτὰ), of course, designates alcoholic beverages in this context; drinking of nonalcoholic beverages, and “giving drink to the thirsty,” is obviously endorsed by the Clementine Homilies; see e.g. 3:36, 3:69, and 11:4. Another passage illustrating the Homilies’ association of wine, uncleanliness, and demons is the following: “For the exhalation of blood, and the libation of wine (ἡ τῶν οἴνων σπονδὴ), satisfies even these unclean spirits (τὰ ἀκάθαρτα πνεύματα), which lurk within you and cause you to take pleasure in the things that are transacted there, and in dreams surround you with false phantasies, and punish you with myriads of diseases,” Clementine Homilies 11:15, Rehm, Die Pseudoklementinen I: Homilien, 161–162. 174 Attributing erotic desires to the demons, of course, is a widespread conception in the Christian conception of the figure of Satan as the tempter. The Didascalia Apostolorum likewise states that “all these lusts (rgygtʾ) are from the evil one (mn byshʾ),” Didascalia Apostolorum I, chapter one, see Vööbus, The Didascalia Apostolorum in Syriac I, 12. For an illumination study of the topos of temptation in the Syriac and in the rabbinic world see Ishay Rosen-Zvi, Demonic Desires: “Yetzer Hara” and the Problem of Evil in Late Antiquity (Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2011), 102–119; see also Shlomo Naeh, “Freedom and Celibacy: A Talmudic Variation on Tales of Temptation and Fall in Genesis and its Syrian Background,” in The Book of Genesis in Jewish and Oriental Christian Interpretation, ed. Judith Frishman, et al. (Louvain: Peeters, 1997), 73–90. 175 See e.g. Clementine Homilies 4.16 and esp. 5:12–14 for the polemic against the role of sex between men and boys, incest, adultery, and bestiality in Greek mythology; see also Cornelia B. Horn, “The Pseudo-Clementine Homilies on the Challenges of the Conversion of Families,” in The Pseudo-Clementines, ed. Jan N. Bremmer (Louvain: Peeters, 2010), 170–190. 176 The issue of sex between men, duly considered by the Bible as well as the rabbis, is thereby dismissed from the history of the patriarchs, and conceived as a Greek rather

196  Holger M. Zellentin than a Canaanite practice, see pages 117–118 earlier. On the topic of the falsification of Scripture in the Clementine Homilies see Carlson, Jewish-Christian Interpretation of the Pentateuch in the Pseudo-Clementine Homilies, 51–76; Giovanni Battista Bazzanna, “Apelles and the Pseudo-Clementine Doctrine of the False Pericopes,” in “Soyez des changeurs avisés” controverses exégétiques dans la littérature apocryphe chrétienne, ed. Gabriella Aragione and Rémi Gounelle (Strasbourg: Université de Strasbourg, 2012), 11–32; and Karl Evan Shuve, “The Doctrine of the False Pericopes and Other Late Antique Approaches to the Problem of Scripture’s Unity,” in Nouvelles intrigues pseudo-clémentines – Plots in the Pseudo-Clementine Romance, ed. Amsler and Frey, 437–446; and Kevin M. Vaccarella, Shaping Christian Identity: The False Scripture Argument in Early Christian Literature (PhD Dissertation, Tallahassee, FL: Florida State University, 2007); cf. also Kelley Coblentz Bautch, “Obscured by the Scriptures, Revealed by the Prophets: God in the Pseudo-Clementine Homilies,” in Histories of the Hidden God: Concealment and Revelation in Western Gnostic, Esoteric, and Mystical Traditions, ed. April D. DeConick and Grant Adamson (Abingdon: Routledge, 2014), 120–136. 177 See Clementine Homilies 10:1; 11:1 and 14:3, see also 8:2, 9:23; 10:26. 178 For rabbinic views on immersion see e.g. Mishna Kerithot 1.2 and Babylonian Talmud Kerithot 8b-9a, see also note 165 earlier. 179 Clementine Homilies 11:27–28, Rehm, Die Pseudoklementinen I: Homilien, 167– 168, see also 11:30. Whereas the text clearly designates abstinence during the menses as part of God’s law, it describes ritual washing merely as part of the worship; in how far this difference is legally meaningful is hard to determine. 180 See note 161 earlier. 181 On Epiphanius’ testimony and the Ebionites see e.g. Broadhead, Jewish Ways of Following Jesus: Redrawing the Religious Map of Antiquity, esp. 188–212; Petri Luomanen, “Ebionites and Nazarenes,” in Jewish Christianity Reconsidered, ed. Jackson-McCabe, 81–118; Fonrobert, “Jewish Christians, Judaizers, and Christian Anti-Judaism,” 234–254; Anders Ekenberg, “Evidence for Jewish Believers in ‘Church Orders’ and Liturgical Texts,” in Jewish Believers in Jesus: The Early Centuries, ed. Oskar Skarsaune and Reidar Hvalvik, 649–653; and A. F. J. Klijn and G. J. Reinink, Patristic Evidence for Jewish-Christian Sects (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1973), 19–43 and 154–195. 182 Epiphanius of Salamis, The Panarion, II, 30:2:3, translation according to Frank Williams, The Panarion of Epiphanius of Salamis: Book I (Sects 1–46) (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1994), 120. 183 Epiphanius of Salamis, The Panarion, II, 30:21:2; translation according to Williams, The Panarion of Epiphanius of Salamis, 136. 184 See notes 6 and 8 earlier. 185 See note 15 earlier. The designations of a “Meccan” and a “Medinan” Qurʾān are likewise to be understood as highlighting the variety in emphasis and the internal development within one text that I see as fundamentally cohesive. The identification of Meccan and Medinan Suras, as well as of Medinan interpolations, generally follows Theodor Nöldeke, Geschichte des Qorāns, vol. 1: Über den Ursprung des Qorāns, revised by Friedrich Schwally (Leipzig: Dieterich’sche Verlagsbuchhandlung, 1909). 186 See Zellentin, The Qurʾān’s Legal Culture, 155–174; on the Qur’an’s self-identity see now also Mohsen Goudarzi Taghanaki, The Second Coming of the Book: Rethinking Qur’anic Scripturology and Prophetology (PhD Dissertation, Harvard University, 2018); esp. 324–350. 187 See Zellentin, “Aḥbār and Ruhbān,” 287, note 12, Crone, “Jewish Christianity and the Qurʾān (Part One),” 230, and Zellentin, The Qurʾān’s Legal Culture, 163–164; cf. Pines, “Notes on Islam and on Arabic Christianity and Judaeo-Christianity,” 135. 188 I have briefly argued elsewhere that the Qur’an formulates a theological narrative meant to supersede the erroneous “Israelite” particularism it associates with each of

Gentile purity law from the Bible to the Qur’an 197 the two “groups among the sons of Israel (ṭāʾifatun min banī ʾisrāʾīla, see Q 61:14),” see Zellentin, “Trialogical Anthropology: The Qurʾān on Adam and Iblīs in View of Rabbinic and Christian Discourse,” in The Quest for Humanity Contemporary Approaches to Human Dignity in the Context of the Qurʾānic Anthropology, ed. Rüdiger Braun and Hüseyin I. Çiçek (Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Press), esp. 60–61. Goudarzi’s focus on Ishmaelite identity offers a more nuanced perspective; see idem, The Second Coming of the Book, esp. 218–240 and 335–337. 189 Zellentin, The Qurʾān’s Legal Culture, 7–8 and de Blois “Naṣrānī (Ναζωραῖος) and ḥanīf (ἐθνικός),” 1–15; see also the chapter by Islam Dayeh, “Prophecy and Writing in the Qur’an, or: Why Muhammad Was Not a Scribe,” pages 31–62 earlier. 190 See Zellentin, The Qurʾān’s Legal Culture, esp. 107–108 and 128–140. The Christian sources for this view include Didascalia Apostolorum, Chapter 26, Vööbus, The Didascalia Apostolorum in Syriac II, 242.21–243.1 and 247.21–22; see also ibid., 251.11–253.13. On the paraphrase of Matthew 5:17 see also the Letter of Peter to James and the alleged wording in the “Gospel of the Ebionites” in Epiphanius (“I came to abolish the sacrifices, and if ye cease not from sacrifice, wrath will not cease from you”), Epiphanius of Salamis, The Panarion, II, 30:16:5, translation according to Williams, The Panarion of Epiphanius of Salamis, 144; cf. Clementine Homilies 2:44, 3:26 and 45; see also Clementine Recognitions 1:37 and 36 and Babylonian Talmud Shabbat 116a-b; see also Zellentin, Rabbinic Parodies, 137–166. 191 Practically, the fusion of Israelite and Qur’anic food laws – which I have argued to be prescriptive for rather than descriptive of Christian practice – constitutes the abrogation of the Jewish food laws and the expansion of Christian food laws in the Medinan period, see Zellentin, “The Case of Ritual Slaughter and the Consumption of Animal Blood,” 148–158. On the legal implications of the Qur’an’s return to the religion of Abraham see e.g. Zellentin, The Qurʾān’s Legal Culture, 155–74 and Joseph Witztum, The Syriac Milieu of the Quran: The Recasting of Biblical Narratives (PhD Dissertation, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ, 2010), 277. The “prophetology” of the Qur’an, as exemplified most clearly in Sūrat al-Shuʿarāʾ (Q 26), has recently been discussed by Goudarzi, The Second Coming of the Book and Griffith, The Bible in Arabic, 54–96. On the food laws of the Qur’an see also Josef Joel Rivlin, Gesetz im Koran: Kultus und Ritus (Jerusalem: Bamberger & Wahrmann, 1934), 64–70. 192 See Zellentin, The Qurʾān’s Legal Culture, 32–41. Important recent studies include Griffith, The Bible in Arabic; Neuwirth, Scripture, Poetry, and the Making of a Community, Gabriel Said Reynolds, The Qurʾān and its Biblical Subtext (London: Routledge, 2010); Witztum, The Syriac Milieu of the Quran. Classical studies include Heinrich Speyer, Biblische Erzählungen im Qoran (Hildesheim: Georg Olms Verlag, 1988) [originally published sometime between 1937 and 1939 in Breslau]; Josef Horovitz, Koranische Untersuchungen (Berlin: De Gruyter, 1926); and Abraham Geiger, Was hat Mohammed aus dem Judenthume aufgenommen? (Bonn: F. Baaden, 1833). 193 One excellent study of the nascent Islamic community (without a focus on rabbinic or Syriac sources) which in my opinion underestimates the “Islamic difference” and the early self-identity of the nascent Muslim community is Fred Donner, Muhammad and the Believers: At the Origins of Islam (Cambridge, MA: Belknap, 2012). 194 See also the justified emphasis on the Arabic context of the nascent Muslim community in Neuwirth, Scripture, Poetry and the Making of a Community and in Aziz al Azmeh, The Emergence of Islam in Late Antiquity: Allāh and His People (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014); see also my comments in Zellentin, “Aḥbār and Ruhbān,” 258–289. 195 See Zellentin, “The Case of Ritual Slaughter and the Consumption of Animal Blood,” 153–154; see also the important remarks by Angelika Neuwirth in “A ‘Religious Transformation in Late Antiquity’ – From Tribal Genealogy to Divine Covenant: Qur’anic Refigurations of Pagan-Arab Ideals Based on Biblical Models,” pages 63–91 earlier.

198  Holger M. Zellentin 196 On the incest laws of the Qur’an see Zellentin, “Law in the Medinan Qurʾān.” On bestiality in the Late Antique tradition see notes 34, 55, and 175 earlier and notes 218 and 221 later. The topic of bestiality is duly discussed in the Islamic legal tradition, see Georges-Henri Bousquet, L’Ethique sexuelle de l’Islam (Paris: Maisonneuve et Larose, 1966), 57. 197 See page 126 and esp. note 75 earlier. Islamic jurisprudential school include a variety of transgressions under the term zinā; most agree on its meaning to include fornication as well as adultery. Previous Western commentators, to the best of my knowledge, have not assessed the meaning of the zinā in its Late Antique context; see e.g. Nadia Abu-Zahra, “Adultery and Fornication,” in Encyclopaedia of the Qurʾān, ed. Jane Dammen McAuliffe (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 2001), vol. 1, 28–30, and Josef Schacht, “Zināʾ,” in Encyclapaedia of Islam, ed. M. Th. Houtsma, et al. (1st edition, Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1913–1936), vol. 4, 1227–1228. 198 On the biblical notion of the “uncovering of nakedness” see pages 117–123 earlier. The Qur’an uses the noun sawʾāt, which likely denotes “nakedness,” exclusively in the context of the story of Adam and his wife, see Q 7:20, 22, and 26–27, as well as Q 20:121. On fāḥishah/faḥshāʾ and Satan see also Q 24:19 and 21 and the following note. On the biblical imagery of the nakedness of Adam and his wife in its Late Antique and Qur’anic context see Zellentin, “Trialogical Anthropology,” 82–85 and 111–114. We should also note that the Syriac tradition renders the Hebrew concept of the “uncovering of nakedness” as the “uncovering of shame,” lmglyw pwrsyʾ, see e.g. the Peshitta of Lev. 18:6, and see note 31 and 92 earlier. The designation of the described sex acts as “shame” in both cultures would point to the hardly surprising overlap between the symbolism of the Qur’anic term and the Christian understanding of the biblical one. 199 The noun fāḥishah or faḥshāʾ occur in the following Meccan passages: in Q 6:151, it occurs within list of prescriptions and proscriptions; in Q 7:27–28, it is associated with Satan; in Q 7:33, it is associated with “sin” (al-ʾithm) and “aggression” (al-baghy), as well as with associationism; in Q 7:80, it describes the act intended by Lot’s people (see later); in Q 12:24, it describes adultery through seduction; in Q 16:90, it occurs in a list next to “wrong” (al-munkar); in Q 17:32, it is associated with zinā; in Q 24:19 and 21, it is associated with “wrong” (al-munkar) and with Satan (see note 213 later); in Q 29:45, it occurs next to “wrong” (al-munkar); in Q 27:54 and in Q 29:28, it describes the act intended by Lot’s people (see later); in Q 42:37 and in Q 53:32, it is associates with “major occurrences of sin” (kabāʾira l-ʾithm). The term, if specified, is thus consistently associated with sexual transgressions enticed by Satan. On the nouns fāḥishah and faḥshāʾ in the Medinan Qur’an see pages 159–163 later. Another term in the Meccan Qur’an that describes a sexual transgression is baghiyy in Q 19:20 and 28, where Mary is cleared of the charge. The simplest reading of the term, here and in the Medinan passage Q 24:33, is that it designates “prostitution,” not at least because of the long-standing accusations against Mary reflected in Christian and Jewish sources; see e.g. Peter Schäfer, Jesus in the Talmud (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2007), 112–114. 200 On the association of illicit sex and demonic desires in Jewish and Christian Late Antiquity see pages 149–150 earlier, on the similar association in the Qur’an see the previous note and note 213 later. Moreover, we should note that the Hebrew and Aramaic root p-ḥ-sh, which is etymologically related to f-ḥ-sh, can designates “tearing off,” evoking the notion of “uncovering,” see e.g. Tosephta Yebamoth 14:10 and Babylonian Talmud, Yebamoth 122b; see also Marcus Jastrow, A Dictionary of the Targumim, Talmud Babli and Yerushalmi, and the Midrashic Literature (New York: Judaica Press, 1996 [1926]), 1245. The Hebrew and Aramaic root p-ḥ-sh, however, is not the usual one used to “uncover” (cf. p-sh-ṭ); the link between this root and fāḥishah/faḥshāʾ is therefore tenuous at best.

Gentile purity law from the Bible to the Qur’an 199 201 See Zellentin, “Aḥbār and Ruhbān,” 284, note 18, with references to recent scholarship. 202 See Tosephta Sanhedrin 15:17, Babylonian Talmud, Sanhedrin 74a and Ketubot 19a; for a relevant discussion see e.g. Aryeh Cohen, “Towards an Erotics of Martyrdom,” Journal of Jewish Thought and Philosophy 7 (1998): 227–256. 203 In Sūrat al-Isrāʾ, the injunction not to commit zinā (wa-lā yaznūna) and murder in Q 17:32–33 is preceded by an exhortation to be neither wasteful nor stingy (verse 29), a promise of that God will provide for his servants (verse 30), the prohibition to murder children for fear of penury (Q 17:31); it is succeeded by a reminder to deal justly with orphan’s property and fulfil all contracts (Q 17:34), obey exact measures (Q 17:35), not to rely on hearsay (Q 17:36), not to be exultant (Q 17:37), a summary (Q 17:38), and the prohibition of idolatry (Q 17:39).The presumably late Meccan sura Q 6, Sūrat al-Anʿām places not zinā but fāḥishah in a similar list (the term we saw as qualifying zinā in Q 17:33): Q 6:151 prohibits “fornication” (fāḥishah) in the context of proscribing associationism, prescribing honor to parents, prohibiting the killing of children for the fear of penury, and murder, closely evoking the similar lists in Q 17 and Q 25. 204 See Zellentin, The Qurʾān’s Legal Culture, 55–76. 205 The list in Sūrat al-Furqān, indeed, opens by stating that the true servants of God are wont to “say peace” (qālū salāman) even to the “ignorant” (al-jāhilūna, Q 25:63), and in turn closes by describing their reward in paradise, where they will be “met with greetings and peace” (wa-yulaqqawna fīhā taḥiyyatan wa-salāman, Q 25:75). On the use of such inclusios in Sūrat al-Baqarah see Nevin Reda, The Al-Baqara Crescendo: Understanding the Qur’an’s Style, Narrative Structure, and Running Themes (Montréal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2017), to which Nicolai Sinai has drawn my attention. 206 The warning that fornication will lead to punishment on the day of judgment, of course, is widespread in Christian literature. The Didascalia Apostolorum, for example, warns that one should marry young, “lest in their youth by the vehemence of youthfulness they commit fornication like the heathen (ʾyk ḥnpʾ), and you have to give an account to the Lord God in the day of judgment (bywmʾ ddynʾ),” see Didascalia Apostolorum, chapter 22, see Vööbus, The Didascalia Apostolorum in Syriac II, 220.8–10. 207 On the Qur’an’s prophetology see note 191 earlier. 208 Lot calls the Sodomites “my brothers” (ʾḥy) in Gen. 19:7. Lot, like Abraham, is depicted as a descendant of Terah and thereby of Shem, not of Ham. While the figurative use of the term “my brothers” in such a situation is not unique (cf. Gen. 29:4), one cannot dismiss Lot’s ironic allusion to the curse of Ham as a slave “to his brothers” (lʾḥyw) in Gen. 9:25: he is addressing the people who were cursed to be slaves to his own tribe, cf. David M. Goldenberg, The Curse of Ham: Race and Slavery in Early Judaism, Christianity, and Islam (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2009), esp. 141–177. 209 See Zellentin, “The Synchronic and the Diachronic Qurʾān: Sūrat Yā Sīn, Lot’s People, and the Rabbis,” forthcoming; see also the article by Joseph Witztum, “Thrice Upon a Time: Abraham’s Guests and the Study of Intra-Qur’anic Parallels,” pages 277–302 later. 210 Rabbinic views of sex between men equally diverge from the Qur’anic model. While rabbinic Judaism prevaricates on the question whether or not one should suspect Jews to incline towards sex between men, the rabbis hardly espouse the idea of natural law, including on this matter, see e.g. Mishna Kiddushin 4:14 and Babylonian Talmud Kiddushin 82a, and note 87 earlier. 211 Apostolic Constitutions 6:28 (12); Metzger, Les Constitutions Apostoliques, ad loc. 212 Sachau, Syrische Rechtsbücher, 258.

200  Holger M. Zellentin 213 See Q 7:27–28, Q 24:19 and 21. In Q 2:169, moreover, faḥshāʾ is associated with “evil” (sū), on the related noun sawāt, nakedness, and its Late Antique context see note 182 earlier, see also Q 4:17 later. On the nouns fāḥishah and faḥshāʾ in the Meccan Qur’an see pages 153–158 earlier; on the association of Satan and sexual temptation in Late Ancient Judaism and Christianity see pages 149–150 earlier. 214 One unspecified occurrence of fāḥishah in the Medinan Qur’an occurs in Q 65:1, where the term describes a sexual act by a woman immediately after her divorce. The Qur’an’s rulings on marriage and divorce cannot be treated here. Note that while the Christian tradition by and large rejects the biblical rules, the “Matthean exception” in Matthew 19:9 has guided respective church law in case of adultery; on this and the many other possible reasons that would allow Byzantine and Syriac Christians to divorce see Dauvillier and De Clercq, Le mariage en droit canonique oriental, 84–122; I hope to treat the legal affinities in a future study. The Bible, of course, permits divorce (see e.g. Lev. 21:7 and 14; 22:13; and Deut. 22:19 and 29), and the rabbis build on the biblical rulings (see esp. the tractate Gittin in the Mishna, Tosephta, and the Talmudim). The Qur’an’s laws, set out especially in Q 2:226–241 and in Q 65:1–7, have only marginal overlaps with the rabbinic rulings, such as the three-month waiting period specified in Mishna Yevamoth 4:10. On marriage and divorce in classical Islam see Arthur Gribetz, Strange Bedfellows: Mutʿat al-nisāʾ and mutʿat al-ḥajj. A Study Based on Sunnī and Shīʿī Sources of tafsīr, ḥadīth and fiqh (Berlin: Klaus Schwarz, 1994), as well as Judith E. Tucker, Women, Family, and Gender in Islamic Law (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2008), 41–50; and see already Sara Kohn, Die Eheschliessung im Koran (PhD Dissertation, University of Amsterdam, 1934); Samuel Bialoblocki, Materialien zum islamischen und jüdischen Eherecht: Mit einer Einleitung über jüdische Einflüsse auf den Ḥadīth (Gießen: Verlag von Alfred Töpelmann, 1928), 48–54; and Geiger, Was Hat Mohammed aus dem Judenthume aufgenommen? 88; see also note 231 later. 215 The male dual form in Q 4:16, in other words, could, perceivably and grammatically correctly, describe a man and a woman, yet the entirely female subjects in Q 4:15 make this unlikely in light of the obvious parallelism between the two verses. Note that the occurrence of the dual male pronoun alladhāni in Q 4:16 is singular in the Qur’an and that the corresponding dual female form allatāni is not used at all in the Qur’an; while the law in Q 4:15 would equally apply to more than two women involved, it is therefore highly likely that the number implied prima facie is two. 216 Note that the interpretation of the verse as proscribing sex between women and men, respectively, was first endorsed by Abū Muslim al-Iṣfahānī (d. 934 C.E.); the majority of exegetes understand the verse as proscribing adultery. See the popular yet wellinformed discussion in Junaid Jahangir and Hussein Abdullatif, Islamic Law and Muslim Same-Sex Unions (New York: Lexington Books, 2016), 48–52. 217 In the Meccan Qur’an, the root ʾ-t-y, when used to designate a sexual transgression, is only used to describe the intended acts of Lot’s people, namely in Q 7:80, Q 27:54 and Q 29:28. In the Medinan Qur’an, the root is equally used to describe other unspecified illicit sexual acts in Q 4:19 and 25, as well as in Q 33:30 and in Q 65:1. 218 On this literature in general and the Canons of Ancyra in the Greek and Syriac tradition see notes 55 and 118 earlier. 219 Canons of Ancyra, can. 16, see Vööbus, The Synodicon in the West Syrian Tradition I, 98. Note that the corresponding can. 17 in the Greek version and an earlier Syriac translation does not mention sex between males explicitly (it rather speaks of “irrational acts”), yet the West Syriac tradition and the earliest Latin translation include it, see Friedrich Schulthess, Die syrischen Kanones der Synoden von Nicaea bis Chalcedon (Berlin: Weidmannsche Buchhandlung, 1908), 40; Isidori antiqua in Cuthbert Hamilton Turner, Ecclesiae Occidentalis Monumenta Iuris Antiquissima (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1907), vol. 2.1, 92–94, lines 6–12 and Parvis, Marcellus of Ancyra

Gentile purity law from the Bible to the Qur’an 201 and the Last Years of the Arian Controversy, 26–27. The ones guilty of bestiality and sex between men have to pray among the hiemantes, those who are, like lepers, barred from entering the church. 220 Canons of Ancyra, can. 15, can. 16 in the Greek version; see Vööbus, The Synodicon in the West Syrian Tradition I, 98 and Isidori antiqua in Turner, Ecclesiae Occidentalis Monumenta Iuris Antiquissima, vol. 2.1, 92–94, lines 6–12, on murders, see can. 22 in the Syriac and can. 22 in the Greek version. 221 Canons of Ancyra, can. 15, can. 16 in the Greek version; see Vööbus, The Synodicon in the West Syrian Tradition I, 98. 222 The Canons of Ancyra, moreover, address males guilty of bestiality and of sex between men without addressing the parallel topic of sex between women, whereas the Qur’an, by contrast, does not address bestiality and instead addresses both sex between men and between women, here reflecting a rabbinic rather than a Christian sensibility. Despite the early reference by Paul in Romans 1:26, most Christian authors ignored the issue of sex between women, but see e.g. Ambrosiaster, CSEL 81:51 and note 122 earlier. On sex between women in the rabbinic tradition see e.g. Babylonian Talmud, Yevamoth 76a, where we learn that sex between women (“women who rub each other,” nshym hmswllwt zw bzw) does not render either one an “adulteress” (zwnh), she is merely guilty of “lasciviousness” (pryṣwtʾ), see also ibid., Shabbat 65a-b, and see Boyarin, “Are There Any Jews in ‘The History of Sexuality’?” 339–340. The Qur’an’s inclusion of women in its legal purview is prominent throughout the Medinan suras, see e.g. Zellentin, The Qurʾān’s Legal Culture, 32–41 on Q 24:31 and idem, “Law in the Medinan Qurʾān.” 223 The Qur’an, of course, does not seem to reflect the wording of the text of the Syriac canon in a direct way. On the limited use of etymological comparisons for historical analysis in Qur’anic studies see e.g. Zellentin, The Qurʾān’s Legal Culture, 32–41. 224 Such a procedure, as well as restitution for it, is also mentioned in Q 5:95, a passage with close parallels in East Syrian law, see Zellentin, “Law in the Medinan Qurʾān.” 225 See Nicolai Sinai, “Pharaoh’s Submission to God in the Qur’an and in Rabbinic Literature: A Case Study in Qur’anic Intertextuality,” 235–260 later. See also, e.g., the story about Eleazar B. Dordya, “who did not pass over any harlot in the world without having sex with her,” which incidentally uses Hebrew roots for “mercy” and “repentance” (sh-w-b and r-ḥ-m) that are cognate to the Syriac and Arabic roots we have seen in the two passages discussed (twb and rḥm). After unsuccessfully asking the mountains and the stars to “plead for mercy for me” (bqshw ʿly rḥmym), Eleazar weeps until he dies. He is welcomed in the world to come and even called “Rabbi” as the story concludes: “repentants (bʿly tshwbh) are not only accepted, they are even called ‘Rabbi.’ ” See Babylonian Talmud Avodah Zarah 17a and the parallel story of Paesia the prostitute as told by John the Dwarf in the Apophthegmata Patrum (PG 65:220); for a vivid discussion of these sources, the translation here cited and further scholarship see Michal Bar-Asher Siegal, Early Christian Monastic Literature and the Babylonian Talmud (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013), 170–199. For the central Christian notions of repentance see also note 118 earlier; for a note on the Syriac reception history of the Apophthegmata Patrum see Zellentin, “Review of Early Christian Monastic Literature and the Babylonian Talmud,” Studies in JewishChristian Relations 10 (2015). 226 On the practice of levirate marriage in biblical and rabbinic culture see e.g. Dvora E. Weisberg, Levirate Marriage and the Family in Ancient Judaism (Lebanon, NH: Brandeis University Press, 2009); for the central role of the echoes of Levirate marriage in Jewish, Christian and early Islamic incest law see Zellentin, “Law in the Medinan Qurʾān.” 227 See Zellentin, “Law in the Medinan Qurʾān” and pages 125–126 earlier.

202  Holger M. Zellentin 228 The man who had sex with a female slave betrothed to another man merely has to bring a guilt offering according to Lev. 19:20; the regular punishment for sex with a betrothed woman is death according to Dtn. 22:24. The daughter of a priest found guilty of adultery is burned to death according to Lev. 21:9, see also Babylonian Talmud, Sanhedrin 66b. 229 See pages 156–158 earlier, see also 167–168 later. 230 Note also that the rabbis discuss female sexual transgression in far more detail than Christian sources; see e.g. Babylonian Talmud Sanhedrin 50b-52b and Menahot 60b, and see also note 29 and 222 earlier. Moreover, the rabbis greatly expand on the biblical precepts regarding the Sotah, the suspected adulteress, according to Numbers 5:11–31; see the tractate Sotah in the Mishna, Tosephta, and the Talmudim. The issue of the Sotah ritual, in turn, the ordeal for the suspected adulteress, finds a starkly different procedural parallel in the Qur’an’s subsequent ruling of wives accused by their husbands in Q 24:6–10. 231 Joseph Witztum, “Q 4:24 Revisited,” Islamic Law and Society 16 (2009): 1–33, and Harald Motzki, “Wal-muḥsanātu mina n-nisāʾi illā mā malakat aimānukum (Koran 4:24) und die koranische Sexualethik,” Der Islam 63 (1986): 192–218. See also Julius Wellhausen, “Die Ehe bei den Arabern,” Nachrichten der Königlichen Gesellschaft der Wissenschaften und der Georg-Augusts-Universität zu Göttingen 11 (1893): 431–481; see also note 214 earlier and note 247 later. 232 According to the rabbis, a woman who had sex with a man other than her husband, if he is a priest, must divorce him even if she is not found guilty for her act, as in the case of rape or mistaken identity, see e.g. Babylonian Talmud, Yebamoth 56b, see also Yevamoth 61b and Kiddushin 77a-78a; for a similar Christian rule pertaining to clergy see e.g. the sixth-century East Syrian Synod of Ishoʿyahb I in Jean Baptiste Chabot, Synodicon orientale ou recueil de synodes nestoriens (Paris: Imprimerie Nationale, 1902), 156–157 (Syriac) and 416–417 (French), see also Dauvillier and De Clercq, Le mariage en droit canonique oriental, 96–97. Note that the Qur’anic permission for a zānī and a zāniyah to marry each other potentially departs from the Christian and rabbinic ruling that the convicted adulteress is not allowed to marry the man with whom she had adulterous sex; see Mishna Sotah 5:1 and Babylonian Talmud Sotah 26b; for Christian sources see the following note. 233 See the comments on the Roman and Syriac iterations of the Lex Julia de adulteriis coercendis in Dauvillier and De Clercq, Le mariage en droit canonique oriental, 191–192; see also Hage, Les empêchements de mariage en droit canonique oriental, 73–74. 234 On Q 17:29–33 and Q 25:63–7 see pages 156 and 158 earlier. 235 See Marianna Klar, “Text-Critical Approaches to sura Structure: Combining Synchronicity with Diachronicity in Sūrat al-Baqara. Part One,” Journal of Qur’anic Studies 19 (2017): esp. 21, and eadem, “Text-Critical Approaches to sura Structure: Combining Synchronicity with Diachronicity in Sūrat al-Baqara. Part Two,” Journal of Qur’anic Studies 19 (2017): esp. 82. Klar surveys several previous literary studies of the sura and points to the importance of paying close attention to the diachronic process of composition and to the types rhyme of words in fāṣila position, thereby expanding the horizon of previous studies which were defined more narrowly by either thematic and literary or by a diachronic focus. (Q 2:223 will be included in the contextual segment since it maintains the focus on marital intercourse in verse 222.) The segment Q 2:215–223, of course, should not be considered as a separate unit; rather, it posits the smallest immediate segment surrounding verses 221 and 222 that can be identified without broaching the difficult question of its relationship to the larger unit(s) in which we find it. The passage then continues with rules concerning oaths (Q 2:224–5), and divorce and remarriage (Q 2:226–232), to which I hope to be able to turn in future studies, yet see note 214 earlier on divorce.

Gentile purity law from the Bible to the Qur’an 203 236 On the Qur’an’s prophet’s role as a communal leader see most recently Nicolai Sinai, “Muḥammad as an Episcopal Figure,” Arabica 65 (2018): 1–30 and idem, The Qur’an, 40–58; on the dialogue with the community see also Mehdi Azaiez, Le Contre-Discours Coranique (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2015), esp. 78–108 and 297–300 and my comments in Mehdi Azaiez, Gabriel Reynolds, et al. (eds.), Qur’an Seminar Commentary: A Collaborative Study of 50 Qurʾānic Passages (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2016), 130–132. 237 On the status of Christians under the Sasanian Empire see now Richard Payne, A State of Mixture: Christians, Zoroastrians, and Iranian Political Culture in Late Antiquity (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2015). 238 The affinity of the Qur’an to Byzantine uses of the history of Israelite kings has, to the best of my knowledge, not yet been sufficiently explored, yet see now Sinai, “Muḥammad as an Episcopal Figure,” esp. 23–24 and Thomas Sizgorich, Violence and Belief in Late Antiquity: Militant Devotion in Christianity and Islam (Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008), esp. 46–80. On the Israelite self-understanding in Medina see the helpful article by Devin Stewart, “Understanding the Quran in English: Notes on Translation, Form, and Prophetic Typology,” in Diversity in Language: Contrastive Studies in English and Arabic Theoretical and Applied Linguistics, ed. Zeinab Ibrahim, et al. (Cairo: The American University in Cairo Press, 2000), 31–48. 239 The Qur’an’s rulings on sacrifice in the context of the holiness of place and time in generally contain only faint echoes of the regulations regarding to the Temple in the Hebrew Bible. Neuwirth rightly emphasizes the distinct character of sacrifice in the Qur’an, see eadem, “A ‘Religious Transformation in Late Antiquity,’ ” pages 63–91 earlier and see Zellentin, “The Case of Ritual Slaughter and the Consumption of Animal Blood,” 154. 240 See Zellentin, The Qurʾān’s Legal Culture, esp. 55–76; on the issue of al-maysir see 118–119. 241 Didascalia Apostolorum, chapter six, Vööbus, The Didascalia Apostolorum in Syriac I, 67. 242 See pages 139–146 earlier. 243 On the importance of the Clementine Homilies for the Qur’an see pages 146–147 earlier. 244 Clementine Homilies 11:28, Rehm, Die Pseudoklementinen I: Homilien, 168, see also 11:30. 245 See Zellentin, The Qurʾān’s Legal Culture, 101. 246 On the dissent regarding purity among the members of the churches see pages 133– 152 earlier. 247 I hope to treat the important distinction between marriage to free and slave women in a future study; we should note that the distinction was essential both in Christian law and in Ancient Near Eastern law as well; see the helpful summaries already in Hage, Les empêchements de mariage en droit canonique oriental, 257–262 and Dauvillier and De Clercq, Le mariage en droit canonique oriental, 183–184 and see Zellentin, “Law in the Medinan Qurʾān.” On the Jewish and Christian attitudes towards slavery see Catherine Hezser, Jewish Slavery in Antiquity (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005); see also Jennifer Glancy, Slavery in Early Christianity (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2006). 248 See e.g. pages 141–152 earlier, and see Zellentin, The Qurʾān’s Legal Culture, esp. 144–145. 249 See Mehdy Shaddel, “Qurʾānic ummī: Genealogy, Ethnicity, and the Foundation of a New Community,” Jerusalem Studies in Arabic and Islam 43 (2016): 25–28 and my comments in Zellentin, The Qurʾān’s Legal Culture, 158–161. The food laws promulgated in the preceding passage (Q 5:1 and 3–4) equally stand in close proximity

204  Holger M. Zellentin to those of Leviticus 17 as understood by late ancient Christians and especially by Judaeo-Christian legal strands, as I have argued elsewhere; see Zellentin, “The Case of Ritual Slaughter and the Consumption of Animal Blood,” 117–159. 250 See pages 123–125 earlier. The Qur’an, in this case foregoing its demonstrable movement towards gender-balance in formulating matrimony law, thus partially supersedes both sets of laws: in allowing Muslim men to marry Jewish and Christian women, but not Muslim women to marry Jewish and Christian men, it defines a middle path between the Jewish and Christian strictness on the matter, on the one hand, and its own sense that true Jews, true Christians, and true Muslims would belong to the same group, on the other hand, with the Muslims constituting a “middle nation” (ʾummatan wasaṭan, Q 2:143); see Zellentin, The Qurʾān’s Legal Culture, 179–180. On gender balance and imbalance in marriage law see Zellentin, “Law in the Medinan Qurʾān.” 251 On the roots s-f-ḥ and s-f-k in Q 2:84 see Sinai, “The Qur’an’s Dietary Tetralogue,” and Zellentin, “The Case of Ritual Slaughter and the Consumption of Animal Blood,” 150. Note that both Q 4:25 and Q 5:5 uniquely use the term, ʾakhdān, paramours, further emphasizing their interrelation and the Qur’an’s break with pagan Arabian culture; see note 231 earlier. Likewise, the regulations regarding sacred time and sacred space in the preceding passage Q 5:2, in conjunction with the laws of sexual purity in Q 5:5–7, epitomize both the Qur’an’s particular Arabian context and its return to biblical notions of purity during pilgrimage, akin to the connection of the purity of time and space with sexual purity we have seen in our contextual reading of Q 2:215–245 earlier; see Zellentin, “The Case of Ritual Slaughter and the Consumption of Animal Blood,” 154. 252 See e.g., pages 144–146 earlier, and see Zellentin, The Qurʾān’s Legal Culture, 144– 145. Note that the use of the roots gh-s-l, m-s-ḥ, y-m-m, and j-n-b, in their meanings here, are unique to Q 5:6 and its parallel in Q 4:43; cf. e.g. Q 4:31; Q 7:136; Q 16:36; Q 20:39; Q 22:30; and Q 28:11; on Q 4:43 see also Geiger, Was Hat Mohammed aus dem Judenthume Aufgenommen?, 86. 253 The early rabbis, for example, in line with Exodus 30:20–1, insist on the washing of hands and feet before entering the Sanctuary (see e.g. Mishna Kelim 1:9), whereas later rabbinic tradition emphasizes the washing of hands, feet, and face, just like the Qur’an (see e.g. Babylonian Talmud Shabbat 25b). Most importantly, as Joseph Witztum reminds me, the Babylonian Talmud upholds a reported Palestinian tradition that after relieving oneself, washing of hands is sufficient before reciting the Shema, and “if one has no water (mym) for washing his hands, he can rub (mqnḥ ydyw) his hands with earth or with a pebble or with sawdust (bʿpr wbṣrwr wbqsmyt) (Babylonian Talmud Berakhot 15a);” see Zellentin, The Qurʾān’s Legal Culture, 104–105, and Geiger, Was Hat Mohammed aus dem Judenthume Aufgenommen?, 86. 254 See Zellentin, The Qurʾān’s Legal Culture, 139; Witztum, The Syriac Milieu of the Quran, 275–276; and Joseph E. Lowry, “When Less Is More: Law and Commandment in Sūrat al-Anʿām,” Journal of Qurʾānic Studies 9 (2007), 22–42. 255 The “Israelite” resonances of this verse become clear when comparing the concluding line of Q 5:7 with Q 4:46 and Q 2:93, but see also Q 2:285. See Zellentin, The Qurʾān’s Legal Culture, 37, and see already Speyer, Biblische Erzählungen im Qoran, 301–302.

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210  Holger M. Zellentin Kiel, Yishai. “Noahide Law and the Inclusiveness of Sexual Ethics: Between Roman Palestine and Sasanian Babylonia.” Jewish Law Annual 21 (2015): 59–109. Kimuhu, Johnson M. Leviticus: The Priestly Laws and Prohibitions from the Perspective of Ancient Near East and Africa. New York: Peter Lang, 2008. Klar, Marianna. “Text-Critical Approaches to sura Structure: Combining Synchronicity with Diachronicity in Sūrat al-Baqara. Part One.” Journal of Qur’anic Studies 19 (2017): 1–38. Klar, Marianna. “Text-Critical Approaches to sura Structure: Combining Synchronicity with Diachronicity in Sūrat al-Baqara. Part Two.” Journal of Qur’anic Studies 19 (2017): 64–105. Klijn, A. F. J. and G. J. Reinink. Patristic Evidence for Jewish-Christian Sects. Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1973. Knohl, Israel. The Sanctuary of Silence: The Priestly Torah and the Holiness School. Winona Lakes: Eisenbrauns, 2007. Kohn, Sara. Die Eheschliessung im Koran. PhD Dissertation, University of Amsterdam, 1934. Kugel, James L. Traditions of the Bible: A Guide to the Bible as It Was at the Start of the Common Era. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1998. Larin, Sr. Vassa. “Ritual Impurity.” St  Vladimir’s Theological Quarterly 52 (2008): 275–292. Lavee, Moshe. “The Noahide Laws: The Building Blocks of a Rabbinic Conceptual Framework in Qumran and the Book of Acts.” Megillot: Studies in the Dead Sea Scrolls 10 (2013): 73–114 [Hebrew]. Lehto, Adam Isaac. Divine Law, Asceticism, and Gender in Aphrahat’s ‘Demonstrations’, with a Complete Annotated Translation of the Text and Comprehensive Syriac Glossary. PhD Dissertation, University of Toronto, 2003. Levering, Matthew. “Christians and Natural Law.” In Natural Law: A Jewish, Christian, and Islamic Trialogue, edited by Anver M. Emon, Matthew Levering and David Novak, 66–111. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014. Levering, Matthew. “God and Natural Law: Reflections on Genesis 22.” In The Threads of Natural Law: Unravelling a Philosophical Tradition, edited by Francisco José Contreras, 65–84. Dordrecht: Springer, 2013. Levinskaya, Irina A. “The Inscription from Aphrodisias and the Problem of the GodFearers.” Tyndale Bulletin 41 (1990): 312–318. Lett Feltoe, Charles (ed.). The Letters and Other Remains of Dionysius of Alexandria. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1904. Loader, William. The Septuagint, Sexuality, and the New Testament: Case Studies on the Impact of the LXX in Philo and the New Testament. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2004. Lowry, Joseph E. “When Less is More: Law and Commandment in Sūrat al-Anʿām.” Journal of Qurʾānic Studies 9 (2007): 22–42. Luisier, Philippe. Studi su Clemente Romano. Atti degli incontri di Roma, 29 marzo e 22 novembre 2001. Roma: Pontificium Institutum Orientalium Studiorum, 2003. Maccobi, Hyam. “Holiness and Purity: The Holy People in Leviticus and Ezra-Nehemiah.” In Reading Leviticus: A Conversation with Mary Douglas, edited by John F. A. Sawyer, 153–179. Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1996. Malina, Bruce. “Does Porneia Mean Fornication?” Novum Testamentum 14 (1972): 10–17. Marienberg, Evyatar. Niddah: Lorsque les juifs conceptualisent la menstruation. Paris: Les Belles Lettres, 2003.

Gentile purity law from the Bible to the Qur’an 211 Marienberg, Evyatar. “Qui coierit cum muliere in fluxu menstruo . . . interficientur ambo (Lev. 20:18): The Biblical Prohibition of Sexual Relation with a Menstruant in the Eyes of Some Medieval Christian Theologians.” In Shoshannat Yaakov: Jewish and Iranian Studies in Honor of Yaakov Elman, edited by Shai Secunda and Steven Fine, 271–284. Leiden: E. J. Brill, 2012. Marmorstein, Arthur. “Judaism and Christianity in the Middle of the Third Century.” Hebrew Union College Annual 10 (1935): 223–265. Marmorstein, Arthur. Religionsgeschichtliche Studien. Skotschau: Marmorstein, 1910. Mayshar, Joram. “Who Was the “Toshav”?” Journal of Biblical Literature 133 (2014): 225–246. Meens, Rob. “Questioning Ritual Purity: The Influence of Gregory the Great’s Answers to Augustine’s Queries about Childbirth, Menstruation, and Sexuality.” In St. Augustine and the Conversion of England, edited by Richard Gameson, 174–186. Stroud: Sutton, 1999. Meens, Rob. “Ritual Purity and the Influence of Gregory the great in the Early Middle Ages.” In Unity and Diversity in the Church, edited by Robert N. Swanson, 31–43. Oxford: Blackwell, 1996. Metzger, B. M. Les constitutions apostoliques. Paris: Éditions du Cerf, 1987. Milgrom, Jacob. Leviticus 17–22: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary Anchor Bible Commentary. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2007. Motzki, Harald. “Wal-muḥsanātu mina n-nisāʾi illā mā malakat aimānukum (Koran 4:24) und die koranische Sexualethik.” Der Islam 63 (1986): 192–218. Murray, Michele. “Christian Identity in the Apostolic Constitutions: Some Observations.” In Identity and Interaction in the Ancient Mediterranean: Jews, Christians and Others: Essays in Honour of Stephen G. Wilson, edited by Zeba A. Crook and Philip A. Harland, 179–194. Sheffield: Sheffield Phoenix Press, 2007. Naeh, Shlomo. “Freedom and Celibacy: A Talmudic Variation on Tales of Temptation and Fall in Genesis and Its Syrian Background.” In The Book of Genesis in Jewish and Oriental Christian Interpretation, edited by Judith Frishman et al., 73–90. Louvain: Peeters, 1997. Nau, François. “Littérature canonique syriaque inédite.” Revue de l’Orient Chrétien 14 (1909): 1–30. Nau, François. “Note sur le prologue de la Didascalie arabe et sur quelques apocryphes arabes pseudo-clémentins.” Journal asiatique X.17 (1911): 319–323. Neuwirth, Angelika. Scripture, Poetry and the Making of a Community. Oxford: Oxford University Press 2014. Niccoli, Ottavia, “ ‘Menstruum Quasi Monstruum’: Parti mostruosi e tabu’ mestruale nel ’500.” Quaderni storici 15 (1980): 402–428. Noam, Vered. “Another Look at the Rabbinic Conception of Gentiles from the Perspective of Impurity Laws.” In Judaea-Palaestina, Babylon and Rome: Jews in Antiquity, edited by Benjamin Isaac and Yuval Shahar, 89–110. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2012. Nöldeke, Theodor. Geschichte des Qorāns, vol. 1: Über den Ursprung des Qorāns, Revised by Friedrich Schwally. Leipzig: Dieterich’sche Verlagsbuchhandlung, 1909. Novak, David. The Image of the Non-Jew in Judaism: An Historical and Constructive Study of the Noahide Laws. New York: Edwin Mellen, 1983. Novak, David. Natural Law in Judaism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008. Ohme, Heinz. “Sources of the Greek Canon Law to the Quinisext Council (691/2).” The History of Byzantine and Eastern Canon Law to 1500, edited by Wilfried Hartmann

212  Holger M. Zellentin and Kenneth Pennington, 24–114. Washington, DC: The Catholic University of America Press, 2012. Olyan, Saul. Rites and Rank: Hierarchy in Biblical Representations of Cult. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2000. Parvis, Sara. Marcellus of Ancyra and the Last Years of the Arian Controversy. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006. Payne, Richard. A State of Mixture: Christians, Zoroastrians, and Iranian Political Culture in Late Antiquity. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2015. Pearce, Sarah. “Translating for Ptolemy: Patriotism and Politics in the Greek Pentateuch?” In Jewish Perspectives on Hellenistic Rulers, edited by Tessa Rajak et al., 165–189. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2007. Penna, Romano. Paul the Apostle: Wisdom and Folly of the Cross: A  Theological and Exegetical Study. Louisville, MN: Liturgical Press/Glazier, 1996. Pines, Shlomo. “Notes on Islam and on Arabic Christianity and Judaeo-Christianity.” Jerusalem Studies in Arabic and Islam 4 (1984): 135–152. Piovanelli, Pierluigi and Tony Burke (eds.). Rediscovering the Apocryphal Continent: New Perspectives on Early Christian and Late Antique Apocryphal Texts and Traditions. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2015. Price, Richard. The Acts of the Council of Constantinople of 553: With Related Texts on the Three Chapters Controversy. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2009. Reda, Nevin. The Al-Baqara Crescendo: Understanding the Qur’an’s Style, Narrative Structure, and Running Themes. Montréal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2017. Reed, Annette Y. “Heresiology and the (Jewish‑)Christian Novel: Narrativized Polemics in the Pseudo-Clementines.” In Heresy and Identity in Late Antiquity, edited by Eduard Iricinschi and Holger M. Zellentin, 273–298. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2008. Rehm, Bernhard. Die Pseudoklementinen I: Homilien. Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 1969. Reider, Paula M. On the Purification of Women: Churching in Northern France (1100– 1500). New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006. Reinhartz, Adele and Wayne O. McCready (eds.). Common Judaism: Explorations in Second-Temple Judaism. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2011. Reynolds, Gabriel Said. The Qurʾān and its Biblical Subtext. London: Routledge, 2010. Ricks, Stephen D. “Kinship Bars to Marriage in Jewish and Islamic Law.” In Studies in Islamic and Judaic Traditions: Papers Presented at the Institute for Islamic-Judaic Studies, edited by Ricks, Stephen D and William M. Brinner, 123–143. Atlanta: Scholar’s Press, 1986. Riedel, Wilhelm (ed. and trans.). Die Kirchenrechtsquellen des Patriarchats Alexandrien Leipzig: Deichert, 1900. Ritschl, Albrecht. “Das Verhältnis der Schriften des Lukas zu der Zeit ihrer Entstehung.” Theologische Jahrbücher 6 (1847): 293–304. Rivlin, Josef Joel. Gesetz im Koran: Kultus und Ritus. Jerusalem: Bamberger & Wahrmann, 1934. Rosenblum, Jordan D. “ ‘Why Do You Refuse to Eat Pork?’ Jews, Food, and Identity in Roman Palestine.” Jewish Quarterly Review 100 (2010): 95–110. Rosen-Zvi, Ishay. Demonic Desires: “Yetzer Hara” and the Problem of Evil in Late Antiquity. Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2011. Rothschild, Clare K. “Pisidian Antioch in Acts 13: The Denouement of the South Galatian Hypothesis.” Novum Testamentum 54 (2012): 334–353. Sachau, Eduard. Syrische Rechtsbücher. Dritter Band: Corpus juris des persischen Erzbischofs Jesubocht. Erbrecht oder Canones des persischen Erzbischofs Simeon. Eherecht des Patriarchen Mâr Abhâ: Aus der römischen Handschrift. Berlin: Georg Reimer, 1914.

Gentile purity law from the Bible to the Qur’an 213 Salisbury, Joyce. The Beast Within: Animals in the Middle Ages. Abingdon: Routledge, 2011. Schacht, Josef. “Zināʾ.” In Encyclapaedia of Islam, edited by M. Th. Houtsma, et al., vol. 4, 1227–1228. 1st edition. Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1913–1936. Schäfer, Peter. Jesus in the Talmud. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2007. Schenker, Adrian. “What Connects the Incest Prohibitions with other Prohibitions Listed in Leviticus 18 and 20?” In The Book of Leviticus: Composition and Reception, edited by Rolf Rendtorff et al., 162–88. Leiden: E. J. Brill, 2003. Schulthess, Friedrich. Die syrischen Kanones der Synoden von Nicaea bis Chalcedon. Berlin: Weidmannsche Buchhandlung, 1908. Schultz, Jennifer. “Doctors, Philosophers, and Christian Fathers on Menstrual Blood.” In Wholly Woman, Holy Blood: A Feminist Critique of Purity and Impurity, edited by Kristin De Troyer et al., 97–116. Harrisburg: Continuum, 2003. Schwartz, Seth. Imperialism and Jewish Society: 200 B.C.E. to 640 C.E. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2001. Schwartz, Eduard, et al. (eds.). Acta conciliorum oecumenicorum, Series Secunda II, Pars 4: Concilium Constantinopolitanum a. 691/2 in Trullo habitum. Berlin: De Gruyter, 2013. Sinai, Nicolai. “Muḥammad as an Episcopal Figure.” Arabica 65 (2018): 1–30. Sinai, Nicolai. The Qur’an: A Historical-Critical Introduction. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2017. Sinai, Nicolai. “The Qur’an’s Dietary Tetralogue: A Diachronic Reconstruction.” Jerusalem Studies in Arabic and Islam. Forthcoming. Sizgorich, Thomas. Violence and Belief in Late Antiquity: Militant Devotion in Christianity and Islam. Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008. Shaddel, Mehdy. “Qurʾānic ummī: Genealogy, Ethnicity, and the Foundation of a New Community.” Jerusalem Studies in Arabic and Islam 43 (2016): 1–60. Shuve, Karl Evan. “The Doctrine of the False Pericopes and Other Late Antique Approaches to the Problem of Scripture’s Unity.” Nouvelles intrigues pseudo-clémentines – Plots in the Pseudo-Clementine Romance. Actes du deuxième colloque international sur la littérature apocryphe chrétienne, Lausanne-Genève, 30 août – 2 septembre 2006, edited by Frédéric Amsler and Albert Frey, 437–446. Prahins, Switzerland: Zèbre, 2008. Skarsaune, Oskar and Reidar Hvalvik (eds.). Jewish Believers in Jesus: The Early Centuries. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 2007. Sokoloff, Michael. A Syriac Lexicon: A Translation from the Latin, Correction, Expansion and Update of C. Brockelmann’s Lexicon Syriacum. Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns, 2009. Speyer, Heinrich. Biblische Erzählungen im Qoran. Hildesheim: Georg Olms Verlag, 1988 [originally published sometime between 1937 and 1939 in Breslau]. Sprengling, Martin and William Creighton Graham. Barhebraeus’ Scholia on the Old Testament, Part I: Genesis – II Samuel. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1931. Stavrakopoulou, Francesca. King Manasseh and Child Sacrifice: Biblical Distortions of Historical Realities. Berlin: De Gruyter, 2004. Stewart, Devin. “Understanding the Quran in English: Notes on Translation, Form, and Prophetic Typology.” In Diversity in Language: Contrastive Studies in English and Arabic Theoretical and Applied Linguistics, edited by Zeinab Ibrahim, Nagwa Kassabgy, and Sabiha Aydelott, 31–48. Cairo: The American University in Cairo Press, 2000. Stökl Ben Ezra, Daniel. The Impact of Yom Kippur on Early Christianity. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2003. Stowers, Stan. A Rereading of Romans: Justice, Jews, and Gentiles. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1994. Teske, Roland. Augustine: Answer to the Pelagians. New York: New City Press, 1997.

214  Holger M. Zellentin Tomson, Peter J. “Jewish Purity Laws as Viewed by the Church Fathers and by the Early Followers of Jesus.” In Purity and Holiness: The Heritage of Leviticus, edited by Marcel J. H. M. Poorthuis and Joshua Schwartz, 73–91. Leiden: E. J. Brill, 2000. Torrance, Alexis. Repentance in Late Antiquity: Eastern Asceticism and the Framing of the Christian Life c.400–650 CE. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013. Tucker, J. Brian. “Godfearers: Literary Foil or Historical Reality in the Book of Acts?” Journal of Biblical Studies 5 (2005): 21–39. Tucker, Judith E. Women, Family, and Gender in Islamic Law. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2008. Turner, Cuthbert Hamilton. Ecclesiae Occidentalis Monumenta Iuris Antiquissima. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1907. Vaccarella, Kevin M. Shaping Christian Identity: The False Scripture Argument in Early Christian Literature. PhD Dissertation, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL, 2007. Vööbus, Arthur. The Didascalia Apostolorum in Syriac I. Corpus Scriptorum Christianorum Orientalium, 401. Louvain: Secrétariat du CorpuSCO, 1979. Vööbus, Arthur. The Didascalia Apostolorum in Syriac II. Corpus Scriptorum Christianorum Orientalium, 402. Louvain: Secrétariat du CorpuSCO, 1979. Vööbus, Arthur. The Synodicon in the West Syrian Tradition I. Corpus Scriptorum Christianorum Orientalium, 367. Louvain: Secrétariat du CorpusCO, 1975. Vuong, Lily. Gender and Purity in the Protevangelium of James. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck. Wagner, G. “Bußdisziplin in der Tradition des Ostens.” In Liturgie et rémission des péchés: Conférences Saint-Serge, XXe Semaine d’études liturgiques: Paris, 2–5 juillet 1973, 251–264. Rome: Edizioni Liturgiche, 1975. Wehnert, Jürgen. Die Reinheit des “christlichen Gottesvolkes” aus Juden und Heiden: Studien zum historischen und theologischen Hintergrund des sogenannten Aposteldekrets. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1997. Wellhausen, Julius. “Die Ehe bei den Arabern.” Nachrichten der Königlichen Gesellschaft der Wissenschaften und der Georg-Augusts-Universität zu Göttingen 11 (1893): 431–481. Weisberg, Dvora E. Levirate Marriage and the Family in Ancient Judaism. Lebanon, NH: Brandeis University Press, 2009. Weiss, Daniel and Holger M. Zellentin. “Purity and the West: Christianity, Secularism and the Impurity of Ritual.” In Purity and Danger Now: New Perspectives, edited by D. Weiss, S. Schnall, and R. Duschinsky, 181–204. Abingdon: Francis & Tayler, 2016. Weitz, Lev. Syriac Christians in the Medieval Islamic World: Law, Family, and Society. PhD Dissertation, Princeton University, 2013. Wendebourg, Dorothea. “Die alttestamentlichen Reinheitsgesetze.” Zeitschrift für Kirchengeschichte 95 (1984): 149–170. Wilken, Robert L. John Chrysostom and the Jews: Rhetoric and Reality in the Late 4th Century. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1983. Williams, Craig A. Roman Homosexualities. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010. Williams, Frank. The Panarion of Epiphanius of Salamis: Book I (Sects 1–46). Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1994. Wilson, Stephen G. Luke and the Law. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983. Witztum, Joseph. “Q 4:24 Revisited.” Islamic Law and Society 16 (2009): 1–33. Witztum, Joseph. The Syriac Milieu of the Quran: The Recasting of Biblical Narratives. PhD Dissertation, Princeton University, 2010. Wright, David P. Inventing God’s Law: How the Covenant Code of the Bible Used and Revised the Laws of Hammurabi. New York: Oxford University Press, 2009.

Gentile purity law from the Bible to the Qur’an 215 Yates, Jonathan. “The Use of Rom. 2:14–5 in the Christian Latin Tradition ca. 365 – ca. 411 – Augustine Excepted.” Studia Patristica Vol. XLIV: Papers Presented at the Fifteenth International Conference on Patristic Studies held in Oxford 2007, edited by Averil Cameron, Markus Vinzent et al., 213–226. Leuven: Peters, 2010. Young, Frances Margaret. “The Apostolic Constitutions: A Methodological Case-Study.” In Studia Patristica, Volume XXXVI: Papers Presented at the Thirteenth International Conference on Patristic Studies Held in Oxford 1999. Critica et Philologica, Nachleben, First Two Centuries, Tertullian to Arnobius, Egypt before Nicaea, Athanasius and His Opponents, edited by Maurice F. Wiles et al., 105–115. Leuven: Peeters, 2001. Zellentin, Holger. “The Synchronic and the Diachronic Qurʾān: Sūrat Yā Sīn, Lot’s People, and the Rabbis.” The Fragment and the Whole: Approaching Religious Texts in a New Perspective, from Mesopotamia to Arabia, edited by Asma Hilali. Oxford: Oxford University Press, forthcoming. Zellentin, Holger. “Judaeo-Christian Legal Culture and the Qurʾān: The Case of Ritual Slaughter and the Consumption of Animal Blood.” In Jewish Christianity and the Origins of Islam, edited by Francisco del Río Sánchez, 117–159. Turnout: Brepols, 2018. Zellentin, Holger. “Trialogical Anthropology: The Qurʾān on Adam and Iblīs in View of Rabbinic and Christian Discourse.” In The Quest for Humanity  – Contemporary Approaches to Human Dignity in the Context of the Qurʾānic Anthropology, edited by Rüdiger Braun and Hüseyin Çiçek, 61–131. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Press, 2017. Zellentin, Holger. “Aḥbār and Ruhbān: Religious Leaders in the Qurʾān in Dialogue with Christian and Rabbinic Literature.” In Qurʾānic Studies Today, edited by A. Neuwirth and M. Sells, 262–293. Routledge Studies in the Qurʾān. New York: Routledge, 2016. Zellentin, Holger. “Review of Early Christian Monastic Literature and the Babylonian Talmud.” Studies in Jewish-Christian Relations 10 (2015). Zellentin, Holger. “Jesus and the Tradition of the Elders: Originalism and Traditionalism in Early Judean Legal Theory.” In Beyond the Gnostic Gospels: Studies Building on the Work of Elaine H. Pagels, edited by L. Jenott et al., 379–403. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2013. Zellentin, Holger. The Qurʾān’s Legal Culture: The Didascalia Apostolorum as a Point of Departure. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2013. Zellentin, Holger. Rabbinic Parodies of Jewish and Christian Literature. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2011. Zellentin, Holger. “Law in the Medinan Qurʾān: The Case of Biblical Incest Law and its Islamic Re-Iteration.” In Unlocking the Medinan Qur’an, edited by Nicolai Sinai. Abingdon: Routledge, under review. Zellinger, Johannes. Bad und Bäder in der altchristlichen Kirche. Eine Studie über Christentum und Antike. Munich: Max Hueber, 1928. Zuckermandel, Moses Samuel. Tosephta: Based on the Erfurt and Vienna Codices. Jerusalem: Bamberger & Wahrmann, 1937.

7 David and Solomon Antecedents, modalities, and consequences of their twinship in the Qur’an Geneviève Gobillot Translated by Joshua Robinson and Holger M. Zellentin In its vision of the past, which is at the same time a rewriting of a major part of the biblical story, the Qur’an often associates David and Solomon. It does so in a particularly close way when relating the construction of the Temple of Jerusalem. This tendency is already indicated in the following verse from Sūrat Sabaʾ: “O House of David, observe thanksgiving, and few of my servants are grateful” (Q 34:13). The Qur’an’s approach here relates to a passage from the biblical text of Chronicles: I (David) have provided for the house of my God, so far as I was able, the gold for the things of gold, the silver for the things of silver, and the bronze for the things of bronze, the iron for the things of iron, and wood for the things of wood, besides great quantities of onyx and stones for setting, antimony, colored stones, all sorts of precious stones, and marble in abundance. (I Chronicles 29:2, my emphasis) The declaration of David in Chronicles takes a particular sense if reread in light of the Late Antique rabbinic account of the “four who entered paradise.” By a verbal analogy, this story underlines the fact that the heavenly stones of pure marble are the place of the realization of the unified exegesis of the Scriptures.1 In such a perspective, David participated next to Solomon in the construction of the Temple of Jerusalem at the same time as he participated in the elaboration of the reunified interpretation of the Scripture which takes place in the Temple’s paradisiac celestial center. In this way, the Qur’an represents David through a multiform twinship with Solomon. The numerous links between the father and the son, which one also finds in some apocryphal texts, manifest themselves in the Qur’an by many elements, an inventory of which it is important to establish.

Twinship in repentance In a previous publication, I have had the occasion to show that the passage related to Solomon’s repentance fulfills in reality a double theological function in the

David and Solomon 217 Qur’an.2 On the one hand, it makes this character entirely innocent of the deviations from the “Law of the King” (see Deut 17:14–20) and frees him, by the same token, from the negative opinion of his reign that his infractions would otherwise cause. On the other hand, the Qur’an situates Solomon’s conduct, through its formulation and its rhetorical presentation in the text, in a direct line with the repentance of his father David, and even as a sort of double of the latter: David

Solomon

(Q 38:17) “Remember Our servant, David, (Q 38:30) “And to David We gave Solomon – what an excellent servant! [the man] of strength. Indeed, he was a Indeed, he was a penitent [soul].” penitent [soul].” (Q 38:40) “Indeed he [Solomon] has [a (Q 38:24–25): “David knew that We had station of] nearness with Us and a good indeed tested him, whereat he pleaded destination.” with his Lord for forgiveness, and fell down prostrate and repented. (25) So We forgave him that and indeed he has [a station of] nearness with Us and a good destination.”

Concerning David, the Qur’an refers explicitly to the repentance that followed his conduct with Bathsheba, corresponding to 2 Samuel 12–13. In the biblical text, “David said to Nathan: I have sinned against the Lord” after having heard the parable of the litigants concerning the rich man who had taken the only lamb of the poor man (in 2 Samuel 12:1–4). This parable is evoked in a noticeably different form by the Qur’an in Sūrat Ṣād (Q 38:21–34). It concludes with the two texts on the pardon accorded by God. Let us note right away two striking particularities of this story in the Qur’an. First, the story in the Qur’an is not presented as a story told by Nathan, as it was in the Bible. Instead, the Qur’an relates a real legal case presented to David by the litigants, who suddenly introduce themselves to him without having been announced, as the unique verb tasawwarū connotes (which is often rendered as “they scaled the wall”). The litigants immediately reassure the king, using the expression: lā takhaf, “do not be afraid” (Q 38:22), which allows one to understand, by virtue of a verbal analogy, that the litigants were divine messengers sent to address this admonition to him.3 The second striking particularity in comparison with the biblical account is that he who plays the role of the litigant who has lost his only lamb specifies that his brother, who has extorted it from him, possessed already 99 others, even though this numerical detail does not figure in the Book of Samuel. The addition of this number is the result of a combination of a passage from the Old Testament with a story from the New Testament, as the following table shows: 2 Samuel 12:1–14

Gospels: Luke 15:4 (see also Matthew 18:12–14 and Ezekiel 34:1–4)

Qur’an 38.21–25

218  Geneviève Gobillot (1) And the Lord sent Nathan to David. He came to him, and said to him, “There were two men in a certain city, the one rich and the other poor. (2) The rich man had very many flocks and herds; (3) but the poor man had nothing but one little ewe lamb, which he had bought. He brought it up, and it grew up with him and with his children; it used to eat of his meager fare, and drink from his cup, and lie in his bosom, and it was like a daughter to him. (4) Now there came a traveler to the rich man, and he was loath to take one of his own flock or herd to prepare for the wayfarer who had come to him, but he took the poor man’s lamb, and prepared that for the guest who had come to him.” (5) Then David’s anger was greatly kindled against the man. He said to Nathan, “As the Lord lives, the man who has done this deserves to die; (6) he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity.” (7) Nathan said to David, “You are the man!. . .” (13) David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.” Nathan said to David, “Now the Lord has put away your sin; you shall not die. (14) Nevertheless, because by this deed you have utterly scorned the Lord, the child that is born to you shall die.”

(4) “Which one of you, having a hundred sheep and losing one of them, does not leave the ninetynine in the wilderness and go after the one that is lost until he finds it? (5) When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders and rejoices. (6) And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ (7) Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.”

(21) “Has there not come to you the account of the contenders, when they scaled the wall into the sanctuary? (22) When they entered into the presence of David, he was alarmed by them. They said, ‘Do not be afraid. [We are only] two contenders: one of us has bullied the other. So judge justly between us, and do not exceed [the bounds of justice], and show us the right path.’ (23) ‘Indeed this brother of mine has ninety-nine ewes, while I have only a single ewe, and [yet] he says, “Commit it to my care,” and he browbeats me in speech.’ (24) He said, ‘He has certainly wronged you by asking your ewe in addition to his ewes, and indeed many partners bully one another, except such as have faith and do righteous deeds, and few are they.’ Then David knew that We had indeed tested him (ʾannamā fatannāhu), whereat he pleaded with his Lord for forgiveness, and fell down prostrate and repented. (25) So We forgave him that and indeed he has [a station of] nearness with Us and a good destination.”

David and Solomon 219 The lesson that thus emerges from Q 38 verses 23 and 24 is that the union of David and Bathsheba was among the events willed by God, insofar as the future mother of Solomon is identified with the one-hundredth sheep of the Gospel and is thereby considered as already belonging, despite appearances, to the shepherd David. Thus David, in seeking to possess her, only recovers his lost sheep, like the Good Shepherd, whose function and action he prefigures. Strictly speaking, therefore, he has committed no fault, for this woman belonged to him as a kind of right. He is reproached, rather, for having gone beyond what had been decided by God in insisting that she be accorded to him without delay and that, in order to do this, she be separated from her first husband. Note that in the passage both the adultery and the death of Uriah are suppressed (“forgotten”) by these verses, for David, represented by the rich defendant, contents himself with arguing that his brother should give up his sheep. But even this is considered a fault in regard to which God, by the temptation (fitna), put him to the test of his passions. Through the Qur’anic account, God thus reveals to him that this wife would have returned to him in any case, but that he was wrong to try to possess her without waiting. In other words, he did not have the necessary patience and insisted on “forcing destiny.” He therefore committed a fault of hastiness, which must be expiated, despite the fact that it is less serious than those faults which the Bible attributes to him.4 Let us note, finally, that the minimization of David’s fault is also and perhaps especially counted in Solomon’s favor, for he appears in this case as the fruit of a union willed by God and not as the fruit of an adultery followed by a murder. To come back to the parallelism between the father and the son, it is clear that in the Qur’an the same capacity for repentance characterizes in a general manner all the prophets and the just of Scripture who have committed a grave fault, usually before being entrusted with their mission, a fault that God has effaced as soon as they have sought his pardon. Nevertheless, by using identical terms and expressions to designate the respective situations of David and of Solomon, not only in regard to pardon but also in regard to merits and gifts, the Qur’anic text establishes in relation to this question a very particular parallelism between the situations of the two great kings of Israel.

Twinship in gifts: orphism and wisdom Concerning the gifts accorded to Solomon, Q 38:31–40 rejects definitively any shadow of suspicion that he practiced illicit magic, both by placing the reception of his supernatural powers after the episode of his repentance and by emphasizing that it is after this “return” that God conferred on him, at his request, such capacities (Q 38:34–40): “(34) Certainly We tried (wa-la-qad fatannā) Solomon, and cast a [lifeless] body on his throne. Thereupon he was penitent. (35) He said, ‘My Lord! Forgive me, and grant me a kingdom that does not befit anyone except me.’ ” In addition, these powers are presented in remarkable parallelism with the gifts given to David a few verses earlier in the same sura:

220  Geneviève Gobillot David

Solomon

(Q 38:18–19) Indeed We disposed the mountains to glorify [Allah] with him at evening and dawn, (19) and the birds [as well], mustered [in flocks], all echoing him [in a chorus].

(Q 38:36–40) So We disposed the wind for him, blowing softly by his command wherever he intended, (37) and the demons [as well as] every builder and diver, (38) and others [too] bound together in chains. (39) “This is Our bounty: so give away or withold, without any reckoning.” (40) Indeed he has [a station of] nearness with Us and a good destination.

If one examines minutely the content of the gifts given by God to David and to his son, respectively,5 it is evident that the Qur’an establishes an equivalence between the two series of powers belonging to these characters, which have some remarkable features in common. The wind, a natural phenomenon subjected to Solomon, can be put in parallel with the mountains subjected to David, and both men speak to the birds. The Qur’an also attributes to Solomon David’s ability to know their language (Q 27:16): “Solomon inherited from David, and he said, ‘O people! We have been taught the speech of the birds, and we have been given out of everything. Indeed, this is a manifest advantage.’ ” Solomon, finally, dominates the demons, while David has the ability to make the natural elements and the birds “sing the divine praise.” Marc Philonenko has demonstrated that the origin of this specific theme is without any doubt the famous Psalm 151 of the Septuagint, whose original Hebrew version is evidently of Essenian provenance, the authors of Qumran having effected a combination between Psalm 148 and the myth of Orpheus.6 Psalm 151 in Hebrew indeed contains an affirmation censured in the Greek and Syriac versions. Here it is, presented in its context and abridged for the present context: Alleluia, Of David, son of Jesse. I was the cadet of my brothers (. . .) and (my father) made me the shepherd of his flock (. . .) My hands make an instrument of music and my fingers, a lyre; and I render glory to Yahweh saying in myself: Do not the mountains bear witness to Him? Do not the hills proclaim him? Do not the trees take my words and the flock my poems? Philonenko, taking up the work of James Sanders and André Dupont-Sommers, who had seen in this stichos a clear allusion to the legend of Orpheus charming the trees and the flocks with the song of his lyre, established the combination which is effected in Q 38:18 (cited earlier) and recalled in Q 21:79: “We gave its understanding to Solomon, and to each We gave judgement and knowledge. And We disposed the mountains and the birds to glorify [Us] with David, and We have been the doer [of such things],” and in Q 34:10, “Certainly We gave David a grace from Us: ‘O mountains and birds, chime in with him!’ ” Philonenko’s conclusion was the following: There is more in the Qur’anic text than a simple allusion to Psalm 148. The idea is that all creation, subjected to David, glorifies the Lord with him. This

David and Solomon 221 curious interpretation, which appears to be unknown to rabbinic tradition, is what without doubt appears for the first time in the Qumran psalm. Consequently, it is David-Orpheus who sings in the Qur’an, as in the Psalter of the same provenance.7 This is not surprising, since many other coincidences with the Dead Sea Scrolls can be identified in the Qur’anic text. The parallelism between the situations of David and of Solomon appears indeed in relation to the mastery of the elements of nature, in view of making them celebrate the divine praise. Just as the birds and mountains celebrate this praise with David, so also the winds submitted to Solomon render homage to the unique God. This connotation arises by the intermediary of a verbal analogy between concerning the term ghudūww: in Q 34:12 “And for Solomon [We subjected] the wind: its morning course (ghuduwwuhā) was a month’s journey and its evening course was a month’s journey;” the term designates the morning in the periphrasis, which alludes to the adoring and rendering homage to God morning and night (bi-lghudūww wa-l-aṣāl) in Q 13:15 and Q 24:36. This activity of the wind is therefore an activity of adoration and of divine praise. Nevertheless, it is specified concerning Solomon that it is by submission that the wind comports itself thus, while for David, it is a matter of a kind of accompaniment resulting from a charm, like that attributed to Orpheus. As for the demons, the jinn, they have been put in the service of Solomon and accomplish all his wishes for the same purpose, as is indicated by the fact that they received as a principal task the construction of places of worship (maḥārīb, Q 34:12), among which the Temple of Jerusalem is the greatest. All these affirmations, and in particular verses 17–40 of sura 38, which establish a total equivalence between the conduct of Solomon and that of David, tend implicitly to “make one forget” the affirmation contained in 1 Kings 11:6, according to which “Solomon did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, and did not completely follow the Lord, as his father David had done,” just as, according to Q 2:102, his disbelief must be “forgotten.”

The reasons for the twinship between David and Solomon in the Qur’an One might now reasonably ask why the Qur’an insists so much on this relationship of equality and even quasi-identicality between David and Solomon. It might be that, in the first place, it is a matter of a concern for re-establishing a coherence with certain other biblical passages, such as 2 Samuel 12:24, which specifies that “Then David consoled his wife Bathsheba, and went to her, and lay with her; and she bore a son, and he named him Solomon. The Lord loved him (ʾăhêḇōw),” which is recalled in Q 38:30: “And to David We gave (wa-wahabnā) Solomon – what an excellent servant! Indeed, he was a penitent.” However, according to the rule of verbal analogy, the verb wahaba in the Qur’an indicates the gift of

222  Geneviève Gobillot the legitimate son responsible for receiving a spiritual and religious heritage and making it prosper. If Solomon had been very inferior to his father David in his conduct, this declaration [“what an excellent servant”] would be seriously put in doubt, since an excellent servant of God cannot adore other gods besides him. But we note yet another thing. First of all, the Qur’anic text presents Solomon as an inspired prophet or, at least, as gifted with capacities equivalent to those of this category of biblical characters (Q 4:163): “We have indeed revealed to you [Muhammad] as We revealed to Noah and the prophets after him, and [as] We revealed to Abraham and Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, and the Tribes, Jesus and Job, Jonah, Aaron, and Solomon,” and Q 6:84: “And Noah We had guided before, and from his offspring, David and Solomon, Job, Joseph, Moses and Aaron.” This view of Solomon is typical of the Midrash, while according to the Bible itself Solomon is only a simple king, a wise king certainly, but always limited to this role alone, a situation which renders less shocking his infraction of the deuteronomic law. On the other hand, the Qur’an is not satisfied with attributing to Solomon the aptitude for repentance of his father David. According to it, the latter partakes for his part of the virtues – particularly wisdom – that the Torah as well as the rabbinic tradition reserve exclusively for Solomon. Indeed, David, for the Qur’an, is first of all a sage. We also read about David in Q 38:20: “We made his kingdom firm and gave him wisdom (ḥikmah) and conclusive speech.” Likewise, in Q 21:79 (on which more later): “We gave its (f., of ḥikmah) understanding (fa-fahhamnāhā) to Solomon, and to each [David and Solomon] We gave judgement and knowledge (ḥukman wa-ʿilman).” This insistence on mentioning the wisdom of David could appear at first glance surprising. According to the rabbinic literature, indeed, the wisdom of this king-prophet was quite inferior to that of his son. Actually, however, as Marc Philonenko has noted, “[T]his attribution of wisdom to David constitutes another specific step of Essenism.” As Philonenko notes: On the scrolls of the Psalms discovered at Qumran, David reveals himself to be a sage (ḥakīm) to whom Yahweh has given “a mind of intelligence and illumination” (11 Qpsa 27:4). Yet David is gifted in the Qur’an with identical capacities. He appears in the list of the servants of God and is found most often accompanied by Solomon (21:79; 27:15; 34:10–11). Thus the father and the son are united by a common wisdom.8 This observation corroborates his first remark regarding the Essenian origin of the character of David/Orpheus, which from this point on allows one to see “hermeneutic thresholds” in certain Dead Sea texts that are not negligible in the Qur’an. One finds that in reality the Qur’anic text went still further than these writings on certain points: by pushing to its ultimate implications this twin-like characteristic, by the establishment of a total reciprocity in the attribution to David of the qualities of Solomon and to Solomon of the virtues of his father, and by presenting them even in a recurring manner as nearly identical or interchangeable characters.

David and Solomon 223

David and Solomon: a unique calling and a single irreproachable reign In regard to the text of the Bible, it is undeniably the character of Solomon who draws the greatest benefit from the procedures that have just been described. Indeed, being exonerated in the Qur’an of his shortcomings in regard to the Law of the King, it is the entirety of his reign that is thereby placed above all the reproaches that the biblical texts tended to direct at him. The character of Solomon in the Scriptures As Jean Koulagna has very justly noted, numerous passages of 1 Kings can be considered to be as much anti- as pro-Solomonian. They authorize in fact a reading according to which the biblical narrator opted for a critical position vis-à-vis the character of Solomon. The following features bear witness to it: the reign of Solomon begins under the distressing auspices of a tumultuous succession with, crucially, the manipulations of Nathan the prophet and Bathsheba the queen mother and a series of summary executions,9 and it ends obscured by revolts – notably that of Jeroboam, supported also by a prophet (Ahiyya). Furthermore, in contrast to Solomon, it is in recompense for his loyalty and his fidelity that the former (Jeroboam) receives prophetic support. Thus, the schism of Jeroboam, “even if it ends in failure, is sanctioned by God himself, while with Solomon, God is in a certain fashion placed before the accomplished fact and even manipulated.”10 Koulagna also observes that, in contrast to the first kings and even to the unfortunate usurpers (Saul is beautiful and quite imposing, David courageous and faithful), no moral quality is evoked in favor of Solomon in the Bible. Finally, Koulagna notes the following detail in regard to the law of Yahweh, that is to say in this case the Law of the King evoked earlier: As for the law of YHWH mentioned by David in 1 Kings 2:3, which echoes Deut. 17:18 and 29:9, it stresses the entire story in a regular rhythm: first, 1 Kings 2:3, then 3:14; 6:12; 9:4–9, 11:11 and 11:33–38. However, it is important to note that this first mention is the unique occasion in the deuteronomic account of Solomon where allusion is made to the law of YHWH by the word Torah (“teaching”); as for the word “covenant,” it is mentioned seven times, of which one only refers to the law of YHWH (in 1 Kings 11:11). On the narrative plan, the unique use of these two terms, one at the beginning of the account and the other at the end, is strategic. It is this law which will constitute the criteria of appreciation for Solomon and for all the kings of Israel and of Judah after him, and whose violation, if one believes the narrator, Solomon announces indirectly from the moment of this introduction.11 Koulagna concludes finally that, in this perspective, the reign of Solomon begins on more than contestable foundations and that the first two chapters of 1 Kings “can be read as a summary of the whole account, since they already announce subtly the end

224  Geneviève Gobillot of his reign. Even the apparent attempts at legitimation remain negatively colored and in the end depict Solomon as the first of the ‘bad kings’ of Judah.”12 Corrections in favor of David and Solomon in the Qur’an Koulagna’s analysis allows one to grasp with greater clarity the position of the Qur’an in relation to the question of royal transgressions. It puts clearly in evidence the close connection that exists in the biblical account between the violation of the Law of the King by Solomon and the negative depiction of the whole of his reign. This is also why the word mulk in Q 2:102 must be envisaged in this entire context. The Muslim commentators were certainly not wrong to understand it as designating the “reign” of Solomon, but it appears very clearly that it was not by magical practices that he could be sullied in the eyes of the People of the Book, but rather by his depicted infraction of the Law of the King that the Bible mentions in relation to his possessions, a meaning that the word mulk precisely includes. This is why, in describing the repentance of Solomon and the abandonment of his mares, symbol of the totality of his possessions, in Q 38:32–34 the Qur’an with a single stroke bestows all its glory and its legitimacy on his reign, as we will see later. The word mulk illustrates therefore, in Q 2:102, the case of terms which refer to two or more realities nested one within the others or presenting certain analogies with diverse levels: in this case the reign and the possessions of the king are indissolubly linked already in the Bible itself. It is, furthermore, proven that one must understand these possessions such that the demons, in “lying to the scribes” of the Bible (see Q 72:5) regarding the attitude of Solomon in relation to his possessions, had as their aim, according to the Qur’an, to devalue the totality of his reign in the eyes of posterity, with all the consequences that would follow. One cannot therefore close this question without asking oneself why the Qur’an advances all the proofs aiming to absolve Solomon of his matrimonial variations in relation to the Law of the King, while it does not explicate the related case of David, who before him had nevertheless had the same polygamous conduct. The first reason is without doubt the fact that nothing in the Bible suggests that the latter might have let himself be led by his wives to worship other gods besides Yahweh, as Solomon did according to 1 Kings 11:4. Then, taking account of everything which precedes, one must admit that the Qur’an doubtlessly considers as known and admitted the explanation given of this subject by the Damascus Document 7.2–6, which justifies this conduct in the following manner: [A]nd as to the prince it is written, 5 “He shall not multiply wives unto himself.” But David read not in the Book of the Law that was sealed, which was in the Ark; for it was not opened in Israel from the day of the death of Elazar and 6 Joshua, and the Elders who served Ashtaroth. And it was hidden (and was not) discovered until 7 Zadok arose: Now they glorified the deeds of David save only the blood of Uriah, and God pardoned them to him.13

David and Solomon 225 In such a perspective, the polygamy, which was pardonable to David because of his ignorance of the Law of the King, is effectively no longer pardonable in the case of Solomon, who now had access to the content of the Ark of the Covenant. As for the murder of Uriah, Q 38:23–24 ratifies his abandonment and his replacement by a simple request insisting, on David’s behalf, that he give up his wife. Let us recall finally that it is appropriate to distinguish in the Qur’an between the fault of Solomon relative to his polygamy and that of having worshiped foreign gods. The polygamy enters in the tally of the Law of the King and is therefore found abrogated by Solomon’s repentance. Solomon’s infidelity, by contrast, is squarely denied.14 Does not the concern of the Qur’an to defend the reputation of Solomon correspond in this case, as in the texts of the Dead Sea Scrolls, to the necessity fully to rehabilitate the ancestry of a Davidic Messiah? Indeed, one must not forget that, according to Matthew, Solomon is included in the list of the ancestors of Jesus. Before concluding with this fundamental point, however, a certain number of other elements must be examined. There is no doubt that the Qur’anic text takes its position against a negative image of kingship which had developed in Late Antique Judaism. In order to do this, it openly defends the legitimacy and irreproachable character of the family of David, even if this involves proposing many corrections to the Torah. Furthermore, it places in the foreground the fact that the God worshiped in Solomon’s Temple was indeed the unique God whose message it proclaims. It is He alone who was celebrated by the two great king-prophets and sages, Solomon and David, who in the final reckoning never truly disregarded the Law of Moses, nor committed grave faults. Such is the image which it gives of them when it declares in Q 34:13, “O House of David, observe thanksgiving, and few of My servants are grateful (wa-qalīlun min ʿibādiya l-shakūru).”15 This verse is an echo of Q 21:80, “Will you then be grateful?” (fa-hal ʾantum shākirūna), which constitutes a universal appeal to the faithful in the image of the command “act righteously” (iʿmalū ṣāliḥan, see Q 34:11), according to a style familiar to preachers. From this point of view Solomon and David are set up as models for the community of the faithful, not only of their time but of all ages, and particularly for the community that saw the Qur’anic revelation emerge. In giving a perfectly unblemished image to Solomon, the Qur’an places itself likewise in opposition to the Gnostic, Marcionite, and Manichean attacks on the royalty of the Old Testament associated with the Temple and its cult. But this does not in any case signify that the Qur’an admits the blood sacrifices, principal objects of reproach for the latter groups. It adopts on the contrary a very clear position on the question; for example, in Q 51:57, “I desire no provision from them, nor do I desire that they should feed Me,” in agreement with other biblical passages. In addition, in a manner even more supported than in the texts of Qumran, the Qur’an depicts David and Solomon as two twin-like messengers of a universal religion that involves the animals and the terrestrial elements in the proclamation of the divine praise. In parallel, it presents by these two characters the double

226  Geneviève Gobillot figure of a king, prophet, and sage that is fundamentally very close to the platonic ideal of power. It is this vision in any case that numerous philosophers and even mystics of Islam have proposed.16 It is also present in the Bible if one looks closely, since one reads there that Solomon had asked of God the wisdom to guide the people (1 Kings 3:9): “Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, able to discern between good and evil; for who can govern your great people?” Yet the Qur’an deepens and modifies this portrait by closely associating with it the character of David, whom it presents like a twin to his son, according to the model that it also adopts for Moses and Aaron and, in certain respects, for Jesus and John the Baptist.

High priests against kings of Israel in the biblical exegesis of Sirach These last remarks lead to another particular aspect of biblical exegesis corresponding to the interpretation of Ben Sira, the author of Sirach, which is focused on certain aspects of the biblical text that Koulagna has presented as favorable to Solomon. Let us consider Bernard Barc’s reading of three passages of Sirach in detail: “For Ben Sira, the first sixteen ancestors from Enoch to Solomon construct a model of history which would have logically attained its perfection with the dedication of the Temple of Solomon, a dedication which would have marked the accomplishment of the pre-flood project symbolized by the name of Enoch. But nothing came of it. Solomon, who would have introduced Israel into a new age, instead, by leading a double life, brought his people into folly. At first, however, he conducted himself in conformity with the divine plan and conducted Israel to the threshold of a new era. After him a wise son rose up who because of him lived in security: Solomon reigned in an age of peace, because God made all his borders tranquil, so that he might build a house in his name and provide a sanctuary to stand forever. How wise you were when you were young! You overflowed like the Nile with understanding. Your influence spread throughout the earth, and you filled it with proverbs having deep meaning. Your fame reached to far-off islands, and you were loved for your peaceful reign. Your songs, proverbs, and parables, and the answers you gave astounded the nations. (Ecclesiasticus/Sirach 47:12–17) But even though he could have been the King chosen by Yahweh that Deuteronomy announced, Solomon betrayed his mission by accumulating gold and silver, as well as wives: In the name of the Lord God, who is called the God of Israel, you gathered gold like tin and amassed silver like lead. But you brought in women to lie at your side, and through your body you were brought into subjection. You stained your honor, and defiled your family line, so that you brought

David and Solomon 227 wrath upon your children, and they were grieved at your folly, because the sovereignty was divided and a rebel kingdom arose out of Ephraim. (Ecclesiasticus 47:18–21) Solomon, in fact, managed to show himself as the opposite of the ideal king described by Yahweh. Not content with having multiplied gold, silver and wives – he had seven hundred wives and three hundred concubines (1 Kings 11:3) – he “multiplied also the horses” by introducing chariots into the army of Israel, and he “lifted himself above his brothers” by causing all those to be assassinated who were better placed than him to succeed David. He was therefore, during the second part of his life, the perfect antitype of the king that Yahweh would choose, and he provoked by his conduct the deferment of the realization of the divine plan. Because of him, to the first sixteen heroes of the biblical history who had prepared the construction of the first Temple, there had to be added sixteen others who worked for the restoration of this Temple, of which Simeon son of Onias would become the high priest.”17 Barc continues: “At the death of Solomon the 12 tribes divided themselves in two enemy kingdoms, that of Judah and that of Ephraim, which in its arrogance usurped the name of Israel according to Ben Sira: Then Solomon rested with his ancestors, and left behind him one of his sons, broad in folly and lacking in sense, Rehoboam [king of Judah], whose policy drove the people to revolt. Then Jeroboam son of Nebat [king of Israel] led Israel into sin and started Ephraim on its sinful ways. Their sins increased more and more, until they were exiled from their land. For they sought out every kind of wickedness, until vengeance came upon them. (Ecclesiasticus 47:23–25) Thus, according to Ben Sira, the famous dedication of the Temple could not be realized by Solomon. It remained in suspense, preventing the realization of the jubiliary model and the arrival of the future world.”18 Thus Barc. Such a conception of things was evidently contested well before the Qur’an in a certain number of apocrypha, such as 2 Baruch 61:1–8, which presents David and Solomon together as the illustration of the sixth luminous waters of the vision of this character.19 This intertestamentary text gives just as positive a representation of their reigns as that which one finds in the Qur’an: During that time (when David and Solomon were born) occurred the construction of Zion and the dedication of the sanctuary (. . .) One understood the wisdom in the synagogue, the abundance of the intelligence was glorified in the assemblies, the holy feasts were celebrated with delight and great joy. The judgement of the chiefs showed itself then without deception, the justice of the commandments of the Powerful was accomplished in truth.20

228  Geneviève Gobillot According to this text, the dedication of the sanctuary by David and Solomon was therefore well realized. These theses about the continuity between David and Solomon are in agreement with the content of the other apocrypha and even with certain rabbinic traditions which recall the part entrusted to David in the construction of the Temple, when God said to David: “[T]hy good intentions shall receive their due reward. The Temple, though it be built by Solomon, shall be called thine.”21 Concerning the dream of the restoration of a Davidic royalty, one can refer also to the Psalms of Solomon.22 David and Solomon appear equally in this light in the Book of Enoch 89:47–50, presented in the form of rams.23 David is presented as a ram that rises to lead the flock and has fathered a great number of sheep (48a). He killed the savage beasts that decimated the flock (48b). Then he lay down, and a young sheep (Solomon) becomes ram in his place. He became a chief and a guide for the flock (49). At the time of Solomon, the Dwelling (a reference to the Tabernacle) was augmented, enlarged, and rebuilt for the sheep and a high and imposing tower was built above the Dwelling for the master of the sheep (a reference to the Temple sheltering the Tabernacle). The Dwelling was low and the tower was elevated and high. The “master of the flock” took residence in this tower, and one presented before him a set table (50).” By its name, this table presents an analogy with that cited by the Qur’an in sura 5, designated as “the set table.” In this case, it represents a first link of sacred continuity between David, Solomon, and Jesus to the extent, as Michel Cuypers has clearly shown, that it also undoubtedly evokes the Last Supper.24 In superimposing the allusions to the two tables, the Qur’an carries here an element that is essential to its conception of the particularly close continuity between the Messiah and his ancestors, a continuity evoked in many other verses.

Notes * All translations of the Qur’an follow Quli Qura’i and all translations of the Bible are taken from the New Revised Standard Version, both with minor modifications. 1 See Talmud Yerushalmi Hagigah 2:1 (77b-c), Talmud Bavli Hagigah 14b, and Bernard Barc, Les arpenteurs du temps: Essai sur l’histoire de la Judée à la période hellénistique (Histoire du texte biblique 5; Lausanne: Éditions du zèbre, 2000), 73–74. 2 See Genviève Gobillot, “Des textes Pseudo Clementins à la mystique juive et du Sinaï à Maʾrib. Quelques coïncidences entre contexte culturel et localisation géographique dans le Qur’an,” in The Coming of the Comforter: When, Where, and to Whom? Studies on the Rise of Islam and Various Other Topics in Memory of John Wansbrough, ed. Carlos A. Segovia and Basil Lourié (Piscataway, NJ: Gorgias Press, 2012), 35. 3 The same expression is used by the messengers sent to Abraham: (Q 11:70), who are then sent to Lot (Q 29:33): “Do not be afraid, do not be afflicted, we are going to save you, you and yours,” see also Joseph Witztum, “Thrice Upon a Time: Abraham’s Guests and the Study of Intra-Qur’anic Parallels,” pages 277–302 later. 4 The Islamic tradition attributes to Muhammad a different attitude according to which he avoids falling into the fault of David by refusing to ask his adoptive son Zayd to divorce his wife. This identification allows us to make another one, which is that of Zayd with Uriah, the faithful soldier of David. 5 One finds mention of these gifts also in Q 21:81–81 and in Q 34:12.

David and Solomon 229 6 See Marc Philonenko, “Une tradition essénienne dans le Coran,” Revue de l’Histoire des Religions 170 (1966): 143–157. 7 Philonenko, “Une tradition essénienne dans le Coran,” 149, our translation. 8 Philonenko, “Une tradition essénienne dans le Coran,” 148, our translation. 9 See Jean Koulagna, “L’image de Salomon dans l’historiographie deutéronomiste. A propos de la place de 1 Rois 1–2,” Revue d’Histoire et de Philosophie Religieuses 87.3 (2007): 293. 10 Koulagna, “L’image de Salomon dans l’historiographie deutéronomiste,” 293, our translation. 11 Koulagna, “L’image de Salomon dans l’historiographie deutéronomiste,” 298, our translation. 12 Koulagna, “L’image de Salomon dans l’historiographie deutéronomiste,” 299, our translation. 13 Translation (with slight modifications) according to R. H. Charles, ed., The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament in English (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1913), vol. 2, 804. 14 It is interesting to note that the Kebra Nagast, a work dating to the thirteenth century, which is found animated by the same preoccupation with regard to the exoneration of Solomon, in this case for reasons of dynastic heritage, also separates the two faults of polygamy and polytheism. It squarely justifies the first by explaining that Solomon believed that he accomplished the will of God in practicing polygamy: “As it is said in the Book of Kings: ‘King Solomon loved women and he married (women) from among the Hebrews, the Egyptians, the Canaanites, the Edomites and the Moabites, from Rif and from Georgia, from Damascus and from the Syrians and from those regarding whom he was told that their form was beautiful. There were 400 queens and 600 concubines’ (cf. 1 Chronicles 11:1–3). This thing which he did, it was not for fornication, but by reason of the meditation on the wisdom that the Lord had given him and because he often remembered what he had said to Abraham: ‘I will multiply your descendants like the stars of the heaven and like the sand of the sea’ (Gen. 22:17). He said in his heart: ‘What do I know, if God gave a male child from each of them?’ This is why, after having reflected with wisdom, he acted thus” (paragraph 28; translation based on Robert Beylot, La Gloire des Rois ou l’Histoire de Salomon et de la reine de Saba (Turnhout: Brepols, 2008), 170). On the other hand, this text envisions for the expiation of the sin of polytheism at once an immanent punishment and a very deep repentance on the part of Solomon. The punishment reached him first in his descendants: “The angel of God descended near him and said to him: ‘(. . .) You have despised the law of God even while it seemed to you to be more wise than God and that you would obtain many male children. But the folly of God is wiser than the wisdom of a man (1 Cor. 1:25) and he has only given you three sons (. . .).’ He was equally punished in his own life: ‘His days were sixty years. A sickness took him. And it was not like the days of his father David, but he lived twenty fewer years than him, because he had obeyed the woman and had bowed down before idols.’ It is thus that his repentance came: ‘The angel of death came and struck him on the foot. He cried and said: ‘Lord, God of Israel, I have been vanquished, for it is the law of the earthly being. For no one is without stain before you, Lord (. . .) If you have pity on my, a sinner, your mercy will be marvelous and sweet. Have pity on me Lord.’ ” (paragraph 67, ibid., 253–254). The Kebra Nagast, to conclude, attempts equally to establish a close parallelism between David and Solomon, not by whitening Solomon of every fault, but on the contrary by charging David with the responsibility for [the faults] of his son: “ ‘Observe, the sin of his father, is it greater than that of his son Solomon? He had Uriah killed in war, by fraudulent counsel (. . .) In dying he advised his son Solomon, saying, ‘Kill Joab, as he has killed Abner and kill Séméi, because he cursed me (. . .) As for Solomon, he did not

230  Geneviève Gobillot kill anyone, except his brother, when he wished to marry the wife of his father David’ ” (paragraph 65, ibid., 250). 15 As Marie Joseph Pierre notes (idem, Les Odes de Salomon (Turnhout: Brepols, 1994), 77): “Solomon is above all the builder of the temple, the sanctuary of eternity established by God at Jerusalem (Sirach 47:13, cf. Acts 7:47) and this latter work makes him related to Moses: just as Moses had built the tabernacle with the help of Bezalel, so also Solomon built the temple with the help of Hiram, king of Tyre. Jesus assumes this role in the New Testament when he says: ‘Destroy this sanctuary and I will rebuild it in three days’ ” (symbol of the resurrection of his body, Temple of God, see John 2:19 and parallels; our translation). Pierre adds that it is more frequent to find studies on the typology of Jesus, the new Moses, than on that of Jesus as Solomon, even though the assimilation between the two characters and their respective typologies had to be known at the beginning of the Christian era: “indeed, the Messiah awaited and recognized in Jesus by the disciples is at once the “son of David,” that is to say a new Solomon, and the “prophet similar to Moses” promised in Deuteronomy 18:15–18 (cf. John 1:20–21; Acts 3:22–23 and 7:37). Moreover – what has the highest interest for us here – the Jewish tradition bears witness in retrospect to a controversy in regard to the messianic figure of Solomon as a “prophet like Moses” and opposes itself to the assimilation of Moses and Solomon, as well as to the Christian messianic interpretation of Deut. 18:15–18 (Babylonian Talmud 21b), in the name of Rav (d. 247) “Qoheleth (Solomon) wanted to be like Moses. But a heavenly voice came which says: The words of truth are: ‘There has never been raised in Israel a prophet like Moses’ (Deuteronomy 34:10).” A Baraitha, fragment of the tannaitic epoque, that is to say, prior to the year 200 CE, collected in the Babylonian Talmud, treatise of Baba Bathra 15a, even goes so far as to take from him the authorship of his works” (Les Odes de Salomon, 32 n. 18). Pierre concludes that, even if the Jewish texts only reflected this polemic very discretely, it must have been central in the controversy between the Jews and the Christians (ibid., 32). The Qur’an clearly takes a position here by affirming the prophetic quality of Solomon and by rehabilitating him in particular in Q 2:102, as we have shown in our article, Geneviève Gobillot, “Ibn Kammūna (m. 1284) une pensée de l’harmonie entre soi et non-soi,” in Contrabandista entre mundos fronterizos, hommage au Professeur Hugues Didier, ed. Nicolas Balutet, Paloma Otaola, and Delphine Tempère (Collection terres hispaniques; Paris: Éditions Publibook, 2010), 33–79. 16 See for example on this subject: Al-Ḥakīm al-Tirmiḍī, Le livre des nuances ou: de l’impossibilité de la synonymie, Introduction, traduction et notes par Geneviève Gobillot (Paris: Geuthner, 2006), 102–106. 17 Bernard Barc, personal communication, now published (with minor changes) as idem, Siméon le Juste: l’auteur oublié de la Bible hébraïque (Judaïsme ancien et origines du christianisme 4; Turnhout: Brepols, 2015), 144–145. After the destruction of the second Temple in 70 CE, a destruction which signified in the eyes of the masters of Yavnéh the definitive halt of the project of Symeon, the high priest was himself presented as a new Solomon, accused of having himself made pacts with “the nations” (hellenism) and of having caused by this the fall of Israel. 18 See also Barc, Siméon le Juste, 145–146. 19 One could see in this text one of the reasons for the rapprochement made by the Qur’an between the experience of the Queen of Sheba on the threshold of the palace of Solomon and the experience of the mystics described by the Hékhalot (described earlier), who have the vision of the water on the threshold of the sixth heavenly palace, so much the more that the throne of Solomon was reputed to be raised up by six degrees. 20 2 Baruch 61:1–8, in Charles, The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament in English, vol. 2, 514. 21 See Louis Ginzberg, The Legends of the Jews (Philadelphia, PA: The Jewish Publication Society of America, 1913), vol. 4, 103.

David and Solomon 231 22 See Charles, The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament in English, vol. 2, 625–652. 23 See Charles, The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament in English, vol. 2, 163–281. 24 Michael Cuypers, Le Festin. Une lecture de la sourate al-Mâʾida (Rhétorique sémitique 3; Paris: Lethielleux, 2007), 30.

Bibliography Barc, Bernard. Les arpenteurs du temps: Essai sur l’histoire de la Judée à la période hellénistique. Histoire du texte biblique 5. Lausanne: Éditions du zèbre, 2000. Barc, Bernard. Simon le Juste: l’auteur oublié de la Bible hébraïque. Judaïsme ancien et origines du christianisme 4. Turnhout: Brepols, 2015. Beylot, Robert. La Gloire des Rois ou l’Histoire de Salomon et de la reine de Saba. Turnhout: Brepols, 2008). Charles, Robert H. (ed.). The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament in English. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1913. Cuypers, Michael. Le Festin. Une lecture de la sourate al-Mâʾida. Rhétorique sémitique 3. Paris: Lethielleux, 2007. Ginzberg, Louis. The Legends of the Jews. Philadelphia, PA: The Jewish Publication Society of America, 1909–38. Gobillot, Geneviève. “Des textes Pseudo Clementins à la mystique juive et du Sinaï à Maʾrib. Quelques coïncidences entre contexte culturel et localisation géographique dans le Qur’an.” In The Coming of the Comforter: When, Where, and to Whom? Studies on the Rise of Islam and Various Other Topics in Memory of John Wansbrough, edited by Carlos A. Segovia and Basil Lourié, 3–89. Piscataway, NJ: Gorgias Press, 2012. Gobillot, Geneviève (ed. and trans.). Al-Ḥakīm al-Tirmiḍī, Le livre des nuances ou: de l’impossibilité de la synonymie. Paris: Geuthner, 2006. Gobillot, Geneviève. “Ibn Kammūna (m. 1284) une pensée de l’harmonie entre soi et nonsoi.” In Contrabandista entre mundos fronterizos, hommage au Professeur Hugues Didier, edited by Nicolas Balutet, Paloma Otaola, and Delphine Tempère, 33–79. Collection terres hispaniques. Paris: Éditions Publibook, 2010. Koulagna, Jean. “L’image de Salomon dans l’historiographie deutéronomiste. A propos de la place de 1 Rois 1–2.” Revue d’Histoire et de Philosophie Religieuses 87.3 (2007): 289–300. Masson, Denise. Le Coran. Paris: Gallimard, 1980. Michaud, Robert. De l’entrée en Canaan à l’exil à Babylone. Paris: Éditions du Cerf, 1982. Philonenko, Marc. “Une tradition essénienne dans le Coran.” Revue de l’Histoire des Religions 170 (1966): 143–157. Pierre, Marie Joseph (ed. and trans.). Les Odes de Salomon. Turnhout: Brepols, 1994.

Part III

The Qur’an and Judaism

8 Pharaoh’s submission to God in the Qur’an and in rabbinic literature A case study in Qur’anic intertextuality Nicolai Sinai Introduction That numerous Qur’anic passages permit illuminating comparison with biblical and postbiblical Jewish and Christian literature has been sufficiently demonstrated.1 Nevertheless, we lack a detailed and reliably documented sense of the shape in which these traditions might have circulated in the immediate milieu from which the Islamic Scripture emerged. This difficulty is compounded by problems of dating, since not every Jewish or Christian text of vaguely ancient appearance must necessarily be pre-Qur’anic.2 As a consequence, the attempt to read the Qur’an from a historical-critical perspective – that is, with a view to determining to what extent it continues or modifies earlier discourses – frequently resembles a jigsaw puzzle with too many missing pieces: more often than not, the existing pieces can be arranged into more than one intelligible image and require the interpreter to fill in significant gaps without being able to depend on much hard evidence. All of these difficulties will come into sharp relief in the following study of Qur’an 10:90–92, a passage that has no immediate parallels elsewhere in the Qur’anic corpus. The three verses occur in a sura that Nöldeke and Schwally plausibly date to the late Meccan period.3 They form part of a retelling of the story of Moses and the Israelites, which of course appears in numerous other Qur’anic texts as well.4 The passage describes how Pharaoh, when pursuing the Israelites through the sea, is overcome by the returning waters and, in the face of imminent death, submits to God: [. . .] And when he [Pharaoh] was drowning he said, “I believe that there is no god except He in whom the Children of Israel believe. I am one of those who submit [to Him].” 91 “Now? And you committed rebellion before and were one of those causing corruption! 92 Today We shall [only] deliver you corporeally (nunajjīka bi-badanika)5 so that you may be a sign (āyah) to those after you [. . .]”6 90

In the later Islamic tradition, these verses engendered a centuries-long debate on the question whether the dying Pharaoh qualified as a true believer, a discussion

236  Nicolai Sinai that has been charted in detail by Eric Ormsby.7 What I propose to do in this contribution, by contrast, is to look backwards and try to understand the Qur’anic story in the light of its putative predecessor traditions. The Bible, of course, is not of much help here: although the broad outlines of the Qur’anic retelling of the Israelites’ exodus from Egypt agree with the biblical version, Pharaoh’s conversion in extremis is not mentioned in the corresponding passage of Exodus (14:26–31): Then the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over the sea, that the water may come back upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots, and upon their horsemen.” 27 So Moses stretched forth his hand over the sea, and the sea returned to its wonted flow when the morning appeared; and the Egyptians fled into it, and the Lord routed the Egyptians in the midst of the sea. 28 The waters returned and covered the chariots and the horsemen and all the host of Pharaoh that had followed them into the sea; not so much as one of them remained. 29 But the people of Israel walked on dry ground through the sea, the waters being a wall to them on their right hand and on their left. 30 Thus the Lord saved Israel that day from the hand of the Egyptians; and Israel saw the Egyptians dead upon the seashore. 31 And Israel saw the great work which the Lord did against the Egyptians, and the people feared the Lord; and they believed in the Lord and in his servant Moses.8 26

The biblical account consequently provides no information about the fate of Pharaoh himself: Exodus 14:28 limits itself to reporting what became of “the horsemen and all the host of Pharaoh.” In Moses’ subsequent song of praise, too, only Pharaoh’s chariots are mentioned, not Pharaoh himself: “Pharaoh’s chariots and his host he cast into the sea” (Exodus 15:4).9 The obvious question is thus whether the Qur’anic narrative about Pharaoh’s submission to God has any Jewish, Christian, or other antecedents that a historicalcritical exegesis of Q 10:90–92 would need to take into consideration. The first part of this chapter will argue that the Qur’anic passage is likely to respond to an earlier rabbinic tradition, while the second part examines the function of the Qur’anic account of Pharaoh’s submission in the literary context of sura 10. I conclude with some general comments on the study of Qur’anic intertextuality.

I. Pharaoh’s repentance in Q 10:90–92 and in the rabbinic tradition Two blind alleys At the beginning of our search for possible antecedents to Q 10:90–92 we must briefly peek into two blind alleys. First, Pharaoh’s drowning is referred to in a

Pharaoh’s submission to God 237 verse ascribed to Muhammad’s contemporary Umayyah b. Abī al-Ṣalt, who allegedly composed a sizeable body of Arabic poetry dealing with creation, eschatology, and various episodes from biblical history: And he [Pharaoh] called to God, yet his call was not granted / after his transgressions (ṭughyān); so he became a pointer (fa-ṣāra mushīrā).10 Prima facie, it is possible that this verse could indeed have originated with Umayyah b. Abī al-Ṣalt. In a significant number of cases, however, biblically inspired verses transmitted under Umayyah’s name appear to be nothing more than secondary paraphrases of Qur’anic passages sprinkled with narrative amplifications derived from Islamic exegesis (tafsīr). Hence, caution dictates that in trying to distinguish between authentic and pseudepigraphic material we adhere to the following rule of thumb: only passages that do not conspicuously overlap with Qur’anic phraseology and that exhibit significant divergences from any Qur’anic parallels can safely be attributed to Umayyah.11 Applying this criterion of authenticity, it may be observed that the verse cited here does not go beyond a poetic restatement of Q 10:90–92; note especially the neat correspondence between the Qur’anic description of Pharaoh as a “sign” (āyah) in Q 10:92 and pseudo-Umayyah’s synonymous expression “pointer” (mushīr), as well as between the Qur’anic verbs “to rebel” (ʿaṣā) and “to cause corruption” (afsada), as used in Q 10:91, and pseudo-Umayyah’s reference to “transgressions” (ṭughyān). Pseudo-Umayyah’s choice specifically of this latter expression may simply be an echo of other Qur’anic verses that stereotypically apply the verb ṭaghā to Pharaoh (Q 20:24, 20:43, 79:17, 89:11). As a result, there is little prospect of producing an argument to the effect that the poetic verse could be independent of its Qur’anic parallel rather than a later paraphrase. To all intents and purposes, then, the verse ascribed to Umayyah is unusable for an intertextual study of the Qur’an.12 Christian sources would appear to constitute a second blind alley. It is not impossible, of course, that further research may succeed in identifying a Christian parallel to Q 10:90–92 that has a reasonable claim to being pre-Qur’anic.13 Nonetheless, my (admittedly provisional) attempts to find relevant Christian material have been unsuccessful. For example, a homily ascribed to Jacob of Serugh has Pharaoh drown without any prior expression of remorse, thus displaying no familiarity with a tradition along the lines of Q 10:90–92.14 It is furthermore instructive to check Andrew of Crete’s seventh-century Great Canon, the “best known and perhaps most profound liturgical expression of penthos [repentance, or sorrow about one’s sins] in the Byzantine tradition.”15 The justification for looking in this place consists in the fact that a rabbinic parallel to Q 10:90–92, to be studied later, prominently links Pharaoh’s lastminute recognition of God’s power to the theme of repentance. As it turns out, the Great Canon contains no reference to a repentant Pharaoh. This is all the more remarkable since Andrew’s Odes Seven and Eight do present various other

238  Nicolai Sinai examplars of successful repentance, such as David (cf. 1 Chronicles 21:1–22:1), the people of Niniveh, the publican Zacchaeus (Luke 19:1–10), the harlot from Luke 7:37–8, and the Canaanite woman from Matthew 15:22.16 Two Syriac homilies on repentance attributed to Ephrem equally make no mention of Pharaoh’s contrition.17 Hence, while “Biblical characters and episodes that are paradigms of repentance and divine forgiveness are fundamental to the genre of penitential prayers,”18 the drowning Pharaoh did not, as far as I have been able to discern, form part of the standard Christian repertoire of such paradigms in pre-Qur’anic times.19 The drowning of Pharaoh according to Pirqe de-Rabbi Eliʿezer Let us now turn to a more promising rabbinic parallel to Q 10:90–92. It was brought to light as early as 1833 by Abraham Geiger, and a century later was incorporated into Heinrich Speyer’s still authoritative survey of Jewish and Christian echoes in Qur’anic narrative, Die biblischen Erzählungen im Qoran.20 The parallel occurs in chapter 43 of Pirqe de-Rabbi Eliʿezer, the “Chapters of Rabbi Eliezer” (henceforth: PRE), a Hebrew text pseudepigraphically ascribed to the famous tannaitic scholar Eliezer ben Hyrkanos (fl. around 100 CE) and combining characteristics of the genre of “rewritten Bible” with those of midrash proper. While the work offers expansive retellings of biblical events from the Creation to the Israelites’ wanderings in the desert, it also exhibits a high density of explicit scriptural prooftexts and interpretations thereof.21 Chapter 43, aptly described as a “homily on repentance” (teshuvah),22 opens with a quotation from Mishnah Avot 4:11 (4:10 in Codex Kaufmann): “repentance and good works are crowns in the face of punishment.” This is followed by a statement attributed to Rabbi Aqibah asserting God’s preparedness to receive the penitent. In contrast with the universal scope of this opening, the end of the chapter focuses on the importance of repentance for the salvation of Israel. Sandwiched between this introduction and conclusion are five sections interweaving narrative and scriptural prooftexts and cited on the authority of mostly tannaitic scholars.23 Each of these sections is devoted to a particular figure whose life illustrates the “power of repentance”: the kings Ahab (who was guilty of “robbing, coveting, and murder”), David (guilty of holding a census), and Manasseh (guilty of sacrificing his own son to Baal),24 as well as Rabbi Simeon ben Laqish (guilty of waylaying)25 and finally Pharaoh. It seems likely that the entire chapter owes its position to the figure of Pharaoh, who briefly appears already in the previous chapter (PRE 42) dealing with the Exodus.26 The passage on Pharaoh in PRE 43 runs as follows:27 Rabbi Nechuniah ben ha-Qanah said: Know the power of repentance (teshuvah)! Come and see from Pharaoh, king of Egypt, who frequently rebelled against the Highest Rock, as it is said, “[But Pharaoh said:] Who is the Lord, that I should heed His voice?” [Exodus 5:2]

Pharaoh’s submission to God 239 In the same terms of speech in which he sinned he repented,28 as it is said, “Who is like You, O Lord, among the gods?” [Exodus 15:11]29 And the Holy One, blessed be He, delivered him from amongst the dead. Whence [do we know] that he did not die [in the Sea of Reeds]? Because it is said, “For by now I could have put forth My hand and struck you.” [Exodus 9:15]30 And the Holy One, blessed be He, raised him up from amongst the dead so that he might declare His power and might. Whence [do we know] that He raised him up? Because it is said, “but for this purpose have I raised you up [so that you may show My power and in order that My name be declared throughout all the earth].” [Exodus 9:16]31 And he went and ruled in Nineveh. [. . .] The remainder of the section then reports how Pharaoh ordered the people of Nineveh to hold a fast of repentance so as to avert the punishment announced by Jonah. Apart from considering this passage to be the source of Q 10:90–92, Geiger and Speyer were also inclined to interpret the Qur’anic verses as simply duplicating the rabbinic text: that is, they took the Qur’an to assert that as a result of his submission to God Pharaoh was saved from his imminent death. Geiger’s translation of Q 10:91–92 subtly bends the text in this direction: “Du warst vordem widerspenstig und von den Verderbenstiftenden, nun aber wollen wir dich retten mit deinem Leibe” (“You were a rebel and caused corruption before, but now We shall deliver you with your body”), thus omitting the initial question “Now (āl-āna)?” Geiger’s and Speyer’s understanding of the passage, which is exclusively based on a perceived parallel from outside the Qur’anic corpus, failed to convince Rudi Paret. According to Paret, an examination of the passage in the light of other Qur’anic verses yields the conclusion that in the Qur’an Pharaoh is by no means let off the hook.32 Paret’s criticism of Geiger’s and Speyer’s interpretation of the passage rests on two important insights compressed into a brief note on Q 10:91. First, he recognizes that God’s rhetorical question “Now?” at the beginning of v. 91 (“Now (āl-āna)? And you committed rebellion before and were one of those causing corruption!”) parallels an earlier verse from the same sura, namely, v. 51, where Muhammad’s opponents are similarly addressed: “Is it only then, when it [namely, God’s punishment] has come about, that you will believe in it? [In that situation, God will say to them:] ‘Now (āl-āna) you believe, after you have been seeking to hasten it?’ ” (a-thumma idhā mā waqaʿa āmantum bihi āl-āna wa-qad kuntum bihi tastaʿjilūn). This makes is highly likely that v. 91, too, expresses the view that Pharaoh’s profession of faith in extremis was insufficient to protect him from punishment.33 Secondly, Paret cites a number of other Qur’anic verses that explicitly assert that to become a believer only when confronted with God’s punishment is simply too little, too late.34 For example, Q 40:84–85 (according

240  Nicolai Sinai to Nöldeke, late Meccan like Q 10) makes the following statement about the unbelievers: Then, when they saw Our might, they said, “We believe in God alone, and we disbelieve in what we used to associate with Him.” 85 But their belief when they saw Our might did not profit them – as was God’s custom with His servants in the past. And thus the unbelievers are lost. 84

Similar assertions are found in Q 32:29 (“Say: ‘On the day of victory the unbelievers shall not profit from their faith, nor shall they be given respite”), Q 4:18 (“There is no relenting for those who do evil deeds until, when one of them is visited by death, he says, ‘Now I repent,’ and not for those who die as unbelievers; for them We have prepared a painful chastisement”), and Q 6:158. Hence, consideration of inner-Qur’anic parallels corroborates Paret’s claim that the Qur’an implies rather unequivocally that Pharaoh was punished in spite of his belated recognition of God and that it was only his lifeless body that was rescued.35 The Qur’anic statement that Pharaoh would become a “sign” for posterity (Q 10:92) accordingly means that he is to function as a deterrent example.36 One may add that it is probably due to the presumed invalidity of Pharaoh’s expression of faith in the face of imminent death that the Qur’an, contrary to PRE, does not explicitly describe him as having “repented” (tāba); in the Qur’an, his utterance at best forms an act of pseudo-repentance, followed by an act of pseudo-redemption. This understanding is decisively supported by the fact that one of the inner-Qur’anic parallels just quoted, the later (Medinan) verse Q 4:18, explicitly comments on those who continue “committing evil deeds” until their death and then say, “Now I repent” (innī tubtu l-āna). According to Q 4:18, there will be no divine turningin-forgiveness (tawbah) towards them, the reason for which must be that a profession of repentance that has been delayed until the very last moment is not deemed to constitute a proper act of repentance.37 So far, Paret certainly gets it right. Nonetheless, this does not entail that the intertext adduced by Geiger and Speyer is irrelevant: the fact that PRE states that Pharaoh’s repentance led to his rescue whereas the Qur’an has him drown is not sufficient to show that there is no justification for linking the Qur’anic passage to the Jewish narrative. To reason thus would be to presuppose that the Qur’an must have either faithfully replicated PRE’s account or else must have been completely unfamiliar with it. But it is surely possible, pace Geiger and Paret, that the Qur’an might be in conversation with a pre-existing tradition yet deliberately recast it rather than merely replicate it. It is such an intermediate interpretation that will be developed in the remainder of this contribution. Still, further complications loom ahead. Dating issues and additional rabbinic material There is an additional problem with PRE’s portrayal of Pharaoh’s repentance that is not addressed by Paret but would seem to support his marked lack of interest in Geiger’s discovery. As recognized already by Leopold Zunz, the final editing of PRE

Pharaoh’s submission to God 241 cannot have taken place before the eighth century.38 This is supported above all by various allusions to Islam.39 It has furthermore been argued that the astronomical chapters, PRE 6–8, when measured against what we know about the history of medieval astronomy, are unlikely to predate the ninth century.40 Such a late dating evidently undermines the claim that PRE’s account of Pharaoh’s survival is to be regarded as the immediate source of Q 10:90–92, and the possibility that the latter may instead be the source of the former accordingly needs to be taken very seriously.41 Even Ute Bohmeier, however, who has recently argued for a dating of PRE as late as the tenth century, does not deny that the text’s anonymous author “selected from the wealth of existing interpretations those that suited his philologically motivated exegetical method.”42 Thus, it is by no means obvious that we must not conceive of PRE’s author as having made extensive use of existing materials and arranged them to form a new literary unity, resulting in a work that “contains materials transmitted over a long period of time as well as ideas and knowledge stemming from the time of its composition and later expansions.”43 Indeed, that the author of PRE generally drew on and transformed pre-existent traditions is easily verifiable by a comparison with earlier rabbinic works, as Jeffrey Rubenstein has undertaken for the description of the third day of Creation in PRE 5.44 Let us examine, then, whether the hypothesis that PRE 43 preserves an earlier tradition about Pharaoh’s last-minute repentance in the Sea of Reeds is corroborated by other rabbinic material that is indubitably pre-Qur’anic. Inconveniently, though, the full-blown story of Pharaoh’s repentance is difficult to trace in Jewish sources prior to PRE.45 Early Jewish writings such as 3 Maccabees and 4 Ezra, as well as the Coptic Apocryphon of Jeremiah, not unreasonably assume that Pharaoh drowned together with his troops.46 A novel take on the issue is, however, discernible in the Mekhilta de-Rabbi Shimʿon bar Yoḥai (henceforth: MekhSh), a rabbinic commentary on Exodus that Stemberger dates to the fifth century CE or earlier.47 There, Exodus 14:28 (“The waters returned and covered the chariots and the horsemen and all the host of Pharaoh that had followed them into the sea; not so much as one of them remained”) gives rise to two conflicting views about the fate of Pharaoh.48 Whereas Rabbi Judah is said to have deduced from Psalm 136:15 (“who hurled Pharaoh and his army into the Sea of Reeds”) that Pharaoh drowned, Rabbi Nehemiah reportedly argued for his survival by adducing Exodus 9:16 (“but for this purpose have I raised you up”) – the same verse also quoted in the Pharaoh passage from PRE 43 cited earlier. Transferred from its immediate narrative context (God’s address to Pharaoh after the Plague of Boils) to the situation described in Exodus 14:26–29, Exodus 9:16 is taken to imply that Pharaoh was “raised up” from the sea. It is true that only part of MekhSh is attested in manuscript, the remainder of the work being culled from medieval references. However, the disagreement between Rabbi Judah and Rabbi Nehemiah just presented is also reported in the Mekhilta de-Rabbi Yishmaʿel (henceforth: MekhYish), which Stemberger dates even earlier than MekhSh.49 In this version, Rabbi Judah cites not Psalm 136:15, but Exodus 15:4, while Rabbi Nehemiah’s prooftext (Exodus 9:16) is the same as in MekhSh. There are, of course, significant differences between Rabbi Nehemiah’s statement as reported in MekhSh and MekhYish, on the one hand, and Q 10:90–92, on

242  Nicolai Sinai the other: Rabbi Nehemiah does not mention any conversion by Pharaoh, and the claim that Pharaoh did not drown is precisely contrary to the Qur’anic suggestion that he did. What MekhSh and MekhYish do demonstrate, however, is that already in the pre-Qur’anic rabbinic tradition the lack of any clear hint in Exodus 14 and 15 as to whether Pharaoh himself died in the Sea of Reeds provoked an exegetical discussion about his fate. As the passages from MekhSh and MekhYish show, the position that Pharaoh did not drown could be seen to follow from the wording of an earlier verse, Exodus 9:16, which is also employed as a prooftext for Pharaoh’s survival in PRE 43. The view that Pharaoh might have survived the events at the Sea of Reeds is therefore attested in rabbinic sources that are plausibly regarded as pre-Islamic, thus providing at least a partial pre-Qur’anic precedent for PRE 43. Of course, the material reviewed so far contains no trace of the idea, so prominent in PRE, that Pharaoh’s survival was due to an act of repentance. Crucially, though, there is at least an isolated piece of pre-Qur’anic evidence that does seem to document the notion of a fundamental turnaround in Pharaoh’s religious outlook. It consists in a Jewish liturgical poem in Palestinian Aramaic, likely to be pre-Qur’anic, which in the context of a retelling of the Exodus mentions that “a divine voice from heaven (bat kol) called out,” whereupon “the wicked one acknowledged (ʾ-w-d-y) his Lord.”50 That the “wicked one” here refers to Pharaoh seems probable, although the passage is not only concise but also fragmentary; we do not learn, for instance, what the divine voice says or what Pharaoh’s actual words were. Nor does the poem state that Pharaoh was subsequently saved from drowning; as a matter of fact, such an outcome seems difficult to reconcile with the text’s generally triumphalist tone.51 Still, the poem would appear to document that the idea of Pharaoh’s ultimate submission to God’s supreme power predates the Qur’an. This lends support to the hypothesis that Pharaoh’s survival (or his having been “raised up”), as envisaged in MekhYish and MekhSh, could have come to be viewed as the outcome of a last-minute act of conversion already in pre-Qur’anic Judaism. After all, if Rabbi Nehemiah’s argument to the effect that Pharaoh did not drown in the sea or was subsequently “raised up” is accepted, then this would quite naturally have invited the question on what account Pharaoh could possibly have deserved to be spared in spite of all his misdeeds. Equally naturally, the notion may have presented itself that he must have merited his survival by a fundamental change of attitude, by having come to recognize God’s power along the lines briefly invoked in the Aramaic poem just referenced. A powerful impetus for such a hypothetical development would have derived from the rabbinic notion of the “power of repentance,” as an illustration of which the story of Pharaoh is adduced in PRE 43.52 The topos is well attested already in pre-Qur’anic times. For example, according to the Tosephta (which is likely to have reached closure by the early fourth century),53 Rabbi Simeon argued, on the basis of Ezekiel 33:12–14, that “if a man was wholly wicked all his days, and repented in the end, the Omnipresent receives him, for it is stated ‘And as for the wickedness of the wicked, he shall not stumble thereby.’ ”54 Amoraic dicta transmitted in Genesis Rabba, a commentary on Genesis commonly dated to the fifth century,55 describe repentance as one of the things that were created before the world (ad Genesis 1:1)56 and as possessing so great a power that even Cain was forgiven

Pharaoh’s submission to God 243 because of it (ad Genesis 4:16).57 In line with the drift of such statements, it is unsurprising that the quintessential biblical villain Pharaoh, too, was eventually drawn into the rabbinic discourse on the power of repentance, especially since this provided an adequate explanation for the exegetically based view that Pharaoh was “raised up” from the sea. Consequently, there is no need to invoke Q 10:90– 92 as having triggered the link between Pharaoh and the topos of repentance.58 A pre-Qur’anic narrative of Pharaoh’s repentance? To facilitate discussion of the hypothesis just developed, it may be useful to re­present it graphically: Rabbi Nehemiah according to MekhSh and MekhYish: Pharaoh survived (prooext: Exodus 9:16).

Rabbinic discourse on repentance

P*: Pharaoh survived because of an act of repentance in extremis (possible prooext: Exodus 9:16).

Q 10:90–92: Pharaoh submied to God but drowned nevertheless. PRE 43: Pharaoh repented, survived – or rather, was “raised up from the dead” – (prooext: Exodus 9:15–16) and then became ruler of Nineveh.

Model A Note that underlined items are shared between proximate stages of development; the dashed box (P*) represents a hypothetically postulated stage of narrative development.

244  Nicolai Sinai What I am proposing, then, is that the view that Pharaoh survived the Exodus, a view that originally arose from a close reading of the text of Exodus as documented by MekhYish and MekhSh, subsequently coalesced with the general theme of the power of repentance, thus generating the notion that Pharaoh survived because he repented. As pointed out earlier, the nexus of these two strands would be perfectly intelligible as an organic inner-rabbinic development. It therefore seems justifiable to posit a hypothetical stage of narrative development P* that would have functioned as a common source for both Q 10:90–92 and PRE 43. P* does not need to have been a written text, and it may well have consisted in a cluster of relevantly similar traditions. As we saw earlier, at least one of the narrative elements that would have constituted this hypothetical stage P* is attested by an Aramaic poem according to which Pharaoh “acknowledged his Lord.” Nevertheless, we can say precious little about the precise shape and wording of P* apart from the bland outline contained in my graph.59 Given that the prooftext Exodus 9:15–16 resurfaces in PRE 43, it is not improbable that it could have been part of P*, although it is equally possible that PRE 43 may derive the prooftext directly from earlier rabbinic sources such as MekhYish and MekhSh (hence the dashed arrow connecting the latter two works to PRE). In any case, at some point a variant of P* would have started to circulate outside the rabbinic circles in which it had originally emerged, probably in the shape of an orally transmitted narrative that had shed any scriptural prooftexting. It is in this shape that P* would most likely have reached the Qur’anic milieu. By contrast, reluctance to posit no such hypothetical stage P* would yield a model along the following lines: 3 Maccabees, 4 Ezra etc. (and Rabbi Judah according to MekhSh): Pharaoh drowned together with his troops.

Rabbi Nehemiah according to MekhSh and MekhSh and MekhYish: Pharaoh survived (prooext: Exodus 9:16).

Rabbinic discourse on the power of repentance

Q 10:90–92: Pharaoh submied to God but drowned nevertheless. PRE 43: Pharaoh repented, survived – or rather, was “raised up from the dead” – (prooext: Exodus 9:15–16) and then became ruler of Nineveh.

Model B Again, underlined items represent overlaps between proximate stages of development.

Pharaoh’s submission to God 245 The core feature of Model B is the assumption that PRE 43 is in fact dependent on Q 10:90–92. (The possibility that the accounts of Pharaoh’s repentance, or near-repentance, in Q 10:90–92 and PRE 43 might be genetically independent of each other may be safely dismissed as straining historical probability; therefore, if we choose not to assume a common source for both accounts, as per Model A, we will need to posit an arrow running from the Qur’an to PRE.) Of course, any attempt to explain PRE 43 exclusively in terms of Q 10:90–92 would beg the question why PRE 43 should employ a prooftext that is present in MekhSh and MekhYish but absent from the Qur’anic version. By virtue of the shared prooftext Exodus 9:15–16, then, it seems clear that PRE 43 must also be descended from the argument for Pharaoh’s survival that is sketched in MekhSh and MekhYish. In addition, the rabbinic author of PRE’s “homily on repentance” will invariably have been aware of the earlier rabbinic reflections on repentance that were briefly mentioned earlier – hence, the vertical arrow on the right-hand side. With regard to Q 10:90–92, a proponent of Model B would probably tend to explain it as ultimately originating from the commonsensical assumption expressed in various early Jewish writings (3 Maccabees, 4 Ezra, etc.) that Pharaoh drowned together with his troops (see earlier). Finally, the fact that Q 10:90–92 prefaces Pharaoh’s drowning with a prior act of repentance could perhaps be explained as a reverberation of the rabbinic discourse on the power of repentance, as evinced by Genesis Rabba and other early sources, as well as Christian discourse about the same concept. While Model B is certainly not an impossible scenario, Model A seems circumstantially preferable. (It bears emphasizing that this view should not be taken as advocating a return to the older paradigm according to which any story overlapping with the Qur’an found in premodern Jewish sources must necessarily constitute a “source” of the Qur’an.) Not only does Model A possess a higher degree of explanatory simplicity. It also seems intrinsically more probable that the crucial step by means of which the figure of Pharaoh was linked to the theme of repentance would have occurred, not in the Qur’anic milieu (as per Model B), but among Jews familiar with earlier rabbinic reflections about the power of repentance (as per Model A). Model A has the disadvantage of lacking full attestation for the hypothetical common source P*, but it has the decisive advantage of embedding the Qur’anic narrative about Pharaoh’s last-minute submission to God in a highly plausible intellectual trajectory. Model A also fits in with some key characteristics of the Qur’anic milieu that can be derived from other cases of intertextual comparison.60 In pre-Qur’anic Arabia, Jewish and Christian narrative traditions seem to have become dissociated from their exegetical anchorings and undergone a prolonged process of oral retelling and diffusion among persons more interested in their narrative value than in employing them for the purposes of interpreting Scripture or systematically formulating theological truths. The story of Pharaoh’s repentance at sea and his consequent deliverance, denuded of the scriptural prooftext Exodus 9:15–16, could very well have formed part of this body of biblically inspired yet exegetically unharnessed lore. The Qur’anic proclamations, in particular those datable to Muhammad’s Meccan period, seem to be engaged in a sustained attempt at

246  Nicolai Sinai harnessing this disparate body of material to their own theological agenda. This could involve a modification of existing storylines. For example, in the early sura 91 the figure of a divinely authorized messenger is inserted into a pre-Qur’anic narrative about the destruction of the Thamūd, thus imposing on it the characteristic plot structure of Qur’anic punishment legends in general.61 Q 10:90–92 is plausibly seen as constituting a similar attempt at appropriating a pre-Qur’anic narrative about Pharaoh’s repentance by modifying its happy ending: the passage repudiates what would have been, from a Qur’anic perspective, the undue emphasis on God’s mercy and the almost unconditional efficacy of repentance encapsulated in narratives derived from P*. Against God’s mercy, Q 10:90–92 upholds God’s justice.62 Whereas Rabbi Nehemiah allegedly held that Pharaoh was spared so that he might “show” God’s “power” (ba-ʿăbûr harʾōtĕkā ʾet kōḥî), the Qur’anic passage asserts that it is precisely the fact that Pharaoh drowned, rather than his survival, which demonstrates God’s power: “today We shall [only] deliver you corporeally, so that you may be a sign (āyah) to those after you” (10:92).63 It must be emphasized that none of this entails that Q 10:90–92 must necessarily be understood as taking a swipe at rabbinic Judaism in particular. It is, of course, true that the Medinan stratum of the Qur’an contains extensive polemics against Judaism. Nevertheless, the Qur’an nowhere presents the opinion that Pharaoh was delivered because he repented as a distinctively Jewish doctrine. If the narrative of Pharaoh’s repentance had been specifically associated with Judaism, one might have expected the issue to resurface in the heated debates with what must have been real Jewish interlocutors that take up so much space in the Medinan texts, such as sura 2. But the Qur’an never revisits the episode. With regard to sura 10 itself, neither the drowning passage nor the rest of the sura give any hint that the Pharaoh passage is to be viewed as engaging with rabbinic Judaism.64 The point of Q 10:90–92, then, seems to be primarily to take issue with a story that gave rise, from the Qur’anic perspective, to objectionable theological implications. Alternatively, the omission of any reference to the episode’s rabbinic background could be a case of deliberate silence.

II. Pharaoh’s submission to God in the context of sura 10 So far we have examined the – partially, and perhaps inevitably, hypothetical – prehistory of the Qur’anic account of Pharaoh’s last-ditch conversion to monotheism. The remainder of this chapter will attempt to throw some light on why the Qur’an reshaped this material in the way it did and how the Pharaoh scene is integrated into the literary structure and theological message of sura 10. To begin with, the fact that the Qur’an did not adopt the view that Pharaoh survived – if we assume, in accordance with Model A earlier, that view to have been known, in whatever shape, in the Qur’anic milieu – can be explained rather easily. The story of Pharaoh belongs to the Qur’anic genre of punishment legends, which generally conform to the following pattern: a divinely commissioned messenger is sent to his compatriots in order to warn them to mend their ways and

Pharaoh’s submission to God 247 to recognize God’s sovereignty and grace; his audience refuses to heed his call and mocks or threatens him; as a consequence, they are annihilated in an act of divine punishment, while the steadfast messenger is saved.65 This general pattern, well established by the time at which sura 10 was promulgated, provides the dramaturgic backbone for most of the Qur’anic narratives about Noah, Abraham, Moses, and other messengers. If Pharaoh, the arch-villain of the Moses story, were allowed to escape unharmed by virtue of his last-minute submission to the one God, this would seriously disrupt a pattern of sacred history, the almost cyclical repetition of which is driven home in numerous Qur’anic proclamations.66 As a matter of fact, that Pharaoh met his death is explicitly stated in a Middle Meccan version of the story of Moses, namely, in Q 17:103 (“He desired to scare them from the land; but We drowned him and those who were with him, all together”).67 Hence, the story of how the drowning Pharaoh espoused monotheism, if it was to be incorporated into the Qur’anic corpus at all, would have needed to be brought in line with these earlier statements. This, of course, does not yet explain why the Qur’an incorporated the narrative of Pharaoh’s repentance at all, rather than simply ignoring it. This question cannot, as a matter of principle, be answered by adducing pre-Qur’anic material, but rather requires us to gauge what function the scene is given within its new Qur’anic context. In what follows, I therefore propose to take a closer look at how the passage on Pharaoh’s submission to God is integrated into sura 10 at large. Like other Middle and Late Meccan suras, the text exhibits a tripartite structure at the center of which lies a narrative middle part occupying vv. 71–93.68 The long first part of the sura – which ends in v. 70 – is largely devoted to polemics that revolve around the Last Judgement (vv. 1–36) and the sincerity and authority of the Qur’anic messenger (v. 37–70). It is followed by the narrative middle part just mentioned, which consists of the stories of Noah and the Flood and of Moses and the Exodus.69 The third and final part (vv. 94–109) offers, inter alia, comments on the preceding narratives. While an exhaustive reading of the entire sura is beyond the scope of this chapter, it is important to highlight briefly how in the scene of Pharaoh’s drowning various thematic strands of the sura as a whole come together. One such thematic strand is of an anthropological nature. Already fairly early in the text, in v. 12, a general pattern in man’s relationship with God is described: when man finds himself in affliction, he calls to God, only to revert to his former ways once his troubles have cleared. This kind of recidivist behavior is further illustrated in vv. 22–23, which specifically deal with distress at sea: when a “stormy wind” comes upon seafarers, “they call upon God, sincerely devoting their religion to him (mukhliṣīna lahu l-dīna): ‘If you save us (la-in anjaytanā) from this, we shall be grateful!’ ” Yet when God “saves them” (anjāhum), they relapse into immorality and godlessness. Pharaoh’s drowning, to be recounted later in the sura, instantiates precisely the same sort of behavior: threatened by mortal danger – in both cases represented by maritime distress – man temporarily adopts monotheism. (In v. 22 this monotheist conversion is represented by the summary phrase mukhliṣīna lahu l-dīna, whereas in v. 90 it is represented

248  Nicolai Sinai by Pharaoh’s explicit acknowledgement that there is only one God.) The correspondence between v. 22 and the Pharaoh scene is further emphasized by the employment of derivatives of the same root: in v. 22, people ask to be “saved,” anjā, while Pharaoh is told that God will only “save” (najjā) his body. The general pattern of human behavior outlined in vv. 22–23 therefore warrants the prognosis that Pharaoh, too, would invariably have slid back into his previous unbelief; the sura’s recipient is therefore well prepared to understand why God refuses to accept Pharaoh’s belated conversion. Although Pharaoh is, of course, chronologically prior to the Qur’anic audience figuring in vv. 22–23, by the time we get to Pharaoh we are bound to feel that God’s patience has finally run out. A second thematic strand culminating in the drowning scene concerns the nature of faith or belief. Sura 10 displays a strikingly high number of occurrences of the verb āmana, “to believe,” of the participle muʾmin, and of the verbal noun īmān, “belief” (almost 30 instances altogether, although some of these are due to the set phrase alladhīna āmanu, “the believers,” which frequently appears in many other Qur’anic suras as well). The issue of belief is clearly at the center of the text’s attention. More specifically, the sura picks up and further explores one particular aspect of this issue that has been broached in earlier Qur’anic recitations. Already sura 26, which Nöldeke and Schwally date to the Middle Meccan period, predicts that Muḥammad’s opponents “will not believe in it until they see the painful punishment” (lā yuʾminūna bihi ḥattā yarawu l-ʿadhāba l-alīm). Hence, according to Q 26, even the most incorrigible unbelievers will at some point believe, namely, when they are finally confronted with the reality of the punishment of which they have been warned. This formula of “only believing when one sees” recurs in a number of Late Meccan passages, for example, in Q 40:84–85 (already quoted earlier): But when they saw Our might, they said: “We believe in God alone and disbelieve in that which we used to associate with Him.” 85 But the fact that they [only] believed upon actually seeing Our might did not profit them (fa-lam yaku yanfaʿuhum īmānuhum lammā raʾaw baʾsanā) . . . 84

Hence, to believe only when confronted with God’s punishment is not good enough. Another Late Meccan passage, Q 32:27–29, first calls upon the unbelievers “to see that We conduct the water onto the barren land, bringing forth thereby vegetation from which their cattle and they themselves eat. Do they not observe?” Similar to Q 40:85, the text then goes on to say that “on the day of decision, their belief will not profit the unbelievers” (Q 32:29). Thus, valid belief is supposed to arise, not as the result of being confronted with the reality of God’s punishment when it finally irrupts into the world, but as the result of observing God’s merciful maintenance of nature. Against this background it is surely relevant that the phrase “they do not believe until they see the painful punishment” also appears in sura 10.70 A variation on it first occurs in v. 54, where it is said that those who have done wrong “will secretly feel regret when they see the punishment” (asarru l-nadāmata lammā

Pharaoh’s submission to God 249 raʾawu l-ʿadhāb). Further below and immediately before the passage recounting Pharaoh’s drowning, Moses asks God to “harden the hearts” of Pharaoh and his dignitaries “so that they will not believe until they see the painful punishment” (v. 88). The result is that Pharaoh’s dying moments are presented as fulfilling an antecedent prayer of Moses.71 This is reiterated in more general terms a few verses later, in the sura’s conclusion (vv. 96–97): “Those against whom the word of your Lord has been fulfilled will not believe, / even if all kinds of signs come to them, until they see the painful punishment.” And finally, one must note the fact, already pointed out earlier, that God’s response to Pharaoh in v. 91 significantly overlaps with v. 51: “Is it only then, when it [namely, God’s punishment] has come about, that you will believe in it? [In that situation, God will say to them:] ‘Now (āl-āna) you believe, after you have been seeking to hasten it?’ ” Again, as with respect to the situation of distress at sea depicted in v. 22, the drowning scene emerges as being in close communication with preceding sections of the text. If we accept the hypothesis developed in the first part of this contribution, then what appears to be happening in Q 10 is that Pharaoh’s recognition of God is, against the background of earlier Qur’anic polemics, classed as a case of “only believing when one sees.” The Qur’an employs the idea of Pharaoh’s conversion in extremis not as proof of the “power of repentance,” as PRE 43 does, but rather as a means of fleshing out earlier Qur’anic statements to the effect that even the most incorrigible unbelievers will ultimately come to believe, but that believing merely at the moment when God’s punishment begins to materialize will not be sufficient. Consequently, the fact that Pharaoh drowned in spite of his ultimate recognition of God’s power comes to function as a narrative visualization of the established Qur’anic view that belief only counts if one has made a commitment to God before witnessing His punishment unfold.72 This new inner-Qur’anic significance of the drowning scene is emphasized by the scene being framed by explicit reprises of earlier Qur’anic statements about the insufficiency of belated belief. As we have seen, these reverberations are contained in v. 88 and vv. 96–98, which in turn hark back to v. 51. As observed earlier, though, Q 10:92 does not simply deny that Pharaoh was saved: the statement “We shall [only] deliver you corporeally” (nunajjīka bibadanika) concedes that a limited act of deliverance did take place, although one that fell decidedly short of genuine salvation. To put it with ʿAlī al-Qārī al-Harawī (d. 1014 AH), it is a case of khalāṣ ṣūrī, “formal deliverance,” or, as Ormsby paraphrases the term, “a mock deliverance, a sort of bitter parody of genuine redemption.”73 This contrast is reinforced by the Qur’an’s diction here. As Speyer remarks, najjā is “the typical expression for salvation in the Qur’anic legends of punishments.”74 The employment of this verb therefore highlights the contrast between God’s deliverance of the Israelites and of Noah, as referred to elsewhere in the sura, and His refusal to grant genuine deliverance to Pharaoh.75 Q 10:92, then, does more than timidly amending P* in the sense that it was not really Pharaoh but merely his lifeless body that had been rescued: God’s announcement “We shall deliver you – corporeally” constitutes a case of sardonic humor that would have been quite effective even to hearers who were unfamiliar with P*.

250  Nicolai Sinai There is a final observation that I would like to make. Immediately after the prediction that “those against whom the word of your Lord has been fulfilled” will not believe “until they see the painful punishment” (Q 10:96–97), an interesting counterexample is added (Q 10:98): “Why, then, was there no town that believed and derived profit from its belief except the people of Jonah? When they believed We removed the punishment of disgrace from them in the present life and gave them enjoyment for a while.” Presumably, the point conveyed by mentioning the “people of Jonah” is that their belief came in good time, that is, before they were actually confronted with the reality of God’s judgment. Arrestingly, the passage from PRE 43 examined earlier also connects Pharaoh’s repentance to that of the people of Nineveh (who figure as a stock example of efficacious repentance in the Christian tradition, too). This could be viewed as a faint indication that P* included some sort of link between Pharaoh and the Ninevites. Yet while PRE 43 considers both cases of repentance to be equally valid and, by consequence, effective, the Qur’an, because of its crucial distinction between belief before and after “seeing the punishment,” assigns them to different categories.

III. Concluding remarks A thorough stocktaking of the ways in which specific Qur’anic verses intersect with earlier Jewish, Christian, and other traditions undoubtedly constitutes an indispensable preparatory step for a genuinely historical reading of the Qur’an. This is the exercise in which the first part of this chapter has been engaged by hopefully shedding some light on the antecedents of Q 10:90–92. Ultimately, however, the proper object of Qur’anic exegesis is not to draw up a register of intertextual parallels, but to understand the structure, theological agenda, and, if applicable, redactional growth of individual suras, as well as the way in which certain concepts, ideas, narratives, and norms evolve – or, if one suspends judgment as to the feasibility of diachronic studies: differ – across the Qur’anic corpus. It is to this enterprise that the second part of the chapter has attempted to make a contribution. Throughout this study, we have encountered different perspectives from which to read the Qur’an. Scholars such as Geiger and Speyer, who are primarily on the hunt for earlier parallels to the Qur’an, often tend to adopt an attitude focused on the discovery of maximum overlap, a stance that may be described as “identificatory reading.” A textbook example of how such an approach, while heuristically valuable at the stage of combing through tomes of Jewish and Christian literature, can go wrong is provided by Geiger’s and Speyer’s supposition that Q 10:90–92 must be interpreted as echoing its presumed source PRE 43, an assumption rightly challenged by Paret on the basis of a meticulous examination of inner-Qur’anic parallels. The obvious corrective against such instances of exegetical non sequitur would seem to consist in adopting a self-consciously “differential” attitude – a habit of reading closely attuned to the numerous ways in which the Qur’an might adapt, transform, or reject (and thus differ from) earlier traditions. It must be underscored, though, that such a nuanced exploration of intertextual difference

Pharaoh’s submission to God 251 is a luxury that has become possible only on the basis of the extensive trawling of sources undertaken by the likes of Geiger and Speyer. The second part of this study has employed additional readerly stances. To look for the way in which a particular section fits into a Qur’anic sura at large, either structurally or by virtue of picking up characteristic diction of earlier verses, may be described as “holistic reading”; and to register the ways in which different Qur’anic texts modulate a given concept or narrative amounts to a sort of intra-Qur’anic version of differential reading. Qur’anic scholarship is still in the process of learning how to dose these different readerly stances properly and how to negotiate their competing claims. Western students of the Qur’an often perceive themselves as divided into camps defined by incompatible historical assumptions: whether the Qur’an is a text originating from seventh-century Arabia, whether it may be legitimately linked with the figure of Muhammad, whether it is possible to make diachronic distinctions within the Qur’anic corpus, etc. The validity of such historical background assumptions must certainly be subjected to argumentative scrutiny. Nevertheless, whatever one’s position on such issues, scholars ought to be able to agree, in principle, that there is little excuse for limiting one’s operative hermeneutical toolkit to just one or two of the interpretive stances that have been employed in this chapter. When asking any question about what the Qur’anic corpus might have meant in its original context of origin, we must be sure to exploit the full range of historically legitimate hermeneutical resources that are available to us. An appropriate combination of both intertextual and literary ways of reading the Qur’an seems particularly crucial. To paraphrase a well-known Kantian dictum, a literary approach not informed by intertextual background knowledge is empty, while an intertextual approach ignorant of literary considerations is blind.

Notes * I am indebted to Joanna Weinberg, Joseph Witztum, and Holger Zellentin for their generous guidance on rabbinic and Syriac sources and to Johanne Christiansen and Alan Jones for miscellaneous comments and corrections. This chapter was completed in November 2015, after which I have made only marginal changes. 1 The classic treatment is, of course, Heinrich Speyer, Die biblischen Erzählungen im Qoran (Hildesheim: Georg Olms Verlag, 1988) [originally published sometime between 1937 and 1939 in Breslau]. 2 For a case study, see Brannon Wheeler, “The Jewish Origins of Qurʾān 18:65–82? Reexamining Arent Jan Wensinck’s Theory,” Journal of the American Oriental Society 118 (1998): 153–171. The general point is well made, primarily on the basis of Wheeler’s work, in Michael E. Pregill, “The Hebrew Bible and the Quran: The Problem of the Jewish ‘Influence’ on Islam,” Religion Compass 1 (2007): 643–659, at 655–656. 3 Theodor Nöldeke and Friedrich Schwally, Geschichte des Qorāns, vol. 1: Über den Ursprung des Qorāns (Leipzig: Dieterich’sche Verlagsbuchhandlung, 1909), 158. For a skeptical assessment of the possibility of reconstructing the Qur’an’s internal chronology, see Gabriel S. Reynolds, “Le problème de la chronologie du Coran,” Arabica 58 (2011): 477–502. I have elsewhere argued that a diachronic reading of the Qur’an is not as arbitrary an endeavor as Reynolds makes it out to be: Nicolai Sinai, The Qur’an: A Historical-Critical Introduction (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2017),

252  Nicolai Sinai 111–137; idem, “Inner-Qur’anic Chronology,” in The Oxford Handbook of Qur’anic Studies, ed. Muhammad Abdel Haleem und Mustafa Shah (Oxford: Oxford University Press), forthcoming. 4 For a detailed study of the Qur’anic Moses narratives, see Angelika Neuwirth, “Erzählen als Kanonischer Prozeß: Die Mose-Erzählung im Wandel der koranischen Geschichte,” in Islamstudien ohne Ende: Festschrift für Werner Ende zum 65. Geburtstag, ed. Rainer Brunner, et al. (Würzburg: Ergon, 2002), 323–344; now reprinted in Angelika Neuwirth, Scripture, Poetry, and the Making of a Community: Reading the Qur’an as a Literary Text (Oxford: Oxford University Press in association with the Institute of Ismaili Studies, 2014), 277–305. 5 This phrase will be commented on later. I shall disregard the reading bi-nidāʾika instead of bi-badanika, which is ascribed to Ibn Masʿūd (see Aḥmad Mukhtār ʿUmar and ʿAbd al-ʿĀl Sālim Makram, Muʿjam al-qirāʾāt al-qurʾāniyyah, (2nd edition, Kuwait: Dhāt al-Salāsil, 1988, ad loc.), as unlikely to be original; see note 33 later. 6 My Qur’anic translations in this chapter are normally modified versions of A. J. Arberry, The Koran Interpreted (London: Allen & Unwin, 1955). 7 Eric Ormsby, “The Faith of Pharaoh: A Disputed Question in Islamic Theology,” Studia Islamica 98/99 (2004): 5–28. 8 Biblical verses are cited according to the Revised Standard Version (with occasional modifications). 9 The chariots of Pharaoh also feature in Song of Songs 1:9. 10 Friedrich Schulthess (ed. and trans.), Umajja ibn Abi ṣ Ṣalt: Die unter seinem Namen überlieferten Gedichtfragmente (Leipzig: Hinrichs’sche Buchhandlung, 1911), no. 34, 19. 11 Of course, the fact that a verse or passage attributed to Umayyah closely parallels the Qur’an is not sufficient to prove its inauthenticity; it only precludes proof of its authenticity. Yet given that in at least some cases poetry ascribed to Umayyah is highly likely to be dependent on the Qur’an, the rule of thumb stated earlier seems reasonable. See in more detail Nicolai Sinai, “Religious Poetry from the Qur’anic Milieu: Umayya b. Abī ṣ-Ṣalt on the Fate of the Thamūd,” Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies 74 (2011): 397–416. 12 Note that Schulthess no. 34 is pieced together from seven different fragments sharing the same rhyme (īrā / ūrā) and metre (khafīf) but found in different Islamic sources. The question of authenticity must therefore be posed and answered separately for each fragment. Hence, my earlier argument that Schulthess 34:23–32 is authentic does not imply that this conclusion should by default be taken to carry over to the remaining six fragments (see Sinai, “Religious Poetry,” 405–406). Note that the passage to which the verse on Pharaoh belongs exhibits a further Qur’anic paraphrase – compare Schulthess no. 34:15: “He [Pharaoh] said: ‘I am the one who gives people protection (al-mujīru ʿalā l-nāsi), and I have no lord who gives protection against me (ʿalayya mujīrā)!’ ” and Q 23:88: “Say: In whose hand is the dominion over everything, giving protection (yujīru) while no protection can be given against him (wa-lā yujāru ʿalayhi), if you possess knowledge?” 13 As part of his research in the framework of the Corpus Coranicum project, Yousef Kouriyhe has unearthed a Syriac prayer of repentance that conspicuously parallels Q 10:90–92 insofar as it casts Pharaoh as professing belief in God in the face of imminent death (see ). I am not aware of a scholarly edition of this passage nor of a proper discussion of its likely date. As a result, prudence again requires us to refrain from building any conclusions about the provenance of the Qur’anic narrative on this Syriac text. Like the verse ascribed to Umayyah, it contains nothing that goes beyond or diverges from Q 10:90–92 (Pharaoh acknowledges the power of God, but drowns nevertheless). Hence, there would appear to be no way of ruling out that the prayer could be inspired by the Qur’anic account or by later Islamic retellings of it. The lack of further Christian parallels to this prayer, noted later, further reinforces this possibility.

Pharaoh’s submission to God 253 14 Paul Bedjan, Acta Martyrum et Sanctorum Syriace (Hildesheim: Olms, 1968 [1892]), vol. 3, 669, ll. 3–4. A translation of the passage by Kathleen McVey can be found in eadem, “Jacob of Saruge on Ephrem and the Singing Women,” available online at

(accessed 30 January 2015). I owe my awareness of this article to Holger M. Zellentin. 15 Robert R. Phenix Jr. and Cornelia B. Horn, “Prayer and Penance in Early and Middle Byzantine Christianity: Some Trajectories from the Greek- and Syriac-Speaking Realms,” in Seeking the Favor of God, vol. 3: The Impact of Penitential Prayer Beyond Second Temple Judaism, ed. Mark J. Boda et al. (Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2008), 225–254, at 245. The gloss in brackets was inserted by me. 16 For an English translation of the Great Canon, see Sister Katherine and Sister Thekla (trans.), St. Andrew of Crete: The Great Canon, [and] The Life of St Mary of Egypt (Newport Pagnell: The Greek Orthodox Monastery of the Assumption, 1974). 17 Edmund Beck (ed. and trans.), Des Heiligen Ephraem des Syrers Sermones I (Louvain: Secrétariat du CorpusSCO, 1970), 95–113 (Syriac text) and 126–156 (German translation). 18 Phenix and Horn, “Prayer and Penance,” 226. 19 A recent study of the concept of repentance in Greek-speaking Late Antique Christianity, Alexis Torrance’s, Repentance in Late Antiquity: Eastern Asceticism and the Framing of the Christian Life c.400–650 CE (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013), also does not mention Pharaoh. (I am grateful to Yannis Papadogiannakis for drawing my attention to this study.) 20 Abraham Geiger, Was hat Mohammed aus dem Judenthume aufgenommen? Eine von der Königl. Preussischen Rheinuniversität gekrönte Preisschrift (Bonn: F. Baaden, 1833), 162–164; Speyer, Erzählungen, 290–291. 21 On the question of the work’s genre, see Dagmar Börner-Klein (ed. and trans.), Pirke de-Rabbi Elieser: Nach der Edition Venedig 1544 unter Berücksichtigung der Edition Warschau 1852 (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2004), xxix – xxx; Ute Bohmeier, Exegetische Methodik in Pirke De-Rabbi Elieser, Kapitel 1–24 (Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, 2008), 14–18 (both Börner-Klein and Bohmeier emphasize that the main aim of the text is exegetical, not narrative); Rachel Adelman, The Return of the Repressed: Pirqe de-Rabbi Eliezer and the Pseudepigrapha (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 2009), 3–21. The term “rewritten Bible” was coined by Geza Vermes (see his Scripture and Tradition in Judaism: Haggadic Studies (2nd edition, Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1973)); a recent assessment of the category can be found in Moshe J. Bernstein, “ ‘Rewritten Bible’: A Generic Category Which Has Outlived Its Usefulness?,” Textus 22 (2005): 169–196. The putative date of PRE’s final redaction will be discussed further later. 22 Adelman, Return, 10. 23 On the use of ascriptions in PRE, see Bohmeier, Exegetische Methodik, 18–19. 24 In striking contrast, the Mishnah (Sanhedrin 10:2) insists that Manasse, in spite of his repentance, has no share in the world to come (see Ephraim E. Urbach, The Sages: Their Concepts and Beliefs, trans. Israel Abrahams (2nd edition, Jerusalem: Magnes Press, 1979), vol. 1, 465, and vol. 2, 892, note 74). 25 This passage is discussed in Steven Daniel Sacks, Midrash and Multiplicity: Pirke deRabbi Eliezer and the Renewal of Rabbinic Interpretive Culture (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2009), 75–81. 26 Adelman, Return, 10, note 28. Ibid., 10 lists a number of further chapters that are similarly homiletic and also interrupt the work’s general chronological arc. Note that Pharaoh appears already before chapter 42, e.g., in chapter 26 (on the trials of Abraham). 27 See Börner-Klein, Pirke, 587 and 589 (Hebrew text) and 586 and 588 (German translation). My rendering is a doctored version, on the basis of Börner-Klein and in light of the original Hebrew, of the English translation in Gerald Friedlander (trans.), Pirḳê de Rabbi Eliezer (London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co., 1916), 341–342.

254  Nicolai Sinai 28 That is, by means of an utterance that likewise begins with “Who is. . .?” 29 In the biblical account, Exodus 15:11 belongs to the song of praise sung by Moses and the Israelites after having been rescued from the Egyptians; PRE thus appears to depict Pharaoh as joining in the Israelites’ hymn. Cf. PRE 42 (Börner-Klein, Pirke, 570; trans. Friedlander, 334), according to which the Israelites, after having safely escaped, praised God with the words “Who is like You, O Lord, among the gods?” (first half of Exodus 15:11). Pharaoh is then said to have “responded after them with song and praise in the Egyptian language, saying: ‘Who is like You, majestic in holiness, terrible in glorious deeds, doing wonders?’ ” (second half of Exodus 15:11). Hence, PRE 42 would seem to subdivide Exodus 15:11 into a call-and-response unit. Menachem Kister has pointed out that already the Mekhilta de-Rabbi Yishmaʿel (which we will encounter again later) considers Exodus 15:11 to have been uttered not only by Israel but also by the “nations of the world” (Menachem Kister, “Shirat bne maʿarava: hebeṭim be-ʿolamah shel shira ʿaluma,” Tarbits 76, 1 (2006–2007): 105–184, at 143). Kister implies that the underlying reason for this construal consisted in the fact that an assertion of YHWH’s primacy “among the gods” presumes the existence of other deities, which rabbinic interpreters may have viewed as incompatible with monotheism and therefore have preferred to ascribe to the “nations of the world.” It should be noted, though, that the passage in question explicitly recognizes that the statement was also uttered by the Israelites; see Jacob Z. Lauterbach (ed. and trans.), Mekhilta de-Rabbi Ishmael (Philadelphia, PA: Jewish Publication Society, 2004 [1933–1935]), 206–207: “And not only Israel uttered song, but the nations of the world also uttered song.” 30 In the context of the narrative of Exodus this address, to be delivered by Moses, follows the sixth plague (boils). 31 Since PRE recognizably echoes the diction of this verse (“so that he might declare,” “raise up”), a quotation of the original Hebrew may be welcome: .‫ָָארץ‬ ֶ ‫ה‬-‫ׁשמִי ְּבכָל‬ ְ ‫ּכֹחִי ּו ְל ַמעַן ַסּפֵר‬-‫וְאּולָם ַּבעֲבּור ז ֹאת ֶה ֱעמַדְ ּתִ יָך ַּבעֲבּור ה ְַרא ֹתְ ָך אֶת‬ The phrase ba-ʿăbûr harʾōtĕkā ʾet kōḥî (“for your showing My power”) can be translated both as “in order to show to you” (with the personal suffix functioning as an objective genitive) and as “so that you may show” (with the suffix functioning as a subjective genitive). See Kister, “Shirat bne maʿarava,” 143: “It was possible to interpret the verse in the sense that Pharaoh himself would praise God after seeing His power (from which it would seem to follow that he would repent)” (my translation). The context in which Exodus 9:16 is quoted in PRE 43 strongly suggests the latter understanding of the verse, which is why my translation deviates accordingly from the Revised Standard Version. 32 Rudi Paret, Der Koran: Kommentar und Konkordanz (2nd edition, Stuttgart: Kohlhammer, 1977), 228 (on Q 10:92). 33 This being the purport of Q 10:91, the noncanonical reading bi-nidāʾika instead of bi-badanika for Q 10:92 (see note 5 earlier) seems highly unlikely to be original, as it would imply unqualified rescue. 34 Paret, Kommentar, 228 (on Q 10:91). 35 This reading agrees with the opinion ascribed by Ibn al-Jawzī to Ibn ʿAbbās (and also shared by al-Zamakhsharī) that “God did not accept his [Pharaoh’s] faith in the face of punishment”; Pharaoh’s faith, in other words, is “the faith of desperation” (īmān al-yaʾs) and therefore invalid (Ormsby, “Faith,” 13). By contrast, Ibn ʿArabī controversially maintained that Pharaoh’s belief was sincere, although he, too, did not deny that Pharaoh died immediately afterwards (ibid., 11). 36 Paret is inclined to construe the final clause “so that you may be a sign to those after you” in v. 92 in the sense that it is Pharaoh’s dead body that is to function as a “sign” for posterity, similar to the way in which the Qur’an elsewhere claims that Noah’s Ark, too, has been preserved as a “sign” and an “admonishment” (see Q 69:12, Q 54:15, and Q 29:15). Paret also speculates that the description of Pharaoh as a “sign” could

Pharaoh’s submission to God 255 refer to a conspicuous rock that may have been etiologically identified with Pharaoh’s corpse (Paret, Kommentar, 228, on Q 10:92). Nevertheless, it is Pharaoh himself, rather than his body, who is said to be a “sign.” (I am not aware of a reading variant substituting li-yakūna for li-takūna, although I have only checked the Kuwaiti Muʿjam al-qirāʾāt al-qurʾāniyyah.) This way of putting things is actually closer to Q 25:37, where the victims of the Deluge, rather than Noah’s Ark, are described as a “sign” (wa-jaʿalnāhum li-l-nāsi āyatan). Thus, the statement that Pharaoh is to serve as a “sign” may well mean nothing more than that his fate (i.e., his inability to secure salvation by means of a belated conversion to monotheism) is to serve as a warning example to others. Additional evidence for this reading is provided by Q 26:67, which calls the drowned Egyptians a “sign” (“. . . then We drowned the others. / Surely in that is a sign . . .”): the statement certainly does not mean that all of them were turned into conspicuous rocks, but merely that their general fate constitutes a warning addressed to other unbelievers and evildoers. Paret also raises the possibility that the idea that only Pharaoh’s body was saved may have been inspired by the Egyptian custom of mummification. 37 On this verse, see also Holger M. Zellentin’s contribution to the present volume. It may be noted that the opening of the verse (wa-laysati l-tawbatu li-lladhīna yaʿmalūna l-sayyiˈāti. . .) cannot be straightforwardly rendered as, “There is no repentance for those who commit evil deeds.” The reason is that the verse continues wa-lā lladhīna yamūtūna wa-hum kuffārun, “not for those who die as unbelievers.” This latter category obviously refers to those who die unrepentantly, and it would be nonsensically tautological for the Qur’an to say that somebody who dies as an unrepentant unbeliever is not to be counted as having repented. Hence, the word tawbah in Q 4:18 must designate God’s forgiving “turning” towards a human subject rather than a human’s penitential turning towards God. In other words, the term tawbah must here be construed as the verbal noun corresponding to the verb tāba ʿalā, whose subject is always God (Q 2:37.54.187, 5:71, 9:117.118, 20:122, 58:13, 73:20), rather than that corresponding to tāba ilā, which takes a human subject (see Arne Ambros with Stephan Procházka, A Concise Dictionary of Koranic Arabic, Wiesbaden: Reichert, 2004, 51). Nonetheless, the general point of Q 4:18 is clear enough: since a deliberate postponement of one’s repentance to one’s dying breath does not constitute a valid case of repentance, of penitently turning towards (tāba ilā) God, it will not engender a forgiving turning of God towards (tāba ʿalā) the human subject in question. 38 Leopold Zunz, Die gottesdienstlichen Vorträge der Juden, historisch entwickelt (Berlin: Asher, 1832), 271–278. 39 For recent assessments of the work’s date of composition, see Günter Stemberger, Einleitung in Talmud und Midrasch (8th edition, Munich: C. H. Beck, 1992), 322; BörneKlein, Pirke, xxxix–xlviii; Bohmeier, Exegetische Methodik, 28–34 and 442–490 (hypothetically dating the composition of the work to the tenth century and associating it with Saʿadiah Gaon). For a nuanced reexamination of PRE’s references to Ishmael and Islam, see Carol Bakhos, “Abraham Visits Ishmael: A Revisit,” Journal for the Study of Judaism 38 (2007): 553–580. 40 Bohmeier, Exegetische Methodik, 28, and Stemberger, Einleitung, 322, with further references. 41 Thus already J. W. Hirschberg, Jüdische und christliche Lehren im vor- und frühislamischen Arabien: Ein Beitrag zur Entstehungsgeschichte des Islams (Cracow: Nakładem polskiej akademii umiejȩtności, 1939), 132. See also the articles cited in note 2 earlier. 42 Bohmeier, Exegetische Methodik, 4 (my translation). 43 Bohmeier, Exegetische Methodik, 29 (my translation). 44 Jeffrey L. Rubenstein, “From Mythic Motifs to Sustained Myth: The Revision of Rabbinic Traditions in Medieval Midrashim,” Harvard Theological Review 89 (1996): 131–159, at 146–158; see especially ibid., 157: “When viewed as a whole, there is little in Pirqe de-Rabbi Eliʿezer that lacks rabbinic precedent.”

256  Nicolai Sinai 45 For a convenient, if dated, conspectus see Louis Ginzberg, Legends of the Jews, trans. Henrietta Szold and Paul Radin (2nd edition, Philadelphia, PA: Jewish Publication Society, 1909–1938), vol. 1, 560 (sources are given on 562, note 54). 46 James L. Kugel, Traditions of the Bible (Cambridge, MA and London: Harvard University Press, 1998), 609–610. 47 Stemberger, Einleitung, 254–257. 48 W. David Nelson (ed. and trans.), Mekhilta de-Rabbi Shimon bar Yoḥai (Philadelphia, PA: Jewish Publication Society, 2006), 114 (26:3). 49 Lauterbach, Mekhilta de-Rabbi Ishmael, 163 (I owe my awareness of this parallel to Holger M. Zellentin). On the dating of MekhYish see Stemberger, Einleitung, 251–253. 50 Michael Sokoloff and Joseph Yahalom (ed. and trans.), Shirat bne maʿarava: shirim aramiyim shel yehude eretz-yisrael ba-tequfah ha-bizanṭit / Jewish Palestinian Aramaic Poetry from Late Antiquity (Jerusalem: Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, 1999), 88 (no. 3, ll. 15–16); Kister, “Shirat bne maʿarava,” 143–144 (I owe my awareness of this text to Joseph Witztum). For a general introduction to this corpus of poetry see Kister, “Shirat bne maʿarava,” 1ff. (especially note 3 on the question of dating). As Kister states, “the Aramaic poem at hand is an ancient Jewish testimony to the tradition reflected in the Qur’an, a tradition which subsequently appears in Pirqe de-Rabbi Eliʿezer” (144; my translation). 51 According to the final line, God “repays the wicked ones what they are due.” 52 On the significance of the notion of repentance in rabbinic literature as well as its biblical background, see Urbach, Sages, vol. 1, 462–471. To point to the prominence of the concept in rabbinic discourse is not to deny that it was also important in Christian discourse. For a recent treatment of repentance in Greek Christian sources, see Torrance, Repentance. It is entirely likely that rabbinic and Christian reflections about repentance would have exerted a mutual influence; see Michal Bar-Asher Siegal, Early Christian Monastic Literature and the Babylonian Talmud (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013), 170–199. For another recent study of penitential discourse in rabbinic Judaism, (Eastern) Christianity, and Zoroastrianism see Yishai Kiel, “Penitential Theology in East Late Antiquity: Talmudic, Zoroastrian, and East Christian Reflections,” Journal for the Study of Judaism 45 (2014): 551–583. 53 Stemberger, Einleitung, 161. 54 Urbach, Sages, vol. 1, 467, and vol. 2, 892, note 85. For the Hebrew text see M. S. Zuckermandel (ed.), Tosephta: Based on the Erfurt and Vienna Codices (2nd edition, Jerusalem: Bamberger & Wahrmann, 1937), 337 (1:15). 55 Stemberger, Einleitung, 275–276. 56 J. Theodor and C. Albeck (ed.), Midrash Bereshit Rabba (2nd edition, Jerusalem: Wahr­ mann, 1965), vol. 1, 6 (1:4). 57 Theodor and Albeck, Bereshit Rabba, vol. 1, 220 (22:13). 58 What may be an initial stage of the process whereby the figure of Pharaoh came to be drawn into the orbit of the concept of repentance is visible in Exodus Rabba, according to which Moses tried to incite Pharaoh to repent (‫ ;והיה מורה לפרעה הרשע שיעשה תשובה‬Midrash Rabba, ed. by M. A. Mirkin, Tel Aviv: Yavneh, 1959, vol. 5, 142 = Shemot Rabba 12:1). For another association between the events at the Sea of Reeds and the theme of repentance, see Midrash Tanḥuma, where it is emphasized that the generation of the Flood, the builders of the Tower of Babylon, the people of Sodom, and the Egyptians were all given sufficient opportunity to repent before God struck them down: “since they [the Egyptians] failed to repent (‫)כיון שלא עשו תשובה‬, not one of them remained alive” (Midrash Tanḥuma, Vienna: Philipp Bendiner, 1863, 82a = Beshalaḥ 15; translation according to Samuel A. Berman, Midrash Tanhuma-Yelammedenu: An English Translation of Genesis and Exodus from the Printed Version of Tanhuma-Yelammedenu with an Introduction, Notes, and Indexes (Hoboken: Ktav, 1996), 431). Although both Exodus Rabba and Tanḥuma are difficult to date, there exists at least a strong

Pharaoh’s submission to God 257 possibility that they may preserve a significant core of pre-Qur’anic traditions (see Stemberger, Einleitung, 304 and 300–301). I owe my awareness of both passages to Holger M. Zellentin. 59 For what might be seen as a faint indication that P* involved a link between Pharaoh and the Ninevites, see later. 60 See Sinai, “Religious Poetry,” 412–415. 61 Sinai, “Religious Poetry,” 410–412. 62 The fact that the Qur’an accords a dominant position to God’s justice is argued at length in Daud Rahbar, God of Justice: A Study in the Ethical Doctrine of the Qurʾān (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1960). 63 But note that to call previous divine punishments, or their victims, “signs” is standard Qur’anic parlance: see Q 25:37, where the victims of the Deluge, rather than Noah’s Ark, are described as a “sign” (wa-jaʿalnāhum li-l-nāsi āyatan) as well as Q 26:67 (“. . . then We drowned the others. / Surely in that is a sign . . .”; cf. also Q 43:55–56). 64 Q 10:93 does offer a mild criticism of the Israelites: “And We settled the Children of Israel in a truthful dwelling place, and We provided them with good things. They did not differ until knowledge came to them. Surely your Lord will decide between them on the Day of Resurrection with respect to that about which they differed.” But this merely rounds off the preceding Exodus narrative with a reference to the Israelites’ settlement in the Promised Land and a vague forecast of their subsequent unfaithfulness to God’s revelation. The verse in no way hints that the dissensions with which the Israelites are reproached manifest themselves in an incorrect understanding of the fate of Pharaoh. 65 See e.g. Q 10:13 (trans. Alan Jones, modified): “We have destroyed generations before you [pl.] when they did wrong, and their messengers came to them with the clear proofs, but they would not believe. Thus We recompense the people who sin.” See also the enumeration of various messengers and their peoples in Q 38:12–15. For a detailed treatment of the Qur’anic punishment legends, refer to David Marshall, God, Muhammad and the Unbelievers: A Qur’anic Study (Richmond: Curzon, 1999). 66 The only successful messenger in the Qur’an is Jonah (see Q 10:98 and later), the success of whose mission is, of course, a feature already of the biblical book of Jonah. 67 Other verses are less explicit about the fate specifically of Pharaoh; see Q 28:40 and Q 43:55. 68 On the prevalence of tripartite sura structures in Middle and Late Meccan texts, see Angelika Neuwirth, Studien zur Komposition der mekkanischen Suren (Berlin: De Gruyter, 1981). The following overview of sura 10 draws on Neuwirth’s subdivision of the text as given in ibid., 294–295. 69 Note that the unbelieving compatriots of Noah, just like Pharaoh and his men, are punished by drowning: both Q 10:73 and 10:90 employ the root gh-r-q. 70 It is also employed in Q 4:18 (Medinan) and Q 6:158 (possibly Medinan). 71 Already the biblical version of the story remarks several times that God “hardened Pharaoh’s heart” (e.g., in Exodus 7:3), but it does not present God as having done so at the request of Moses. 72 This may also be the reason why the Qur’an narrates the event so much more vividly than the rabbinic sources with their primarily exegetical focus. 73 Ormsby, “Faith,” 17, with note 39. 74 Speyer, Erzählungen, 291: “das typische Wort für die Errettung in den Straflegenden.” I would tend to view this inner-Qur’anic observation as more significant than the correspondence between Q 10:92’s use of najjā and PRE’s statement that God “delivered him (‫ )והצילו‬from amongst the dead.” 75 See Q 10:73 (God “saved” Noah), Q 10:86 (where the Israelites ask God to “save” them from the unbelievers: wa-najjinā bi-raḥmatika mina l-qawmi l-kāfirīn), and Q 10:103 (thumma nunajjī rusulanā wa-lladhīna āmanū).

258  Nicolai Sinai

Bibliography Adelman, Rachel. The Return of the Repressed: Pirqe de-Rabbi Eliezer and the Pseudepigrapha. Leiden: E. J. Brill, 2009. Ambros, Arne A. and Stephan Procházka. A Concise Dictionary of Koranic Arabic. Wiesbaden: Reichert, 2004. Arberry, Arthur J. The Koran Interpreted. London: Allen & Unwin, 1955. Bakhos, Carol. “Abraham Visits Ishmael: A Revisit.” Journal for the Study of Judaism 38 (2007): 553–580. Bar-Asher Siegal, Michal. Early Christian Monastic Literature and the Babylonian Talmud. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013. Beck, Edmund (ed. and trans.). Des Heiligen Ephraem des Syrers Sermones I. Louvain: Secrétariat du CorpusSCO, 1970. Bedjan, Paul. Acta Martyrum et Sanctorum Syriace. Hildesheim: Olms, 1968 [1892]. Berman, Samuel A. Midrash Tanhuma-Yelammedenu: An English Translation of Genesis and Exodus from the Printed Version of Tanhuma-Yelammedenu with an Introduction, Notes, and Indexes. Hoboken: Ktav, 1996. Bernstein, Moshe J. “ ‘Rewritten Bible’: A Generic Category Which Has Outlived Its Usefulness?” Textus 22 (2005): 169–196. Bohmeier, Ute. Exegetische Methodik in Pirke De-Rabbi Elieser, Kapitel 1–24. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, 2008. Börner-Klein, Dagmar (ed. and trans.). Pirke de-Rabbi Elieser: Nach der Edition Venedig 1544 unter Berücksichtigung der Edition Warschau 1852. Berlin: De Gruyter, 2004. Friedlander, Gerald (trans.). Pirḳê de Rabbi Eliezer. London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co., 1916. Geiger, Abraham. Was hat Mohammed aus dem Judenthume aufgenommen? Eine von der Königl. Preussischen Rheinuniversität gekrönte Preisschrift. Bonn: F. Baaden, 1833. Ginzberg, Louis. Legends of the Jews. 2nd edition. Philadelphia, PA: Jewish Publication Society, 1909–1938. Hirschberg, J. W. Jüdische und christliche Lehren im vor- und frühislamischen Arabien: Ein Beitrag zur Entstehungsgeschichte des Islams. Cracow: Nakładem polskiej akademii umiejȩtności, 1939. Katherine, Sister and Sister Thekla (trans.). St. Andrew of Crete: The Great Canon, [and] The Life of St Mary of Egypt. Newport Pagnell: The Greek Orthodox Monastery of the Assumption, 1974. Kiel, Yishai. “Penitential Theology in East Late Antiquity: Talmudic, Zoroastrian, and East Christian Reflections.” Journal for the Study of Judaism 45 (2014): 551–583. Kister, Menachem. “Shirat bne maʿarava: hebeṭim be-ʿolamah shel shira ʿaluma.” Tarbits 76 (2006–2007): 105–184. Kugel, James L. Traditions of the Bible. Cambridge, MA and London: Harvard University Press, 1998. Lauterbach, Jacob Z. (ed. and trans.). Mekhilta de-Rabbi Ishmael. Philadelphia, PA: Jewish Publication Society, 2004 [1933–1935]. Marshall, David. God, Muhammad and the Unbelievers: A  Qur’anic Study. Richmond: Curzon, 1999. McVey, Kathleen. “Jacob of Saruge on Ephrem and the Singing Women.” www.syriacs tudies.com/AFSS/Syriac_Articles_in_English/Entries/2007/10/11_Jacob_of_Saruge_ on_Ephrem_and_the_Singing_Women_-_-_Dr._Kathleen_McVey.html (accessed on 30 January 2015).

Pharaoh’s submission to God 259 Midrash Tanḥuma. Vienna: Philipp Bendiner, 1863. Mirkin, M. A. (ed.). Midrash Rabba. Tel Aviv: Yavneh, 1959. Nelson, W. David (ed. and trans.). Mekhilta de-Rabbi Shimon bar Yoḥai. Philadelphia, PA: Jewish Publication Society, 2006. Neuwirth, Angelika. “Erzählen als Kanonischer Prozeß: Die Mose-Erzählung im Wandel der koranischen Geschichte.” In Islamstudien ohne Ende: Festschrift für Werner Ende zum 65. Geburtstag, edited by Rainer Brunner et al., 323–344. Würzburg: Ergon, 2002. Neuwirth, Angelika. Scripture, Poetry, and the Making of a Community: Reading the Qur’an as a Literary Text. Oxford: Oxford University Press in association with the Institute of Ismaili Studies, 2014. Neuwirth, Angelika. Studien zur Komposition der mekkanischen Suren. Berlin: De Gruyter, 1981. Nöldeke, Theodor and Friedrich Schwally. Geschichte des Qorāns, vol. 1: Über den Ursprung des Qorāns. Leipzig: Dieterich’sche Verlagsbuchhandlung, 1909. Ormsby, Eric. “The Faith of Pharaoh: A Disputed Question in Islamic Theology.” Studia Islamica 98/99 (2004): 5–28. Paret, Rudi. Der Koran: Kommentar und Konkordanz. 2nd edition. Stuttgart: Kohlhammer, 1977. Phenix, Robert R. Jr. and Cornelia B. Horn. “Prayer and Penance in Early and Middle Byzantine Christianity: Some Trajectories from the Greek- and Syriac-Speaking Realms.” Seeking the Favor of God, vol. 3: The Impact of Penitential Prayer Beyond Second Temple Judaism, edited by Mark J. Boda et al., 225–254. Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2008. Pregill, Michael E. “The Hebrew Bible and the Quran: The Problem of the Jewish ‘Influence’ on Islam.” Religion Compass 1 (2007): 643–659. Rahbar, Daud. God of Justice: A Study in the Ethical Doctrine of the Qurʾān. Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1960. Reynolds, Gabriel S. “Le problème de la chronologie du Coran.” Arabica 58 (2011): 477–502. Rubenstein, Jeffrey L. “From Mythic Motifs to Sustained Myth: The Revision of Rabbinic Traditions in Medieval Midrashim.” Harvard Theological Review 89 (1996): 131–159. Sacks, Steven Daniel. Midrash and Multiplicity: Pirke de-Rabbi Eliezer and the Renewal of Rabbinic Interpretive Culture. Berlin: De Gruyter, 2009. Schulthess, Friedrich (ed. and trans.). Umajja ibn Abi ṣ Ṣalt: Die unter Seinem Namen überlieferten Gedichtfragmente. Leipzig: Hinrichs’sche Buchhandlung, 1911. Sinai, Nicolai. “Inner-Qur’anic Chronology.” In The Oxford Handbook of Qur’anic Studies, edited by Muhammad Abdel Haleem und Mustafa Shah, forthcoming. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Sinai, Nicolai. The Qur’an: A Historical-Critical Introduction. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2017. Sinai, Nicolai. “Religious Poetry from the Qur’anic Milieu: Umayya b. Abī ṣ-Ṣalt on the Fate of the Thamūd.” Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies 74 (2011): 397–416. Sokoloff, Michael and Joseph Yahalom (ed. and trans.). Shirat bne maʿarava: shirim aramiyim shel yehude eretz-yisrael ba-tequfah ha-bizanṭit/Jewish Palestinian Aramaic Poetry from Late Antiquity. Jerusalem: Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, 1999. Speyer, Heinrich. Die biblischen Erzählungen im Qoran. Hildesheim: Georg Olms Verlag, 1988 [originally published sometime between 1937 and 1939 in Breslau].

260  Nicolai Sinai Stemberger, Günter. Einleitung in Talmud und Midrasch. 8th edition. Munich: C. H. Beck, 1992. Theodor, Yehudah and Chanoch Albeck (ed.). Midrash Bereshit Rabba. 2nd edition. Jerusalem: Wahrmann, 1965. Torrance, Alexis. Repentance in Late Antiquity: Eastern Asceticism and the Framing of the Christian Life c.400–650 CE. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013. ʿUmar, Aḥmad Mukhtār and ʿAbd al-ʿĀl Sālim Makram. Muʿjam al-qirāʾāt al-qurʾāniyyah. 2nd edition. Kuwait: Dhāt al-Salāsil, 1988. Urbach, Ephraim E. The Sages: Their Concepts and Beliefs, trans. Israel Abrahams. 2nd edition. Jerusalem: Magnes Press, 1979. Vermes, Geza. Scripture and Tradition in Judaism: Haggadic Studies. 2nd edition. Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1973. Wheeler, Brannon. “The Jewish Origins of Qurʾān 18:65–82? Reexamining Arent Jan Wensinck’s Theory.” Journal of the American Oriental Society 118 (1998): 153–171. Zuckermandel, Moses Samuel. Tosephta: Based on the Erfurt and Vienna Codices. 2nd edition. Jerusalem: Bamberger & Wahrmann, 1937. Zunz, Leopold. Die gottesdienstlichen Vorträge der Juden, historisch entwickelt. Berlin: Asher, 1832.

9 The eschatological counterdiscourse in the Qur’an and in the Babylonian Talmud, Sanhedrin 90b-91a Mehdi Azaiez Introduction In their volume titled The Islamic Understanding of Death and Resurrection, Yvonne Yazbeck Haddad and Jane Idleman Smith assert that Qur’anic eschatology was met with “Disbelief, rejection, and ridicule – thus the Qur’an portrays the response of the Meccan community to the message delivered by the Prophet Muḥammad concerning the day of resurrection and the universal judgment.”1 It is noteworthy that the denial of afterlife is voiced in the Qur’an through the voice of opponents.2 Staged under the form of reported speech, the Qur’an uses a precise, easily recognizable literary construction, which for the purposes of this chapter shall be designated as “eschatological counter-discourse.”3 We must understand by this expression the presence of opponents’ reported speeches, or “counter-discourse;” these opponents object against or refute any possibility of an afterlife. Two examples will illustrate our purposes in presenting these antiresurrection arguments. According to the order of the Cairo Edition, the first Qur’anic counter-discourse is situated in Q 2 Sūrat al-Baqarah 8: “Some of the people say: ‘We believe in God and the Last Day’ but in reality they do not believe.” In addition to being a reported speech, or a counter-discourse, it is an eschatological discourse since it mentions the Day of Resurrection (al-yaum al qiyama). The second example for our illustration is situated in the last Qur’anic eschatological counter-discourse, located in Q 79 Sūrat al-Nāziʿāt 42: “They ask you about the Hour: ‘When will it occur (ayyāna mursāhā)?’ ” This verse is a good illustration of counter-discourse whose topic is eschatological since it refers to the eschatological Hour (sāʿah), the sign of the Last Day. Furthermore, it is also the last eschatological counter-discourse in the Qur’an, according to the order of the Cairo Edition. However, this literary form is not unusual in in Late Antique discourse. We note, in fact, its presence in the Talmudic tractate Sanhedrin. The close relation between eschatological counter-discourse in the Qur’an and in the Talmud will be the subject of this chapter. Thus, in the first part, I shall identify and categorize the entire corpus of Qur’anic counter-discourse. Based on this corpus, I will proceed with two complementary approaches. The first approach will be an internal analysis of the Qur’an and the Talmud that considers the general structures and

262  Mehdi Azaiez themes of these counter-discourses. The second approach will be a comparative and systematic analysis. This comparative study will illuminate the particularities of eschatological counter-discourse in the Qur’an and the probable identity of its implied opponents.

The Qur’anic corpus of the eschatological counter-discourse I define “eschatological counter-discourse” as an assembly of verses which witness the reported discourse of Qur’anic opponents (real or fictional) when the focus of such verses is eschatology. I propose the following formula to designate this singular literary form: “Eschatological Counter Direct Reported Speech (ECDRS).”4 According to this definition, it is possible to identify the following corpus: Q 2:8, 80, 111; Q 3:24; Q 6:29; Q 7:187; Q 10: 48, 53; Q 11:7, 8; Q 13:5; Q 16:38; Q 17:49, 51, 98; Q 19:66; Q 21:38; Q 23:82, 83; Q 27:67, 68, 71; Q 32:10, 28; Q 34:3, 7, 8, 29; Q 36:48, 78; Q 37:15, 16, 17; Q 41:50; Q 44:34, 35, 36; Q 45:24, 25, 32; Q 46:17; Q 50:2, 3; Q 51:12; Q 56:47, 48; Q 67:25; Q 75:6; and Q 79:10, 11, 12, 42. If one adopts the chronological order of the suras determined by Nöldeke and Schwally, the ECDRS is distributed as follows: • • • •

The first Meccan period: Q 79:10, 11, 12, 42; Q 75:6; Q 51:12; and Q 56: 47, 48. The second Meccan period: Q 37:15, 16, 17; Q 44:34, 35, 36; Q 50:2, 3; Q 19:66; Q 36:48, 78; Q 67:25; Q 23:82, 83; Q 21:38; Q 17:49, 51, 98; and Q 27:67, 68, 71. The third Meccan period: Q 32:10, 28; Q 41:50; Q 45:24, 25, 32; Q 16:38; Q 11:7, 8; Q 10:48, 53; Q 34:3, 7, 8, 29; Q 7:187; Q 46:17; Q 6:29; and Q 13:5. The Medinan period: Q 2:8, 80, 111; and Q 3:24.

Among 26 suras, the corpus of ECDRS represents 0.83 percent of the entire Qur’anic corpus. It constitutes 19.25 percent of the total counter-discourse corpus, a proportion almost identical to the “discourse against the Qur’an.”5 It is the fourth largest theme of the counter-discourse in the Qur’an.6

The eschatological counter-discourse themes in the Qur’an Bringing together 52 verses, ECDRS presents three distinct, interrelated themes: the Resurrection of the body, the eschatological hour (sāʿa), and the eschatological reward. The theme of resurrection of the body is found in 32 verses.7 They contain six predicates which indicate how opponents understand and react to the idea of the resurrection of the bodies. For the adversaries expressed through ECDRS, eschatology is first of all a matter of belief, which takes the form of a promise: “Although we received this promise, la-qad wuʿidnā-hādhā” (Q 27:68; Q 46:17). This promise is nothing but “ancient tales” (pejoratively, false stories): “in hādhā ʾillā ʾasāṭīru l-ʾawwalīna” (Q 27:68). This belief justifies many other

The eschatological counter-discourse 263 predicates which form a sequence of three successive patterns. The dead bodies are condemned to dust and rotten bones: “When we die and become dust and bones, a-ʾidhā mitnā wa kunnā turāban wa-ʿiẓāman” (Q 56:47; Q 37:16; Q 36:78; Q 23:82; and Q 17:49, 98). These last ones left their graves, “ʾa-ʾinnā mukhrajūna, will we come out [of our graves]?” Q 27:67), and are raised for a new creation: ‘khalqan jadīdan’ (Q 17:49, 98; Q 32:10; Q 34:7; Q 13:5; and Q 36:78). This new creation concerns not only opponents but also their ancestors “ʾa-wa-ʾābāʾunā l-ʾawwalūna” (Q 23:83; Q 27:68; Q 37:17; Q 44:36; Q 46:17; and Q 56:48). From these preceding elements, it is clear that (in the eyes of the Qur’an), opponents understand the meaning and the implications of this religious belief. Less numerous in its occurrences, the eschatological Hour includes 15 verses.8 Through the ECDRS which effectively reprise the Qur’anic designations, this hour is posed as the “Day,” qualified as the “Day of Resurrection” (Q 75:6), the “Day of Judgment” (Q 51:12), and the “Day of victory” (Q 32:28). The central theme coincides with a leitmotiv which boils down to a simple question: “At what hour?” In other words, when will the resurrection of the body be and when are the eschatological rewards announced? The most common question is in this way almost identical to the following: “When will this promise be fulfilled, if you are truthful, matā hādā l-waʿdu ʾin kuntum sādiqīna?” (Q 10:48; Q 21:38; Q 27:71; Q 34:29; Q 36:48; and Q 67:25). Similarly, one can note two other singular reported speeches, which, while neglecting interrogative forms, categorically refute the possible event of the eschatological Hour. Thus, we can read: “We do not know not what the Hour. We just conjecture and are not convinced, mā nadrī mā-sāʿatu in nahnu bi-mustayqinīna” (Q 45:32) or again with the following lapidary expression: “The Hour will not come, lā-taʾtīna l-sāʿatu” (Q 34:3). The third eschatological theme includes only five verses.9 The debate is primarily focused on the duration of the punishment of damned people: “The Fire shall not touch us except for a limited number of days, lan tamassanā al-nāru ʾillā ʾayyāman maʿdūdatan” (Q 2:80, Q 3:24). Moreover, another verse questions the identity of people who will be chosen to enter in paradise: “No one will enter Paradise unless they are Jews or Christians, lan yadkhula al- jannata ʾillā man kāna hūdan ʾaw nasārā” (Q 2:111). The eschatological reward is also as an expression of hostility towards the first Qur’anic addressee. Insulted, the first Qur’anic addressee is treated like a possessed man: “Did he invent a lie against Allah or is he possessed? ʾa-ftarā ʿalā Allāhi kadhiban ʾam bihī jinnatun” (Q 34:8).

The forms and structures of eschatological counter-discourses The eschatological counter-discourses are structured according to three kinds of announcements. The first is the introductory segment, plus or minus some developments which precede the introductory verb: it is a matter of what I suggest designating as “Introductory Eschatological Counter-discourse Speech” (IECDS). The second statement is the reported speech itself, or the “Eschatological

264  Mehdi Azaiez Counter-discourse Speech” (ECDS). The third statement which follows the ECDS reports the comment for the refutation of the counter-discourse. I suggest designating it by the expression “Eschatological Counter-discourse Riposte” (ECDR).10 To illustrate this presentation and these designations, I will refer again to the first eschatological counter-discourse located in Q 2 Sūrat al-Baqarah 8: “They say: ‘We believe in God and the Last Day’ but in reality they do not believe.” In this verse, we easily identify an IECDS [“Among some they say”] followed by an ECDS: [“We believe in God and the Last Day”] and finally an ECDR [“but in reality they do not believe”]. Let us now analyze these three types of utterances and their formal characteristics, focusing exclusively on the 33 verses concerning the resurrection of the body. The IECDS are by definition the “introductory” part, more or less developed, which precedes the introductory verb. These introductory statements are divided into three categories: simple, intermediate (or semi-complex), and complex forms. Simple forms are characterized by the unique presence of an introducing verb followed by affixed personal pronouns. Considering only the framework of the counter-discourses concerning the resurrection of the body, five verses are included.11 For example, verse Q 6:29, in introducing the IECDS, uses only the introductive verb “wa-qālū.” The identical shape of most IECDS is remarkable for the systematic absence of clear designations for opponents. The second form, “intermediate,” is the most common.12 It is built around clauses which go beyond the use of the introductory verb qala. One can find the presence of names (nās)13 or of pejorative designations (al kāfirūna)14 which qualify the opponents responsible for the reported discourses. The third form, called “complex,” concerns two verses.15 These are distinguished by their length or by the fact that there exists within the same verse two introductory clauses.16 The introductory sections are followed by reported ECDS. Considered under the angle of their argumentation, they correspond to three distinct forms: objections by questioning, refuting by criticizing and rejecting, refuting by giving counter-arguments. Objections by questioning, most commonly used,17 is, as the expression suggests, an interrogative utterance which is similar to an objection,18 which can be defined as “l’expression d’une opposition argumentative de type réfutation, mais plus locale, moins radicale, par le biais d’un argument faible: objecter, c’est faire obstacle.”19 In Q 17:49, there is a relevant example. Indeed, the counter-discourse “ʾa-ʾidhā kunnā ʿiẓāman wa-rufātan a-ʾinnā la-mabʿūthūna khalqan jadīdan” is itself a refutation, prompting to make of its interrogative form a response which preserves an appearance of communication with an adversary. Of course, it is not the case with the refutation which criticizes and rejects Qur’anic discourse on eschatology. The “refuting by criticizing and rejecting” clause essentially affirms an eschatological position or a conviction held by the opponent, while rejecting the one advocated by the Qur’an. It is no longer concerned with objecting or questioning, but with critiquing the refuted subject. It may be concerned with an ad homi­ nem argument that disparages the eschatological messenger “ʾam bihī jinnatun?”

The eschatological counter-discourse 265 (Q 34:8) or perhaps functions as a qualification and identification of the eschatological message as magic “in hādhā ʾillā siḥrun mubīnun” (Q 37:15).20 Finally, the rebuttal or counter-argumentation aims not only to criticize the refuted subject in Qur’anic discourse but also to oppose his argument in order to weaken its credibility. For example, consider the following statement: tū bi-ʾābāʾinā ʾin kuntum ṣādiqīna (Q 45:25).21

The forms and the themes of Qur’anic riposte Located immediately after the eschatological counter-discourses, the riposte (ECDR) is a statement where the speaker intervenes or modalizes the opponent’s discourse in order to refute it. If the riposte is systematic, it is common that it does not lie in the verse where the counter-discourse is situated.22 But otherwise, and always in a perspective that focuses on the argumentative dimension of these statements, that riposte may have five distinct forms: assertion, rhetorical question, injunctions, praise, or metatext. •





The assertion. It is a true proposition (in the perspective of the Qur’an) whose primary function is to contradict and neutralize the counter-discourse. As a kind of “counter- counter-discourse,” it carries a worldview defended by the Qur’anic speaker who tends mainly to magnify the divinity. One can affirm that in any case of riposte, and whatever its expressive form may be (affirmation, interrogation, injunction), it constitutes in itself an assertion. For example, the first counter-discourse in the Qur’an (Q 2:8, previously quoted: “They say: we believe in Allah and the Last Day but in reality they do not believe”) is, as we have seen, divided into three parts. The third part of this verse, “but in reality they do not believe,” asserts the refutation of the reported speech. Rhetorical questions. It is a well-known figure of biblical literature to ask a (false) question, knowing very well it does not require a reply. In other words, it is a disguised assertion. The Qur’an uses this form for similar purposes. For example, when the Qur’anic riposte asks: “Is this not a fact?” (a-laysa hādhā bi-l-haqqi, Q 6:30), it is easy to understand that the rhetorical question in no way implied a response and that it expresses in reality an assertion of the veracity of divine punishment according to the Qur’an. Injunctions. This is the most significant and most prominent form of Qur’anic riposte. It is concerned with employing the verb “to say” in the imperative (qul). As part of the Qur’anic utterances, it distinguishes between an authorspeaker (author of the injunction), a hearer (the addressee of the injunction) who is none other than the first addressee, and a second addressee (the listener or reader, himself the witness of the relationship between the speaker and the addressee). Still in the case of discourse against the resurrection of the body, there are nine occurrences23 where the Qur’anic speaker directs the Qur’anic first addressee to riposte to the opponents’ rebuttals. The response introduced by this order also employs two forms: interrogations24 and praises.25

266  Mehdi Azaiez •



Praise. Praise forms concern liturgical formulas of glorification or mention of divine names.26 If the use of reported speech aims to strengthen the identity of God’s omnipotence, liturgical formulas, as particular forms of Qur’anic discourse, respond to the evidence for this same objective, but with a determinative characteristic: performativity. In the words of Daniel Dubuisson, performative praise “ne peut être analysé en termes d’informations (. . .) mais bien plutôt en tant qu’acte constituant une action qui n’est pas simplement un commentaire verbal d’une action qui lui serait extérieure, il est en et par lui-même une action.”27 Thus, praise forms play a strategic role in Qur’anic argumentation because, as Jean Starobinski puts it, “elle rend la vérité discursive et la discursivité véridique.”28 Metatextuality. These forms are concerned with discourse on the discourse. Also called “métadiscours,”29 Mustapha Ben Taïbi defines it as “destiné à construire son image (celle du Dieu coranique), à la fois en tant qu’auteur narrateur du message révélé, et en tant que source et créateur de l’univers.”30 The speaker has the freedom to “intervenir, franchir les frontières, décontextualiser le débat et réorienter le combat.”31 For example, a metatextual allusion of the Qur’an can be found in the following excerpt: “wa-ʾidhā tutlā ʿalayhim ʾāyātunā bayyinātin” (Q 45:25).

Finally, in the context of the theme of the resurrection of the body, Qur’anic ripostes following the counter-discourse have the following topics: a radical opposition against opponents: “wa-mā hum bi-muʾminīna” (Q 2:8); see also Q 2:80; Q 3:24; Q 13:5; Q 32:10; Q 45:24; Q 16:38); the reminder of postmortem pun­ ishment: “a-lā yauma yaʾtīhim laysa maṣrūfan ʿanhum wa-ḥāqa bihim mā kānū bihī yastahziʾūna” (Q 11:8; see also Q 13:5; Q 34:8; Q 41:50); the omnipotence and knowledge of God “a-ttakhadhtum ʿinda Allāhi ʿahdan fa-lan yukhlifa Allāhu ʿahdahū am taqūlūna ʿalā Allāhi mā lā taʿlamūna” (Q 2:80; Q 7:187; Q 10:53); the reminder of God as the Creator: “alladhī faṭarakum ʾawwala marratin” (Q 17:51); and eschatology as a reaffirmed promise: “waʿdan ʿalayhi ḥaqqan wa-lākinna ʾakthara n-nāsi lā yaʿlamūna” (Q 16:38); the counter-argument is not ignored “hātū burhānakum ʾin kuntum ṣādiqīna” (Q 2:111). The preceding analysis, conducted in the context of an “internal” approach, emphasizes the specificities of eschatological counter-discourses in the Qur’an. But as mentioned, this literary form is also found in the Babylonian Talmud Sanhedrin. What then can we learn from a juxtaposition between similar uses of the same literary form and theological controversy? Presently we will illuminate the salient points that define the historical origins of these eschatological counter-discourses.

Eschatological counter-discourse in the Talmudic tractate Sanhedrin Sanhedrin is a Talmudic tractate, a peculiarity of which is to use, like the Qur’an, eschatological counter-discourses. As Adin Steinsaltz argues, this text presents

The eschatological counter-discourse 267 among other “l’espérance messianique, [. . .] avec une description des signes précurseurs de la Rédemption, qui doit s’ouvrir sur une ère de paix, de bonheur et de plein épanouissement pour l’humanité tout entire.”32 A series of questions and answers related to the resurrection of the body are situated in the respective pericope. We identify seven Talmudic counter-discourses that lie in Sanhedrin 90b and 91a (shown next, 1 through 7):

Talmudic Eschatological Counter-Discourse (TECD) (90b) 1. Minim (‫ )מינים‬said: “There is no resurrection (‫ )תחיית‬in the Tora (‫)התורה‬.” 2. Minim (‫ )מינין‬asked Rabbi Gamaliel (‫)גמליאל‬: “Whence (‫ )מניין‬do we know that God, Praise to him (‫)שהקדוש ברוך הוא‬, will raise the dead (‫”?)מחיה מתים‬ 3. The Romans (‫ )רומיים‬asked Rabbi Josué b. Hananiah (‫)יהושע בן חנניה‬: “Whence (‫ )מניין‬do we know that God (‫ )שהקב’’ה‬will resurrect the dead (‫ )מחיה מתים‬and that he knows the future (‫( )שעתיד‬. . .) ?” 4. The Queen Cleopâtra asked (‫ )שאלה קליאופטרא מלכתא‬Rabbi Meir (‫)את ר”מ‬: “I know (‫[ )ידענא דחיי שכבי‬that dead will return to life] (. . .).” 5. Caesar (‫ )קיסר‬asked Rabbi Gamaliel (‫)גמליאל‬: “You affirm that the dead (‫ )דשכבי‬will come back to life (‫ ;)חיי‬aren’t they dust (‫ ?)עפרא‬How can dust (‫ )ועפרא‬return to life (‫”?)חיי‬

(91a) 6. A min (‫ )מינא‬asked R. Ammi (‫)לר’ אמי‬: “You said that the dead (‫ )דשכבי‬will return to life (‫ ;)חיי‬aren’t they dust (‫ ?)עפרא‬How can dust (‫ )ועפרא‬return to life (‫”?)חיי‬ 7. A min (‫ )מינא‬asked to Gebiha b. Pesisa (‫)לגביהא בן פסיסא‬: “Woe to you, wicked men (‫)ווי לכון חייביא‬, who declare that the dead ones do not return to life (‫( )דאמריתון מיתי לא חיין‬. . .)!” These seven Talmudic texts can each be characterized as counter-discourses. Under the form of direct reported speech, they present the words of opponents who question, doubt, or radically refute the possibility of resurrecting a body. We are interested here in two parts that constitute these counter-discourses. The first part concerns the introductory citation of counter-discourse speeches in Sanhedrin. Reduced to abbreviated subject designations, we encounter four distinct collective or individual protagonists: the minim (four occurrences) the Romans (one occurrence), Cleopatra (one occurrence), and Caesar (one occurrence). With only the exception of Gebiha b. Pesisa, their interlocutors represent authoritative figures of rabbinic Judaism across the Talmud: Gamaliel (two occurrences), Joshua b. Hananiah, Meir, and Ammi, (one occurrence for each). Following upon these counter-discourse introductory citations, the second part distinguishes four types of Talmudic counter-discourses. The first is a scathing rebuttal which also twice takes the form of an inquiry (in #1, 5, 6, and 7). The second is a concession

268  Mehdi Azaiez (#4), and the third is an interrogation (#2, 3). The theme of the first three counterdiscourses (#1, 2, 3) are written in a debate about the possibility for scriptural justification and attestation of a bodily resurrection. The other four occurrences deal specifically with the possibility of a resurrection of the body and lead to a mise en scène of opponents’ attitudes that oscillates between benevolent concession (#4) and firm rejection without concession (#7).

Qur’anic and Talmudic counter-discourses: convergences and differences In support of these introductory citations of counter-discourses speeches, it is possible to identify a new development shared intrinsically by Qur’anic and Talmudic counter-discourses. From a formal point view, it is their dialogical nature that unites them, with the mise en scène of an exchange of words between two interlocutors. From a thematic point view, both texts also share a common topic: the resurrection of the body. But beyond these formal convergences and themes, it is undoubtedly their differences that are remarkable. These are, namely, the protagonists, the counter-discourses themselves, and riposte they entail that diverge significantly. Let us consider these final points successively. First, the protagonists: they are explicitly mentioned in the Talmud, although their information about them lacks historical value. “A Roman,” “Queen Cleopatra,” and “Caesar” are designations which likely reflect the context of disputes with Greco-Roman paganism. Here, following Monette Bohrmann, the figures summoned show that “dans leur relation à autrui, les Sages du Talmud projettent très utopiquement sur l’Autre leurs propres préoccupations, car pour eux il n’y a qu’un sujet d’étude digne d’intérêt: la Loi et ses implications ( . . . le monde à venir).”33 Furthermore, the term min (pl. minim/minin), whose identity remains questionable, may refer to Christians, pagans, Zoroastrians, or Manichaeans.34 Second, what are the implications of the neighboring questions or formulations in the counter-discourse of the Talmud and the Qur’an on resurrection? “You say: the dead (‫ )דשכבי‬return to life (‫ ;)חיי‬but how can something that has turned into dust (‫ )ועפרא‬return to life (‫ ”?)חיי‬And “They say, ‘What! When we are dead (ʾa-ʾidhā mitnā) and have become dust (turāba) and bones, we shall be resurrected (a-ʾinnā la-mabʿūthūna)?” (Q 37:16). The second observation reformulates the themes and the literary constructions related to the resurrection. In the case of the Talmud, the legitimation of the eschatological event by its scriptural roots is sought. The Talmud holds to belief that the event of the resurrection is accomplished according to how it is stated in the Torah. For the Qur’an, however, the response on the issue of resurrection insists on the punishment that those who mock resurrection would receive. Third, with regard to affirming counter-discourses, Qur’anic and Talmudic responses have little in common. While the Qur’an insists on condemning the opponents and punishing them, the text of the Sanhedrin principally uses the legitimation of the principle of resurrection, indicating the biblical passages that justify it according to the sages of the Talmud.

The eschatological counter-discourse 269

Eschatological counter-discourses and the identity of the Qur’an’s opponents This systematic survey of convergences and divergences reveals an unexpected interest. Where the Qur’an is silent about to the identity of its opponents, the Talmud indicates the names of protagonists of their counter-discourses. This survey has explored these themes in Q 37 and in Sanhedrin 90b-91a. In light of what we have seen, the use of similar formulations makes it likely that the Qur’anic opponents can plausibly be identified as figures located hors-texte, such as indicated by the Talmud. So when the Qur’an refers to opposition to the idea of ​​resurrection, these adversaries may belong to opposition groups explicitly designated in the Qur’an (yahūd, naṣārā, al-ʿarab, quraysh), but it can also, due to formal and thematic similarities between Qur’anic and talmudic counter-discourses, refer to four distinct protagonists, collective or individual, cited by the Talmud. Therefore, it can be stated that the eschatological counter-discourses open the Qur’an to an external text, thereby creating a shared strategic relationship with an hors-texte. In this perspective, the opponent is a fictitious figure, moving and meta-historical, the sum of all figures convoked in the text and outside it. The phenomenon is all the more reinforced by the decontextualized character of controversy in the Qur’an. By not appointing designations for the opponents as in the Talmud, the Qur’anic discourse decontextualizes the polemic, expanding its scope beyond the horizons of rabbinic literature.

Conclusion This comparative approach indicates two methodological implications for Qur’anic and Talmudic studies alike. First, comparison between the counterdiscourses of the Qur’an and the Talmud indicates that both rely on objectively determined elements. It is not only shared themes but also equivalent literary forms that indicate the case for intertextuality. In this sense, the attempt to compare and contrast the texts becomes more legitimate and the relation between the two texts becomes less subject to approximations that claim a vague influence of the Talmud on the Qur’an. Second, the comparative approach still favors the analysis of common themes, terms, or similar literary genres, primarily narratives and hymns. Consider, for example, the fundamental and classic work of Abraham Geiger.35 He questions what Islam has to do with Judaism, proposed to examine the ideas (Dem Judenthume angehörige und in den Koran übergegangene Gedanken) and stories (Aus dem Judenthume aufgenommene Geschichten) that the Qur’an could share with the vast religious literature of the Jewish tradition (and with Midrash in particular). This fundamental work was continued, for example, by Arthur Jeffery, who listed no fewer than 316 foreign words in the Qur’an.36 In this manner, the present work has contributed to a similar comparative analysis of specific words, ideas, and shared stories. Will there be a way forward in proposing a new juxtaposition of the Qur’an and Jewish texts, this time taking

270  Mehdi Azaiez into account the polemical dimensions of the discourse? As a test case, our investigation consists of looking for counter-discourses and their responses in Qur’anic texts as well as the vast religious and polemic literature of Late Antiquity. Specifically, it concerns the questioning of the possible presence of a characteristic literary form found in the Qur’an: the formula yaqūlūna fa . . . qul (literally: “They say: . . . ” “Tell them: . . . ”). Intertextual relationship may now be considered not only through a common topic of controversy but also, and especially, in the light of an explicit and shared enunciative form, that is to say, the presence of a counter-discourse. Further determination of the numerous shared peculiarities throughout the Qur’an and Talmud would allow us better to understand the loan process that governs the construction of an opponent figure in the Qur’an, as is glimpsed in initial approaches to the comparison between Qur’anic and Talmudic counter-discourses.

Appendix Complete list of Qur’anic eschatological counter-discourse Muṣḥaf list (in an alphabetic Latin order) āmannā bi-Allāhi wa bi-l yawmi l-ʾākhiri a-ḥaqqun huwa a-wa ʾābāʾunā l-ʾawwalūna a-waʾābāʾunā l-ʾawwalūna a-ʾidhā mā mittu la-sawfa ʾukhraju ḥayyan ayyāna mursāhā ayyāna mursāhā ayyāna yawmu l-dīni ayyāna yawmu l-qiyāmati aʾidhā ḍalalnā fī l-ʾarḍi ʾaʾinnā la-fī khalqin jadīdin aʾidhā kunnā turāban wa- ʾābāʾunā ʾa-ʾinnā la-mukhrajūna aʾidhā kunnā turāban ʾaʾinnā la-fī khalqin jadīdin aʾidhā kunnā ʿiẓāman nakhiratan aʾidhā kunnā ʿiẓāman wa-rufātan ʾaʾinnā la-mabʿūthūna khalqan jadīdan aʾidhā kunnā ʿiẓāman wa-rufātan ʾaʾinnā la-mabʿūthūna khalqan jadīdan aʾidhā mitnā wa kunnā turāban wa- ʿiẓāman ʾa-ʾinnā la-mabʿūthūna aʾidhā mitnā wa-kunnā turāban dhālika rajʿun baʿīdun aʾidhā mitnā wa-kunnā turāban wa ʿiẓāman ʾa-ʾinnā la-mabʿūthūna aʾidhā mitnā wa-kunnā turāban wa-ʿiẓāman ʾa-ʾinnā la-mabʿūthūna aʾinnā la-mardūdūna fī l-ḥāfirati faʾtū bi-ʾābāʾinā ʾin kuntum ṣādiqīna hādhā lī wa-mā ʾaẓunnu l-sāʿata qāʾimatan wa-la-ʾin rujiʿtu ʾilā rabbī ʾinna lī ʿindahu la-l-ḥusnā hādhā shayʾun ʿajībun hal nadullukum ʿalā rajulin yunabbiʾukum ʾidhā muzziqtum kulla mumazzaqin ʾinnakum la-fī khalqin jadīdin in hādhā ʾillā siḥrun mubīnun in hādhā ʾillā siḥrun mubīnun in hiya ʾillā ḥayātunā l-dunyā wa mā naḥnu bi-mabʿūthīna in hiya ʾillā mawtatunā l-ʾūlā wa-mā naḥnu bi-munsharīna inna hāʾulāʾi la-yaqūlūna lā taʾtīnā l-sāʿatu lā yabʿathu Allāhu man yamūtu la-qad wuʿidnā hādhā naḥnu wa- ʾābāʾunā min qablu ʾin hādhā ʾillā ʾasāṭīru l-ʾawwalīna la-qad wuʿidnā naḥnu wa-ʾābāʾunā hādhā min qablu ʾin hādhā ʾillā ʾasāṭīru l-ʾawwalīna lan tamassanā l-nāru ʾillā ʾayyāman maʿdūdatan lan tamassanā l-nāru ʾillā ʾayyāman maʿdūdātin lan yadkhula l-jannata ʾillā man kāna hūdan ʾaw naṣārā mā hiya ʾillā ḥayātunā l-dunyā namūtu wa- naḥyā wa-mā yuhlikunā ʾillā l-dahru

Q 2:8 Q 10:53 Q 56:48 Q 37:17 Q 19:66 Q 7:187 Q 79:42 Q 51:12 Q 75:6 Q 32:10 Q 27:67 Q 13:5 Q 79:11 Q 17:49 Q 17:98 Q 56:47 Q 50:3 Q 23:82 Q 37:16 Q 75:10 Q 44:36 Q 41: 50 Q 50:2 Q 34:7 Q 11:7 Q 37:15 Q 6:29 Q 44:35 Q 44:34 Q 34:3 Q 16:38 Q 27:68 Q 23:83 Q 2:80 Q 3:24 Q 2:111 Q 45:24

272  Mehdi Azaiez mā nadrī mā l-sāʿatu ˈin naẓunnu ˈillā ẓannan wa-mā naḥnu bi-mustayqinīna mā yaḥbisuhu man yuḥyī l-ʿiẓāma wa- hiya ramīmun man yuʿīdunā/matā huwa matā hādhā l-fatḥu ʾin kuntum ṣādiqīna matā hādhā l-waʿdu ʾin kuntum ṣādiqīna matā hādhā l-waʿdu ʾin kuntum ṣādiqīna matā hādhā l-waʿdu ʾin kuntum ṣādiqīna matā hādhā l-waʿdu ʾin kuntum ṣādiqīna matā hādhā l-waʿdu ʾin kuntum ṣādiqīna matā hādhā l-waʿdu ʾin kuntum ṣādiqīna tilka ʾidhan karratun khāsiratun tū bi-ʾābāʾinā ʾin kuntum ṣādiqīna uffin lakumā ʾa-taʿidāninī ʾan ʾukhraja wa-qad khalati l-qurūnu min qablī/mā hādhā ʾillā ʾasāṭīru l-ʾawwalīna

Q 45:32 Q 11:8 Q 36:78 Q 17:51 Q 32:28 Q 10:48 Q 21:38 Q 27:71 Q 34:29 Q 36:48 Q 67:25 Q 79:12 Q 45:25 Q 46:17

Concordances (Qur’anic counter-discourse) Eschatological Hour: Q 7:187; Q 10:48; Q 17:51; Q 21:38; Q 27:71; Q 32:28; Q 34:3, 29; Q 36:48; Q 41:50; Q 45:32; Q 51:12; Q 67:25; Q 75:6; and Q 79:42 Resurrection: Q 6:29; Q 11:7; Q 13:5; Q 16:38; Q 17:49, 51, 98; Q 19:66; Q 23:82, 83; Q 27:67, 68; Q 32:10; Q 34:7, 8; Q 36:78; Q 37:15, 16, 17; Q 44:34, 35, 36; Q 45:24, 25; Q 46:17; Q 50:2, 3; Q 56:47, 48; and Q 79:10, 11, 12 Reward: Q 2:80, 111; Q 3:24; Q 10:53; Q 11:8

Notes * This chapter is a translation slightly modified of a previous contribution in french: “Le contre-discours eschatologique dans le Coran et le traité du Sanhédrin” in F. Déroche, C.J. Robin, M. Zink, Les origines du Coran, le Coran des origines (Paris: AIBL, 2015), 111–127. Transliteration is borrowed from Hans Zirker with slight modifications, available online: https://duepublico.uni-duisburg-essen.de/servlets/DocumentServlet? id=10802. My thanks go to Guillaume Dye, who generously revised the first draft of this chapter. Any errors are solely my responsibility. 1 Jane Idleman Smith and Yvonne Yazbeck Haddad, The Islamic Understanding of Death and Resurrection (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002), 1. 2 In this regard, the linguist Pierre Larcher wrote: “le discours coranique étant fréquemment polémique, on y “entend” la “voix” de l’autre, qu’il s’agisse d’un adversaire historique ou d’un adversaire construit pour les besoins de la cause,” see idem, “Coran et theorie linguistique de l’enonciation,” Arabica 47 (2000): 454. 3 See Mehdi Azaiez, “Le contre-discours, premières approches d’un corpus,” in Le Coran. Nouvelles approches, ed. idem (with the collaboration of S. Mervin) (Paris: CNRS Éditions, 2013), 257–290. 4 The full transliterated list of Qur’anic ECDRS is presented at the end of this chapter. 5 The Qur’an uses the opponents reported speech in more than 270 verses. The topics of counter-discourses: 1. God (29 percent); 2. The Prophet (27 percent); 3. The Qurʾān (20 percent); 4. Eschatology (19 percent); and 5. Believers (6 percent). These percentages are based on the total of counter-discourses (270 verses).

The eschatological counter-discourse 273 6 Mehdi Azaiez, La polémique dans le Coran, Essai d’analyse du contre-discours et de la riposte coranique (PhD Dissertation, Aix-Marseille Université, 2012), 85, Graph n° 1. See also idem, Le contre-discours coranique (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2015). 7 Q 6:29; Q 11:7; Q 13:5; Q 16:38; Q 17:49, 51, 98; Q 19:66; Q 23:82, 83; Q 27:67, 68; Q 32:10; Q 34:7, 8; Q 36:78; Q 37:15, 16, 17; Q 44:34, 35, 36; Q 45:24, 25; Q 46:17; Q 50:2, 3; Q 56:47, 48; and Q 79:10, 11, 12. 8 Q 7:187; Q 10:48; Q 17:51; Q 21:38; Q 27:71; Q 32:28; Q 34:3, 29; Q 36:48; Q 41:50; Q 45:32; Q 51:12; Q 67:25; Q 75:6; and Q 79:42. 9 Q 2:80, 111; Q 3:24; Q 10:53; and Q 11:8. 10 This last designation will be the subject of the next section. 11 Q 6:29; Q 17:49; Q 23:82; Q 37:15; and Q 79:12. 12 Q 13:5; Q 16:38; Q 17:51, 98; Q 19:66; Q 23:83; Q 27:67, 68; Q 32:10; Q 34:7, 8; Q 36:78; Q 37:16, 17; Q 44:34, 35, 36; Q 45:24, 25; Q 50:2, 3; Q 56:47, 48; and Q 79:10, 11. 13 For example, the introductory part of the verse Q 19:66 yaqūlu wa-l-ʾinsānu. 14 For example, the introductory part of Q 34:7 wa-qāla lladhīna kafarū. 15 Q 11:7 and Q 46:17. 16 For example, the two introductory sections present in the Q 46:17: “wa-li-wālidayhi lladhī qala” (first introductory proposal) and “fa-yaqūlu” (second introductory proposal). 17 Eighteen verses: Q 13:5; Q 17:49, 51, 98; Q 19:66; Q 23:82; Q 27:67; Q 32:10; Q 34:7, 8; Q 36:78; Q 37:16, 17; Q 50:3; Q 56:47, 48; and Q 79:10, 11. 18 Q 2:26, 118; Q 4:77; Q 10:20; Q 13:27; Q 20:133; Q 25:41, 60; Q 28:47; Q 58:8; and Q 74:31. 19 Christian Plantin, L’argumentation, histoire, théories et perspectives (Que sais-je n° 2087; Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 2005), 71. 20 Q 11:7; Q 16:38; Q 37:15; Q 44:35; Q 46:17; and Q 50:2. 21 Q 6:29; Q 23:83; Q 27:68; Q 32:10; Q 44:35; Q 45:24; Q 46:17; Q 50:3; and Q 79:12. 22 Also as part of a discourse against the resurrection of the body, there are five statements with a riposte within the respective verse: Q 13:5; Q 16:38; Q 32:10; Q 34:8; and Q 45:24. 23 The riposte with qul, “say,” as an injunction occurs in the following verses: Q 17:50, 100; Q 23:84; Q 27:69; Q 32:11; Q 36:79; Q 37:18; Q 45:26; and Q 56:49. 24 Q 23:85, 87, 89; Q 10:18; Q 7:28; Q 3:183; Q 4:78; and Q 5:17, 18. 25 Q 31:25. 26 This form of discourse is significantly represented by Q 45:26–27. 27 Daniel Dubuisson, “Ontogenèse divine et structures énonciatives,” Revue de l’Histoire des Religions 211 (1994): 229. 28 Jean Starobinski, La Relation Critique (Paris: Gallimard, 1970), 91. 29 Mustapha Ben Taïbi, Le Coran comme texte adressé essai de lecture (PhD Dissertation, Université Paris V, 1999), 42. 30 Ben Taïbi, Le Coran comme texte adressé essai de lecture, 62. 31 Laroussi Gasmi, Narrativité et production de sens dans le texte coranique: le récit de Joseph (Paris: EHESS, 1977), 156. 32 Adin Steinsaltz, Adin (trans. and ed.) Le Talmud. L’édition Steinsaltz, Guide et lexiques par le rabbin Adin Steinsaltz (Jerusalem: FSJU, 1994), vol. 1, 4. 33 Monette Bohrmann, “La Loi dans la société juive,” Dialogues d’Histoire Ancienne 23 (1997), 18–19. 34 Simon C. Mimouni, Les Chrétiens d’origine juive dans l’Antiquité (Paris: Albin Michel, 2004), 60–71: “l’étiquette assez vague de min recouvre selon le temps et le lieu, des réalités assez diverses” (61). 35 Abraham Geiger, Was Hat Mohammed aus dem Judenthume Aufgenommen? Eine von der Königl. Preussischen Rheinuniversität gekrönte Preisschrift (Bonn: F. Baaden, 1833). 36 Arthur Jeffery, The Foreign Vocabulary of the Qurʾān, with a foreword by Gerhard Böwering and Jane Dammen Mc Auliffe (Texts and studies on the Qurʾān, 3; Leiden: E. J. Brill, 2007) [1938].

274  Mehdi Azaiez

Bibliography Azaiez Mehdi. La polémique dans le Coran, Essai d’analyse du contre-discours et de la riposte coranique. PhD Dissertation, Aix-Marseille Université, 2012. Azaiez Mehdi. Le contre-discours coranique. Berlin: De Gruyter, 2015. Azaiez Mehdi. “Le contre-discours, premières approches d’un corpus.” In Le Coran. Nouvelles Approches, edited by Azaiez Mehdi (with the collaboration of S. Mervin), 257– 290. Paris: CNRS Éditions, 2013. Babylonian Talmud, Vilna print, published online at www.mechon-mamre.org/b/l/l4411. htm Ben Taïbi, Mustapha. Le Coran comme texte adressé. Un essai de lecture. PhD Dissertation, Université Paris V, 1999. Bohrmann, Monette. “La Loi dans la société juive.” Dialogues d’Histoire Ancienne 23 (1997): 9–53. Dubuisson, Daniel. “Ontogenèse divine et structures énonciatives.” Revue de l’Histoire des Religions (1994): 225–245. Geiger, Abraham. Was hat Mohammed aus dem Judenthume aufgenommen? Eine von der Königl. Preussischen Rheinuniversität gekrönte Preisschrift. Bonn: F. Baaden, 1833. Idleman Smith, Jane and Yvonne Yazbeck Haddad. The Islamic Understanding of Death and Resurrection. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1981. Jeffery, Arthur. The Foreign Vocabulary of the Qurʾān, with a foreword by Gerhard Böwering and Jane Dammen Mc Auliffe (Texts and studies on the Qurʾān 3; Leiden: E. J. Brill 2007 [1938]). Larcher, Pierre. “Coran et theorie linguistique de l’enonciation.” Arabica 47 (2000): 441–456. Laroussi Gasmi. Narrativité et production de sens dans le texte coranique: le récit de Joseph. Paris: EHESS, 1977. Mimouni, Simon Claude. Les Chrétiens d’origine juive dans l’Antiquité. Paris: Albin Michel, 2004. Plantin, Christian. L’argumentation, histoire, théories et perspectives. Que sais-je, n° 2087; Paris: Presses Universitaires de France 2005. Starobinski, Jean. La relation critique. Paris: Gallimard, 1970. Steinsaltz, Adin (ed. and trans.) Le Talmud. L’édition Steinsaltz, Guide et lexiques par le rabbin Adin Steinsaltz. Jerusalem: FSJU, 1994.

Part IV

The Qur’an and Christianity

10 Thrice upon a time Abraham’s guests and the study of intra-Qur’anic parallels Joseph Witztum

Introduction A systematic study of intra-Qur’anic parallels remains a major desideratum.1 It would entail collecting the parallels and analyzing the differences between them, with special attention given to those which may shed light on the process through which the Qur’an evolved.2 In what follows, I will examine one example and suggest what may be gained from such a study.

The guests of Abraham The biblical story of Abraham’s mysterious guests and their good tidings of the expected son (Genesis 18) is reported in detail three times in the Qur’an.3 The accounts consist of many elements, and I will not attempt to do them justice here.4 I wish only to make some observations on the relationship between these Qur’anic accounts and then focus on one small detail: the foreignness or peculiarity of the visitors. The three accounts are presented in the following table:5 Table 10.1  Q 51

Q 15

(24) Has the story of (51) And tell them of the honored guests of the guests of Abraham Abraham (ḍayfi ibrāhīma) (ḍayfi ibrāhīma), (52) reached you? (25) When when they entered unto they entered unto him him and said: “Peace!” and said: “Peace!” (idh (idh dakhalū ʿalayhi dakhalū ʿalayhi fa-qālū fa-qālū salāman) salāman) He said: “Peace!6 (qāla salāmun) [You are] strangers (qawmun munkarūna, literally: ‘people unknown’).”

Q 11 (69) Our messengers came to Abraham with the good tidings; they said: “Peace!” (qālū salāman) He said: “Peace!” (qāla salāmun);

(Continued )

278  Joseph Witztum Table 10.1 (Continued) Q 51

Q 15

(26) Then he turned to his household8 and brought a fattened calf (fa-jā’a bi-ʿijlin samīnin), (27) and he laid it before them saying: “Will you not eat?” (28) Then he conceived a fear of them (fa-awjasa minhum khīfatan). They said: “Fear not.” (qālū lā takhaf)9 And they gave him good tidings of a wise boy (wa-bashsharūhu bi-ghulāmin ʿalīmin). (29) Then came forward his wife, clamoring,10 and she smote her face, and said: “An old woman (ʿajūzun), barren!” (30) They said: “So says your Lord; He is the Wise, the Knowing.” 7

(31) He said: “And what is your business, envoys?” (qāla fa-mā khaṭbukum ayyuhā al-mursalūna) (32) They said: “We have been sent unto a people of sinners (qālū innā ursilnā ilā qawmin mujrimīna), (33) to unleash upon them stones of clay (34) marked by your Lord for the transgressors.”16

Q 11

and without delay he brought a roasted calf (jā’a bi-ʿijlin ḥanīdhin). (70) When he saw their hands not reaching towards it, he deemed them strange (nakirahum) and conceived He said: “Behold, we are a fear of them (wa-awjasa afraid of you.” (wajilūna) minhum khīfatan). They (53) They said: “Be not said: “Fear not (qālū lā afraid (lā tawjal); behold, takhaf); we have been we give you good tidings sent unto the people of (nubashshiruka) of a Lot.” (innā ursilnā ilā wise boy.” (bi-ghulāmin qawmi lūṭin) (71) His ʿalīmin) (54) He said: wife was standing [by];12 “What, do you give me good tidings, though old she laughed, therefore We age has smitten me? Of gave her the good tidings what do you give me (fa-bashsharnāhā) of Isaac, good tidings?” (55) They and, after Isaac, of Jacob. said: “We give you good (72) She said: “Woe is me! tidings of truth. Be not of Shall I bear, while I am an those that despair.” (56) old woman (ʿajūzun) and He said: “Who despairs here is my husband, an old of the mercy of his man?13 This assuredly is an Lord (raḥmati rabbihi), odd thing.” (73) They said: excepting those that are “What, do you wonder at astray?”11 God’s command?14 The mercy of God (raḥmatu llāhi) and His blessings be upon you, O people of the house!15 Surely He is laudable, glorious.” (57) He said: “And what is (74) So, when the awe your business, envoys?” departed from Abraham (qāla fa-mā khaṭbukum and the good tidings came ayyuhā al-mursalūna) to him, he disputed with (58) They said: “We Us concerning the people have been sent unto of Lot;18 (75) Abraham a people of sinners was forbearing, imploring, (qālū innā ursilnā ilā given to turn [to God].19 qawmin mujrimīna), (76) “O Abraham, desist (59) excepting the folk from this; your Lord’s of Lot; them we shall command has surely come, deliver all together, (60) and there is coming upon excepting his wife – we them a chastisement not to have decreed that she be turned back.” shall surely be of those that tarry.”17

Thrice upon a time 279 The relationship between the passages One way to approach the question of the relationship between these passages could be based on the various chronological schemes for the suras of the Qur’an. Unfortunately, there is little agreement concerning the relative chronology of our passages. Whereas the traditional chronological lists offer the following relative order: 11, 15, 51,20 Neuwirth and Sinai reverse the order: 51, 15, 11.21 Bazargan offers yet another order: 15, 51, 11.22 Apart from the diversity in the lists, one should also keep in mind that they are not always to be understood rigidly.23 Therefore, I shall turn to other criteria to try and shed some light on the textual relationship between the passages.24 The highly similar language used in the three accounts clearly indicates that they are related.25 There are a few elements which are common to all three accounts: the guests greet Abraham, bidding him peace, and the verb bashshara is used to express their bringing of good tidings. More often, however, we find two of the passages sharing language. It is striking that Q 51 shares phrases with the two other suras, while they themselves seem to be mostly independent of each other.26 This could be interpreted in several manners. One is that Q 51 draws on the other two suras; another possibility is that they draw on it. Other scenarios are possible, and more hints are needed if we are to solve this problem. Might the differences between the passages help us determine the nature of their relationship? Again matters are not so simple. Let us consider a detail in which Q 11 is more specific than the other versions. Whereas in Q 11:71 Isaac is mentioned explicitly as the subject of the good tidings, in Q 15:53 and Q 51:28 the promised son is vaguely referred to as “a wise boy.”27 One could offer an explanation in keeping with the traditional chronology: Q 15 and Q 51 rely on Q 11. Since Q 11 already mentioned the names, the later suras can make do with mere allusions. It is, however, equally possible to offer a counter-scenario, according to which only in the later sura, Q 11, was it possible to spell out the vague allusion made in the earlier suras. Beforehand the name of Abraham’s son was simply unknown.28 One may, however, also offer an explanation of a different nature focusing on the constraints of rhyme and their effects.29 Following the rhyme classification of Angelika Neuwirth, in Q 11:57–110 we find the rhyme 3(C)C2C (the last consonant tending to be a plosive), whereas in Q 51:10–60 and Q 15 the rhyme is 2n/m (the latter with a few l variants).30 Several differences between the passages are indeed found in rhyme-words, including the description of the promised boy. Consider the following table:

Table 10.2  Q 51 and Q 15

Q 11

(Q 51:26) Then he turned to his household and brought a fattened calf (fa-jā’a bi-ʿijlin samīn).31

(69) [. . .] and without delay he brought a roasted calf (jā’a bi-ʿijlin ḥanīdh). (Continued )

280  Joseph Witztum Table 10.2 (Continued) Q 51 and Q 15

Q 11

(Q 51:28) [. . .] And they gave him good (71) [. . .] therefore We gave her the tidings of a wise boy (wa-bashsharūhu glad tidings of Isaac (fa-bashsharnāhā bi-ghulāmin ʿalīm). bi-isḥāqin), and, after Isaac, of Jacob (Q 15: 53) [. . .] behold, we give you good (yaʿqūb).32 tidings of a wise boy (innā nubashshiruka bi-ghulāmin ʿalīm). (Q 51:30) They said: “So says your Lord; He (73) They said: “What, do you marvel is the Wise, the Knowing (innahu huwa at God’s command? [. . .] Surely He l-ḥakīmu l-ʿalīm).” is laudable, glorious (innahu ḥamīdun majīd).” (Q 51:32/Q 15:58) They said: “We have (70) [. . .] They said: “Fear not; we have been sent unto a people of sinners been sent unto the people of Lot (qawmi (qawmin mujrimīn).” lūṭ).”

It may be more profitable to consider more substantial differences which suggest the possibility that the parallel versions do not relay the exact same story and in fact may contradict each other. Let us first examine this issue in its own right and then consider whether it may shed light on the nature of the relationship between the parallel accounts. Do the three versions tell the same story? Nicolai Sinai has argued forcefully for a processual reading of the Qur’an, emphasizing the interpretive relationship between later suras and earlier ones.33 Central to his position is the notion that the various versions of the same narrative in the Qur’an were meant to complement each other.34 Though this may very well be the case at times, I believe it should not be overstated. Here I will not address Sinai’s general arguments, but rather focus on our Abraham passages.35 The main point I wish to stress is that while it is most fruitful to examine the interpretive relationship between parallel versions, we should not a priori assume that the parallels should be read in a harmonistic fashion.36 Willingness to identify tensions and contradictions between intra-Qur’anic parallels may reveal a dynamic of change and may lead us to a better understanding of the process through which the Qur’an evolved. One example of a discrepancy between the versions concerns the intended addressee of the good tidings. In Q 15:53 and Q 51:28, it is Abraham who was informed of the wise boy to be born. Q 51:29 adds that upon hearing this promise, Abraham’s wife reacted with disbelief. In Q 11:71–73, on the other hand, it is the wife who was the direct recipient of the good news of the coming birth of Isaac, now identified by name.37 Sinai proposes a harmonistic reading in which Q 11 assumes the scene in Q 51. Accordingly, Sarah first heard the news delivered to Abraham without an explicit naming of Isaac. Amazed, she approached

Thrice upon a time 281 and received a more detailed annunciation specifically addressed to her.38 This presumes a fairly sophisticated audience, who upon hearing a passage, was able to keep in mind all the earlier passages and create a synoptic reading to harmonize them.39 I find this interpretation unnecessary.40 It seems simpler to accept that each sura relates a slightly different version of the events, albeit using similar language.41 Another related instance of tension concerns the reaction to the good tidings. In Q 15 Abraham has trouble accepting the good news and is rebuked for his response. In Q 11 and Q 51, it is Abraham’s wife who expresses her doubt and causes the guests to reply.42 Again Sinai argues that the accounts should be read in a harmonizing manner, that is, that the Qur’an intends to portray both Abraham and his wife as having expressed their doubts upon hearing the news. The language of the accounts, however, gives no indication that this indeed was intended.43 It therefore seems likelier that the Qur’an relates different versions of the story, reflecting the tension found already in the Bible.44 In the direct parallel in Genesis 18:10–15 it is Sarah who doubts, whereas in a different but parallel incident in Genesis 17:16–21 it is Abraham who doubts.45 The issue of harmony or lack thereof comes up in another motif common to the three accounts: Abraham’s fear. In Q 11:70 the cause is explicit: the messengers did not partake in the meal and thus frightened Abraham. Whereas in Genesis 18:8 it is explicitly stated that the men ate the food served to them, Second Temple texts as well as rabbinic and Christian sources were uneasy with attributing a partaking of food to the angelic guests.46 A common solution was to explain away the biblical text, claiming that the angels only pretended to eat.47 The Qur’an, which is not bound by the biblical text, further developed this exegetical tendency by stating that not only did they not eat but also that this was apparent to Abraham and was a source of wonder and fear.48 Presumably, he became afraid since he suspected that these guests were not mere mortals.49 Though the Qur’an does not state explicitly that the guests were angels, there are good reasons to think that this is indeed the text’s assumption.50 Q 15 and Q 51 are often read in light of the more explicit Q 11 with the result that in all three accounts the source of the fear becomes the abstention from food on the part of the guests.51 It should be noted, however, that there is good reason to think otherwise. In Q 15:52 there is no mention of the meal at all, and Abraham expresses his fear immediately after the guests greet him.52 This suggests that there was something about their very first interaction that frightened Abraham, perhaps their looks.53 Likewise, in Q 51:27–28 Abraham’s fear is mentioned immediately after he uttered the words: “Will you not eat?” but again there is no explicit mention that they did not eat. Though “Will you not eat?” is often understood as a reaction to their refusal to eat, it might merely be a polite offer of food.54 Here, too, the source of fear might be something else. In fact other figures in the Qur’an also respond in fear and unease to their interaction with angels.55 In pre-Islamic sources as well, fear is a standard response of figures who encounter divine beings.56 Especially relevant is the annunciation to Zechariah in Luke 1,

282  Joseph Witztum which displays several similarities with our Qur’anic episode and perhaps influenced it to some degree.57 In that instance we read: (11) Then there appeared to him an angel of the Lord, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. (12) When Zechariah saw him, he was terrified; and fear overwhelmed him. (13) But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will name him John.”58 It would seem then that a fearful emotion upon meeting angels is to be expected, and there is no real need for a dramatic scene of their abstaining from eating in order to explain the source of Abraham’s fear. Indeed, Q 15 offers no such scene, and Q 51, too, can probably be read as not including such a scene, though this is a matter of interpretation. If my reading is correct, this raises the question of the relationship between Q 11 and the other two versions. In supplying a reason for Abraham’s fear, Q 11 may be (mis)interpreting his question in Q 51:27 “Will you not eat?” in light of the well-known tradition that the guests did not actually eat.59 Rather than a mere suggestion to eat, “Will you not eat?” is now understood as a reaction to their abstention and this is merged with the originally independent fear motif.60 Thus, the willingness to read the parallel versions independently and not harmonistically allows us to identify a possible dynamic of change and development in the tradition.61 My final point will examine at greater length another possible example of change in the use of an element over the various Qur’anic accounts. The foreignness or strangeness of the guests Foreignness or strangeness, referred to by the root n-k-r, is an element which occurs in all three suras. Since the position and meaning of this element varies, a comparison with pre-Islamic traditions regarding Abraham and his guests may indicate how it developed and changed in its various Qur’anic retellings. In Q 51 the foreignness of the guests is mentioned at the very beginning of the story, well before Abraham offers them food. Already when he firsts greets them, Abraham utters the words salāmun qawmun munkarūna. The exegetes disagree regarding the interpretation of these words. Some think that Abraham uttered them all to the guests and that they should be rendered: “Peace! You are strangers.”62 Others believe that Abraham only said “Peace!” and that the rest of the sentence describes his thoughts: “These are strangers.”63 There is nothing in the context that suggests that munkarūna is meant negatively here.64 It follows an exchange of peace greetings between the guests and Abraham, and there is no hint that they behaved improperly in any manner and thus provoked Abraham’s reproach or fear. Therefore, it seems reasonable that Abraham simply addressed them as foreigners – or viewed them as such – presumably on the basis of their looks and the fact that he did not recognize them.65 In Q 11, on the other hand, the situation is different. In this version Abraham’s initial greeting lacks any reference to the guests’ foreignness. Rather we are told

Thrice upon a time 283 in v. 70 that they refrained from eating and thus raised Abraham’s suspicion and caused him to fear them: “When he saw their hands not reaching towards it, he deemed them strange (nakirahum) and conceived a fear of them.” The same root n-k-r is used here, but both the position and the meaning are different.66 Here it is connected to the motif of fear which we have analyzed earlier, and it emphasizes strange behavior rather than mere foreignness.67 It is linked to a later stage of the story (i.e. the meal and the guests’ lack of participation in it). What is the relationship between these two versions? When and why did Abraham consider his visitors to be foreign or odd? Was it when they first met, or rather only after they refrained from partaking of his meal?68 Adding to our confusion is a third version in Q 15. Although in this account Abraham does not use the root n-k-r, an utterance including this root is attributed to Lot when he first meets the messengers: (61) So, when the envoys came to the folk of Lot, (62) he said: “Surely you are strange people (innakum qawmun munkarūna)!” (63) They said: “Nay, but we have brought you that concerning which they were doubting (qālū bal ji’nāka bi-mā kānū fīhi yamtarūna). (64) We have come to you with the truth, and assuredly we speak truly.” Apart from the identity of the speaker, the usage, too, seems different. Whereas in Q 51, Abraham said (or thought) qawmun munkarūna after greeting his guests, Lot’s address in Q 15 includes no greeting. The first thing he says is innakum qawmun munkarūna, which implies that this is an accusation or expression of fear, not a warm welcome.69 This reading is supported by the response of the messengers: “Nay, but (bal) we have brought you that concerning which they were doubting” (i.e. we are not ominous as you claim).70 To sum up, in three Qur’anic versions of the Abraham and Lot story mention is made of the guests being foreign or odd. The context and meaning, however, differ. In Q 51, Abraham notes their foreignness when they first meet; in Q 11 he considers them odd since they abstain from eating; in Q 15 this is an accusation or expression of fear uttered by Lot. What is the relationship between these three versions? They all use the same word, or at least the same root, in the same narrative – yet in a different manner. It seems highly unlikely that this is mere chance. Moreover, the linguistic similarity between the three accounts strongly suggests that they are related “genetically.” Which then preserves the most original version, and why or how did the other versions develop from it? In my opinion, Q 51 preserves the original usage. In order to substantiate this claim, let us consider the history of the motif of foreignness in this story, beginning from the biblical account. Though in Genesis 18 and 19, there is no explicit mention of the visitors being foreign or strange, there are several points regarding them which caused later readers to speculate about their foreign appearance. The first point concerns their identity. Who exactly were they? Throughout Genesis 18 (and 19) they are referred to as “men,” though their relation to the Lord remains unclear as the narrative shifts abruptly from them to Him. In Genesis 19:1 and 15,

284  Joseph Witztum however, they are called “angels.” This suggested to some readers that the angels hid their true appearance and took the form of men.71 The second point concerns Abraham’s awareness of their true nature, or lack thereof. In which form did they appear to Abraham? If he thought they were men, why did he see fit to invite them to rest and eat with him? How did he know that they were not locals and that they were in need of his hospitality? On the other hand, if he realized that they were angels, why did he offer them material nourishment? Answers to such questions are found in postbiblical sources, where it is stated that the angels appeared to Abraham in the form of foreign men.72 Thus we read, for example, in Genesis Rabba 48.9 that according to Rabbi Levi, the men appeared to Abraham in the form of a Saracen, a Nabatean, and an Arab.73 Likewise, in BT Qiddushin 32b, it is said that they appeared to him as Arabs.74 A more general formulation is found in Judean Antiquities 1.196: After God had issued this judgment concerning the Sodomites, Habramos, noticing three angels [. . .] and thinking that they were strangers (ξένους), stood up and welcomed them and leading them within his home invited them to enjoy his hospitality (ξενίας).75 In Hebrews 13:2 too we find a clear allusion to the story of Abraham and Lot which refers to the guests as strangers: “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers (φιλοξενίας), for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it.” After alluding to this verse in his twentieth demonstration, On the Support of the Poor, Aphrahat identifies Abraham, Lot, Job, and other righteous men like them as those referred to in the verse. He then adds: See, my beloved, how these fathers used to be hospitable to strangers (rāḥmin (h)waw laksnāyē, literally “used to love strangers”). For when Abraham saw these angels he thought they were strangers (aksnāyē), so he ran to meet them and bowed himself before them, that they may enter his tent and rest with him; so that the host’s house might be blessed by the hospitality (reḥmat aksnāyē). At this wonder greatly, that a man of high rank cast himself down, bowed, made supplication, and begged the strangers to enter his tent to rest. For the custom of Abraham was that every day he would receive strangers. When he saw these angels he thought they were poor strangers, ran to meet them and received them as strangers, their greatness being hidden from his eyes.76 Both Josephus and Aphrahat depict Abraham as thinking that the angels were strangers.77 Thematically this is close to the version in Q 51. Linguistically, though, there is no similarity between the Arabic munkarūna and the Syriac aksnāyē or its Greek source (used in Hebrews and Josephus). A tradition especially close to Q 51 is found in a homily by Jacob of Serugh (d. 521).78 He describes at length the way in which God revealed Himself to Abraham

Thrice upon a time 285 in the form of three men whose clothes were covered with sand, whose gait was that of tired nomads, and whose feeble steps betrayed their remote origin. The poet proceeds to present the speech Abraham spoke in his mind as he saw the angels. A few lines should suffice: That righteous man perhaps spoke thus in his mind: “Who are these men and where do they come from? Behold they do not resemble the inhabitants of the place where I dwell for I perceive a pleasing sign in their persons. It is to Sodom they are travelling and yet, behold, they do not resemble the Sodomites; in their forms they are very different from (mnakrēn, literally ‘foreign to, separated from’) the Amorites. In them there is no trace of the licentiousness of the Jebusites or of the Canaanites’ horrible and ugly appearance. They are strangers (aksnāyē) for, behold, their figure is foreign (nukrāyā); their place of origin lies far away and therefore they are excessively weary.”79 There are three striking similarities between Jacob’s passage and the account of Q 51. One is that they both focus on the foreignness of the guests. This is not found in Genesis, but is found in other postbiblical sources. A second similarity is that both supply a speech or thought of Abraham as he sees the angels.80 The other postbiblical sources tell us the general content of Abraham’s thoughts but do not supply his actual words. Finally, both use words derived from the root n-k-r to express the notion of foreignness. According to Jacob, Abraham thought that the visitors were aksnāyē and their figure was nukrāyā. Moreover, he considered them to be mnakrēn. This last word is extremely close to the word used in Q 51 to portray Abraham’s impression of his guests – munkarūna.81 Though Q 11 and Q 15 also include the extrabiblical motif of foreignness or strangeness expressed by words derived from the root n-k-r, the presentation differs markedly from Jacob’s homily. In these suras the words derived from n-k-r acquire a negative connotation lacking in Jacob’s homily and Q 51. Moreover, the foreignness/strangeness motif occurs at later stages of the story: in Q 11 at the meal and in Q 15 when Lot meets the guests.82 The comparison to pre-Islamic traditions and especially to Jacob’s poem suggests that the foreignness motif was situated originally at the initial meeting between Abraham and his guests, not at the meal.83 It also suggests that the motif did not originally carry a negative connotation. Q 51, then, preserves the motif in a more original state. If this is true, how are we to understand the other versions? To my mind, we are given here a glimpse into the formation of the Qur’an. We see how an element drifts from place to place, from one text to another, acquiring new meanings in its new contexts. What precisely caused our element to change is difficult to say. Perhaps it is relevant that in the Qur’an the angels come to Abraham without any mention of him noticing them and convincing them to enjoy his hospitality. If Abraham did not invite them, his noticing their foreignness was no longer needed and therefore was reinterpreted in subsequent retellings. It is also possible that the common negative connotation of munkar as attested in all other Qur’anic occurrences played a part

286  Joseph Witztum as well.84 Perhaps this connotation caused the neutral usage in Q 51 to be reformulated in Q 11 and Q 15 in a manner that denotes a negative meaning. Alternatively, the differences we perceive between the passages may simply be the result of an approach to retelling which felt free to adapt and reformulate older material, at times finding surprising new uses for known elements.85 Wa-llāhu aʿlam. Even if the reconstruction offered here must remain conjectural, the issues it raises demand attention. Whereas intrabiblical parallels are extremely well studied, the intra-Qur’anic parallels have not received sufficient attention, especially not from a philological and comparative angle. Lacking are studies which combine an examination of the Qur’an’s sources, its literary problems, and the related chronological issues. A serious answer to such questions must be founded on a careful study of small details such as the description of Abraham’s guests as munkarūna.

Conclusions By way of conclusion I wish to highlight a few methodological points which rise from this study. The first point concerns the importance of identifying differences between intra-Qur’anic parallels rather than stressing their harmony. Teasing out the implications of these differences may prove to be a fruitful endeavor. The link between munkarūna and nakirahum has been noted before, though without sufficient attention. In an article Reynolds translates qawmun munkarūna in Q 51:25 as “unusual people” and adds that this is “perhaps an allusion to the supernatural character of these visitors.” He then adds: “This term also seems to have something in common with Q 11:70, where it is related that Abraham nakirahum (usually understood as ‘felt mistrust’ or the like) when they did not touch the food.”86 May anything more definite be said other than that the two versions seem “to have something in common?” To do so it is necessary to highlight the differences between the parallels and try to reconstruct the dynamic that caused them. It is to this speculative but hopefully rewarding enterprise that the bulk of this chapter was devoted. The second point concerns the Qur’an’s awareness of biblical lore. The model I present in my discussion of munkarūna is opposite to that usually used by scholars: of the Qur’an reflecting biblical lore more accurately as time goes by.87 Whereas this may indeed often be the case, I would argue that in some instances the movement is in the other direction: away from the pre-Islamic source. The latter model seems especially preferable in instances where phraseology of preIslamic origin is reproduced in some passages of the Qur’an faithfully and in others in new garb. I see no reason why both models could not coexist, and in my opinion each case should be studied independently.88 My last point concerns the conclusions one may draw from studies such as this. Does my reconstruction of the history of the foreignness motif prove that Q 51 is the earliest of the three suras and thus lend support to the relative chronology established by Neuwirth and Sinai? Though it is certainly suggestive, a relative chronology requires a study of the three accounts and their suras in their entirety.

Thrice upon a time 287 The fact that one element is earlier does not necessarily indicate that the entire unit is earlier.89 The process might be less linear than scholars wish to believe.90 This study and others like it may have implications for other fundamental issues regarding the Qur’an, such as its usually assumed – but at times debated – unity of authorship, but again care is called for. The fact that the position and meaning of elements change over the various retellings of the same story may perhaps indicate to some a plurality of authors, but may alternatively reflect the free approach of one author to his materials.91 We may be in a better position to answer this fundamental question and others such as the Qur’an’s mode of composition (oral and/or written?) once we have a systematic study of intra-Qur’anic parallels.92

Notes * The kernel of this chapter was first presented in 2012 at the Mandel Scholion Center of The Hebrew University of Jerusalem and at the Berliner Seminar of EUME. I thank Menahem Kister and Manolis Papoutsakis for their help and Etan Kohlberg, Judith Loebenstein Witztum, and Holger M. Zellentin for their comments on earlier drafts. I am also grateful to the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and to the Mandel Scholion Center for their support. This chapter was originally submitted in September 2015. References to subsequent studies are limited. 1 Many scholars have approached this topic from different angles. For an initial survey of the literature and an examination of two examples, see my “Variant Traditions, Relative Chronology, and the Study of Intra-Quranic Parallels,” in Islamic Cultures, Islamic Contexts: Essays in Honor of Professor Patricia Crone, ed. B. Sadeghi, et al. (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 2014), 1–50. For examples of recent studies not included in that article, see Andrew G. Bannister, An Oral-Formulaic Study of the Qur’an (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2014); Devin J. Stewart, “Wansbrough, Bultmann, and the Theory of Variant Traditions in the Qurʾān,” in Qurʾānic Studies Today, ed. A. Neuwirth and M. A. Sells (London: Routledge, 2016), 17–51; Holger M. Zellentin, “Trialogical Anthropology: The Qurʾān on Adam and Iblīs in View of Rabbinic and Christian Discourse,” in New Approaches to Human Dignity in the Context of Qurʾānic Anthropology: The Quest for Humanity, ed. R. Braun and H. I. Çiçek (Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Press, 2017), 61–131. I hope to address these studies and others elsewhere. 2 In July 2017 the Israel Science Foundation awarded me a three-year grant (863/17) to carry out a study under the title of “Intra-Quranic Parallels and Their Implications for the Formation of the Quran.” 3 Note also the brief allusions in Q 29:31–2 and Q 37:101 and 112. A most important study of the Abraham stories in the Qur’an is found in Nicolai Sinai, Fortschreibung und Auslegung: Studien zur frühen Koraninterpretation (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2009), 97–151. See also Nicolai Sinai, “The Qur’an as Process,” in The Qurʾān in Context, ed. A. Neuwirth, N. Sinai, and M. Marx (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 2010), 407–439. My study is inspired by Sinai’s work even when we disagree. 4 The three accounts proceed to treat the destruction of Lot’s people. Though this episode is intertwined with the visit to Abraham and is essentially its conclusion, it remains beyond the scope of this chapter. 5 The English rendition of Qur’anic verses is usually an adaptation of Arthur J. Arberry, The Koran Interpreted (London: Allen & Unwin, 1955). Departures from Arberry’s translation often follow other English translations of the Qur’an. 6 This rendition, which is offered by many translators in this verse as well as in Q 11:69, ignores the difference in case between the two occurrences of the word salām. Cf. the rendition of Muhammad Asad: “[. . .] and bade him peace, he answered: ‘[And upon

288  Joseph Witztum you be] peace!’ ”; Muhammad Asad, The Message of the Qurʾān (London: The Book Foundation, 2012), 915. Another complication in these verses is the variant reading silm, which replaces some occurrences of salām and may carry a different meaning (both words may be written identically in an orthography which does not systematically denote ā with an alif); see ʿAbd al-Laṭīf al-Khaṭīb, Muʿjam al-qirāʾāt (Damascus: Dār Saʿd al-Dīn, 2002), vol. 4, 95–96 and vol. 9, 133–134. None of this affects my arguments. 7 In Arabic rāgha. This verb occurs only three times in the Qur’an (always with Abraham as the subject). See Q 37:91 and 93. An interesting linguistic parallel to Q 51:26–7 is found in Q 37:91: “Then he turned (fa-rāgha) to their gods and said: ‘Will you not eat? (a-lā ta’kulūna)’ ” This cannot be chance, though it is unclear what exactly the point is, if indeed there is one. 8 For an alternative understanding of this word (ahl) in light of the Hebrew of Genesis 18:6 as “tent,” see Joseph Horovitz, “Jewish Proper Names and Derivatives in the Koran,” Hebrew Union College Annual 2 (1925): 191. 9 Although the context is very different, Moses’ fear and God’s calming reaction in Q 20:67–68, offer a striking linguistic parallel to Abraham’s fear and the calming reaction of his guests here and in Q 11:70. 10 The Arabic rendered as “clamoring,” fī ṣarratin, is perhaps a play on Sarah’s name which is not mentioned in the Qur’an. Compare Emran Iqbal El-Badawi, The Qurʾān and the Aramaic Gospel Traditions (London: Routledge, 2014), 9. 11 The dialogue in verses 55–56 serves to absolve Abraham of disbelief in God’s promise. For a dialogue of a similar function see Q 2:260. See also note 19 later. In all these instances the Qur’an mitigates traditions which might be perceived as portraying Abraham in unfavorable light. I hope to examine these Qur’anic passages in light of pre-Islamic Jewish and Christian traditions elsewhere. 12 Ibn Masʿūd is said to have read additional words here: “and he was sitting;” al-Khaṭīb, Muʿjam al-qirā’āt, vol. 4, 98. Cf. Genesis 18:8 and 10. 13 In Arabic wa-hādhā baʿlī shaykhan. The reading shaykhun is attributed to Ibn Masʿūd and others; al-Khaṭīb, Muʿjam al-qirā’āt, vol. 4, 105–106. 14 The verb for “wonder,” ʿ-j-b in the first form, occurs eight times in the Qur’an. In all these occurrences it expresses a negative response to something, as in disapproving of it or deeming it strange or improbable. 15 Here and in Q 33:33 ahla al-bayti is addressed specifically to wives (Sarah and the wives of the Prophet). These are the only occurrences of the phrase in the Qur’an. In both instances the context is that of reproach. The suggestion to understand albayt here as a reference to the Kaʿba is unconvincing. For this suggestion, see Heinrich Speyer, Die biblischen Erzählungen im Qoran (Hildesheim: Georg Olms Verlag, 1971) [originally published sometime between 1937 and 1939 in Breslau]), 150, and Rudi Paret, Der Koran: Kommentar und Konkordanz (Stuttgart: Kohlhammer, 1977), 239–240. 16 The verse is difficult and other translations might be possible. For a similar rendition (“bearing the marks of your Master”), see e.g. Arne A. Ambros with Stephan Procházka, A Concise Dictionary of Koranic Arabic (Wiesbaden: Reichert, 2004), 142. 17 The passage from Q 15 is included in the lower text of the published fragments of Ṣanʿā’ 1. Nothing there affects my argument. See Behnam Sadeghi and Mohsen Goudarzi, “Ṣanʿā’ 1 and the Origins of the Qurʾān,” Der Islam (2010): 107; Asma Hilali, The Sanaa Palimpsest: The Transmission of the Qurʾān in the First Centuries AH (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017), 123. 18 The syntax of this verse is far from clear. See e.g. the opinions cited in Aḥmad b. Yūsuf al-Samīn al-Ḥalabī, al-Durr al-maṣūn fī ʿulūm al-kitāb al-maknūn, ed. Aḥmad Muḥammad al-Kharrāṭ (Damascus: Dār al-Qalam, 1986–94), vol. 6, 359–360. 19 A similar characterization of Abraham is found in Q 9:114. In both passages this characterization serves to justify Abraham’s pleading for the sake of sinners. See also Q 60:4.

Thrice upon a time 289 20 Theodor Nöldeke, et al., Geschichte des Qorāns (Leipzig: Dieterich’sche Verlagsbuchhandlung, 1909–38), vol. 1, 59–62. 21 In this they follow Nöldeke and Schwally’s order (according to which Q 51 belongs to the first Meccan period, Q 15 to the second Meccan period, and Q 11 to the third Meccan period) with one important difference. While Nöldeke and Schwally suggested that the Abraham sections in Q 51 and Q 11 might be secondary additions to these suras (thus complicating the establishment of a relative chronology), Neuwirth and Sinai argue that these units are organic parts of their suras. See Nöldeke, et al., Geschichte des Qorāns, vol. 1, 105, 129–130, and 151–152; Angelika Neuwirth, Studien zur Komposition der mekkanischen Suren (Berlin: De Gruyter, 1981), 204–205 and 296; Nicolai Sinai, Fortschreibung, 98–102 and 105–106; Angelika Neuwirth, Der Koran, Band 1: Frühmekkanische Suren: Poetische Prophetie (Berlin: Verlag der Weltreligionen, 2011), 529. 22 In Bazargan’s case I refer to the relevant verses, not to the entire suras, since in his opinion Q 15 and Q 51 both include materials from two different periods. For Bazargan I depend on Behnam Sadeghi, “The Chronology of the Qurʾān: A Stylometric Research Program,” Arabica 58 (2011): 228–238. Bazargan divided the verses of the Qur’an into 194 blocks for which he proposed a chronological order. In his scheme Q 15:1–5 and 49–99 are block 67, Q 51:7–60 are block 70, and Q 11 is block 118. In Sadeghi’s modification of Bazargan’s list the relevant passages from Q 15 and Q 51 belong to group 4 and Q 11 to the later group 9. 23 Sadeghi, for example, warns readers not to take his list or that of Bazargan’s in a more precise way than intended: “Where I identify one group of texts as having come after another, this claim holds only in an average sense, it does not mean that every text in one group came after every text in the other group”; idem, “The Chronology of the Qurʾān,” 237–238. Note also the skeptical approach articulated in studies such as Gabriel S. Reynolds, “Le problème de la chronologie du Coran,” Arabica 58 (2011): 477–502. 24 Compare my discussion later to that of Waleed Ahmed, “Lot’s Daughters in the Qurʾān: An Investigation through the Lens of Intertextuality,” in New Perspectives on the Qurʾān: The Qurʾān in Its Historical Context 2, ed. G. S. Reynolds (London: Routledge, 2011), 412–414. Ahmed notes that the account in Q 11 adds various details that are not found in Q 15 and characterizes these elaborations as “later amendments” to the version of Q 15. Likewise, he stresses that the account in Q 51 is “significantly less comprehensive” than that of Q 11. In his brief discussion, which is not the focus of his chapter, Ahmed does not examine the relationship between Q 15 and Q 51 and does not consider the language of the accounts or the contradictions among them. 25 Similar and identical phrases have been underlined in table 10.1. Let us note here two representative examples. A) In both Q 15:53 and Q 51:28 the promised son is described as ghulām ʿalīm (“a wise boy”). These are the only occurrences of this phrase in the Qur’an. Close, but not identical, is the description of the promised son in Q 37:101 – ghulām ḥalīm (“a forbearing boy”). B) In both Q 11:72 and Q 51:29 Abraham’s wife refers to herself as an ʿajūz (“old woman”). Elsewhere in the Qur’an a similar idea is expressed with different words (Q 3:40 and Q 19:8), so that the use of the exact same word in both Abraham accounts seems to indicate a link between them. Incidentally, the other two occurrences of ʿajūz in the Qur’an (Q 26:171 and Q 37:135) both refer to another figure from the same story, Lot’s wife, who in a way provides a contrasting parallel for Sarah. 26 A possible exception is the use of the word raḥma (“mercy”) in both Q 11:73 and Q 15:56. In Sinai, Fortschreibung, 128, it is argued that the use of the word in Q 11 is inspired by its use in Q 15. Note, however, that the word occurs often in the Qur’an. In Q 11 alone it occurs eight times. Note also that the contexts in which the word is used in the Abraham accounts of Q 11 and Q 15 are not entirely identical.

290  Joseph Witztum 27 Likewise, in Q 11:70 the messengers announce that they are on a mission to “the people of Lot,” while in Q 15:58 and Q 51:32 they refer to them as “a people of sinners.” Both details are noted in Fakhr al-Dīn al-Rāzī, al-Tafsīr al-kabīr aw Mafātīḥ al-ghayb (Beirut: Dār al-Kutub al-ʿIlmiyya, 1990), pt. 28, 183. 28 See Sinai, Fortschreibung, 128. This approach is in keeping with a general model accepted among scholars, according to which the knowledge of biblical lore became more accurate and detailed in the later suras. See also ibid., 99 note 14 and my comments later. 29 For an overview of the effect of rhyme on the text of the Qur’an, see Devin J. Stewart, “Poetic License in the Qur’an: Ibn al-Ṣā’igh al-Ḥanafī’s Iḥkām al-rāy fī aḥkām al-āy,” Journal of Qur’anic Studies 16.2 (2013): 1–56. The constraint of rhyme offers an explanation for the fact that in Q 11:71 Sarah laughs before hearing the good tidings. See Gabriel S. Reynolds, “Reading the Qur’an as Homily: The Case of Sarah’s Laughter,” in The Qurʾān in Context, ed. A. Neuwirth, N. Sinai, and M. Marx (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 2010), 587–589 and idem, “The Qur’anic Sarah as Prototype of Mary,” The Bible in Arab Christianity, ed. D. Thomas (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 2007), 205. For a different approach to the problem of Sarah’s laughter, see Waleed Ahmed, The Qurʾānic Narratives Through the Lens of Intertextual Allusions: A Literary Approach (PhD Dissertation, University of Göttingen, 2014), 139–148. 30 In Neuwirth’s rhyme classification 3 indicates that all three vowels u/i/a may hold this position; (C) stands for an optional consonant; C for consonant; 2 indicates that the two long vowels ū/ī may hold this position. See the tables in chapter 2.3 of Neuwirth, Studien. 31 Note that the Peshitta renders the tender calf of Genesis 18:7 as “a fat calf (ʿeglā ḥad d-šammin).” See also Targum Pseudo-Jonathan. 32 Compare Reynolds, “Reading the Qur’an as Homily,” 589 (“Jacob appears here due only to the -ū in the penultimate position of his name, a quality that his father does not share”). See also Reynolds, “Prototype,” 205. The mention of Jacob may have brought about the explicit mention of Isaac by name. 33 See e.g. the following passage: “Hence, as a matter of general methodology, a processual reading of the Qur’an must treat later suras’ references to earlier ones – at least if one can reasonably attribute an interpretive function to them – in the same way in which additions are naturally treated: as utterances that are not semantically autonomous, i.e., make up self-contained texts, but rather say what they are meant to say only when read in close conjunction with, and in a sense as commenting upon, the earlier texts they are intended to illuminate, supplement, restrict, or modify. A processual reading of the Qur’an will thus have to take into account not only a given sura’s link to its historical context of origin but also its link to the corpus of already existing revelations in order to bring to light any possible intra-Qur’anic interpretive role it might have;” Sinai, “The Qur’an as Process,” 438. See now also idem, The Qur’an: A Historical-Critical Introduction (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2017), 150–153, as well as idem, “Two Types of Inner-Qurʾānic Interpretation,” in Exegetical Crossroads: Understanding Scripture in Judaism, Christianity and Islam in the PreModern Orient, ed. G. Tamer, et al. (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2018), 253–288. I hope to address these last two studies elsewhere. 34 Sinai, Fortschreibung, 81–85. Sinai offers two main arguments. The first is that the earlier Qur’anic texts remained in circulation alongside the later ones, as is indicated by insertions which adapted the early revelations to later concerns. The second is that the later texts often assume information provided in the earlier texts without repeating it. 35 It is worth noting that Sinai, too, acknowledges that in some instances there are differences between parallel accounts which cannot be explained away easily (Sinai, Fortschreibung, 126–127 note 12). The two examples he provides concern chiastic presentations of the order of events, but what matters is the principle: parallel Qur’anic accounts may differ and contradict each other.

Thrice upon a time 291 36 A critique of harmonistic approaches to intra-Qur’anic parallels is found in my “Variant Traditions.” See now the response in Sinai, “Two Types,” 278–279 note 59. I hope to return to this issue elsewhere. 37 See e.g. the discussion in Abū Manṣūr al-Māturīdī, Taʾwīlāt al-Qurʾān, ed. Ahmet Vanlıoğlu, et al. (Istanbul: Dār al-Mīzān, 2005–7), vol. 14, 143. Note also the interpretation attributed to Mujāhid (d. 722), according to which Ishmael is the “wise boy” of Q 51:28 (and Q 15:53?). See e.g. Muḥammad b. Jarīr al-Ṭabarī, Tafsīr al-Ṭabarī: Jāmiʿ al-bayān ʿan taʾwīl āy al-Qurʾān, ed. ʿAbd Allāh al-Turkī (Cairo: Dār Hajar, 2001), vol. 21, 527. If not simply an error, this might be an extreme attempt to resolve the discrepancies in the accounts. Such an approach is attributed to the fifth Imam Muḥammad al-Bāqir (d. 732) who is said to have interpreted the scene in Q 15 as referring to the annunciation of Ishmael and the scene in Q 11 as referring to the annunciation of Isaac. See e.g. the details in Muḥammad b. Masʿūd al-ʿAyyāshī, Tafsīr al-ʿAyyāshī, ed. Hāshim al-Rasūlī al-Maḥallātī (Beirut: Muʾassasat al-Aʿlamī lil-Maṭbūʿāt, 2010), vol. 2, 161–162 and 266–267. 38 Sinai, Fortschreibung, 127–128. Sinai reconstructs the order of events on the basis of the parallel between the second half of Q 51:29 and Q 11:72. See also the synopsis in Sinai, Fortschreibung, 145–148. 39 See Sinai, Fortschreibung, 83. 40 Note also the apparent tension between Q 51:29 which implies that Sarah was not with Abraham and the guests when the news was delivered and Q 11:71 where it is stated that she “was standing [by].” See e.g. the discussions in al-Māturīdī, Taʾwīlāt al-Qurʾān, vol. 7, 203–204 and vol. 14, 144; and al-Rāzī, al-Tafsīr al-kabīr, pt. 28, 184. 41 The discrepancy concerning the addressee is adduced by Muḥammad Aḥmad Khalafallāh as an example of the artistic and ahistorical nature of the Qur’anic narratives; see idem, al-Fann al-qaṣaṣī fī l-Qurʾān al-karīm (London: Muʾassasat al-Intishār al-ʿArabī, 1999), 82 and 181. 42 Here, too, there are differences. In Q 11 Sarah laughs and doubts on account of her old age as well as that of Abraham (similarly Genesis 18:12–3). In Q 51 she approaches shouting, strikes (ṣakkat – note the [accidental?] graphic similarity to the word for “laughed,” ḍaḥikat) her face, and says: “An old woman, barren” with no mention of her husband’s old age (see Genesis 18:13). In Q 11 Sarah is subsequently rebuked (compare Genesis 18:13–14). In Q 51 her objection is addressed without rebuke. Sarah’s portrayal in Q 11 is reminiscent not only of Genesis 18 but also of the depiction of the unbelievers in Q 50:2–3. Like Sarah, they wonder at the divine message they receive, saying: “This is an odd (ʿajīb) thing.” Like her, they ask a rhetorical question focusing on the physical implausibility of the message: “What? Shall [we return], when we are dead and become dust? That is a far-fetched return.” This parallel might suggest that in Q 11, Sarah symbolizes those who doubt the resurrection (compare Q 11:7). See also Q 53:59–60 where those who do not believe in the resurrection are scolded with the two verbs which describe Sarah’s doubt: “Do you then wonder (taʿjabūna) at this discourse, and do you laugh (wa-taḍḥakūna) instead of weeping?” See also Haggai Mazuz, “Polemical Treatment of the Story of the Annunciation of Isaac’s Birth in Islamic Sources,” The Review of Rabbinic Judaism 17 (2014): 254–255. Mazuz compares the portrayals of Sarah’s doubt in Genesis and Q 11 and concludes that, as opposed to Genesis, in the Qur’an she is “disrespectful to her husband, rude, and little of faith.” Note, however, the guests’ utterance to Sarah at the end of their rebuke: “The mercy of God and His blessings be upon you, O people of the house!” (Q 11:73). 43 In Sinai, Fortschreibung, 121, it is argued that since Q 15 clearly builds on Q 51 (as can be seen, he argues, from the relationship between Q 15:52 and Q 51:26–28, about which see later), it is unlikely that Abraham’s response is meant to replace Sarah’s doubt. Cannot one text adapt another while introducing substantial changes? 44 Compare the comment in Abraham Geiger, Was Hat Mohammed aus dem Judenthume Aufgenommen? (Leipzig: Kaufmann, 1902), 127 and cf. Sinai, Fortschreibung, 121

292  Joseph Witztum note 9, where it is stated that Abraham’s doubt lacks rabbinic and patristic parallels. In Sinai’s reading the attribution of doubt to Abraham offers new possibilities of identification for the ordinary believers (ibid., 122). While this may be true, it should be remembered that there is a pre-Islamic history to the attribution of doubt to Abraham and other figures in similar circumstances. See also Zechariah’s doubt in Q 3:40 and Q 19:8. The Qur’anic Zechariah accounts are linguistically close to the Abraham accounts in two matters. First, like Q 15:54 they refer to al-kibar (“old age”). Second, like the divine response in Q 51:30, which opens with ka-dhāliki, the response in the Zechariah accounts opens with ka-dhālika (likewise in the response to Mary in Q 3:47 and Q 19:21). The syntax of these responses is not clear; see Paret, Kommentar und Konkordanz, 67 and compare John Wansbrough, Quranic Studies: Sources and Methods of Scriptural Interpretation (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1977), 13. 45 Biblical critics assign the two passages to two different sources: Genesis 17 to P and Genesis 18 to J. See e.g. Hermann Gunkel, Genesis: Translated and Interpreted, trans. M. E. Biddle (Macon, GA: Mercer University Press, 1997), 192–198 and 259–267. Cf. the synchronic reading in Jonathan Grossman, Abram to Abraham: A Literary Analysis of the Abraham Narrative (Bern: Peter Lang, 2016), 249–274. 46 On the angelic identity of the guests, see e.g. James L. Kugel, Traditions of the Bible: A Guide to the Bible as It Was Read at the Start of the Common Era (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1998), 341–342, and the discussion later. 47 See e.g. Speyer, Die biblischen Erzählungen, 149; Kugel, Traditions of the Bible, 342–345; Dale C. Allison, Jr., Testament of Abraham (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2003), 143; Emmanouela Grypeou and Helen Spurling, “Abraham’s Angels: Jewish and Christian Exegesis of Genesis 18–19,” in The Exegetical Encounter between Jews and Christians in Late Antiquity, ed. E. Grypeou and H. Spurling (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 2009), 188–189 and 194. 48 Cf. D. Sidersky, Les origines des légendes musulmanes dans le Coran et dans les vies des prophètes (Paris: Geuthner, 1933), 46 (where Q 11:70 is said to reflect a misunderstanding of the midrashic tradition that the angels only pretended to eat); and Louis Ginzberg, The Legends of the Jews (Philadelphia, PA: The Jewish Publication Society of America, 1909–38), vol. 5, 236 note 143 (where it is stated that Q 11:70 “gives a clumsy representation of the view prevalent in Jewish sources concerning these three angels.”). See also Genesis Rabba 48.11 (“And they said: So do thou, as thou hast said. ‘As for us,’ said they, ‘we neither eat nor drink; but thou who dost eat and drink, So do thou, as thou hast said”; Harry Freedman (trans.), Midrash Rabbah: Genesis (London: The Soncino Press, 1951), vol. 1, 413). Grypeou and Spurling, “Abraham’s Angels,” 188–189, understand this to mean that the angels openly announced to Abraham their abstention from food. If this were indeed the case, it would supply a nice parallel to the Qur’anic depiction. This understanding of the passage from Genesis Rabba is not, however, necessary. The idea might be that the angels’ reply hinted to the fact that they do not really partake of food, without actually making this clear to Abraham. In any case, Grypeou and Spurling’s presentation of the rendition of the angels’ statement in Genesis Rabba 48.11 as differing with the interpretation that they pretended to eat (Genesis Rabba 48.14) seems incorrect to me. The tradition in Genesis Rabba 48.11 cannot entirely ignore the explicit biblical statement that the guests ate. 49 Compare the discussions in al-Māturīdī, Taʾwīlāt al-Qurʾān, vol. 7, 203–204, vol. 8, 41, and vol. 14, 141–142; Maḥmūd b. ʿUmar al-Zamakhsharī, al-Kashshāf ʿan ḥaqā’iq ghawāmiḍ al-tanzīl wa-ʿuyūn al-aqāwīl fī wujūh al-ta’wīl, ed. ʿĀdil Aḥmad ʿAbd al-Mawjūd and ʿAlī Muḥammad Muʿawwaḍ (Riyadh: Maktabat al-ʿUbaykān, 1998), vol. 3, 216; Reynolds, “Prototype,” 200–202; and the note in Uri Rubin, The Qurʾān: Hebrew Translation from the Arabic, New Edition, Updated and Extended (Tel Aviv: Tel Aviv University Press, 2016), 182. Many exegetes offer a different explanation for Abraham’s fear, stating that in those times a guest who refused the food of his host was

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suspect as harboring hostile intents; see e.g. al-Ṭabarī, Tafsīr, 12:471 (citing Qatāda). Note also Richard Bell, The Qurʾān: Translated with a Critical Re-arrangement of the Surahs (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1937–39), vol. 1, 212, where, after noting the rabbinic origin of the idea that the angels abstained from eating, Bell adds: “Muhammad interprets it in the Arab way as a sign of hostility” (compare Speyer, Die biblischen Erzählungen, 149). In light of other instances where angels induce fear in the humans they encounter (see the discussion later), I find it likelier that Abraham’s fear was caused by his suspicion concerning his guests’ true nature. First, the depiction of the guests as abstaining from food in Q 11:70 reflects a conception of angels found in pre-Islamic traditions (see the discussion earlier) and in the Qur’an itself (Q 21:8, Q 23:33, and Q 25:7 and 20). Second, other birth annunciations are carried out by angels (Q 3:39 and 45, Q 19:17–19), at times also inducing fear (Q 19:18). Third, the speech of the guests in Q 15:58–60 alternates between language appropriate for messengers and language fitting the deity (“we have decreed”). See e.g. the comment in al-Zamakhsharī, al-Kashshāf, vol. 3, 411. Fourth, the description of the guests as messengers (rusul) is fitting not only for humans, but for angels as well (see Q 6:61, Q 7:37, Q 10:21, Q 22:75, Q 35:1, and Q 43:80). Fifth, the common pre-Islamic understanding was that the guests were angels (at the very least) and the Qur’an does not indicate otherwise. Sixth, passages such as Q 17:94–95 do not necessarily mean that no angels may deliver messages to humans, only that God sends warning messengers from among those to be warned. This does not preclude angels from being sent with good tidings as in Abraham’s case or to deliver punishment as in the case of the people of Lot (compare Q 15:8). Finally, in not making their angelic nature explicit, the Qur’an may simply be following the language of Genesis 18, which refers to them as men. Compare Patricia Crone, “Angels versus Humans as Messengers of God: The View of the Qurʾānic Pagans,” in Revelation, Literature, and Community in Late Antiquity, ed. P. Townsend and M. Vidas (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2011), 315–336, and especially 318–322; and Gerald Hawting, “ ‘Has God Sent a Mortal as a Messenger?’ (Q 17:95): Messengers and Angels in the Qurʾān,” in New Perspectives on the Qurʾān: The Qurʾān in Its Historical Context 2, ed. G. S. Reynolds (London: Routledge, 2011), 385 note 40. In Burhān al-Dīn al-Kirmānī, al-Burhān fī tawjīh mutashābih al-Qurʾān li-mā fīhi min al-ḥujja wa-l-bayān, ed. al-Sayyid al-Jumaylī (Cairo: Markaz al-Kitāb lil-Nashr, 1994), 95 it is explicitly noted that Q 15 relies on the earlier Q 11 on this point. The exegetes often treat Q 15 as an abridged account which assumes the lack of eating; see e.g. Muqātil b. Sulaymān, Tafsīr, ed. ʿAbd Allāh Maḥmūd Shiḥāta (Cairo: al-Hayʾa al-Miṣriyya al-ʿĀmma lil-Kitāb, 1979–89), vol. 2, 431 and al-Suyūṭī’s comment in Tafsīr al-Jalālayn to this verse. Compare Angelika Neuwirth, Der Koran, Band 2/1, Frühmittelmekkanische Suren: Das neue Gottesvolk: ›Biblisierung‹ des altarabischen Weltbildes (Berlin: Verlag der Weltreligionen, 2017), 249. It should be noted that Qur’anic passages are often allusive, assuming familiarity with unspecified contexts. See e.g. my comments in “The Qurʾān and Qurʾānic Research,” in Islam: History, Religion, Culture, ed. M. M. Bar-Asher and M. Hatina (Jerusalem: Magnes Press, 2017), 156–165 [Hebrew]. Some exegetes offer reasons for Abraham’s fear without resorting to Q 11: the guests’ entrance without permission (compare Q 38:21–22) or the peace greeting which was not customary in those times (compare Luke 1:28–30). See, e.g., al-Zamakhsharī, al-Kashshāf, vol. 3, 408; and Muḥammad b. Aḥmad al-Qurṭubī, al-Jāmiʿ li-aḥkām al-Qurʾān, ed. ʿAbd Allāh al-Turkī (Beirut: Muʾassasat al-Risāla, 2006), vol. 12, 222. For the question as a reaction to the guests’ abstention, see, e.g., al-Ṭabarī, Tafsīr, vol. 21, 527; and Régis Blachère (trans.), Le Coran (Paris: Maisonneuve, 1947–51), vol. 2, 137 and 444. For the possibility of reading the phrase as a polite offer, see e.g. al-Zamakhsharī, al-Kashshāf, vol. 5, 616; Rubin, The Qurʾān, 421; and Nicolai Sinai,

294  Joseph Witztum “Sure 51: Die Aufwirbelnden (aḏ-Ḏāriyāt). Übersetzt und analysiert von Nicolai Sinai, unter Mitarbeit von Nora K. Schmid, unter Verwendung von Vorarbeiten Angelika Neuwirths,” available online at . See also Muḥammad ʿAbd al-Khāliq ʿUḍayma, Dirāsāt li-uslūb al-Qurʾān al-karīm (Cairo: Dār al-Ḥadīth), vol. 1.1, 223–225. Some exegetes construe the phrase as an offer but assume nonetheless that Abraham’s fear was caused by his guests’ subsequent abstention which is not mentioned in the text. See e.g. al-Maḥallī’s comment in Tafsīr al-Jalālayn to this verse. 55 See Maryam’s reaction in Q 19:18 and Lot’s reaction in Q 11:77 and Q 15:61–62. Perhaps relevant as well is David’s reaction in Q 38:22 to the figures who in the exegetical works, though not in Qur’an, are identified as angels; see e.g., al-Ṭabarī, Tafsīr, vol. 20, 52 and 67. 56 For angels specifically, see, e.g., Daniel 8:15–17, 10:7–12; Luke 1:11–13 and 28–30, and 2:9–12. 57 Both Abraham and Zechariah fear, are told not to, are given good news about a son to be born, and express their doubt on account of their advanced age. The Qur’anic retellings of the annunciation to Zechariah (Q 19:7–9 and Q 3:39–40) also display thematic and linguistic affinities to the Abraham accounts, though they do not include the fear motif (cf. Neuwirth, Frühmittelmekkanische Suren, 249). The basic similarity between the stories results from Luke’s use of the Abraham material in portraying the annunciation of John the Baptist (note also that in Genesis 15:1 God comes to Abraham in a vision and says: “Do not be afraid,” proceeding to promise him offspring). In Neuwirth, Frühmekkanische Suren, 536, it is argued that Abraham’s fear is yet another instance of the parallels between the good tidings concerning Isaac and those concerning Jesus. Just as the angel in Luke 1:30 says to Mary: “Do not be afraid,” so do the guests tell Abraham not to be afraid (see also Neuwirth, Frühmittelmekkanische Suren, 249). Though the two incidents are clearly related, they belong to a larger phenomenon of annunciation stories with a complicated intertextual relationship. These include, among others, the annunciations of Isaac, Samson, John the Baptist, Mary (in the Protoevangelium Jacobi where the fear motif is lacking and the link to Abraham is made explicit), and Jesus. Thematically, Abraham’s response in the Qur’an is closest to that of Zechariah. 58 Quotations from the New Testament follow the NRSV. 59 See note 47 earlier. Note the similar language used in Q 11:70 (“When he saw their hands not reaching [taṣilu] towards it [. . .]”) and Q 11:81 (“They shall not reach [yaṣilū] you [. . .]”). Both sentences do not occur in the parallel passages in Q 15 and Q 51 and thus reflect some degree of coherence in the adaptation of Q 11. 60 Alternative (or additional) sources for the presentation in Q 11:70 should be considered. First, following Speyer, Die biblischen Erzählungen, 150, Q 11 might reflect the influence of the account in Judges 13 where Manoah and his wife interact with an angel for a while without realizing his true nature. Upon learning his true identity, they fear for their lives. Interestingly, in this episode, the angel refuses to eat their food (an important source for the view that angels do not eat), though this is not what betrays his identity. Second, in Holger M. Zellentin’s forthcoming article titled “The Synchronic and the Diachronic Qurʾān: Sūrat Yā Sīn, Lot’s People, and the Rabbis,” in The Fragment and the Whole: Approaching Religious Texts in a New Perspective, from Mesopotamia to Arabia, ed. A. Hilali (Oxford: Oxford University Press, forthcoming), attention is drawn to Genesis Rabba 48.14 as a possible source for the version of Abraham’s fear in Q 11. Zellentin adduces this example in the course of a larger discussion of rabbinic traditions echoed in Qur’anic versions of the Lot narrative, but this specific passage and its relationship to the Qur’an are no simple matters. Immediately before its discussion of the consumption of food by the angels, Genesis Rabba juxtaposes Genesis 18 verses 8 and 2 and comments (in the translation of Freedman): “And he stood over them. But earlier you read: Three men stood over him? The explanation is this: before they had performed

Thrice upon a time 295 their mission, they stood over him; but when they had performed their mission, he stood over them: Michael trembled and Gabriel trembled;” Freedman (trans.),