This work presents in English translation the largest collection ever assembled of the sayings and stories of Jesus in Arabic Islamic literature. In doing so, it traces a tradition of love and reverence for Jesus that has characterized Islamic thought for more than a thousand years. An invaluable resource for the history of religions, the collection documents how one culture, that of Islam, assimilated the towering religious figure of another, that of Christianity. As such, it is a work of great significance for the understanding of both, and of profound implications for modern-day intersectarian relations and ecumenical dialogue.
Tarif Khalidi's introduction and commentaries place the sayings and stories in their historical context, showing how and why this "gospel" arose and the function it served within Muslim devotion. The Jesus that emerges here is a compelling figure of deep and life-giving spirituality. The sayings and stories, some 300 in number and arranged in chronological order, show us how the image of this Jesus evolved throughout a millennium of Islamic history.
Tarif Khalidi is Sheikh Zayed Chair in Islamic and Arabic Studies at the American University of Beirut. He is the author of numerous books, including Classical Arab Islam: The Culture and Heritage of the Golden Age and Arabic Historical Thought in the Classical Period.
Table of Contents
Introduction: The Muslim Gospel
A Sketch of the Qur'anic Jesus
Jesus in the Muslim Gospel
The Early Context
Emergence and Development
The Earliest Sayings: Character and Function
The Later Sayings and Stories
The Sayings and Stories
Bibliography of Arabic Sources
Index to the Sayings
What People are Saying About This
Ascetic saint, lord of nature, miracle worker, healer, social and ethical model: such is the figure of Jesus in Professor Khalidi's 'Muslim gospel.' A figure of universal reach and resonance, the object of a ubiquitous and all-too-human religious sentiment unfettered by sectarian affiliation, the Jesus of Muslim penitential and sententious literature assembled by Tarif Khalidi is particularly salutary today. Aziz Al-Azmeh, Zayed Professor of Islamic Studies at the American University of Beirut and author of Muslim Kingship: Power and the sacred in Muslim, Christian, and Pagan Polities
The 300-odd logia are enormously impressive, reminiscent of the Nag Hammadi corpus as well as of the Gospels, especially the Sermon on the Mount, yet altogether distinctive. The combination of sublime moralist and magician is striking, and so is the virtual exclusion of reference to the Crucifixion. The author's introduction makes the general history easily intelligible. Frank Kermode, author of Shakespeare's Language
Despite the stereotypes and ignorance that have sometimes marred it, the long relationship between Christians and Muslims has also been mutually appreciative and productive. Both traditions have, for centuries, shared a love for the prophet of Galilee. Now for the first time we have The Muslim Jesus, a previously uncollected compendium of stories and sayings of Jesus from Muslim sources, some of them over a millennium old. This invaluable classroom resource will also enrich the present lively dialogue between the two fraternal faiths. Harvey Cox, author of The Secular City and Fire from Heaven
Edward W. Said
Tarif Khalidi's commentary and compilation of Muslim depictions of Jesus is a remarkable, eye-opening work of deep scholarship, profound religious understanding, and unprecedentedly rich cross-cultural exchange. A work as full of novelty as it is of wonderful illumination, Khalidi's effort to show how one major religion adopted and loved the central figure of another religion establishes him as one of the foremost Islamic scholars of our time. This book is a pleasure to read, accessible to generalists and to those for whom bellicose claims about the clash of civilizations are as unsatisfactory as they are false. Edward W. Said, author of Reflections on Exile and Other Essays