George Hammond wrote:
> I have never actually read the entire Koran, but I've heard many
> experts comment on it.
> Apparently it is a near copy and transliteration of the Christian
> Bible effected by Mohammed around 700 A.D.
> Moslems believe there is a God, identical to the Christian God and
> the Moslem name of God is rendered as "Allah".
> The Mormons have their own "transliteration" of the Christian Bible
> called the "Book of Mormon"
> transliterated by their prophet Smith, and they certainly consider
> themselves Christians.
> After all, Catholics and Protestants are both considered Christian
> denominations because they
> recognize the NT, but Islam also recognizes Jesus and the NT in it's
> interpretation. Why then isn't
> Islam essentially another Christian denomination?
> Should Christianity consider Islam as "The 3rd Denomination" of
> Christianity after Catholicism and Protestantism?
I've been away a couple of days - hence the delay in responding
As one who has read the Qur'an (as well as other relevant
literature) I can say is in no sense a translation or transliteration of
the Christian Bible. Muhammed was clearly influenced by both Jewish and
Christian traditions & there are versions of the some Bible stories
(primarily OT) in the Qur'an, but there is also considerable variation &
some misunderstanding. E.g., Muhammed apparently confused Miriam,
Moses' sister, with Jesus' mother. Muhammed's knowledge of the NT is
clearly pretty sketchy. (Muslims would say that didn't matter because
he got his information from Allah.) The primary theological divergence
is the Qur'an's teaching that Jesus did not die on the cross.
If you can find a copy, Tor Andrae's Mohammed, the Man and his
Faith (Harper Torchbook, 1960 - translation of the 1932 German edition)
as an excellent treatment, sympathetic but critical, of Muhammed's
message & the origins of Islam, including its relations with Judaism and
I would recommend that anyone wanting to read the Qur'an in
English get an edition with good notes. Otherwise many of the
references will be unfamiliar & it will be very hard to follow. One
version, with both Arabic & English texts & copious notes, is Abdullah
Yusuf Ali, The Holy Qur'an,
3d ed (Dar Al-Mushaf, Damascus, 1938). (I don't know if this is still
in print but the copy I got ~4 years ago looks pretty new.)
There are important historical connections between Islam and
Christianity, & Islam has often been considered as a heretical version
of Christianity. (One of the first Christians to address the claims of
Islam, John of Damascus [+760], called it "the heresy of the
Ishmaelites".) While this obviously reflects a negative judgment, it
also affirms a genuine relationship. (One could not, e.g., call
Buddhism a Christian heresy.) These connections should be taken
seriously, but we also should recognize some profound differences, one
of which I noted above.
BTW, The Book of Mormon is also not a transliteration or
translation of the Christian Bible, though there are a few chapters that
are identical with those in (if I remember correcly) Isaiah and John.
Non-Mormons may wonder if Joseph Smith's familiarity with the King James
Bible accounts for this.
George L. Murphy
"The Science-Theology Interface"
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