George Hammond wrote:
> Apparently the Koran simply denies that there
> is any historical proof that he was Crucified
> or any actual proof that he died. Of course,
> legally, since his body disappeared, there is
> no historical proof that he was dead when placed
> in the tomb within hours after the execution.
> However, the Koran in 650 AD, clearly recognizes
> the existence of the Christian belief that he was
> Frankly, I don't find this a major disagreement.
> I accept, and most people today accept the eyewitness
> historical reports that he was publicly crucified.
> I'll tell you, quite frankly, I smell something fishy
> in all this. I've scanned major portions of the Koran,
> and my impression is that the Koranic position that
> Christ was not crucified, and was "just another prophet"
> (even though he ascended bodily to Heaven), strikes
> me as a serious reaction against Christian anti-semitism,
> palpably manifest in the somewhat tongue in cheek historical
> eagerness with which Christians lionized a semitic martyr.
> The Jews, as we know, have always reacted negatively to
> the idea, and now it appears that the Moslems also resent
> the anti-semitic undercurrent present in this backhanded
> In my opinion, one of these days Christianity is
> going to be forced to take the body of Jesus down off the
> Cross. Now, it's true that the Cross will never perish,
> because modern (indeed both Jewish and Christian) scholarship
> has discovered that it has an absolutely axiomatic structural
> significance for Religion. However, having a semitic dead
> body nailed to in the front of every church in Christendom, I
> think, remains a shock and an affront to both Jews and Moslems.
> Frankly, I've always been rather nervous about it myself.
Of course the cross is offensive, a point that Paul emphasizes in I
Corinthians 1:18-31. It is a "stumbling block" (Paul's word) not just as an
incidental fact about the Christian faith but as the fundamental claim about who
God is and how God acts in the world.
> 4.[4.171] O followers of the Book! do not exceed
> the limits in your religion, and do not speak
> (lies) against Allah, but (speak) the truth; the
> Messiah, Isa son of Marium is only an apostle of
> Allah and His Word which He communicated to Marium
> and a spirit from Him; believe therefore in Allah
> and His apostles, and say not, Three. Desist, it
> is better for you; Allah is only one God; far be
> It from His glory that He should have a son,
> whatever is in the heavens and whatever is in the
> earth is His, and Allah is sufficient for a Protector.
> In this passage (written ca 650 ad) Mohammed apparently
> saw the lionization of Jesus and Mary as a threat of
> "polytheism". Of course that threat never materialized.
> However, there may have been some talk of the "Trinity"
> even as early as 650.
The Trinity had been defined as Christian dogma in the 4th century
(whether rightly or wrongly is not the point now) & discussed extensively by
Christians of east and west long before the Qur'an was written. For someone to
say "there may have been some talk of the "Trinity" even as early as 650" raises
the suspicion that he knows little of church history.
> All in all, my (limited) reading of the Koran affirms that
> it is the Gospel word of God just as surely as the Old and
> New Testament are. Testimony to the "all powerful and merciful"
> To me, being a Protestant, reading the Koran differs little
> from reading a Catholic Catechism. Sure, the people who wrote
> it were Semitic, and many believers today are Indonesian or African,
> but I find that of much lesser impact than the fact that the voice
> is one and the same with the Christian voice... the same voice of
> God. (Needless to say, when I get around to reading the Vedas and
> Buddhist canon, I'll probably discover the same- that the voice
> of God is universal).
Needless to say! If you start with the assumption that all religions
believe in the same God then you'll discover that all religions believe in the
same God. But if one takes Christians claims about the cross seriously, the
claim that "true theology and the recognition of God are in the crucified
Christ" (Luther) then that assumption is more than problematic.
George L. Murphy
"The Science-Theology Interface"
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