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Muhammad gained his knowledge of the OT via the Diatesseron?

Discussion about the Quran, hadith, the history of Islam, etc.

Muhammad gained his knowledge of the OT via the Diatesseron?

Postby MrMacSon » Sat Oct 29, 2016 2:43 pm

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Endnote 27, Chap. 1; p. 35 of Andrew G. Bannister's An Oral-Formulaic Study of the Qur'an (Lexington Books, 24 Apr. 2014) cites a 1965 essay by a John Bowman who noted (i) OT figures who appear in the Diatesseron appear in the Qu'ran, and (ii) similarities in spelling -

Bowman Qu'ran via Diatesseron.JPG
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About the book -
    Combining historical, linguistic, and statistical analysis, much of it made possible for the first time due to new computerized tools developed specifically for this book, Bannister argues that the implications of orality have long been overlooked in studies of the Qur’an. By relocating the Islamic scripture firmly back into an oral context, one gains both a fresh appreciation of the Qur’an on its own terms, as well as a fresh understanding of how Muhammad used early religious traditions, retelling old tales afresh for a new audience.
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Re: Muhammad gained his knowledge of the OT via the Diatesse

Postby Nathan » Sat Oct 29, 2016 4:04 pm

Although I can't comment on Bowman's essay in any detail since I've not read it, on the face of it, its thesis regarding the Diatessaron seems unlikely.

For one thing, the Qur'an has far too many parallels with rabbinic texts to have been limited to the Diatessaron alone. In fact, it shows a rather pronounced awareness of Jewish/rabbinic biblical interpretations, often claiming them for itself. And even the Hadith state that Muhammad had a fondness for "traditions of the children of Israel."

Furthermore, some portions of the Qur'an handle biblical traditions somewhat sequentially, relative to the OT itself, that is. Surah 2, for example, at one point reflects material from Exodus 1, 12, 24 and then 32, in that order—suggesting (to me) that it is working directly with the book of Exodus.
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Re: Muhammad gained his knowledge of the OT via the Diatesse

Postby Secret Alias » Sat Mar 11, 2017 7:27 am

Why do people assume that the way texts SURVIVE is the way they were originally created? Clearly the Quran was modified over time no less than the Christian literary corpus (gospels, letters of Paul etc). At one time the Torah consisted of four books and Deuteronomy was added later, then Joshua etc. The implication of early Islamic reception of the Diatessaron makes clear that the substitution myth of Jesus trading places with someone before the crucifixion was inherited from the Christian source for the Diatessaron too.
“Finally, from so little sleeping and so much reading, his brain dried up and he went completely out of his mind.”
― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote
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Re: Muhammad gained his knowledge of the OT via the Diatesse

Postby Nathan » Sun Mar 12, 2017 10:28 am

Secret Alias wrote:The implication of early Islamic reception of the Diatessaron makes clear that the substitution myth of Jesus trading places with someone before the crucifixion was inherited from the Christian source for the Diatessaron too.

I don't follow the logic here. Since there is no substitution myth in the Diatessaron, how does the Diatessaron tell us anything about that myth and its source(s) within the context of Islam?

(Note that the quranic crucifixion text has strong affinities with docetic narratives of books like the Acts of John and the Coptic Apocalypse of Peter, as well as the docetic account preserved at one point by Irenaeus. To my knowledge, none of those brief docetic narratives displays any dependence on the Diatessaron.)
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Re: Muhammad gained his knowledge of the OT via the Diatesse

Postby davidbrainerd » Mon Apr 10, 2017 9:06 pm

I think the Talmud can account for all the OT material (which explains why every story is mangled sometimes beyond recognition), and the protovangelium of Mary for all the NT material. I doubt Mohammed knew a real gospel or even a gospel harmony. All he knows about Jesus is : born of a virgin, spoke at 3 days old, made clay birds come alive as a kid, healed diseases including lepersy, raised the dead, was crucified (although Mohammed may or may not deny this depending on how you interpret it "for they killed him not"), rose from the dead (or was lifted up by Allah to avoid being crucified depending on how you interpret "they killed him not for Allah took him to himself"). And then Mohammed makes Jesus say "I am only a man and I will die" which supports my reading that by "they killed him not for Allah took him to himself" he merely means (1) they didn't kill him against his will, he layed down his life, as in John's gospel, and (2) he was resurrected. After all, to make Jesus say "I am only a man and I will die" and then to say "they killed him not" as meaning he didn't die, is a massive contradiction...but I suppose the Koran could have been written by a dysfunctional committee. Then there's information about Mary being fed by angels and the concept that midwives testified to Mary's virginity and Jesus spoke at 3 days old in her defense, and concerning John the Baptist's birth which is obviously from the protovangelium of Mary or protovangelium of James.
Last edited by davidbrainerd on Mon Apr 10, 2017 9:12 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Muhammad gained his knowledge of the OT via the Diatesse

Postby davidbrainerd » Mon Apr 10, 2017 9:07 pm

Secret Alias wrote:Why do people assume that the way texts SURVIVE is the way they were originally created? Clearly the Quran was modified over time no less than the Christian literary corpus (gospels, letters of Paul etc).


Just like you've not read Origen you've not read the Koran. Brilliant! So where exactly are Paul's letters used in the Koran????
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