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🧟‍♂️Sean •the grading ghoul• Anthony🧟‍♂️
Just read and really enjoyed Adam Silverstein's new article published in Der Islam, “Who are the Aṣḥāb al-Ukhdūd? Q 85:4‒10 in Near Eastern Context.”
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🧟‍♂️Sean •the grading ghoul• Anthony🧟‍♂️ Oct 10
Replying to @shahanSean
His central argument is that the identification of “the Men of the Pit (aṣḥāb al-uḫdūd)” of Q. 85 with the Martyrs of Najran is wrong, even indefensible, when one takes a historical *and* eschatological reading of the qur'anic passage into account.
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🧟‍♂️Sean •the grading ghoul• Anthony🧟‍♂️ Oct 10
Replying to @shahanSean
Rather, he argues, the aṣḥāb al-uḫdūd refers to Daniel 3 and the servants of King Nebuchadnezzar killed (qaṭṭil|קַטִּ֣ל; cf. qutila aṣḥābu 'l-uḫdūd in Q. 85:4) while throwing the three youths the flames of the fiery furnace after they refused to worship the king's idol.
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🧟‍♂️Sean •the grading ghoul• Anthony🧟‍♂️ Oct 10
Replying to @shahanSean
As Silverstein notes, this was Abraham Geiger's view and one that, w/ many modifications of the biblical Daniel 3, appears in early Arabic literature as well. See, for instance, the entry on Nebuchadnezzar from Ibn ʿAsākir's history of Damascus
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🧟‍♂️Sean •the grading ghoul• Anthony🧟‍♂️ Oct 10
Replying to @shahanSean
There's a lot more to article, including an interesting etymology of uḫdūd, but suffice it to say that I found it very convincing.
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Ahmad Al-Jallad Oct 10
Replying to @shahanSean
Could you please share the etymology? I won’t be able to read the article anytime soon ...
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🧟‍♂️Sean •the grading ghoul• Anthony🧟‍♂️ Oct 10
Replying to @Safaitic
He follows Hayajneh’s suggestion that اخدود should be vocalized as ʾaḫdūd and then posits that it’s a portmanteau combing ʾakh (Egyptian for ‘furnace’, but attested in Hebrew) with dūd (Heb./Aram. cauldron).
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🧟‍♂️Sean •the grading ghoul• Anthony🧟‍♂️ Oct 10
Replying to @Safaitic
He also connects it to Dūdael/[Beth] Ḥadūdo mentioned in Enochic and rabbinical lit. as the final destination of Azazel/Satan, respectively. Thus, aṣḥāb al-uḫdūd has an additional meaning (those destined for the Inferno/Beth Ḥadūdo). [Hopefully my summary didn't muck it up.]
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Michael Pregill Oct 10
Replying to @shahanSean
I’m super sympathetic to this argument, and haven’t read the piece yet, but something that nags at me here: this is one more of the few “solid” historical references in the Quran down the drain, right? So is there any stable context indicated by the Quran at all?
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Michael Pregill Oct 10
Replying to @shahanSean
I mean, that seems like an obvious objection/complaint, since we know the Nathan episode really happened and is not an invention of the exegetes?
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🧟‍♂️Sean •the grading ghoul• Anthony🧟‍♂️ Oct 10
Replying to @michael_pregill
Yes, that's the cost, but it's worth paying. Also it's usually cited alongside Abrahah's march of an elephant troop against Mecca, which IMHO is clearly *not* historical. That's the hazards of positivism for ya.
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Michael Pregill Oct 10
Replying to @shahanSean
Yeah, I thought about Abraha too, which is clearly the more tenuous of these two commonly paired episodes. I mean, I am the guy who says there is no actual authentic reference to late antique Samaritans in the Quran, so I’m obviously sympathetic.
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Michael Pregill Oct 10
Replying to @shahanSean
Although, as you also know, I am the guy who has recently argued about a rapprochement with positivism... damn, I should make up my mind.
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🧟‍♂️Sean •the grading ghoul• Anthony🧟‍♂️ Oct 10
Replying to @michael_pregill
We need positivist approaches and the questions they address. I think that one needs to be a positivist in a sense in order to get beyond positivism -- otherwise it's just unearned cynicism.
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El Cabbage 🌊 Oct 10
Interesting. argues that the event described is the massacre of Jerusalem Christians by the Sasanians, but it seems like more and more scholars agree that Ashab al ‘Ukhdud are not the martyrs of Najran.
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Daniel A. Beck Oct 10
Great to see a detailed new article on this fascinating surah ... particularly one that situates its eschatology in a context of reminding about God’s salvation from prior Babylonian tyranny, rather than an incoherent South Arabian reference. Cf. Q 105.
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El Cabbage 🌊 Oct 10
I suppose your hypothesis and Silverstein’s aren’t mutually exclusive. After all, Surat al Fil alludes to both Jubilees and a contemporary or near contemporary Sassanian defeat, and long-gone villains regularly serve as stand-ins for opponents of the Qur’anic author.
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Daniel A. Beck Oct 10
Right, they aren’t exclusive ... my Q 85 paper argues that it embodies the Danielic anti-Babylonian stance you see in many of the earliest surahs. Essentially they proclaim that a final eschatological repetition of such prior judgments against wicked Babylonian tyranny is nigh.
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Bareem Oct 13
Replying to @shahanSean
What about the ḥadīth in Saḥīḥ Muslim?
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