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Sean W. Anthony
This image from a 14th-cent. copy of Abū l-Rayḥān al-Bīrūnī’s (d. 1048) treatise on time and chronology is one of my favorite images to use in my teaching. Here’s a thread on some interesting tidbits concerning the biblical prophecy that it's about..
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Sean W. Anthony 24 Dec 17
Replying to @shahanSean
First off, if you don't know who al-Bīrūnī is and why he's one of the greatest minds of human civilization, I can't recommend this audio essay by James Montgomery strongly enough
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Sean W. Anthony 24 Dec 17
Replying to @shahanSean
And the book from which the excerpt has been taken has also been translated into English by Eduard Sachau (d. 1930) as *The Chronology of Ancient Nations*
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Sean W. Anthony 24 Dec 17
Replying to @shahanSean
The 'prophecy' illustrated here refers to Isaiah 21:7, the textual transmission of which exhibits some peculiarities that seem to be connected to the spread of Islam.
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Sean W. Anthony 24 Dec 17
Replying to @shahanSean
In the ancient Greek text (the LXX/Septuagint), Isa. 21:7: "And I saw two mounted horsemen, and a rider on an ass, and a rider on a camel." Muslim readers of the Bible interpreted this *ass rider* as Jesus (cf. Zech 9:9; Matt. 21:7, etc.), and the camel rider as Muhammad.
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Sean W. Anthony 24 Dec 17
Replying to @shahanSean
The (later) Masoretic text of the Hebrew though differs in a key respect: (NRSV): "When he sees riders, horsemen in pairs, riders on donkeys, riders on camels, let him listen diligently, very diligently." Notice the differences?
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Sean W. Anthony 24 Dec 17
Replying to @shahanSean
Why does the Greek text have a singular but the Masoretic text have the plural? John Reeves has suggested that there was Masoretic intervention intended to preclude the Muslim reading of the text that affirmed both Jesus and Muhammad's prophecy
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Sean W. Anthony 24 Dec 17
Replying to @shahanSean
On a final note, I also find it curious the way in which the caption to the illustration of Isaiah's prophecy in this copy al-Bīrūnī’s Āthār writes the name of Muḥammad as al-muḥammad, asking us to read his name, meaning ‘Praised One’, as a title, not as a proper name as such.
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Sean W. Anthony 24 Dec 17
Replying to @ghurabalbayn
That's an intriguing possibility that never occurred to me before. I think that the hand of the copyist, however, looks very similar to that of the caption. What do you think?
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Khaled Hosny 25 Dec 17
The caption is written in Nastaliq style while the body in in Naskh, this could mean different persons or the same person using different calligraphic styles.
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Khaled Hosny 25 Dec 17
I’m sure it is pretty common word to refer to illustrations in old books.
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