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Sean W. Anthony 24 Dec 17
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
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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Marijn "i before j" van Putten 24 Dec 17
Replying to @shahanSean
I'm reminded of the name ma7mad that appears to be have around for the prophet in the early Islamic times (as evidenced by Greek transcriptions). A lot of non-Arabic versions of that name also point to that, like Turkish Mehmet. Perhaps Muhammad *was* a title?
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Sean W. Anthony 24 Dec 17
Replying to @phoenixnl
According to al-Balādhurī (Ansāb al-ashrāf, ed. Y. Marʿashlī, 1.1: 227), Muḥ.’s father, ʿAbdallāh ibn ʿAbd al-Muṭṭalib, had the kunyah “Abū Qutham.” This led some to suggest the Prophet's original name was Qutham rather than Muḥammad, but I'm not convinced. 🙃
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mizanproject 24 Dec 17
I wonder if anyone who's argued that M-H-M-D is an epithet and not a personal name took note of this.
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حسين 24 Dec 17
Replying to @shahanSean
Do you think the caption was in earlier copies e.g. the original text; the repetition of the word “picture” the absence of the reference as in Surat-on lel maseeh, wa le Muhammad
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Joumana Medlej 24 Dec 17
Replying to @shahanSean @phoenixnl
I don't know if this is relevant, but in the Middle East today it's still common to add the article to someone's name as an honorific. It doesn't constitute an official name change or mean the name is a title, it's just a way to show respect. cc
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Joumana Medlej 24 Dec 17
Replying to @shahanSean
Besides, in terms of the rythm of the sentence, it makes total sense to match المسيح "the messiah" with المحمّد "the praised one". It would not sound balanced otherwise either to the ear or to the mind (as if one was honoured but not the other).
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Norco, CA Grandma 24 Dec 17
Replying to @shahanSean
awesome stuff
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