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Thread: Book Plunge: The Qur'an In Context

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    Department Head Apologiaphoenix's Avatar
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    Book Plunge: The Qur'an In Context

    How do we study the Qur'an?

    The link can be found here.

    -----

    What do I think of Mark Robert Anderson's book published by IVP? Let's plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

    The Qur'an for many Christians is a very foreign book. Some people have tried to read it and yet have not made it past the second sura. The style of writing is different to most Christians and does not seem like an engaging work, but the reality is that Christians need to understand this work. Whatever you think of Islam, the Qur'an is the holy book of this faith and it has shaped the world greatly.

    Anderson has written a book to help us in its text. Anderson urges us rightly to try to drop our preconceptions and approach the book seriously and seek to understand the way it was written, the why, and the historical context. Even if you don't think it's holy Scripture, the Qur'an still should be understood on its own terms. That requires work, just like understanding the Bible does. I have been a long opposition to people not bothering to study the historical context of the Bible and yet speaking on it. I say the same for the Qur'an.

    Anderson goes through piece by piece and then compares what he finds to the Bible. There is no doubt on my part he wants to be as fair as he can to the Qur'an. He also addresses the question of if we worship the same God or not. I think we could say that we have that as our intention and I think that Anderson does argue that, but there can be no doubt the descriptions of Allah and YHWH are vastly different.

    Anderson also wants us to study the world of 7th century Arabia. What was going on? What were Christians and Jews and pagans all saying? How did Muhammad approach this world?

    Next comes a long look at the worldview of the Qur'an. What does it say about evil? What does it say about Adam? What must one do to be saved? All of these have marked differences and Anderson has many questions about whether the system in the Qur'an is really coherent or not.

    Jesus is a big topic. The problem for the view of Jesus in the Qur'an is that it's really downplaying. Very little is said about the ministry and teaching of Jesus. Much comes from non-canonical sources and its depiction of the Trinity is highly lacking. The Qur'an says Jesus is the Messiah, but divests this of any real meaning at all.

    Amazingly, you can have many in-depth looks at the lives of other people in the Bible, but with Jesus, you get nothing like that. You don't understand what His ministry was and why He came. It simply looks like Jesus is only there to point to Muhammad.

    Ah yes, but what about the crucifixion? The Qur'an is clear on that and that's that Jesus did not die on the cross. Anderson disputes that and I have to say he makes a highly highly compelling case. I have long thought that Islam denies that Jesus was crucified, and many Muslims do, but Anderson made a case that made me rethink if that's what the original Qur'anic author intended and I dare say I will not be as strident until I find a better response to that claim. Anderson bases his claim on what he considers a better reading of that text in light of other texts he thinks are clearer. He contends that others are reading the clear texts in light of this one and changing those in ways that don't fit.

    Finally, he wraps things up by asking if we could say the Qur'an is the sequel to the Bible. The answer is decidedly, no. There are too many differences across the board. Still, we should strive to understand the Qur'an in its historical context to have better discussions with the Muslims we encounter.

    Anderson's book gives a lot of food for thought. He is kind and fair in his treatment and there is nothing here I can think of that would be seen as "Anti-Muslim" or dare I say it, Islamophobic. I look forward to even seeing what some Muslims think about the material in here.

    In Christ,
    Nick Peters

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    Troll Magnet Sparko's Avatar
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    I think the Koran is hard to understand for a couple of reasons. One, it is not a narrative, it is more like the book of Proverbs. A lot of sayings grouped together. and two, there seem to be several different english translations and they are sometimes very different.

    Which would you say is the best translation to use?

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    Professor Cerebrum123's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparko View Post
    I think the Koran is hard to understand for a couple of reasons. One, it is not a narrative, it is more like the book of Proverbs. A lot of sayings grouped together. and two, there seem to be several different english translations and they are sometimes very different.

    Which would you say is the best translation to use?
    siam was saying that the Yusuf Ali translation was the best. I personally think it's better to try and look at multiple versions when there are differences.

    ETA: I'd like to see this argument that the Koran doesn't deny the crucifixion, because what I've read it's pretty explicit in denying not only that Jesus was crucified, but that He died at all.
    Last edited by Cerebrum123; 04-18-2017 at 08:34 PM.
    Safka, you are NOT "unknown", you were loved by many, and you will not be forgotten. I will always remember you Puginator.


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    Department Head Apologiaphoenix's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparko View Post
    I think the Koran is hard to understand for a couple of reasons. One, it is not a narrative, it is more like the book of Proverbs. A lot of sayings grouped together. and two, there seem to be several different english translations and they are sometimes very different.

    Which would you say is the best translation to use?
    Not being an authority in Arabic, I have no idea.

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    Professor KingsGambit's Avatar
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    Don't Muslims generally say that it should only be read in Arabic?
    Something is always happening, but when it happens, people don't always see it, or understand it... or accept it.

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    Department Head Apologiaphoenix's Avatar
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    Yep

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    Troll Magnet Sparko's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KingsGambit View Post
    Don't Muslims generally say that it should only be read in Arabic?
    so muslims have their own version of KJV-onlyists?

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    Department Head Apologiaphoenix's Avatar
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    Actually, the Qur'an in Islam can be compared to Jesus in Christianity. The Qur'an is eternal and with Allah and is unchanging.

    All those manuscript variations spell a huge problem for Islam.

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    Professor Cerebrum123's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparko View Post
    so muslims have their own version of KJV-onlyists?
    Not exactly. Islam teaches that the Koran was revealed in Arabic, is eternal, and a copy of a tablet in heaven. KJV Only types think that the KJV was prevented from translation errors.
    Safka, you are NOT "unknown", you were loved by many, and you will not be forgotten. I will always remember you Puginator.


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    Professor Cerebrum123's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Apologiaphoenix View Post
    Actually, the Qur'an in Islam can be compared to Jesus in Christianity. The Qur'an is eternal and with Allah and is unchanging.

    All those manuscript variations spell a huge problem for Islam.
    I'd say Mohammed is the Islamic version of Jesus. You have to go to him and ask for forgiveness, he will help Allah judge mankind, and he is the absolute perfect pattern for mankind to follow.
    Safka, you are NOT "unknown", you were loved by many, and you will not be forgotten. I will always remember you Puginator.


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