Journeys in Holy Lands: The Evolution of the Abraham-Ishmael Legends in Islamic Exegesis

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SUNY Press, 1990 - Religion - 265 pages
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Scholars have long pointed to the great affinity between stories found in the Bible and the Qur'an, yet no explanation has been proposed that satisfactorily explains the odd combination of incredible likeness and unique divergence. Firestone provides a refreshing, new approach to scriptural issues of textuality, exegesis, and the origins and use of legend.

This book clearly presents the full range of Islamic legends from the Qur'an and early Islamic exegesis about Abraham's journeys and adventures in the Land of Canaan and Arabia, many of them available for the first time in English translation. The author examines this broad sample of Islamic legends in relation to those found in Jewish, Christian, and pre-Islamic Arabian communities, and postulates an evolutionary journey of the literature. He presents a thorough textual analysis of the material and proposes a model for understanding early Islamic narrative based in literary theory, approaches to comparative religion, and the history of the pre-Islamic and early Islamic Middle East.
 

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Contents

BIBLICISTS AND ARABS
3
THE NATURE OF THE LITERATURE
11
The Syrian Prologue
23
ABRAHAMS EMIGRATION
25
THE TYRANT
31
THE BIRTH OF ISHMAEL
39
BEERSHEBA
48
THE ANGELS VISIT
52
The Sacrifice
105
PRELUDE TO SACRIFICE
107
THE SACRIFICIAL ACT
116
THE REDEMPTION
129
ISAAC OR ISHMAEL?
135
Conclusion
153
Appendices
161
THE EXEGETES AND THEIR SOURCES
163

The Meccan Sequence
61
THE TRANSFER TO MECCA
63
THE JURHUM
72
ABRAHAMS VISITS
76
BUILDING THE KABA
80
THE PILGRIMAGE
94
TRADITIONISTS NAMING ISAAC OR ISHMAEL AS THE INTENDED SACRIFICIAL VICTIM
170
Notes
179
Selected Bibliography
245
Index
259
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About the author (1990)

Reuven Firestone is Assistant Professor of Hebrew language and literature in the Department of Modern Foreign Languages and Literature at Boston University.

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