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The Latent Trace of Islamic Origins


Midian’s Legacy in Mecca’s Moral Awakening


This work presents a putative reconstruction, testing the hypothesis that Islam is historically linked to Jewish Christianity. The argument takes the Qur’anic text to be a valid start-point for historical inquiry and reconstructs from biased views of Jewish Christianity the notion of an enduring Nasorean movement. The effective link between the Nasorean movement and the Meccan religious awakening is the preaching of the Qur’anic Prophet Shu’ayb in Midian, on the border of Arabia.
Publisher: Gorgias Press LLC
Availability: In stock
SKU (ISBN): 978-1-60724-045-7
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Publication Status: In Print

Publication Date: Apr 26,2012
Interior Color: Black
Trim Size: 6 x 9
Page Count: 234
Language: English
ISBN: 978-1-60724-045-7
$176.00
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This work presents a putative reconstruction of the emergence of Islam in Arabia in late antiquity, testing the hypothesis that Islam is historically linked to Jewish-Christianity.

The study inevitably raises some controversial issues but attempts to address them in an affable way. In a sense, it defends the dictum of the Muslims that their religion is older than both rabbinic Judaism and ecclesiastical Christianity. Conversely, it deals with the Qur’an as a literary phenomenon, not as the eternal inimitable word of God, as revealed to Muhammad. The study seeks to break free of the discourse of both Western historiography and Islamic tradition. Hence, it refutes (Western) notions that the Qur’an was composed either through selective borrowing from Jewish or Christian canonical and non-canonical material or through alteration of a specific subtext. It reconstructs from the Qur’anic text an integral creed - the way of the righteous patriarchs. This creed can be traced back through Jewish-Christian (herein called Apostolic Nasorean) sects to the Essenes. The line of argument is that Jewish Christianity did not vanish altogether in the fourth century but survived into the sixth century in Transjordan. There, its moral code was adopted by Prophet Shu’ayb of Qur’anic prominence, who went on to promote it among the people of Midian. The descendents of Shu’ayb’s congregation imparted this “righteous way” to Muhammad and his fellow morality-seekers. Islam then emerged from Muhammad’s application of said moral code to conditions at Mecca. Regarding methodology, this study attempts to redress the obscurity of Jewish Christianity through reliance on comparative religion, comparative culture, archeology, and epigraphy. It further employs text critical and historical-comparative linguistic methods to discussion of the Qur’an.

This work presents a putative reconstruction of the emergence of Islam in Arabia in late antiquity, testing the hypothesis that Islam is historically linked to Jewish-Christianity.

The study inevitably raises some controversial issues but attempts to address them in an affable way. In a sense, it defends the dictum of the Muslims that their religion is older than both rabbinic Judaism and ecclesiastical Christianity. Conversely, it deals with the Qur’an as a literary phenomenon, not as the eternal inimitable word of God, as revealed to Muhammad. The study seeks to break free of the discourse of both Western historiography and Islamic tradition. Hence, it refutes (Western) notions that the Qur’an was composed either through selective borrowing from Jewish or Christian canonical and non-canonical material or through alteration of a specific subtext. It reconstructs from the Qur’anic text an integral creed - the way of the righteous patriarchs. This creed can be traced back through Jewish-Christian (herein called Apostolic Nasorean) sects to the Essenes. The line of argument is that Jewish Christianity did not vanish altogether in the fourth century but survived into the sixth century in Transjordan. There, its moral code was adopted by Prophet Shu’ayb of Qur’anic prominence, who went on to promote it among the people of Midian. The descendents of Shu’ayb’s congregation imparted this “righteous way” to Muhammad and his fellow morality-seekers. Islam then emerged from Muhammad’s application of said moral code to conditions at Mecca. Regarding methodology, this study attempts to redress the obscurity of Jewish Christianity through reliance on comparative religion, comparative culture, archeology, and epigraphy. It further employs text critical and historical-comparative linguistic methods to discussion of the Qur’an.

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Contributor Biography

John Jandora

John W. Jandora is currently retired from service within the U.S. defense establishment but continues to teach in adjunct capacity at the university level. He received his PhD from the University of Chicago. He has spent about seven years in the Middle East and has extensively written on the history, culture, and conflicts of that area.

  • Table of Contents (page 5)
  • LIST OF MAPS (page 7)
  • LIST OF TABLES (page 9)
  • PREFACE (page 11)
  • 1 INTRODUCTION: QUEST FORUNDERSTANDING (page 17)
  • 2 DECONSTRUCTION: ROMANŽHERESIOLOGY ANDNASOREANWAY (page 51)
  • 3 CULTIC HISTORY: THEMES, NAMES,AND TERMS (page 83)
  • 4 MIDIANS LEGACY: ALLEGORY ANDPROPHETS OF ARABIA (page 117)
  • 5 ISLAMIC SCRIPTURE: TYPE, PURPOSE,AND DICTION (page 149)
  • 6 EPILOGUE: BROTHERHOOD,MILITANCY, AND RELIGION (page 179)
  • APPENDICES (page 195)
    • Appendix A: ARAMAIC LANGUAGE AND SYRIACMYSTIQUE (page 196)
    • Appendix B: ZOROASTRIANISM AND MONOTHEISM (page 200)
    • Appendix C: IBN AL-NADÎM ON BAPTISMAL SECTS (page 205)
    • Appendix D: APOCRYPHAL JEREMIAH (page 211)
  • WORKS CITED (page 215)
  • INDEX (page 231)
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