Muslim Views of the Bible up to the 5th/11th Century

The next in The Islamic College’s monthly lectures! Professor Martin Whittingham talks about ‘Muslim Views of the Bible up to the 5th/11th Century’.

Muslim views of the Bible in the early centuries are complex and varied, characterised by both criticism and use of the previous scriptures. The Qur’an and hadith literature, both Sunni and Shi‘i, form the basis of this complexity and variety, while many Muslim writers also discussed the Bible in the kalām tradition, and in historical writing. But a turning point was reached during the 5th/11th century with the writings of ‘Abd al-Jabbār and Ibn Ḥazm, in Iran and Spain respectively. These decisively shift the focus towards severe criticism of the Biblical text, a trend which came to dominate Muslim discourse in the following centuries.

Dr Martin Whittingham is a member of faculty of Theology and Religion at University of Oxford. His research interests concern the history and theology of Muslim-Christian interactions, focusing on the history of Muslim views of the Bible and also views of other elements of Christian faith. He is currently working on a major book project, A History of Muslim Views of the Bible.


Andrew_Newman_2The religious ‘text’ has long been held to be the repository of the normative for those researching the history and development of Shi`ism in the pre-modern period. Dr Newman will explore the extent to which the texts, authored by a small number of identifiable scholarly elites when the community, as society at large, was overwhelmingly illiterate, can shed light on Shi`i dynamics across the centuries following the occultation of the Imam. He will also address the causes and implications of the relative loss of copies of such works over these years and their rediscovery in the later 17th century.

Dr Andrew Newman is the founder and moderator of the ‘Shi`i News’ list and its associated website ‘Shi News and Resources’. His most recent book, Twelver Shi`ism: Unity and Diversity in the Life of Islam, 632 to 1722, was published by Edinburgh University Press in 2013.

This event is free and open to the public (no registration required)


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