steph was responding to a comment of mine on Nick’s post. In it, she makes a number of claims:
Christianity adopted the Hebrew Bible.
“Qu’ran is essentially the political speeches of Muhammad.” The Qu’ran is essentially influenced by the Hebrew Bible. It is no more than the political speeches of Muhammad than the Hebrew Bible is the political speeches of the prophets.
For starters, “adopted” is a very loose word and offers little real “content”. It is an assertion that will be assented to, but that assent does not really say what is meant. Are we bound by it? Is it informational or instructive? Why has it been “adopted”? There is probably a rhetorical term for such a word or construction, but I don’t know it. Oh, well.
It is very reasonably one might look at the Prophetic writings of the OT as “political speeches.” Many scholars do treat them in exactly this fashion. I would offer that they are much more than that, since this was God’s political message for Israel. But some might disagree, and I don’t intend to get bogged down there.
To the original main point, even if you look at the message of the prophets (lets stick with those after the Divided Kingdom) in the Old Testament, it is usually a call for justice, a call for a return to true worship and practice. It often includes foreign condemnation, but it does not call the nation of Israel or Judah to perform that judgment. It simply speaks God’s view of how current situations will impact the future. More often than not, it is a message that is to Israel and Judah and addresses their own twin rejection of God’s authority and way of doing things.
As for the law and entry into Canaan, it is clear that the scriptures taught that Israel was performing God’s judgment on the peoples there. But never is Israel giving a standing order to imperialistically increase the kingdom. They were given a distinct parcel of land, and that was that. And certainly this does not provide Christians with any doctrine such as, “Go kill/subjugate the city over there because they refuse my authority.”
I have never heard anyone say that the Quran was based on the Hebrew Bible (I have much yet to read, to be sure), though I would not be surprised at similarities and inclusions (based on common social background, cultural origin, language structure and interaction). Influence might be more likely, but one would have to ask is this based on cultural interchange, or actual textual influence? Once again, is the influence doctrinal, instructive or background?
I have, however, read scholarly works that present Islam and the Quran as a response to Byzantine Christianity and the assumed excesses (much as the more outspoken Muslims decry the excesses of Western wealth and religious hedonism, today). I have read sources that speak of Islam as a response to Trinitarian concepts that departed from a monotheistic understanding that the Arabian peninsula might have shared with Jewish teaching. These cannot give the full picture, though, for many of those settlements which received the Prophet’s eye were neither Jewish nor Christian enclaves.
At this point, I am very weary of this whole matter, to be quite honest… I believe a good reader of the scriptures of the three faiths here discussed (and their earliest histories) would come to the conclusion that Islam was un-ashamedly violent and militarily offensive. On the other hand, Christianity was non-violent and not even militarily defensive. Indeed, Jesus had directly commanded that his followers should not “resist evil.” You can take that literally or in any other way if you like, but it is a world-view away from Islam.