Sacred Sources and Community Origins

John Renard

in Islam and Christianity

Published by University of California Press

Published in print March 2011 | ISBN: 9780520255081
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520948334 | DOI:
Sacred Sources and Community Origins

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This chapter discusses two major theological themes, sacred sources and community origins of Islam and Christianity. Christians and Muslims are keenly aware that their traditions are rooted in authoritative sacred texts. Both global communities have also generated complex histories of scriptural interpretation. In both traditions, exegesis begins with and within the primary revealed texts themselves. Christian and Islamic sacred texts function very differently as sources on the two traditions' founding figures, Jesus and Muhammad, as historical personages. Christians of various denominations from the most conservative wing of Evangelicals to a small percentage of Catholics, lean toward more literal interpretation of the biblical record. Muslims in general do not consider the Qur'ān a primary source about the life of Muhammad as such. For Muslims, the source that provides the most direct familiarity with the Prophet is the Hadith, with their manifold references to a host of details of Muhammad's life, as well as insight into his personal likes and dislikes.

Keywords: sacred sources; community origins; Islam; Christianity; Bible; Qur'ān

Chapter.  9268 words. 

Subjects: East Asian Religions

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