Polemical Treatment of the Story of the Annunciation of Isaac’s Birth in Islamic Sources

in Review of Rabbinic Judaism
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Several Qur’ānic verses present Muḥammad and the Muslims as the successors of Abraham, the first man to return to monotheism after many idolatrous generations. This article investigates an exegesis pertaining to the annunciation of Isaac’s birth. It reveals how Islamic sources reshape and comment on the biblical account of this event. These sources contain a hidden anti-Jewish polemic that relates to Sarah disparagingly and that comments on Jewish texts that depict Ishmael as a sinner. We examine this account as presented in Judaism’s and Islam’s scriptures and commentaries. The resulting comparison demonstrates that the Islamic sources indeed are commenting on, and reframing the point made in, the Jewish ones.

Review of Rabbinic Judaism

Ancient, Medieval, and Modern (Formerly: The Annual of Rabbinic Judaism)



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Ibid., p. 586.


Suzanne Pinckney Stetkevych, “Sarah and the Hyena: Laughter, Menstruation, and the Genesis of a Double Entendre,” in History of Religions 36/1 (1996), p. 40.


Ibid., pp. 220–221.


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