From the eighth century onwards, Christians living under Islam have produced numerous apologetic and polemical works, aimed at proving the continuing validity of Christianity. Among these is the Legend of Sergius Baḥīrā, which survives in two Syriac and two Arabic versions, and appears here in edition and translation. Being a counterhistory of Islam, it reshapes early Muslim traditions about a monk recognizing Muḥammad as the final Prophet by turning this monk into Muhammad’s tutor and co-author of the Qur’an. In response to Muslim triumphalist propaganda, it portrays Islam’s political power as predestined but finite and unrelated to its religious message. This feature sets the legend apart from similar Christian accounts of the origin of Islam, East and West, which are reviewed in this study as well.
Barbara Roggema has a Ph.D. in Languages and Cultures of the Middle East (University of Groningen, 2007) and is lecturer in the History of the Islamic World at John Cabot University (Rome).
“[…] the value of the publication lies in the thoroughness of Roggema’s edition of the Legend of Baḥīrā, which is the outcome of an outstanding scholarly effort.”
Alexandros Tsakos in
JOAS 20 (2011), 301-302.
Table of contents
PART I: THE LEGEND OF SERGIUS BAḤĪRĀ IN LIGHT OF CHRISTIAN APOLOGETICS VIS-À-VIS ISLAM
Chapter One: Muslim-Christian Confrontation and Counterhistory
Chapter Two: The Islamic Baḥīrā
Chapter Three: The Apocalypse of Baḥīrā
Chapter Four: Baḥīrā’s Teachings
God’s Word and His Spirit— Baḥīrā’s Christology
Protection and recognition – Baḥīrā and Q 5:82
The Physics of Heaven
Chapter Five: The Qurʾan against Islam
Chapter Six: The legend outside the Legend
Baḥīrā the Source
Baḥīrā the Heretic
Baḥīrā the False Witness
Baḥīrā the Victim
Jewish Traditions about Baḥīrā
Baḥīrā the Forecaster
Chapter Seven: Concluding Discussion
PART II: TEXTS AND TRANSLATIONS
Chapter Eight: The Recensions and the Manuscript Tradition
Some Characteristics of the Recensions
Chapter Nine: The East-Syrian Recension
Chapter Ten: The West-Syrian Recension
Chapter Eleven: The Short Arabic Recension
Chapter Twelve: The Long Arabic Recension
INDEX OF SCRIPTURAL VERSES
All those interested in the history of Muslim-Christian interaction, apocalypticism, Christian apologetics, Eastern Christianity, Christian Arabic and Syriac literature, history of Islam , Medieval Europe, Byzantium.