al-Radd al-jamīl - A Fitting Refutation of the Divinity of Jesus

Attributed to Abū Ḥāmid al-Ghazālī


al-Radd al-jamīl attributed to al-Ghazālī (d. 1111) is the most extensive and detailed refutation of the divinity of Jesus by a Muslim author in the classical period of Islam. Since the discovery of the manuscript in the 1930’s scholars have debated whether the great Muslim theologian al-Ghazālī was really the author.

This is a new critical edition of the Arabic text and the first complete English translation. The introduction situates this work in the history of Muslim anti-Christian polemical writing. Mark Beaumont and Maha El Kaisy-Friemuth argue that this refutation comes from an admirer of al-Ghazālī who sought to advance some of his key ideas for an Egyptian audience.
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Biographical Note

Mark Beaumont, Ph.D. (2003), Open University UK, is Research Associate at London School of Theology. He has published articles on Christian-Muslim relations, especially on theological concerns, and a monograph, Christology in Dialogue with Muslims (Regnum: 2005).

Maha El Kaisy-Friemuth, Ph.D. (2002), Birmingham University UK, is Professor in Islamic Studies at Erlangen-Nürnberg University, Germany. Her most recent monograph is The Afterlife of the Platonic Soul: Reflection on Platonic Psychology in the Monotheistic Religions (Brill:2009).

Table of contents


The Context and Authorship of al-Radd al-jamīl
- The Context of al-Radd al-jamīl
- The Authorship of al-Radd al-jamīl
- Arguments supporting the authorship of al-Ghazālī
- al-Radd al-jamīl and the Sufi writing of al-Ghazālī
- Arguments against the authorship of al-Ghazālī
- When was al-Radd al-jamīl written?
- Who wrote al-Radd al-jamīl?
- Appendix

Outline of al-Radd al-jamīl

al-Radd al-jamīl in the Context of Muslim Refutations of Christianity
- Jesus’ miracles do not confirm his divinity
- The Gospels provide evidence for the fact that Jesus was a messenger sent from God. Passages in the fourth gospel that Christians propose as literal proof for the divinity of Jesus should be interpreted metaphorically
- The Jacobite belief that the union of the soul and body is an analogy for the union of the divinity and humanity of Jesus is inappropriate
- The Melkite separation of the divine and human natures in Jesus at the point of his death is irrational
- The Nestorian conviction that the will of Jesus was united with the will of God is not supported by the Christian gospels
- Christian scriptures show that titles given to Jesus that Christians believe point to his divine status should be taken as symbols of his spiritual eminence as a messenger of God
- Christian appeal to the Qurʾān to support the divinity of Jesus is mistaken
- Conclusion

Quotations and References from the Bible
Quotations and References from the Qur’ān


All interested in the history of Muslim-Christian relations, especially dialogue concerning Jesus.