The House of David

"dawnbreak in the west"

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Against the Muslim Jesus

The sect of Manah did survive to the time of Muhammad, but I couldn't find what any contemporary Manichees said about that more recent Prophetic sect.

A collection of essays is out: Islam: identité et altérité, edited by Mohammad Ali Amir-Moezzi. Guillaume Dye has reviewed this book. I find one essay relevant to our task here, "Un fragment manichéen du Jomjomenâme". To translate Dye's review here:

Michel Tardieu returns to one of the earliest exemplars of Persian poetry, namely a qasîda, in Manichaean script, found in the Turfan Manichaean collections and edited by Henning in 1962 (p. 393-404). After a thorough analysis, he concludes, very plausibly, that the episode mentioned in this fragment is part of a much longer poem, which is likely to concern the tale of Jesus and the skull, famous legend of Muslim preaching and mysticism (whose origins can be identified in Egyptian monasticism). Specifically, the fragment belongs to a standalone version of the Jomjomenāme, due to Manichaean authors inveighing against Islam (and therefore turning a Muslim legend against their opponents). The text would have circulated in the oasis of Turfan during the premongol period.

I swear by all religions' prophets, this is the first time I ever heard the story of Jesus and the skull. Of all the legends which make up Islam's salvation-history, why did the Manichees choose to attack it by way of this story not in the Qur'an? I wonder how old this Jomjomenāme is. I also wonder to what degree any other Islamic doctrines crop up in it.

posted by Zimri on 17:01 | link | 0 comments

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