May 162009
 

This is the “Introduction” to the book The Mystery of the Messiah: The Messiahship of Jesus in the Qur’an, New Testament, Old Testament, and Other Sources

The Messiah is the main figure in Christianity, as this religion was formed around Jesus’ messiahship. Judaism also gives the Messiah a special position, although it denies that Jesus was the Messiah, so the Jews continue to wait for the coming of their Messiah.
 
The Qur’an confirms the Christian belief that Jesus was the Messiah, but it has fundamental differences with the Christian representation of the Messiah. It has even more differences with the Jewish concept of the Messiah.
 
In this book, I will compare the concept of “Messiah” in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, focusing on the Qur’an in the latter case. I will try and develop a complete picture of how this concept appeared, what it originally represented, and how it was changed over time. My ultimate goal is to show that the Qur’anic Messiah is the historical one, and that both the Jewish and Christian Messiahs were developed greatly by followers of these religions.
 
The book consists of 12 chapters and 1 appendix. Chapter 1 examines in detail the concept of “Messiah” in the Old Testament and other Jewish literature, including the Dead Sea Scrolls. The Messiah in Christianity is the subject of Chapter 2. Introducing the concept of the “Messiah” in the three religions that embrace it is completed in Chapter 3 by studying this concept in the Qur’an.
 
Chapters 4-10 each discusses one element of the image of the Messiah in Christianity and Judaism and then compares it with the Qur’an. Chapter 4 focuses on whether Jesus declared publicly that he was the awaited Messiah. The Jewish and Christian claim that the Messiah was the king of the Jews is then examined in Chapter 5.

The fact that the Christian Messiah did not establish his expected kingdom has led to the belief that he will return. Jesus’ “second coming” is studied in Chapter 6. The question whether or not Jesus was a “son of David” is answered in Chapter 7. Chapter 8then scrutinizes the claim of Jewish and Christian sources that the Messiah had a unique salvational role.

Both the Qur’an and the Gospels present Jesus as an exceptional miracle worker. This is the subject of Chapter 9. Christianity differs from Judaism and Islam in presenting its Messiah as someone who suffered on behalf of people. This difference is discussed in Chapter 10.
 
Following in the footsteps of the Gospel writers, Christians have always been interested in presenting Old Testament prophecies as having been fulfilled in Jesus. This approach is critically examined in Chapter 11. Finally, Chapter 12 summarizes the findings of the previous 11 chapters as it draws the image of the historical Messiah.
 
For reference, all Qur’anic verses in which the term “Messiah” occurs have been compiled in Appendix A. For the reader’s convenience, the book has three indexes for the Qur’anic verses, Biblical passages, and general names and subjects.
 
The book uses a number of styles. Each Qur’anic verse has been followed by a combination of two numbers identifying its sūra or “chapter” and its position in that chapter. For instance, the combination 4.172 refers to the 172nd verse of the 4th chapter.
 
The translations of the Qur’an in the book are mine, even though I have consulted some English translations. As translation is an act of interpretation, reflecting the translator’s understanding of the text, I always use my own translations of the Qur’an.
 
Square brackets have been used to enclose explanatory texts that are needed to clarify the translation. Alternative texts, such as the English meaning of a term that is quoted in its Arabic origin, are enclosed in parentheses.
 
For Biblical quotes, I have used the English Standard Version (ESV) Bible. First published in 2001, this modern translation is partly based on the King James Version.
 
The book uses a number of different printing styles. Different fonts have been used for the text, Qur’anic verses, and Biblical passages. Roman transliterations of Arabic terms are in italics. 

          

Copyright © 2009 Louay Fatoohi
All Rights Reserved

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