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Title: The Legend of Sergius Bahira: Eastern Christian Apologetics and Apocalyptic in Response to Islam
Author: Roggema, Barbara
Publisher: Brill; Publication Date: 2008
Hardcover; ISBN: 9789004167308
Volumes: 1; Pages: xii, 579
List Price in Cloth: $249.00 Our price: $210.99
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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 Bahira, 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 Muhammad 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.