Muḥammad as an Epithet for Jesus: A Refutation of the Hypothesis of Ohlig, Popp, and Luxenburg

Some members of the Inârah Institute have doubted the historical existence of the Prophet of Islām, Muḥammad, arguing that the name muḥammad is symbolic.

The idea that the Prophet of Islām was not called Muḥammad did not arise from the German Inârah Institute. Its origins can be traced back to the Austrian Orientalist Aloys Sprenger. In his seminal work Das Leben und die Lehre des Moḥammad, Sprenger argued that Muḥammad was a religious epithet which was subsequently adopted by Muḥammad.

With a minor disagreements, Hartwig Hirschfeld and Gustav Rösch adopted Sprenger’s conclusion.

Influenced by the previous generation of scholars, some members of the Inârah Institute, most notably Karl-Heinz Ohlig, Volker Popp, and the pseudonymous author Christoph Luxenburg, have argued that the word muḥammad should be understood as an epithet for Jesus, rather than a reference to the Muḥammad. These scholars base themselves on the assertion that the phrase ‘Muḥammad ʿabd Allāh wa-Rasūluhu’ should be translated as ‘Praised be the servant of God and His messenger,’ and that this phrase parallel with the Christian liturgical (Mt. 23:39) phrase ‘mubārak al-ātī bi-ism al-rabb,’, which is the modern Christian Arabic version of the Benedictus qui venit.’

Such a proclamation can be rebutted in several points:

  • The parallel is drawn between two phrases that are too far removed in time and context.[1]
  • Epithets and titles in Arabic are usually preceded by the definitive article al-, something that is not the case for Muḥammad.[2] Although this is not a definitive rule, it is still worth emphasizing. Theodor Nöldeke, professor of Oriental languages at the University of Strasbourg, points out: “If the name were an epithet originally, then it would impossibly to explain why it does not appear, even a single time, with the definitive article.”[3]
  • On the Dome of the Rock (Qubbat as-Saḵra), Jesus—by either name or title—is mentioned four times, which makes that he would simultaneously be referenced cryptically unlikely.[4] As the British historian and Islamicist Gerald Hawting asked:

[W]hy should Jesus be mentioned subsequently four times in the Dome of the Rock inscription by either his name (‘ʿĪsā ibn Maryam’) or his title (‘al-Masīḥ’) but at this first (supposed) mention be kept anonymous?[5]

  • A coin from ca. 700 contains the word Muḥammad as a patronym (nasab), which contradicts Ohlig’s claim that it was an epithet rather than a proper name at this point.[6] The name Muḥammad was even used in pre-Islāmic times of ignorance (jāhilīyya).[7] This is confirmed by a second century Greek inscription found in Palmyra.[8] In addition to the to the inscription, there are approximately fifteen individuals who lived before the advent of Islām who had the name Muḥammad, two of whom were contemporaries of the Arabian Prophet (Koningsveld 2010: 12). Apart from numismatic evidence, there are three historical documents mentioning the name Muḥammad: the Qurʾān, the Constitution of Medina, the treaty of Ḥudaybiyya, and correspondences with various Arab tribes.[9]
  • Our earliest first century Islāmic documentary source—the Qurʾān—mentions Muḥammad a total of four times in various contexts:

Muḥammad is only a messenger. Messengers passed away before him. (Q. 3:144).

As for those who believed, acted virtuously and believed in what was brought down to Muḥammad, which is the truth from their Lord, He absolved them of their bad deeds and resolved their situation (Q. 47:2).

Muḥammad is the messenger of God. Those who are with him are severe to the unbelievers but compassionate to each other (Q. 48:29).

Muḥammad was not the father of any of your men but rather the messenger of God and the seal of the prophets. God was knowing in all things. (Q. 33:40).

Furthermore, the absence of Muḥammad would lead to the rise of many historical and explanatory difficulties. Christopher Melchert—professor of Arabic and Islamic Studies at Oxford University—said the following: “It seems hard to believe that the Qurʾan should repeatedly enjoin obedience to God & his prophet if there was no prophet around to obey”.[10]

  • The earliest non-Islāmic source explicitly mentioning Muḥammad by name is the Syriac chronicle composed by the Christian Thomas the Presbyter ca. 640.[12] In the Chronicle, we read:

In the year 945, indiction 7, on Friday 4 February (634) at the ninth hour, there was a battle between the Romans and the Arabs of Muḥammad (ṭayyāyē d-Mḥmṭ) in Palestine twelve miles east of Gaza.[13]

This chronicler appears to be referencing Muḥammad as a contemporaneous military leader, who is still alive during the Arab Conquests.[14]

  • Muḥammad being an epithet for Jesus is a hypothesis resting on the assertion that Islām during that formative period was a sect of Christianity and not an independent religion.[15] The early Islāmic community, according this hypothesis, were Arab Christians (perhaps Nestorians or Jacobites) until the ʿAbbāsid Dynasty, thus lacking a discrete religious identity.[16] Despite this, the Qurʾān is far from being a Christian text. For example, the scarcity of the references to Jesus within the Qurʾān seems inconsistent with such a hypothesis, since one would expect a Christian theological text to a far greater focus on Christ.[17] This is at least the case compared to the times the Qurʾān mentions Old Testament Prophets. Take for instance the number of times Moses is mentioned, which is approximately 136 times.[18] Contrast this the putative 36 times Jesus is referenced, and this includes the term Messiah (al-Masīḥ).[19] It is thus more reasonable to assume that the native community were under Jewish influence as advocated by Abraham Geiger and Patricia Crone & Michael Cook.

These facts presented above cast doubt on the hypothesis that the word Muḥammad is an epithet for Jesus, which appears to be baseless. Instead, it should be understood as a personal name of an Arabian Prophet who operated in central Ḥijāz.

As a concluding remark, I want to emphasis a very important point, namely that taking the notion that Muḥammad is not proper name as the proof that he did not exist –, is a non-sequitur, especially considering that even Luxenberg does not argue as such.

Endnotes

[1] Hawting 2006: 136.

[2] Nöldeke 1909 [1970]: I, 9, n. 1 (cited in Reynolds 2011: 194).

[3] Nöldeke 1909 [1970]: I, 9, n. 1 (cited in Reynolds 2011: 200).

[4] Hawting 2006: 136.

[5] Hawting 2006: 136.

[6] Schoeler 2011: 14.

[7] Nöldeke 1909: I, 9, n. 1.

[8] Renan 1860: 6 (cited in Reynolds 2011: 193).

[9] Nöldeke 1909 [1970]: I, 9, n. 1 (cited in Reynolds 2011: 194).

[10] Melchert, private correspondence.

[12] Hoyland 2000: 277.

[13] Hoyland 1997: 120.

[14] Shoemaker 2012.

[15] This is advocated by Andrae 1926; Mingana 1927; Bowman 1964–65; Lüling 2003; Luxenberg 2007; Gilliot 2008; Griffith 2008; Ohlig and Puin 2010; Van Reeth 2011; Witztum 2011a, 2011b; El-Badawi 2014; Segovia 2015a, 2015b, 2016 (all, expect for Lüling 2003, are cited in Segovia 2015).

[16] E.g.: Ohlig 2008: 9–10.

[17] Spiegel Online, Dispute among Islam scholars: Did Muhammad Ever Really Live? http://m.spiegel.de/international/germany/a-579052.html.

[18] Kassis 1983: 793–796 (cited in Klingschor, “The Qurʾānic Milieu”).

[19] Kassis 1983: 294–295, 778–779 (cited in Klingschor, “The Qurʾānic Milieu”).

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25 Responses to Muḥammad as an Epithet for Jesus: A Refutation of the Hypothesis of Ohlig, Popp, and Luxenburg

  1. leocomix14 says:

    This is a very weak refutation.

    1 The parallel is drawn between two phrases that are too far removed in time and context.[1]
    The Dome of the Rock is built in Jerusalem, starting point of Christianity. It is still inhabited by Christians (and built by a Christian architect on the modem of the Christian Kathisba church) So it isn’t removed at all in time and place.

    2 On the Dome of the Rock (Qubbat as-Sakra), Jesus—by either name or title—is mentioned four times, which makes that he would simultaneously be referenced cryptically unlikely.[2] As one notable critic asked: “why should Jesus be mentioned subsequently four times in the Dome of the Rock inscription by either his name (‘ʿĪsā ibn Maryam’) or his title (‘al-Masīḥ’) but at this first (supposed) mention be kept anonymous?”[3]
    Except it wouldn’t be cryptical to an Arabic Christian culture. Ask yourself whay would Jesus be mentioned 4 times on the Dome of the Rock?

    3 A coin from ca. 700 contains the word Muhammad as a patronym (nasab), which contradicts Ohlig’s claim that it was an epithet rather than a proper name at that point in time.[4]

    700 is still later than 685 when Dome of the Rock was built. The patronymic usage could have come later. There are many examples of people misunderstanding epithet for names. The use of Muhammad as patronym doesn’t in any way contradict its use as an epithet at this time.

    4 The earliest non-Islamic source explicitly mentioning the Prophet Muḥammad (ṣlʿm) by name is the Syriac chronicle composed by the Christian Thomas the Presbyter ca. 640.[5] In the chronicle, we read: “In the year 945, indiction 7, on Friday 4 February (634) at the ninth hour, there was a battle between the Romans and the Arabs of Muḥammad (ṭayyāyē d-Mḥmṭ) in Palestine twelve miles east of Gaza.”[6] This chronicler appears to be referencing Muḥammad as a contemporaneous military leader, rather than Jesus.

    Not necessarily, this chronicler would misundertand who is this Mhmt whom the Tayayye claim is their leader. “We fight for Mhmt” Remember that according to pseudo-Sebeos, the Arabs wanted to resurrect Jesus to lead them. We also have examples of Christian chroniclers believing Amir al muminun was the proper name of a Calife.

    5 Muhammad being an epithet for Jesus is a hypothesis resting on the assertion that Islām during that formative period was a sect of Christianity and not an independent religion. The Muslims, according to this hypotheses, were actually Christians until the Abbasid Dynasty, thus lacking a discrete religious identity.[7] Despite this, the holy scripture of Islam—the Quran—is far from being a Christian text. For example, the scarcity of the references to Jesus within the Quran seems inconsistent with such a hypothesis, since one would expect a Christian theological text to a far greater focus on Christ.[8]

    Jesus is mentioned 187 times (25 times by name, 79 times by title, 48 times in the 3rd person, 35 times in the 1st person) far more than Muhammad (4 times) and Mary is mentioned 34 times. I don’t see any scarcity here.

    All of these facts presented above refute the hypothesis that the word Muhammad is an epithet for Jesus, which appears to be baseless. Instead, it should be understood as a personal name of an Arabian Prophet who operated in central Hijaz.

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    • First Objection:

      It seems that you have misunderstood the point that I was trying to make. I said that the phrases are too far removed in time and context from each other which makes the parallel drawn between them incorrect. This is rather obvious considering that the phrase ‘Muhammad abd Allah wa-Rasuluhu’ is from first century Hijaz whilst the phrase ‘mubarak al-ati bi-ism al-rabb’, which is the MODERN Arabic version of the Benedictus qui venit. Thus, the
      parallel is worthless and G. R. Hawting’s objection stands.

      Second Objection:

      Here you build your objection on the assumption that there was in Jerusalem an Arabic Christian culture instead of a Syriac or Greek Christian culture. Why would Jesus be mentioned four times? This is rather obvious and the answer is anti-Christian polemic. Jesus, as you know, is mentioned four times by name and title, so why would he be mentioned once cryptically? Jesus being mentioned four times, to an Arabic Christian culture as you assumed, would be enough so why would a cryptical mention also be made?

      Third Objection:

      It is rather improbable that native Arabs would mistake a title with a patronym in my opinion. And the coin bears the name ‘ʿAbd al-Rahman ibn Muḥammad’ (Ibn al-Ashʿath) which makes it improbable that it was mistaken for a patronym unless you want to concede that Abd al-Rahman invented his father’s name. Also, the coin is from the year 80 A. H. This, according G. Schoeler: “…refutes Ohlig’s ludicrous claim that in first century AH sources, especially the inscriptions on the Dome of the Rock, the word Muḥammad (written MḤMD) is not a personal name but an epithet of Jesus (without any reference to the Islamic Prophet) and should be translated as ‘the praiseworthy one’ or ‘the blessed one’.”

      Fourth Objection:

      This could be true but it is unlikely. If one takes our contemporary non-Islamic sources one finds that they never refer to Muhammad as an epithet to anyone but as an alive military leader who might have even initiated the Islamic conquests.

      Fifth Objection:

      Jesus, by name and title, is mentioned a total of 36 times. This is indeed scarce, at least if one compares it to the number of times Old Testament figures are mentioned. Thus, it would be more reasonable to say that the Quran is a Jewish text rather than a Christian one.

      One last thing, could you provide the sources for your claims?

      Like

      • leocomix14 says:

        Here’s the hypothesis: A Christian Arab converted trinitarian Arab Christians (the mushrikun of the Quran) to unitarian Christianity. Rejecting the Council of Nicea, they justified their doctrine on fidelity to both the Old and New Testament.
        For the brand of heterodox Christianity of these converted Arabs (Ebionism or Nazareism), Jesus is a non-divine messenger of God and they want to rebuild the temple to bring about his resurrection so that he will lead them to conquer the Earth before the forthcoming end times — military messianism.

        First Objection: I’d like to know what’s Hawting’s refutation exactly because if the Quran is an independent translated predication into Arabic from Syriac-speaking Arabs who had emigrated to the Hidjaz of the early 7th century, there’s no compelling reason the translation of the Benedictus qui venit should match with a Northern Arabic one.

        Second: I make no such assumption. There is no anti-Christian polemic, only anti-trinitarian polemic. The Christian North Arabs who were in Jerusalem didn’t understand that MHMD was a title for Jesus because no such title was used in their syriac liturgy. So they assumed it was the name of some Arab prophet (as possibly did the author of the Doctrina Jacobi and Sebeos).

        Third: I disagree, if the Arabs have been christianized (and they have from numismatic, archeological evidence and even from the Quranic text itself) then they start giving Christian names to their children so that by 80 AH there are more than a few children called Mhmd. For instance many Christians are called Baptist and this was a title not a proper name. Several other Christian titles have become first names — including the word Christian.

        Four: Except none has met this leader. They have only heard from him. No Arab from this time period refers to Mhmd in epigraphy but they quote parts of the Quran and the first part of the chahada.

        Five; We likely disagree on the number because many allusive mentions — i.e. prophet or messenger — that are considered by islamic tradition to refer to “Muhammad” I consider referring to Jesus or Moses.

        To understand the Quran one has to see it in dialog with what preceded it –Christian and other literature of late antiquity– not with what followed –tafsir and hadith of the caliphal world.

        I see that we disagree on the meaning of Christian. Apparently you restrict Christian to current trinitarian doctrine. I consider Christian heresies to be Christian nonetheless. The inclusive definition of a Christian is one who devoutly follows the examples of Jesus. When the muminun discarded the name “Christian” in Medina in order to ally with Jews and build a common identity –the first umma– and after this failed and they conquered Arabia and Jerusalem and by then, decades later — not understanding that Mhmd was originally a title for Jesus — started to follow the example of Muhammad as described in the mostly made-up hadith, they stopped being Christians. At each point the Caliphs reinterpreted their doctrine, this led to a fitna but the heresies won until Islam became unrecognizable as a Christian branch.

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      • edward says:

        quote:
        Third: I disagree, if the Arabs have been christianized (and they have from numismatic, archeological evidence and even from the Quranic text itself) then they start giving Christian names to their children so that by 80 AH there are more than a few children called Mhmd. For instance many Christians are called Baptist and this was a title not a proper name. Several other Christian titles have become first names — including the word Christian.
        end quote

        quote :
        not understanding that Mhmd was originally a title for Jesus — started to follow the example of Muhammad as described in the mostly made-up hadith, they stopped being Christians. At each point the Caliphs reinterpreted their doctrine, this led to a fitna but the heresies won until Islam became unrecognizable as a Christian branch.

        in the 8th , 9th and 10th century what evidences are there that arabic,syriac and hebrew speaking crosstians named their children “muhammad” or “ahmad”

        or used it for “jesus” the unknown galilean

        Like

      • edward says:

        “Third: I disagree, if the Arabs have been christianized (and they have from numismatic, archeological evidence and even from the Quranic text itself) then they start giving Christian names to their children so that by 80 AH there are more than a few children called Mhmd. For instance many Christians are called Baptist and this was a title not a proper name. Several other Christian titles have become first names — including the word Christian.”


        For the brand of heterodox Christianity of these converted Arabs (Ebionism or Nazareism), Jesus is a non-divine messenger of God and they want to rebuild the temple to bring about his resurrection so that he will lead them to conquer the Earth before the forthcoming end times — military messianism.”

        “arabs have been christianized”

        “to bring about his ressurection so that he will lead them to ….”

        if your crack induced thinking was correct, then surely military messianism ideas should have found there way in the inscriptions on the dome of the rock.

        on him, and may God have mercy. O People of the Book! Do not exaggerate in your religion
        E nor utter aught concerning God save the truth. The Messiah, Jesus son of
        Mary, was only a Messenger of God, and His Word which He conveyed unto Mary, and a spirit
        from Him. So believe in God and His messengers, and say not ‘Three’ – Cease! (it is)
        NE better for you! – God is only One God. Far be it removed from His transcendent majesty that He should have a son. His is all that is
        in the heavens and all that is in the earth. And God is
        sufficient as Defender. The Messiah will never scorn to be a
        N servant unto God, nor will the favoured angels. Whoso scorneth
        His service and is proud, all such will He assemble unto Him.
        Oh God, bless Your Messenger and Your servant Jesus
        NW son of Mary. Peace be on him the day he was born, and the day he dies,
        and the day he shall be raised alive! Such was Jesus, son of Mary, (this is) a statement of
        the truth concerning which they doubt. It befitteth not (the Majesty of) God that He should take unto Himself a son. Glory be to Him!
        W When He decreeth a thing, He saith unto it only: Be! and it is.
        Lo! God is my Lord and your Lord. So serve Him. That is the right path. God (Himself) is witness that there is no God
        save Him. And the angels and the men of learning (too are witness). Maintaining His creation in justice, there is no God save Him,
        SW the Almighty, the Wise. Lo! religion with God (is) Islam. Those who (formerly) received the Book
        differed only after knowledge came unto them, through transgression among themselves. Whoso
        disbelieveth the revelations of God (will find that) Lo! God is swift at reckoning!

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      • edward says:

        “not understanding that Mhmd was originally a title for Jesus — started to follow the example of Muhammad as described in the mostly made-up hadith, they stopped being Christians. At each point the Caliphs reinterpreted their doctrine, this led to a fitna but the heresies won until Islam became unrecognizable as a Christian branch.”

        imposing your religions problems on islam?

        “Modern scholars who claim to have uncovered the real historical Jesus depict wildly different persons.”

        http://www.richardcarrier.info/archives/11516

        Like

  2. edward says:

    “…especially the inscriptions on the Dome of the Rock, the word Muḥammad (written MḤMD) is not a personal name but an epithet of Jesus (without any reference to the Islamic Prophet) and should be translated as ‘the praiseworthy one’ or ‘the blessed one’.”

    in my opinion what completely demolishes this claim is “muhammad” remain UNTRANSLATED in persian, greek and latin.
    why is that? i thought it was descriptive and not a proper name?

    Liked by 1 person

    • leocomix14 says:

      Untranslated in which material? From what period? Whether you’re Persian or Roman, if Arab conquerors tell you they are followers of Mhmt and you don’t know this is a title, you will assume it’s the name of their leader just like people have assumed titles to be names for ages (Baptist, Magdadalena, etc)

      Like

      • edward says:


        Untranslated in which material? From what period?”

        http://www.islamic-awareness.org/History/Islam/Coins/drachm31.html

        these are the early muslims coins .


        Whether you’re Persian or Roman”

        quote:

        Spencer failed to engage with the first century bilingual Greek-Arabic administrative papyri that clearly translate “Muhammad” as “Muhammad” in Greek. Further still, he failed to mention the first century Arab-Sasanian coins of Kirman which translate “Muhammad” as “Muhammad” in Middle Persian. So the Greeks translated “Muhammad” as proper name, the Persians translated “Muhammad” as a proper name, the Arab held “Muhammad” as a proper name, but Spencer wants us to believe it was not a proper name but “could have been” an epithet referring to Jesus. Furthermore, Spencer fails to note the absurd consequence of this argument. If “Muhammad” meant Jesus, who was that “Muhammad” referred to by earlier and contemporaneous Christian texts? That “Muhammad” was clearly an Arab, while Jesus was a Jew. Were seventh century Christians so stupid that they didn’t know that Jesus was a Jew and not an Arab? Much worse, was Jesus alive in the seventh century according to these Christians? Worst Still, why are these Christians referring to Jesus so negatively? Is he not their Lord and Savour? Thus is trying to rubbish the documentary data, Spencer forgot about the contemporaneous Christian texts. So much for explanatory scope!

        end quote

        now what will be your argument?

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  3. edward says:

    “Not necessarily, this chronicler would misundertand who is this Mhmt whom the Tayayye claim is their leader. “We fight for Mhmt” Remember that according to pseudo-Sebeos, the Arabs wanted to resurrect Jesus to lead them”

    and they thought jesus was an arab?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jenny Blow says:

      No, the chroniclers didn’t know that Arabs used Mhmt as epithet for Jesus. Notice that Byzantine chroniclers also thought that Amir al muminun was a proper name, so there is evidence they could confuse titles for proper names..

      Like

      • edward says:

        “No, the chroniclers didn’t know that Arabs used Mhmt as epithet for Jesus.”

        so the arabs thought jesus was an arab ?

        Like

      • edward says:

        “Notice that Byzantine chroniclers also thought that Amir al muminun was a proper name”

        they could confuse titles for proper names , but they could also confuse epithets/descriptors for ?

        where is this confusion in the chronicles?

        Like

  4. edward says:

    David Kiltz
    David Kiltz 1) Last time I saw K.H. Ohlig (a few years ago) he certainly knew no Arabic. 2) The re-reading (or ‘Weglesen’) of the name Muhammad was mostly orchestrated by Christoph Luxenberg (pseudonym) arguing it was an adjective in the inscription of the Dome of the Rock, not a name. 3) The attempt to prove it so can be considered failed, i.e. doesn’t work linguistically. 4) Günter Lüling is not part of “Inārah”. 5) The name (and the word) Mhm(m)d is attested pre-Islam, apparently also for a church funtionary. However, for a word meaning ‘highly praised’ it wouldn’t seem terribly strange. 6) J. Pink is, of course, quite right to point out that Ohlig essentially wants Islam to be an antitrinitarian Christianity and do away with a historic Muhammad. 7) The positions aren’t new.

    François Clément de Blois
    François Clément de Blois MHMT is the regular Pahlavi spelling of Muḥammad. It occurs on an early Umayyad coin in the Pahlavi sentence Muḥammad paygāmbar ī yazd (“M. is the prophet of God”). The coin has a bust on one side and an unmistakable fire altar on the other: no trace of “Christian iconography”.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Very interesting. Could you please provide the sources for these points, especially for point number 5?

      Like

      • edward says:

        you mean the one from deblois?

        Like

      • edward says:

        even f donner doesn’t seem to know yet

        quote:

        Don’t know whose quote this is, and hence no idea what sources s/he may be quoting (if any). Perhaps it is from Syriac, but without my dictionaries I can’t say. Sorry!
        Best, -FMD

        Fred M. Donner
        Professor of Near Eastern History
        The Oriental Institute and Department of Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations
        The University of Chicago
        1155 E. 58th Street
        Chicago, IL 60637 USA

        Like

      • What quote are you and Donner referring to? You could provide the source for the deblois also.

        Like

      • edward says:

        François Clément de Blois MHMT is the regular Pahlavi spelling of Muḥammad. It occurs on an early Umayyad coin in the Pahlavi sentence Muḥammad paygāmbar ī yazd (“M. is the prophet of God”). The coin has a bust on one side and an unmistakable fire altar on the other: no trace of “Christian iconography”.

        http://www.islamic-awareness.org/History/Islam/Coins/drachm31.html

        Like

  5. edward says:

    you mean this point :

    The name (and the word) Mhm(m)d is attested pre-Islam, apparently also for a church funtionary. However, for a word meaning ‘highly praised’ it wouldn’t seem terribly strange

    yes, i need to do more investigation on this.

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      • Shoemaker argues that 11 sources from 7-8 centuries in one way or another indicated that Muhammad where alive in at least the initial stages of the invasions. Among the sources Shoemaker discusses is “Doctrina Iacobi” (c. 640):

        “And they were saying, “A prophet has appeared, coming with the Saracens, and he is preaching the arrival of the anointed one who is to come, the Messiah…

        Here are the prophet mentioned in the present tense, he comes with the Saracens and he preaches something witch sounds like Jewish messianism.

        According to Shoemaker, there are several closely related Jewish apocalyptic texts witch describe visions of a certain Rabbi Shimon, who describes Islamic conquests, each of them giving a slightly different version of the conquests, texts with seems to depend on a common source. Shoemaker calls it a 7th century Jewish apocalypse “The Apocalypse of Rabbi Shimon ben Yohay”,

        The earliest of these apocalypses is “The Secrets of Rabbi b. Yohai” (usually dated in the middle of 8th century) In this text, when Rabbi Simon cries out and asks if not the Jewish people have suffered enough in the hands of Edom (= Byzantine Empire) the angel Metatron tells him that God will use the Ishmaelite’s to free the Jews from the Byzantines.

        “He shall raise up over them a prophet. And he will conquer the land for them”. (p. 28)

        Now, the Hebrew is ambiguous in this text and it’s not entirely clear if God or the prophet is the one who conquers the land. The reading of the prophet as the actor is preferred for example by the fact that a fragment preserving the opening of “the Secret” survives among the Cairo Geniza texts and in this version “He raises over them a crazy prophet, possessed by a spirit, and he will conquer the land for them”. It’s hard to believe that the writer meant that God conquered the land for this possessed prophet; therefore the prophet as the conqueror is the preferred reading.
        Another mid-8th century source (“Ten King Midrash”), witch highly probably is dependent on the same source as “The Secrets” says that:

        “He will conquer all the kingdom and come to Jerusalem and bow down there and make war with the Edomites and they will flee before him and he will seize the kingship and then he will die” (p. 31)

        A more recent text, dating from the First Crusade, “The Prayer of Rabbi ben Yohai” also describes Muhammad leading the conquest of Palestine: “a crazy man possessed by a spirit arises and speaks lies about the Holy One, blessed be He, and he conquers the land”.

        Shoemaker concludes that “the persistence of this particular theme, Muhammad’s conquest of the land, across all of these sources, despite their heavy revisions to this prophecy, rather strongly suggest that this was an original feature of the seventh century apocalypse on witch they have all drawn” (p. 31). I think that he is making a strong case in this one.

        Further evidence for this comes from the anonymous Syriac “Khurizan chronicle”(ca. 660):

        “And Yazgerd, who was from the royal lineage, was crowned king in the city of Estakhr, and under him the Persian Empire come to an end. And he went forth and came to Mâhôzê and appointed one name Rustam as the leader of the army. Then God raised up against hem the sons of Ishmael like sand of the seashore. And their leader was Mohammed and neither city walls nor gates, neither armor nor shields stood before them” (p. 34-35).

        Again, the text indicates that Mohammed actually is the leader of the army!

        My last example (im tired and have to sleep) comes from the “History of the Patriarch of Alexandria” (before 717 ce):

        “…so that they said that Muhammed is his messenger. And his nation was circumcised in the flesh, not in the law, and they prayed toward the south, orienting themselves toward a place they call Ka¨ba. Andhe took possession of Damascus and Syria, and he crossed the Jordan and damned it up. And the Lord abandoned the army of the Romans before him” (p. 40).

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  6. edward says:

    ” Whether you’re Persian or Roman, if Arab conquerors tell you they are followers of Mhmt and you don’t know this is a title, you will assume it’s the name of their leader just like people have assumed titles to be names for ages (Baptist, Magdadalena, etc)”

    so the story is arab conquerors have reconstructed a version of jesus similar to how modern scholars have reconstructed different jesus, then they name him “muhammad” and take their reconstructed jesus (muhammad) to other christians who worship their own version of jesus. these arabs who conquered fail to tell them, “hey it is jesus…” ?

    Like

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