• A Migrating Motif: Abraham and his Adversaries in Jubilees and al-Kisāʾī

    Mizan: Journal for the Study of Muslim Societies and Civilizations (view group) , Carol Bakhos
    Michael Pregill
    Mizan: Journal for the Study of Muslim Societies and Civilizations
    Qur'an studies, Islamic studies, Ancient Jewish Literature, Medieval Islam, Reception of the Bible, Second Temple Judaism
    Item Type:
    Islamic literature, Prophets in Islam, bible in islam
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    Rabbinic literature is often the starting point for those interested in locating intertexts and establishing relationships between Jewish and Islamic literature. Second Temple literature, however, echoes not only in medieval Jewish texts, but also in Islamic stories about the prophets. Moreover, the worldview underlying al-Kisāʾī’s Tales of the Prophets is reminiscent of the distinct ordering of the world and the forces of evil depicted in Jubilees. This article makes a modest attempt to contribute to the complicated subject of the relationship between ancient Jewish sources and medieval Islamic literature. In light of broader considerations of the transmission of tropes, motifs, and traditions across geographic, religious, and temporal lines, an examination of the episode of Abraham and the birds in both Jubilees and Kisāʾī within the context of the broader battle between God and an evil force calls attention to how aspects of Second Temple literature reverberate many centuries later, even if faintly. While we do not want to draw a straight line between Mastema in Jubilees and Kisāʾī’s portrayal of Nimrod, the latter presents us with an opportunity to entertain how compatible literary elements and images combined over time to tell the story of Abraham’s victory over the forces of evil, and to assess the qiṣaṣ genre with respect to its theological framework and worldview, as well as relative to other forms of scriptural expansion.
    This is a stable archival PDF of an open-access, peer-reviewed journal article originally published at www.mizanproject.org/journal/.
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    2 months ago
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