- Hardcover: 240 pages
- Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (November 10, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0199747466
- ISBN-13: 978-0199747467
- Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 0.9 x 6.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,027,541 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Jesus and Muhammad: Parallel Tracks, Parallel Lives 1st Edition
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From Publishers Weekly
Peters, New York University professor emeritus, adds this short book juxtaposing the lives of the central figures of Christianity and Islam to his already prolific offerings on comparative religion. Most chapters address one aspect of each prophet's life: the setting for Jesus' life and then Muhammad's in chapter one, a brief biographical background on Jesus and then Muhammad in chapter two, and so on. Natural similarities and potentially enlightening differences appear (such as Muhammad's becoming the sovereign of his own Islamic nation while Jesus, who never held a governance position as Muhammad did, was a "man-God, a human voice with the gravity of the Divine"), but not much more is done with them. Peters seems particularly and inexplicably dismissive of certain commonly held beliefs among Muslims and Muhammad biographers, among them Muhammad's age (Muslim tradition says he was 40); the circumstances of his marriage to his first wife, Khadija (most sources say it resulted from Khadija's own proposal); and Peters's stubborn habit of describing the Qur'an as poetry and Muhammad as a poet, although such a view is anathema in Islam or Islamic studies. Besides being somewhat dull, the book is short on useful conclusions. (Nov.)
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Combining Schweitzer’s famous quest for the historical Jesus with Sprenger’s less-well-known quest for the historical Muhammad, Peters advances a provocatively original comparison. Mining the Bible, the Antiquities of Josephus, and various apocryphal texts, Peters develops a portrait of Jesus that strikingly resembles the image of Muhammad emerging from the Sirach, the Qur’an, and the prophetic traditions of the Sahih. Peters depicts the careers of both religious leaders as two-act dramas: a first act concluding amid threats and danger; a second act unfolding a stunning denouement. But beyond the similarities, Peters discerns differences, none more important than that separating Muhammad as a prophet delivering a message from God and Jesus as the anointed messiah who was God’s incarnate message. And readers will recognize the enduring political consequences springing from the contrast between Jesus as a decidedly apolitical teacher and Muhammad as a militantly political general. Himself unmoved by the passions that sustain the Christian and Islamic faiths, Peters delivers a painstakingly objective analysis of the historical profiles of their founders. --Bryce Christensen
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Top Customer Reviews
What Peters does is directly compare pieces of Jesus' and Muhammad's lives and ministries. The reader learns what historical context Jesus was born into and then the context for Muhammad, the infancy narratives for Jesus and then Muhammad, the words of Jesus and then Muhammad, and so forth. In each case, Peters considered sources, the historian's point of view, and the believer's point of view.
The book jacket says that Peters finds surprising similarities between Jesus and Muhammad. I was disinterested in "surprising similarities" and more interested in learning facts. Specifically, I was interested in learning about Muhammad from an unbiased source, if such a thing exists.
I already am familiar, with Jesus' life and identity from both a secular and Catholic point of view. Part of the test for Peters, naturally, was to see how his presentation of Jesus matched my own expectations. Since I knew next to nothing about Muhammad, I couldn't judge the truth of what I was being told other than to judge the truth of what Peters said about Christ. If he proved trustworthy there, then I felt he'd be equally trustworthy on Muhammad's behalf.
I was impressed because the author was dispassionate in delineating history versus belief, while always being quite respectful of believers. This is not a quality we often see in historians speaking about religion. Usually they are rooting for one side or another. I commend Peters for doing such a clear job of research and writing.
The painstakingly objective way he wrote about what Christians believe about Christ, led me to believe that I was being allowed as unbiased a look as I have ever been shown of Muhammad and how his followers have developed his words into the Quran and the Sira. And that was precisely what I was after. Highly recommended for those who would like similar enlightenment.
perfectly mastered language.Anyway,I'll try to summarize my impressions as follows:
- the work of prof.Peters is among the clearer,and probably the clearest, of my readings in religions history;
- the "portrait" of the Historical Jesus is fascinating: I read two or three written work on the matter,but with
a less efficient synthesis,in my modest view;
-I was happy to learn many aspects of Muslim Religion that I still ignored;
-prof.Peters'work has the advantage of offering the reader the possibility of following the two "tracks" separately,reading
first the intellectually preferred one and then the other one.But this approach has strong limits : the overall historical
view will be lost.I would suggest to read the entire work and then to reconsider the "preferred" chapters or sections.
Forgive my crude English.