Christianity And Islam

nine gender, as Semites would do ; * instances of this change are to be found in the well-known Hymn of the Soul in the Acts of Thomas, in the Gospel to the Egyptians and elsewhere. I am inclined, however, to think it more probable that Muhammed had heard of Mariolatry and of the " mother of God/5 a title which then was a highly popular catchword, and that the apotheosis of Jesus was known to him and also the doctrine of the Trinity by name. Further than this his knowledge did not extend; although he knows the Holy Ghost and identifies him with Jesus, none the less his primitive reasoning, under the influence of many old beliefs, explained the mysterious triad of the Trinity as husband, wife, and son. This fact is enough to prove that his theory of Christianity was formed by combining isolated scraps of information and that he cannot have had any direct instruc-

* The word for " Spirit" is of the feminine gender in the Semitic languages.

tion from a Christian knowing the outlines of his faith.

Muhammed must also have denied the divinity of Christ: this is an obvious result of the course of mental development which we have described and of his characteristically Semitic theory of the nature of God. To him, God is one, never begetting and never begotten. Denying the divinity of Jesus, Muhammed naturally denies the redemption through the Cross and also the fact of the Crucifixion. Yet, strangely enough he accepted the miraculous birth ; nor did he hesitate to provide this purely human Jesus with all miraculous attributes; these were a proof of his divine commission, and marvellous details of this nature aroused the interest of his hearers.

Mary the sister of Ahron—an obvious confusion with the Old Testament Miriam— had been devoted to the service of God by her mother's vow, and lives in the temple under the guardianship of Zacharias, to

whom a later heir is born in answer to his prayers, namely John, the forerunner of the Holy Ghost, The birth is announced to Mary and she brings forth Jesus under a palm-tree, near which is a running spring and by the dates of which she is fed. On her return home she is received with reproaches by her family but merely points in reply to the new-born babe, who suddenly speaks from his cradle, asserting that he is the prophet of God. Afterwards Jesus performs all kinds of miracles, forms birds out of clay and makes them fly, heals the blind and lepers, raises the dead, etc., and even brings down from heaven a table ready spread. The Jews will not believe him, but the youth follow him. He is not killed, but translated to God. Christians are not agreed upon the manner of his death and the Jews have invented the story of the Crucifixion.

Muhammed's knowledge of Christianity thus consists of certain isolated details, partly m I «■^■éfc^üMÉ^) I mil É*—^« I 11

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