Francisco del Rio is Associate Professor of Semitic languages at the University of Barcelona. The study of connections between the languages, cultures and religions in the Near East is at the core of his training and academic production. He has collaborated in different projects related to Bible, Semitic Languages and Archaeology of the Middle East, working in Aleppo from 1998 to 2011. Since 2005 he is in charge of a project centered on the study of Arabic and Syriac manuscripts of Northern Syria. Since 2012 he leads the Spanish team within a European Project on the study of Nabataean inscriptions.
Between all the different theories about the origins of the Islamic religion, there are some works reviving the question of a link between Early Islam and Jewish-Christianity. The arguments defending this are of unequal value. On the other hand, there is a strong objection to the existence of real influences of Jewish-Christianity on Islam, namely, the allusion to the lack of geographic or chronological proximity between both phenomena. At this point, it is necessary to work on the question reformulating the concept of “Jewish-Christianity”, and from this perspective, using a new approach to the information provided by the sources.
Among all the different theories that currently explore the religious milieu of Late Antiquity to elucidate the origins of the Islamic religion, there is a group of scholars supporting that Jewish Christianity must have played a role in its formation, reviving the question of a potential link between Early Islam and the beliefs and practices of those followers of Jesus that maintained or adopted certain Jewish beliefs and practices, either Jews that believed in the messianism and/or the prophecy of Jesus, groups whose existence and nature is still a matter of debate. In any case, the question is still subject of passionate debate among specialists.
This volume collects the papers of a two-day colloquium held in Washington DC in October 2015 about the question of Jewish Christianity and Early Islam and highlights the vitality of this field of studies. The contributions included here cover a broad range of topics, and they offer new ideas, interpretations and understandings of the question.
Table of Contents
Guillaume Dye, Jewish Christianity, the Qurʾān, and Early Islam: Some methodological caveats
Robert Hoyland, The Jewish and/or Christian Audience of the Qurʾān and the Arabic Bible
Simon C. Mimouni, Du Verus Propheta Chrétien (Ébionite?) au Sceau des Prophètes musulman.
Francisco del Río, Jewish-Christianity and Islamic Origins. The Transformation of a peripheral religious movement?
Carlos A. Segovia, The Jews and Christians of Pre-Islamic Yemen (Ḥimyar) and the Elusive Matrix of the Qurʾān’s Christology
Stephen Shoemaker, Jewish Christianity, Non-Trinitarianism, and the Beginnings of Islam
Holger Zellentin, Judaeo-Christian Legal Culture and the Qurʾān: The Case of Ritual Slaughter and the Consumption of Animal Blood