Liberal dating gospels
Whether Muhammad really received messages from the angel Gabriel may be a faith judgment, but whether he lived at all is a historical one.
Islam is not unique in staking out its claims as a historical faith or in inviting historical investigation.
The higher criticism clearly transformed the Christian world, changing the course of several major Christian communions and radically altering how others presented the faith.
Similarly, investigations into the origins of Judaism and the historical material contained within the Hebrew scriptures have affected the Jewish tradition.
A thorough review of the historical records provides startling indications that much, if not all, of what we know about Muhammad is legend, not historical fact.
A careful investigation similarly suggests that the Qur’an is not a collection of what Muhammad presented as revelations from the one true God but was actually constructed from already existing material, mostly from the Jewish and Christian traditions. Religious faith, any religious faith, is something that people hold very deeply.
Later scholars such as Rudolf Bultmann (1884–1976) cast strong doubt on the historical value of the Gospels.
Some scholars asserted that the canonical Gospels of the New Testament were products of the second Christian century and therefore of scant historical value.
Rather, they are presented as an attempt to make sense of the available data, comparing the traditional account of Islam’s origins against what can be known from the historical record. The veracity of those claims is open, to a certain extent, to historical analysis.
Other Protestant denominations (including splinters of the three named above) retreated into fundamentalism, which in its original formulation was a defiant assertion, in the face of the higher critical challenge, of the historicity of the Virgin Birth of Christ, his Resurrection, and more.
Pope Leo XIII condemned the higher criticism in his 1893 encyclical , but nine years later he established the Pontifical Biblical Commission, which was to use the tools of higher criticism to explore the scriptures within a context respectful to Catholic faith.
The nineteenth-century biblical scholar Julius Wellhausen’s ), a textual and historical analysis of the Torah, revolutionized the way many Jews and Christians looked at the origins of their scriptures and religious traditions.
By the time Wellhausen published his study in 1882, historical criticism, or higher criticism, of Judaism and Christianity had been going on for more than a hundred years.The more one looks at the origins of Islam, the less one sees.This book explores the questions that a small group of pioneering scholars has raised about the historical authenticity of the standard account of Muhammad’s life and prophetic career.Not only was that empire immense, but its cultural influence—also founded on Muhammad’s teaching—has been enduring as well.