‘More merciful than Yahweh’: Jack Miles on God in the Quran

Religion News Service | 1/22/2019 | Staff
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(RNS) — Ever since 9/11, Americans have been treated to a host of conflicting, often ill-informed, views about Islam and its deity, Allah.

Some insist Allah is a vengeful being who commands his followers to kill nonbelievers. Others plead that Islam is a religion of peace and its God not different in kind from the one worshipped by Jews and Christians.

Jack - Miles - Author - Pulitzer - Prize-winning

Jack Miles, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning “God: A Biography” and a retired professor of religion at the University of California Irvine, now offers an erudite and highly readable close reading of Allah’s real nature.

In “God in the Qur’an,” he compares the God of the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament with God as he is portrayed in the Quran.

Way - Stories - Adam - Eve - Noah

Along the way he also compares the stories of Adam and Eve, Noah, Abraham, Joseph, Moses and Jesus, all of whom appear in both the Bible and the Quran.

Miles has long been fascinated with the nature of God in Scripture. Though he himself is Christian and claims limited knowledge of Arabic (he earned his doctorate in Near Eastern languages from Harvard), he is also a trained literary critic and draws on a deep well of biblical and theological knowledge.

Miles - MacArthur - Genius - Fellow - Corcoran

Miles, a 2002 MacArthur “genius” fellow, now serves as the Corcoran Visiting Chair in Christian-Jewish Relations at Boston College.

The following interview was edited for length and clarity.


What led you to try to tackle the Quran?

I was hesitant at first. I have not made a study of Islam. But finally, I could see a way to do it with my own limitations and that was by studying how the Quran treats signal characters and episodes in the Bible.

Quran - Stories - Edition - Bible - Repeats

The Quran is not narrative. It doesn’t tell all the biblical stories again. It’s not a revised edition of the Bible. It alludes rather than repeats. There’s a...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Religion News Service
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