Book:  “The Islamic Jesus…” by Mustafa Akyol!

Dear Commons Community,

I have just finished reading, The Islamic Jesus: How the King of the Jews Became a Prophet of the Muslims,  by Mustafa Akyol, a visiting fellow at the Freedom Project at Wellesley College, and contributing writer for the New York Times.  As someone raised Roman Catholic, I was familiar with a number of the stories that Mr. Akyol presents, however, I found it interesting to read them from the Muslim perspective.  His book, while getting a bit into the weeds of religious writings especially the New Testament and the Qur’an, provides insights into the religious Jesus, as seen by three major religions.  As stated in a New York Times book review:

“Akyol frames it this way: “The three great Abrahamic religions of our battered world, despite all the past and present tensions between them, come together” in the story of Jesus. “Whether we are Jews, Christians or Muslims, we share either a faith followed by him, or a faith built on him, or a faith that venerates him.”

He makes the basic point that Jesus is seen as:

  • Neither the Messiah nor God to the Jews;
  • As a Messiah but not a God to Muslims; and
  • As the Messiah and God to Christians.

I enjoyed Akyol delving into Mary (Jesus’ mother) who appears in more passages in the Qur’an than she does in the New Testament.  Mary’s husband, Joseph, is never mentioned once in the Qur’an. Akyol’s exploration of the differences between Jewish Christians who followed Jesus’ brother James and the Hellenic Christians who followed Paul’s teachings, is well done.  His interpretation is that the Jewish Christians were closer to Islam in their teachings.  The last chapter is also a good review of modern times and how religion differences might be overcome.  A reach to say the least.



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