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Christian and Islamic Narratives - Essay Example

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The central role that Jesus of Nazareth plays in both Islamic and Christian eschatology prompts further investigation into both religions' interpretations and understandings of his life. In this paper, I will specifically analyze the respective Christian and Islamic narratives regarding the circumstances surrounding his death…
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Christian and Islamic Narratives

Download file to see previous pages... It is acknowledged that he has some understanding of his fate, and recognizes the significance and the necessity of his sacrifice. Evidenced in the Last Supper when Jesus explains, "One of you which eateth with me shall betray me" (Mark 14:18). In terms of the narrative this is most clearly seen in the episode of the passion where Christ is brought before Pontius Pilate. Pilate gives him multiple opportunities to exonerate himself, while the high priests of the Sanhedrin hurl accusations, "And Pilate asked him again, saying, Answerest thou nothing behold how many things they witness against thee" (Mark 15:4). To which Jesus does not respond, prompting Pilate to marvel. When Pilate claims to have to the power to release or crucify Pilate, Jesus responds, "Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin" (John 19:11). Recognizing that his fate does not lie in the hands of mortals, Jesus is cognizant to some degree of the greater plan in store for humanity. This understanding is by no means unequivocal or univocal throughout the Gospels, or even within the Gospels themselves. On the cross, Jesus is said to have said seven things including, "Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani" that is, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me" The theological explanation here is varied, suggesting that there is something of the human Jesus struggling to bear the sum of the punishment of all the sins in the world offered by Hell. After passing the temple shakes, the curtain is rent, and the dead rise, confirming the status of Jesus as the Christ, according to the various narratives.
The Islamic account is radically different. Many of the starkest differences originate from the markedly different stylistic and structural modes of presentation between the Quran and the Bible. The Gospels like most of the Bible is a prose narrative, offering a dialogic mode of presentation, that is, multiple voices interacting in a linear narrative. The Quran is mostly written in what most closely resembles poetic verse, and its style is epigrammatic and monologic, or conversely, one voice describing events and the words of others. Thus many of the character descriptions and narrative details that the Gospel includes are noticeably absent in the Quran in the depiction of the death of Jesus. Also, important is the fundamental theological difference as regards the ontology of Jesus, i.e. in Islam, Jesus or Isa as he called in Quran, is a fully human figure. Theologically is this an essential feature of Islam, as it asserted throughout the Quran and the corresponding Hadith, that God is a unique and singular figure, who has no associates or comparisons. This notion of the unity of God stands as a fundamental pillar of Islam. Moreover, any pretention to question or equivocate on this matter is a grave sin, known as shirk. Thus Jesus must be son of Mary via virginal conception, "And (remember) her who guarded her chastity: We breathed into her of Our spirit, and We made her and her son a sign for all peoples" (Quran 21:19). The Quran does not deny he is Messiah, nor does it deny that at the end times that he will return to do battle with evil in a remarkably similar eschatology to ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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