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Muḥammad, Menaḥem, and the Paraclete: new light on Ibn Isḥāq's (d. 150/767) Arabic version of John 15: 23–16: 1 1

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  10 May 2016

Sean W. Anthony
The Ohio State University
E-mail address:


Biblical proof-texts for the prophethood of Muḥammad play a prominent role in early Muslim interest in the Bible. This study re-examines the earliest known attempt by Muslims to find such a biblical proof-text in the New Testament – the Arabic version of Jesus's sermon on the “advocate/comforter” (Gk. paráklētos) in John 15: 23–16 found in Ibn Isḥāq's Kitāb al-Maghāzī. Key to understanding Ibn Isḥāq's adaptation of the Johannine text, this study argues, is the Christian Palestinian Aramaic Gospel behind it as well as the climate of Late Antique apocalypticism and messianism out of which Ibn Isḥāq's distinctively Islamic version emerged. This study concludes with an interpretation of Quran 61: 6, which appears to claim that Jesus prophesied a future prophet named Aḥmad.

Copyright © SOAS, University of London 2016 

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Abbreviations used: CCPA = Christa Müller-Kessler and Michael Sokoloff (eds), Corpus of Christian Palestinian Aramaic, 5 vols (Groningen: STYX, 1997–99); CCR = Agnes Smith Lewis (ed.), Codex Climaci Rescriptus (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1909); GdQ = Theodor Nöldeke, Friedrich Schwally, Gotthelf Bergsträßer and Otto Pretzl, Geschichte des Qorans, 3 vols (repr. Hildesheim: Georg Olms, 1961); PSLG = Agnes Smith Lewis and Margaret Dunlop Gibson (eds), The Palestinian Syriac Lectionary of the Gospels (London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner & Co., 1899).


2 Brown, Raymond E., “The Paraclete in the fourth gospel”, New Testament Studies 13, 1967, 113–32CrossRefGoogle Scholar; George Johnston, The Spirit-Paraclete in the Gospel of John (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1970).

3 Antti Marjanen, “Egalitarian ecstatic ‘new prophecy’”, in A. Marjanen and Petri Loumanen (eds), A Companion to Second-Century Christian “Heretics” (Brill: Leiden, 2005), 196–9.

4 Cf. the competing views of Christine Trevett, Montanism: Gender, Authority and the New Prophecy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996), 79 ff. and William Tabbernee, Montanist Inscriptions and Testimonia: Epigraphic Sources Illustrating the History of Montanism (Macon, Georgia: Mercer University Press, 1997), 32–3.

5 See, e.g., Cologne Mani Codex 45–64, in Iain Gardner and Samuel N.C. Lieu, Manichaean Texts from the Roman Empire (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004), 54–7.

6 See Kephailia 14.3–15.24 in Gardner and Lieu, Manichaean Texts, 73–5. Cf. John C. Reeves, Prolegomena to a History of Islamicate Manichaeism (Oakville, CT: Equinox, 2011), 80.

7 See al-Khaṭīb al-Baghdādī, Tārīkh Madīnat al-Salām, 17 vols, ed. Bashshār ʿAwwād Maʿrūf (Beirut: Dār al-Gharb al-Islāmī, 2001), 2, 16–7 and Yāqūt al-Ḥamawī, Irshād al-arīb ilā maʿrifat al-adīb, 7 vols, ed. Iḥsān ʿAbbās (Beirut: Dār al-Gharb al-Islāmī, 1993), 6, 2419. Cf. Josef Horovitz, The Earliest Biographies of the Prophet and Their Authors, ed. and tr. L. Conrad (Princeton: Darwin, 2002), 74–90 and Gregor Schoeler, The Biography of Muḥammad: Nature and Authenticity, tr. Uwe Vagelpohl and ed. James E. Montgomery (London: Routledge, 2011), 26–34.

8 Baumstark, Anton, “Eine altarabische Evangelienübersetzung aus dem Christlich-Palastinenischen”, Zeitschrift für Semitistik und Verwandte Gebiete 8, 1932, 201–09Google Scholar; Alfred Guillaume, “The version of the Gospels used in Medina, c. a.d. 700”, Al-Andalus 15, 1950, 289–96; and Sidney H. Griffith, “Arguing from scripture: the Bible in the Christian/Muslim encounter in the Middle Ages”, in Thomas J. Heffernan and Thomas E. Burman (eds), Scripture and Pluralism: Reading the Bible in the Religiously Plural Worlds of the Middle Ages and Renaissance (Leiden: Brill, 2005), 29–58, which revises the earlier findings of a now-classic study in idem, The Gospel in Arabic: an inquiry into its appearance in the first Abbasid century”, Oriens Christianus 69, 1985, 126–67Google Scholar (esp. 137 ff.). Two recent contributions are: Claude Gilliot, “Nochmals: Hieß der Prophet Muḥammad?”, in Markus Groß and Karl-Heinz Ohlig (eds), Die Entstehung einer Weltreligion, II: Von der koranischen Bewegung zum Frühislam (Tübingen: Hans Schiler, 2011), 53–95 (esp. 77–81); and Jan M.F. van Reeth, “Who is the ‘Other’ Paraclete?”, in Carlos A. Segovia and Basil Lourié (eds), The Coming of the Comforter: When, Where and to Whom? Studies on the Rise of Islam and Various Other Topics in Memory of John Wansbrough (Piscataway, NJ: Gorgias Press, 2012), 423–52. My interpretation departs considerably from those offered by Gilliot and, especially, van Reeth.

9 Hikmat Kashouh has amassed considerable evidence that the Arabic Christian translations of the second half of the eighth century ce – once thought to be the first attempts – probably drew upon “more primitive exemplars”. He concludes, “The second half of the eighth century is when we should talk of the history of transmission of the Arabic Gospel text and not the beginning of the Arabic translation of the Gospels” (H. Kashouh, The Arabic Versions of the Gospels: The Manuscripts and Their Families, Berlin: W. de Gruyter, 2010, 333). I find the basic thesis plausible; however, Kashouh's main text for supporting this theory, MS Vat. Ar. 13, provides far less evidence for a pre-Islamic Arabic translation of the Gospels than he believes. See the critiques of S.H. Griffith, The Bible in Arabic: The Scriptures of the ‘People of the Book’ in the Language of Islam (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2013), 51 ff. and Monferrer-Sala, Juan Pedro, “An early fragmentary Christian Palestinian rendition of the Gospels into Arabic from Mār Sābā (MS Vat. Ar. 13, 9th c.)”, Intellectual History of the Islamicate World 1, 2013, 69113 CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

10 Müller-Kessler, Christa, “Christian Palestinian Aramaic and its significance to the Western Aramaic dialect group”, Journal of the American Oriental Society 119, 1999, 631 CrossRefGoogle Scholar. Cf. Griffith, Sidney H., “From Aramaic to Arabic: the languages of the monasteries of Palestine in the Byzantine and Early Islamic periods”, Dumbarton Oaks Papers 51, 1997, 1131 CrossRefGoogle Scholar and Robert Hoyland, “Mount Nebo, Jabal Ramm, and the status of Christian Palestinian Aramaic and Old Arabic in Late Roman Palestine and Arabia”, in M.C.A. MacDonald (ed.), The Development of Arabic as a Written Language (Oxford: Archaeopress, 2010), 29–46.

11 Philip Wood, “We Have No King But Christ”: Christian Political Thought in Greater Syria on the Eve of the Arab Conquests (c. 400–585) (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010), 208; cf. Desreumaux, Alain, “La naissance d'une nouvelle écriture araméenne à l’époque byzantine”, Semitica 37, 1987, 95107 Google Scholar.

12 Griffith, “From Aramaic to Arabic”, 24 ff. Although the ninth century marks the definitive period of the rise of Arabic among Melkite Christians of Palestine, Arabic appears as an important medium for Christian worship at least as early as the late eighth century. The survey of the Jerusalem church commissioned by Charlemagne and preserved in the Basel Roll, recorded upon the survey's return to Europe in 808, testifies already to the use of “the Saracen tongue” in litanies. See Michael McCormick, Charlemagne's Survey of the Holy Land: Wealth, Personnel, and Buildings of a Mediterranean Church between Antiquity and the Middle Ages (Washington, DC: Dumbarton Oaks, 2011), 138–43, 206–7.

13 Ziyād al-Bakkāʾī's transmission of Ibn Isḥāq's text was one of the most sought after, as Ibn Isḥāq purportedly dictated his text to him twice (“amlā ʿalayhi imlāʾan marratayn”). See Jamāl al-Dīn al-Mizzī, Tahdhīb al-Kamāl fī asmāʾ al-rijāl, 35 vols, ed. Bashshār ʿAwwād Maʿrūf (Beirut: Dār al-Gharb al-Islāmī, 1983–92), 9, 489.

14 For a concise overview of the different transmissions of Ibn Isḥāq's work, see Muranyi, Miklos, “Ibn Isḥāq's Kitāb al-Maġāzī in der Riwāya von Yūnus b. Bukair: Bemerkungen zur frühen Überlieferungsgeschichte”, Jerusalem Studies in Arabic and Islam 14, 1991, 214–75Google Scholar. Thus, al-Ṭabarī (d. 922) does not include an excerpt of the translation in the corpus of Ibn Isḥāq's materials he preserves in his Tārīkh and the Jāmiʿ al-bayān, his tafsīr, from Ibn Isḥāq's student Salama ibn al-Faḍl (d. c. 806). The transmission of Yūnus ibn Bukayr (d. 815) preserved by ʿAbd al-Jabbār al-ʿUṭāridī (794–886) also omits the passage, as does the transmission of Muḥammad b. Salama al-Ḥarrānī (d. 806).

15 Ms. Zāhiriyya, Majmūʿa 19, fol. 54r (with thanks to Saud Al Sarhan for help locating the manuscript). Ibn Abī Shayba's isnād for the report suggests a transmission independent of Ibn Hishām's redaction (see Appendix). Unfortunately, Ibn Abī Shayba's version is also truncated and garbled in several places. On the identification of this fragment with Ibn Abī Shayba's Tārīkh, see Sezgin, GAS, 1: 164 and Muṭāʿ al-Ṭarābīshī, Ruwāt Muḥammad b. Isḥāq b. Yasār fī l-maghāzī wa-l-siyar wa-sāʾir al-marwiyyāt (Damascus: Dār al-Fikr al-Muʿāṣir, 1994), 37, 492–7.

16 Ibn Hishām, K. Sīrat Rasūl Allāh: Das Leben Mohammeds nach Mohammed ibn Ishak bearbeitet von Abd el-Malik ibn Hischâm, ed. Ferdinand Wüstenfeld (Göttingen: Dieterische Universitäts-Buchhandlung, 1858–60), 1, 149–50; Ibn Hishām, al-Sīra al-nabawiyya, 2 vols (ed. Muṣṭafā al-Saqqā, Ibrāhīm al-Ibyārī and ʿAbd al-Ḥafīẓ al-Shalabī) (Cairo: al-Bābī al-Ḥalabī, 1955), 1, 232–3.

17 In the text: بطروا; thus, Griffith translates the text as “they have become proud”, plausibly suggesting that Ibn Isḥāq “Islamicized” the passage and rendered his reading to align closely with the Quran (“Arguing from scripture”, 39–40; cf. Q. Anfāl 8: 47 and Qaṣaṣ 28: 58). Baumstark (“Eine altarabische Evangelienübersetzung”, 205) and Guillaume (“Version of the Gospels”, 293) suggested, instead, reading نظروا”; and this reading is supported by Abū Jaʿfar Ibn Abī Shayba's recension. Van Reeth's suggestion to read بصروا is also plausible (“Comforter”, 438), but lacks the support of the manuscripts available to me. However, I reject van Reeth's subsequent, and in my view unjustifiably speculative, reconstruction of the text.

18 Reading يَعُرُّونني (cf. Lane, 1, 1990a) rather than يعزونني  as in Ibn Hishām, ed. Wüstenfeld, 1, 150.1 (=ed. Saqqā et al., 1, 233.3).

19 In Ibn Abī Shayba's recension: “… that the Kingdom will be fulfilled among the people (an tatimma l-mamlakatu fī l-nās)”; see the appendix.

20 Cf. Ps. 35: 19, 69: 4. The sense of majjānan as “without reason” derives from the CPA l-mgn; hence, Ibn Isḥāq glosses majjānan as meaning “in error (bāṭilan )”.

21 Ibn Abī Shayba's version reads منحيمنا rather than المنحمنا, garbling the letters somewhat and dropping the alif-lām. See the appendix.

22 Reading روح القسط, with the CPA rwḥʾ d-qwšṭʾ and Ibn Hishām (ed. Wüstenfeld), 1, 150.3. Even though the majority of the Arabic MSS have  روح القدس  (Ibn Hishām, ed. Saqqā et al., 1, 233.5 and n. 3 thereto), this is  most likely a result of hyper-correction since qisṭ in Arabic means “justice” rather than “holiness”. I have also translated the text without the waw preceding rūḥ al-qisṭ, since some of the Arabic MSS omit it and this reading conforms more closely to the CPA lectionary.

23 “Arguing from scripture”, 36–45.

24 M. Sokoloff, A Dictionary of Christian Palestinian Aramaic (Leuven: Peeters, 2014), 260b–261a.

25 In Syriac, the root n.ḥ.m is, rather, usually associated with raising the dead back to life; see, e.g., Robert Payne Smith, Thesaurus Syriacus, 2 vols (London: Clarendon, 1879–1901), 2, 2337. On the translation of παράκλητος as “comforter” in Syriac, see n. 58 below.

26 PSLG, 24; cf. Kiraz, 4: 287 (see n. 22 above). The corruption of rwḥʾ d-qwšṭʾ into rwḥ d-qwdšʾ also occurs in CPA; see, for example, CCPA, 2(a), 193b (John 15: 26).

27 “Christian Palestinian Aramaic” is a modern designation, and Arabic-speaking writers referred to Aramaic generally as al-siryāniyya without distinguishing between Aramaic dialects such as CPA and Syriac properly so-called. Cf. Griffith, “From Aramaic to Arabic”, 17.

28 Ibn Isḥāq's interest mnḥmnʾ might be rooted in something other than its literal sense. Muslim scholars cited the Hebrew meʿōḏ meʿōḏ (“exceedingly”) in Gen. 17: 20, for instance, because the numerical value of the Hebrew letters matched the numerical value of Arabic letters for Muḥammad. See Uri Rubin, The Eye of the Beholder: The Life of Muḥammad as Viewed by the Early Muslims (Princeton: Darwin, 1995), 24. Albeit writing a century later than Ibn Isḥāq, ʿAlī al-Ṭabarī (d. c. 860) argued that Muḥammad must be the Paraclete because the alphanumeric value of Muḥammad ibn ʿAbdallāh al-nabī al-hādī in Arabic equalled the alphanumeric value of prqlyṭ () in Syriac; see The Book of Religion and Empire, tr. A. Mignana (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1922), 141.

29 E.g. Abū l-Rabīʿ al-Kalāʿī, al-Iktifāʾ, 4 vols, ed. Muḥammad Kamāl al-Dīn ʿIzz al-Dīn ʿAlī (Beirut: ʿĀlam al-Kutub, 1997), 1: 199; Taqī l-Dīn al-Maqrīzī, Imtāʿ al-asmāʿ, 15 vols, ed. Muḥammad ʿAbd al-Ḥamīd al-Namīsī (Beirut: Dār al-Kutub al-ʿIlmiyya, 1999), 3: 361–2; and Muḥammad b. Aḥmad al-Qurṭubī, al-Iʿlām bi-mā fī dīn al-naṣārā, ed. Aḥmad Ḥijāzī al-Saqqā (Cairo: Dār al-Turāth al-ʿArabī, 1980), 268. The sole exception to this general rule is a tradition attributed to the early Baṣran traditionist Muḥammad ibn Sīrīn (d. 728) in which he declares Muḥammad's name in Syriac (al-siryāniyya) to be Mushaffaḥ (مشفح=) and al-Mnḥmnā. The earliest version of this tradition I've found appears in al-Qāḍī ʿIyāḍ ibn Mūsā (d. 1149), al-Shifāʾ, 2 vols, ed. Muḥammad al-Bajāwī (Cairo: ʿĪsā al-Bābī al-Ḥalabī, 1977), 1: 322. The earliest reference to “Mushaffaḥ” as the Syriac equivalent to Muḥammad, to my knowledge, appears in ʿAlī b. Rabban al-Ṭabarī's (d. c. 860) Kitāb al-dīn wa-l-dawla and Ibn Qutayba's (d. 889) Aʿlām al-nubuwwa. See ʿAlī al-Ṭabarī, Religion and Empire, 130–31 and Schmidtke, S., “The Muslim reception of biblical materials: Ibn Qutayba and his Aʿlām al-nubuwwa ”, Islam and Christian–Muslim Relations 22, 2011, 258 CrossRefGoogle Scholar (§38).

30 For a survey of the citations of the Johannine Paraclete passages in Muslim apologetic and polemical literature, see Accad, Martin, “The Gospels in Muslim discourse of the ninth to the fourteenth centuries: an exegetical inventorial table (IV)”, Islam and Christian–Muslim Relations 14, 2003, 459–79CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

31 A determination of the ultimate source(s) for the early ʿAbbāsid-era translation of the Gospels into Arabic used by these authors is still elusive. See Schmidtke, Sabine, “Abū al-Ḥusayn al-Baṣrī and his transmission of Biblical materials from Kitāb al-dīn wa-al-dawla by Ibn Rabban al-Ṭabarī: the evidence from Fakhr al-Dīn al-Rāzī's Mafātīḥ al-ghayb ”, Islam and Christian–Muslim Relations 20, 2009, 105–18CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Schmidtke, Sabine, “Biblical predictions of the Prophet Muḥammad among the Zaydīs of Iran”, Arabica 59, 2012, 218–66CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

32 Martin Heimgartner (ed.), Timethoes I, Ostsyrischer Patriarch: Disputation mit dem Kalifen al-Mahdī, CSCO 631, scr. syri 244 (Leuven: Peeters, 2011), 38–43 (vii.18–52).

33 Jeffery, Arthur, “Ghevond's text of the correspondence between ʿUmar II and Leo III”, Harvard Theological Review 37, 1944, 293 CrossRefGoogle Scholar. La correspondence d'Omar et de Léon, tr. Jean-Pierre Mahé and ed. Alexan Hakobian (Paris: ACHCByz, 2015), 388 (V, 89–91). Even in the Armenian text the Greek paráclētos is merely transliterated as paṙaklito, with the Armenian equivalent mxit‘arič‘ (“comforter”) only being added later as a gloss. Leo III's letter survives in an Armenian translation preserved in the late-ninth-century chronicle of Łewond cited above, a medieval Latin translation (ibid., 439–52), and an Arabic version discovered in the manuscript collections at St Catherine's in the Sinai peninsula. That this Arabic version still remains unpublished is particularly regrettable, inasmuch as most recent research suggests that, rather than being originally a Greek composition (as recently suggested by Mahé in ibid., 347–8), the letter may have originally been a Christian Arabic composition. See Palombo, Cecilia, “The ‘correspondence’ of Leo III and ʿUmar II: traces of an early Arabic apologetic work”, Millennium 12, 2015, 231–64Google Scholar.

34 The text seems corrupt here due either to the stray addition of bi-l-khaṭīʾa or a lacuna. In my translation, I have read waʾntum tashhadūn li-annakum maʿī min qibal al-nās bi-l-khaṭīʾa in order to make sense of the text; however, in my view, the more plausible reading would be min qabla l-nās, “prior to the people/world”, with bi-l-khaṭīʾa stricken from the text as a copyist's error.

35 Risālat Abī l-Rabīʿ Muḥammad b. al-Layth, 262 in Aḥmad Zakī Ṣafwat (ed.), Jamharat rasāʾil al-ʿarab, 4 vols (repr. Cairo: Muṣṭafā al-Bābī al-Ḥalabī wa-Awlāduh, 1971), 3, 217–74.

36 Mālik b. Anas's hatred of and rivalry with Ibn Isḥāq is notorious. Mālik purportedly boasted that he personally had expelled Ibn Isḥāq from Medina; see Abū Ḥātim al-Rāzī, al-Jarḥ wa-l-taʿdīl, 4 vols in 9 (Hyderabad: Dāʾirat al-Maʿārif al-ʿUthmāniyya, 1952), 3: 2, 193; and Abū Jaʿfar al-ʿUqaylī, Kitāb al-Ḍuʿafāʾ, 4 vols, ed. Ḥamdī b. ʿAbd al-Majīd b. Ismāʿīl al-Salafī (Riyadh: Dār al-Ṣumayʿī, 2000), 4: 1196.

37 Yaqūt, Irshād, 6: 2419.

38 Ibn Isḥāq journeyed to Egypt at least once to study with Yazīd b. Abī Ḥabīb in 115/733; however, after his stay in Egypt he returned directly to Medina. No evidence indicates that he travelled to Syria or that he, like al-Zuhrī, ever enjoyed the favour of Umayyad court. See Horovitz, Earliest Biographies, 77, 79.

39 The early Quran-exegete of Transoxiana, Muqātil b. Sulaymān (d. 767), claims that Aḥmad simply “means Paraclete in Syriac (bi-l-siryāniyya fāraqlīṭā)”, demonstrating that he relied on a Syriac Vorlage that, unlike Ibn Isḥāq's CPA Vorlage, merely transcribed the Greek παράκλητος. See Tafsīr Muqātil b. Sulaymān, 5 vols, ed. ʿAbdallāh Maḥmūd Shaḥāta (repr. Beirut: Muʾassasat al-Tārīkh al-ʿArabī, 2002), 4: 316.

40 Horovitz, Earliest Biographies, 76.

41 ʿAyn al-Tamr is located some 50 km west of Karbalāʾ. Cf. Abū Jaʿfar al-Ṭabarī, Tārīkh al-rusul wa-l-mulūk, 3 ser., ed. M.J. de Goeje et al. (Leiden: Brill, 1879–1901), 1: 2064 and Ibn Wāḍiḥ al-Yaʿqūbī, al-Tārīkh, 2 vols, ed. M.Th. Houtsma (Leiden: Brill, 1883), 2: 150–1.

42 Michael Lecker, “Muḥammad b. Isḥāq ṣāḥib al-maghāzī: was his grandfather Jewish?”, in Andrew Rippen and Roberto Tottoli (eds), Books and Written Culture of the Islamic World: Studies Presented to Claude Gilliot on the Occasion of His 75th Birthday (Leiden: Brill, 2015), 26–38.

43 Lecker, M., “Biographical notes on Ibn Shihāb al-Zuhrī”, Journal of Semitic Studies 41, 1996, 2163 CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

44 Khaṭīb, 2: 14.

45 ʿUqaylī, Ḍuʿafāʾ, 4, 1200, “raʾaytu Ibn Isḥāq yaktubu ʿan rajulin min ahl al-kitāb”.

46 Ibn ʿAdī al-Jurjānī, al-Kāmil fī ḍuʿafāʾ al-rijāl, 7 vols (Beirut: Dār al-Fikr, 1984), 6: 2118. Indeed, Ibn Isḥāq did not derive his Biblical material from a single source: his citations of the Pentateuch relied on the Syriac Peshiṭtā. See Witzum, Joseph, “Ibn Isḥāq and the Pentateuch in Arabic”, Jerusalem Studies in Arabic and Islam 40, 2013, 171 Google Scholar.

47 Ṭabarī, Tārīkh, 1, 1565; al-Ṭabarānī, al-Muʿjam al-kabīr, 25 vols, ed. Ḥamdī ʿAbd al-Majīd al-Salafī (Cairo: Maktabat Ibn Taymiyya, 1983), 8, 23–4.

48 Maʿmar ibn Rāshid, The Expeditions (Kitāb al-Maghāzī), ed. and tr. S.W. Anthony (New York: NYU Press, 2014), 48–9 (2.7.3) and 292, n. 76. The first scholar to discover the CPA behind this reference to ithm al-arīsīn was Lawrence Conrad, “Heraclius in early Islamic Kerygma”, in G.J. Reinink and B. Stolte (eds), The Reign of Heraclius (610–641): Crisis and Confrontation (Leuven: Peeters, 2002), 115–6. Such citations raise the spectre of Umayyad translations of the Gospels into Arabic and the role of CPA therein. Christian sources recount a story about John III, Patriarch of Antioch, rendering the Gospels into Arabic in 643 alongside well-versed scholars from the Ṭayy, Tanūkh and ʿUqayl tribes at the request of the governor ʿUmayr b. Saʿd. See Penn, Michael, “ John and the Emir: A new introduction, edition, and translation”, Le Muséon 121, 2008, 7780 CrossRefGoogle Scholar. Presently, however, the evidence only permits us to suggest the possibility, and our hypothesis works just as well if one assumes the translations from CPA were ad hoc rather than systematic.

49 Kister, M.J., “ Ḥaddithū ʿan banī isrāʾīla wa-lā ḥaraja: a study of an early tradition”, Israel Oriental Society 2, 1972, 215–39Google Scholar.

50 Aḥmad b. Yaḥyā al-Balādhurī, Ansāb al-ashrāf, vol. 5, ed. Iḥsān ʿAbbās (Beirut: Franz Steiner, 1996), 431; cf. Kister, “Ḥaddithū”, 235–6.

51 Hakim, Avraham, “The death of an ideal leader: predictions and premonitions”, JAOS 126, 2006, 14 Google Scholar.

52 Abū Nuʿaym al-Iṣfahānī, Ḥilyat al-awliyāʾ, 11 vols (repr. Beirut: Dār al-Fikr, 1996), 2, 375; cf. Khoury, R.G., “Quelques réflexions sur les citation de la Bible dans les premières générations islamiques du premier et du deuxième siècles de l'hégire”, Bulletin d’Études Orientales 29, 1977, 275–6Google Scholar; and Alfred-Louis de Prémare, Les fondations de l'Islam: Entre écriture et histoire (Paris: Éditions du Seuil, 2002), 333–5.

53 de Prémare, A.-L., “Comme il est écrit’: l'histoire d'un texte”, Studia Islamica 70, 1989, 50–1Google Scholar; cf. Déclais, Jean-Louis, “L’Évangile selon Wahb ibn Munabbih et sa famille”, MIDEO (Mélanges de l'Institut Dominicain d'Études Orientales du Caire) 28, 2010, 127–203Google Scholar.

54 PSLG, 24.–9, 51.14, 55.4.

55 Ibn Isḥāq's text may or may not draw from a direct ancestor of the Evangeliarium Hierosolymitanum or the Sinai codices. There are some interesting departures from the extant CPA versions of John 15 that make such a position difficult to uphold without reservation. Ibn Isḥāq's rendering of John 15: 24b  ما كانت لهم خطيئةٌ  more closely matches the reading of Peshiṭta (Kiraz, 4, 286) than the sklʾ lʾ hwt lhwn of CPA gospel texts (PSLG, 24; CCR, 82, col. b). Ibn Isḥāq's use of “the Law” (al-nāmūs) in translating John 15: 15 rather than the more standard “their Law” – thus, the of the Sinaiticus and the of the Peshiṭta and the CPA b-nmwshwn – in fact conforms to the of the Ḥarklean text (Kiraz 4: 286.ult and CCPA, 2a: 193b). Lastly, the Arabic rendering of John 15: 27 لأنّكم قديمًا كنتم معي appears slightly closer to the Sinaiticus reading , than the CPA mn ryš ʿmy ʾtwn (PSLG, 24; CCR, 83, col. c; CCPA, 2a: 194a).

56 Kiraz, 4: 287; CCR, 82; CCPA, 2(a): 139b.

57 Cf. Hartwig Thyen, Studien zum Corpus Iohanneum, WUNT 214 (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2007), 664–5. The Greek katḗgōr entered CPA as “accuser” as well; see CCPA 2b: 292a.

58 David G.K. Taylor (ed. and tr.), The Syriac Versions of De Spiritu Sancto by Basil of Caesarea, CSCO 576–7, scr. syri 228–9 (Leuven: Peeters, 1998), 87 f. (Syr.), 74 (Eng.). I have slightly modified Taylor's translation to make it a more literal rendering of the Syriac. Similar interpretations of paráklētos appear in I.-M. Vosté (ed.), Theodori Mopsuesteni Commentaries in Evangelium Iahannis Apostoli, CSCO 115, scr. syri 62 (Leuven: Peeters, 1940), 272.5 and M.D. Gibson (ed. and tr.), The Commentaries of Ishoʿdad of Merv, Bishop of Ḥadatha (c. 850 a.d.), 3 vols (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1911), 1: 264 (Eng.), 3: 188.5, 9 (Syr.) where the word mbyʾnʾ renders the idea of the Paraclete as “comforter”. This perhaps follows the Peshiṭtā's translation of Lam. 1: 16.

59 The CPA translation of the Catechesis survives only as a fragmentary undertext of a palimpsest known as Codex Sinaiticus Rescriptus, overwritten by a Georgian monk in the tenth century ce. For an extensive description of the manuscript, see Müller-Kessler, C., “Codex Sinaiticus Rescriptus (CSRG/O/P/S): a collection of Christian Palestinian Aramaic manuscripts”, Le Muséon 127, 2014, 263309 Google Scholar.

60 CCPA, 5: 193a (citing John 14: 16).

61 Wout Jac. Van Bekkum, “Jewish messianic expectations in the age of Heraclius”, in Reinink and Stolte (eds), The Reign of Heraclius, 95–112; Nicholas de Lange, “Jewish and Christian messianic hopes in pre-Islamic Byzantium”, in Markus Bockmuehl and James Carleton Paget (eds), Redemption and Resistance: The Messianic Hopes of Jews and Christians in Antiquity (New York: T&T Clark, 2007), 274–84.

62 Arnold Goldberg, “Die Namen des Messias in der rabbinischen Traditionsliteratur. Ein Beitrag zur Messianologie des rabbinischen Judentums”, in Mystik und Theologie des rabbinischen Judentums, TSAJ 61 (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 1997), 208–74 (esp. 230–3).

63 Here I cite the translation of Peter Schäfer, The Jewish Jesus (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2012), 215–6.

64 Schäfer, The Jewish Jesus, 215–6

65 Schäfer, The Jewish Jesus, 214–35 and Martha Himmelfarb, “The mother of the Messiah in the Talmud Yerushalmi and Sefer Zerubbabel”, in Peter Schäfer (ed.), The Talmud Yerushalmi and Graeco-Roman Culture III, TSAJ 93 (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2002), 369–90.

66 A surviving palimpsest of Lam. 1: 16 in CPA translates the Hebrew menaḥem with mnḥmnʾ; see Baars, W., “A Palestinian Syriac text of the Book of Lamentations”, Vetus Testamentum 10, 1960, 225 CrossRefGoogle Scholar (col. a, l. 15).

67 Berger, Abraham, “Captive at the Gate of Rome: the story of a messianic motif”, Proceedings of the American Academy for Jewish Research 44, 1997, 117 CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

68 For a discussion of the piyyuṭ in the liturgy of Palestinian Jewish synagogues of Late Antiquity, see Lee I. Levine, The Ancient Synagogue: The First Thousand Years (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2000), 583–8. On the challenges of dating the piyyutim, see Eyal Ben-Eliyahu, Yehuda Cohn and Fergus Millar, Handbook of Jewish Literature from Late Antiquity, 135–700 ce (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012), 129–37.

69 Leon J. Weinberger, Jewish Hymnography: A Literary History (London: The Littman Library of Jewish Civilization, 1998), 38. The date of Shimʿon bar Megas's piyyutim are uncertain, but the virulent diatribes against Christian authorities and the absence of any mention of Arab or Muslim authorities suggest that he flourished in Palestine prior to the Islamic conquests. See Ben Eliyahu et al., Handbook, 137.

70 Cameron, Averil, “Blaming the Jews: the seventh-century invasions of Palestine in context”, Travaux et Mémoires 14, 2002, 5778 Google Scholar. See the collection of accounts gathered in Geoffrey Greatrex and Samuel N.C. Lieu, The Roman Eastern Frontier and the Persian Wars, II: ad 363–630 (London: Routledge, 2002), 190–3, 235.

71 Alexei M. Sivertsev, Judaism and Imperial Ideology in Late Antiquity (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011).

72 John C. Reeves, Trajectories in Near Eastern Apocalyptic: A Postrabbinic Jewish Apocalypse Reader (Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2005), 40–66.

73 Reeves, Trajectories in Near Eastern Apocalyptic, 55.

74 The patronymic “ben ʿAmiel” here replaces the Talmudic “ben Hezekiah”, but elsewhere in Sefer Zerubbabel the Messiah is also referred to as the son of Hezekiah (see Reeves, Trajectories in Near Eastern Apocalyptic, 53). Himmelfarb (“Mother of the Messiah”, 383–7; cited by Reeves, 53 n. 91) has suggested that “ben ʿAmiel” might be a cipher for “ben Hezekiah”. On the significance behind calling the Messiah “son of Hezekiah”, see Schäfer, Jewish Jesus, 225–7. Another text to refer to the Messiah by this name is Pirqe de Rabbi Eliezer; see Goldberg, “Die Namen des Messias”, 232–3; Sivertsev, Judaism and Imperial Ideology, 118.

75 Armilos being the anti-Messiah modelled after the Byzantine emperor Heraclius; see Lutz Greisiger, Messias, Endkaiser, Antichrist: Politische Apokalyptik unter Juden und Christen des Nahen Ostens am Vorabend der arabischen Eroberung (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2014).

76 Cited in Sivertsev, 117. For a cautious assessment of the date of this piyyut, see Robert Hoyland, Seeing Islam as Others Saw It: A Survey and Evaluation of Christian, Jewish, and Zoroastrian Writings on Early Islam (Princeton: Darwin, 1997), 319–20.

77 I.e. Zerubbabel.

78 Menaḥem's mother, responsible for the opening salvo of the eschatological showdown with the anti-Messiah; see Himmelfarb, “Mother of the Messiah”.

79 See Shoemaker, Stephen J., “‘The Reign of God Has Come’: eschatology and empire in Late Antiquity and early Islam”, Arabica 61, 2014, 514–58CrossRefGoogle Scholar. More specifically on the Jewish case in the early Islamic period, see S.W. Anthony, “Who was the Shepherd of Damascus? The enigma of Jewish and messianist responses to the Islamic conquests in Marwānid Syria and Mesopotamia”, in Paul Cobb (ed.), The Lineaments of Islam: Studies in Honor of Fred McGraw Donner (Leiden: Brill, 2012), 21–60.

80 Görke, Andreas, Motzki, Harald and Schoeler, Gregor, “First century sources for the life of Muḥammad? A debate”, Der Islam 89, 2012, 31–2CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

81 Ibn Hishām (ed. Wüstenfeld), 151–2 (ed. Saqqā et al., 1236–47); al-ʿUṭāridī (d. 886), K. al-Siyar wa-l-maghāzī, ed. Suhayl Zakkār (Beirut: Dār al-Fikr, 1978), 121; Ṭabarī, Tārīkh, 1: 1149–50.

82 CCPA, 1: 142.

83 Bruce Chilton (tr.), The Isaiah Targum (Wilmington, Del.: Michael Glazier, 1987), 77, “Prophets, prophesy consolation to my people, says your God … A voice of one who says, ‘Prophesy!’ And he answered and said, ‘What shall I prophesy?’ All the wicked are as the grass…”.

84 Erroneously reading the Prophet's name as the active participle (muhammid, “giving much praise”) rather than the passive (muḥammad, “receiving much praise”).

85 Jeffery, “Correspondence”, 293.

86 Refutatio Alcorani (Patavii: Ex Typographia Seminarii, 1698), 26–7, 719; cf. Gilliot, “Nochmals: Hieß der Prophet Muḥammad?”, 77 f. On Marracci, see Roberto Tottoli, “New light on the translation of the Qurʾān of Ludovico Marracci from his manuscripts recently discovered at the Order of the Mother of God in Rome”, in Rippin and Tottoli (eds), Books and Written Culture, 91–131

87 To make matters even worse for the proposition, the word periklytós, albeit present in Classical Greek lexica, is virtually unknown to the Greek lexica of the New Testament, early Christian writings, Patristic writings, or even the pseudepigrapha. The sole example of its use I could locate makes for a rather unflattering parallel to Muḥammad. In the Testament of Solomon, the Israelites’ king Solomon exorcises a series of bound demons by interrogating them. When he asks one gnarly demon his name, the demon replies, “Among mortals I am called Asmodeus the renowned (periklytós)” (TSol 5, 7). Cf. Peter Busch, Das Testament Salomos: Die älteste christliche Dämonologie (Berlin: W. de Gruyter, 2006), 118.

88 Arthur Jeffery, Materials for the History of the Text of the Qurʾān (Leiden: Brill, 1937), 170 (with thanks to David Powers for first pointing me towards this reading).

89 MS Escorial (Madrid) no. 1337, fol. 200b. Brockelmann gives the death date for Marandī as 569/1173 (GAL, 1: 519), but this date is rather the date of the author's ijāza from one of his teachers; the author himself states that he completed the work in 588/1192. I have benefitted greatly from the discussion of the Escorial manuscript written by Muḥammad al-Shanqīṭī at: (last accessed 11 March 2015). My thanks to Walid Saleh for directing me to the website.

90 Materials, 116; hence, this reading does not appear in Ibn Abī Dāwūd's Kitāb al-Masāhif, which in any case only attributes a handful of readings to Ubayy b. Kaʿb's codex.

91 Friedman, Y., “Finality of prophethood in Sunnī Islām”, Jerusalem Studies in Arabic and Islam 7, 1986, 184–5Google Scholar.

92 A.J. Wensinck et al., Concordances et indices de la tradition musulmane, 7 vols (Leiden: Brill, 1933–69), 1, 29a.ult.

93 MS Shahāra (Sanaa), fol. 140b. Abū ʿAlī al-Jubbāʾī's authorship of this text is somewhat in doubt; however, a strong case for its attribution to al-Jubbāʾī is made by Hassan Ansari, “Abū ʿAlī al-Jubbāʾī et son livre al-Maqālāt”, in C. Adang, S. Schmidtke and D. Sklare (eds), A Common Rationality: Muʿtazilism in Islam and Judaism, ITS 12 (Würzburg: Ergon, 2007), 21–37.

94 Ṭabarī, Tārīkh, 3: 2128–9; cf. Wilferd Madelung, “The Fatimids and the Qarmaṭīs of Baḥrayn”, in Farhad Daftary (ed.), Medieval Ismaʿili History and Thought (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996), 25–8.

95 See, for example, Abū Isḥāq al-Thaʿlabī, al-Kashf wa-l-bayān, 10 vols, ed. Abū Muḥammad b. ʿĀshūr (Beirut: Dār Iḥyāʾ al-Turāth al-ʿArabī, 2002), 9: 304; and ʿAlī ibn Aḥmad al-Wāḥidī, al-Tafsīr al-basīṭ, 25 vols, ed. ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz b. Siṭām Āl Saʿūd and Turkī b. Sahw al-ʿUtaybī (Riyadh: Jāmiʿat al-Imām Muḥammad b. Saʿūd al-Islamiyya, 2010), 21: 435–6. For another modern scholar in favoor of this reading, see Tilman Nagel, Mohammed: Leben und Legende (Munich: Oldenbourg, 2008), 181.

96 See, most recently, Yāsīn Muḥammad al-Sawwās, Fihris majāmiʿ al-Madrasa al-ʿUmariyya fī Dār al-Kutub al-Ẓāhiriyya (Kuwait: Maʿhad al-Maḫṭūṭāt al-ʿArabiyya, 1987), 92.

97 Khaṭīb, 2: 115–6.

98 Ṭarābīshī, Ruwāt Muḥammad ibn Isḥāq, 495–6; e.g. see Ibn ʿAsākir, Tārīkh madīnat Dimashq, 80 vols, ed. ʿUmar ibn Gharāma al-ʿAmrawī (Beirut: Dār al-Fikr, 1995–2000), 3: 170, 200–1, 393, 416, 426, 453, 456.

99 Although manuscripts of Ibn al-Ṣawwāf's works remain unpublished, fragments have been transcribed, albeit imperfectly, and posted online for al-Maktaba al-Shāmila (see and can be accessed via their database. Included in this database as well as is a transcription of Ms. Ẓāhiriyya, majmūʿa 19, fols 46–57, which Ṭarābīshī identifies with the Tārīkh of Abū Jaʿfar Ibn Abī Shayba; however, the database attributes the work to Ibn al-Ṣawwāf and titles it al-Thānī min ajzāʾ Ibn al-Ṣawwāf. I owe this observation and information to Mahmoud Khalifa (Cairo University), who directed me to the online transcription of the text.

100 بالأصل: عن ما

101 بالأصل: من

102 كذا كتب يد اخر بعد الناسخ تصحيحًا ولعلّ القراءة الأصيلة: صنيعًا

103 بالأصل: نطروا

104 بالأصل: عايه

105 كذا، وكتب يد اخر تصحيحًا: الناموس

106 بالأصل: منحيمنا

107 بالأصل: فلمنحيمنا

108 الأصل: البرنفلنطس

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