9083St John of Damascus on Islam
- Oct 29, 2006St John of Damascus is a very important witness to early Islam. He was born into a very privileged family in Damascus (his grandfather had been the administrator of the city at the time the Muslims took it) and he grew up and served in the court of the caliph. He was entirely familiar with Islam (a name it did not yet possess, apparently), and thus what he has to say about it, and the context in which he places it, is of great historical importance. For one thing, this is a single chapter in his work On Heresies, part of his larger work, The Fountain of Knowledge. Thus, during his lifetime, St John did not consider Islam to yet be a separate religion, but rather a Christian heresy. In any case, he mentions several suras of the Qur'an by name, and refers most interestingly to one which is no longer extant. St John, in this work, as characteristically, pulls no punches.
Thomas Daniel (Reji)
Ps: St John of Damascus was a Rum (Byzantine) Orthodox saint. His works were however accepted within SOC tradition since they did not address Christological issues. There were other apologetic literature against Islam in West & East Syriac traditions as noted in Rev Sidney Griffith's paper in Hugoye on the Monk of Bet Hale's Disputation with an Emir on Islam.
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