An Examination Of The Qur’anic Denial Of Jesus’ Crucifixion In Light Of Historical Evidences -- By: Mark A. Pierson

Journal: Global Journal of Classical Theology
Volume: GJCT 07:1 (Feb 2009)
Article: An Examination Of The Qur’anic Denial Of Jesus’ Crucifixion In Light Of Historical Evidences
Author: Mark A. Pierson


An Examination Of The Qur’anic Denial Of Jesus’ Crucifixion In Light Of Historical Evidences

Mark A. Pierson

Abstract.

The Qur’an claims Jesus was never crucified, but the New Testament asserts the exact opposite. This discrepancy is regarding historical fact, and does not depend on religious biases or presuppositions. Hence, this essay examines which text has the historical evidences in its favor concerning this one specific point. First, the credentials possessed by each for providing accurate information about Jesus are assessed. It is shown that the twenty-seven documents of the New Testament were composed in the first century by those associated with the person, place, and event in question, whereas the Qur’an is one manuscript composed six centuries later, with no direct connection to any of Jesus’ contemporaries. Thereafter, ancient non-Christian sources mentioning Jesus’ death are cited, easily dispelling the notion that the crucifixion is a Christian invention. Thus, the conclusion that Jesus died on a cross is based on history, which is in line with Christianity, not Islam.

The underlying stimulus for the seemingly multifaceted conflicts that have plagued Christian-Muslim relations perpetually since the seventh century is, at its core, an irreconcilable disagreement regarding the person and work of Jesus Christ. Prima facie, this diagnosis may appear to relegate arguments concerning these contradictory tenets to the realm of abstract, unprovable, religious dogma. Were this the case, debates between Christians and Muslims might consist of little more than deciding which presuppositions regarding the nature of God ought to be adopted a priori,1 or which faith is better suited to provide pragmatic results that meet the perceived needs of its adherents. However, since Jesus Christ is a historical figure, a point on which both Christianity and Islam agree, the records of his life are open to historical investigation as is the documentation of any chronicled individual. This crucial elucidation precludes attempts to differentiate between an epistemology of history and an epistemology of religion, as if the two fields were helplessly sealed off from one another, sharing no mutual ground. And while both Christianity and Islam posit a variety of interpretations about Jesus that could be considered outside the realm of historical inquiry, both religions have traditionally frowned upon reducing him to the product of an existential faith, with his actual character and mission either remaining forever shrouded in mystery or being pointedly incongruous with the creeds proffered about him. Put simply, Jesus’ life either did or did not consist of the events that are found in the New Testament and in the Qur’an; and the claims of each c...

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