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When did Arabic Christians employ "Allah" in the Arabic Bible?

Reader comment on item: Is Allah God? - Continued

Submitted by zzazzeefrazzee (United States), Feb 27, 2008 at 00:31

When did Arabic Christians employ "Allah" in the bible, and why? Is it "poltical correctness" as some have suggested on this board (Actually, I think one could ask if the current reaction against the usage is also a form of "political correctness"?)?

Perhaps the use of "Allah" by Arabic Christians today may have roots in Eastern Assyrian or "Nestorian" contact with Islam, whose precepts are different from those of the Catholic and Orthodox churches. These Christians rejected the concept of Trinity. It has been suggested that Waraqah Ibn Nawfal, an Meccan Pagan Arab who converted to Christianity and bcame a Nestorian Monk, would recite the Bible in Arabic, and other traditions attribute his translation of the text. Another monk, named Bahira (or Sergius Bahira or Georgius Bahira), is also attributed with having influenced Muhammad. Some Christians assert that he was expelled from the Syrian Church, and others say that he went to Arabia to proselytize.

While some scholars have stated "...there is no evidence of any parts of the Bible having been translated into Arabic before Islam." (Hastings, James. The Encyclopedia of Rleigion and Ethics. Vol. X, p. 540), other traditions state that at least the Old Testament was translated by Old Testament either to Hunayn Ibn Ishaq (800-873CE) or to Saadiah b. Joseph Gaon (882-942CE) (Source: Encyclopedia Judaica, vol. 4, p. 863)

As of this time, the oldest dated Arabic bible known is the Mt. Sinai Arabic Codex 151, dated to 867 CE. Bishr Ibn Al-Sirri, an Assyrian Monk, and the original manuscript was completed in Damascus, Syria. Its importance was recognized by Aziz Attiya of the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, who was closely associated with the microfilming of the manuscripts in 1950. He sent a copy to Harvy Staal at the University of Michigan , who published it in both English and Arabic in 1985.

Bishr Ibn Al-Sirri's translation of the Arabic codex was made about 200 years after the Arab conquest of the Middle East. How the manuscript came to be in St Catherine's Monastery is not certain. Perhaps it was brought to monastery during the Crusades, where it has remained ever since.

http://www.arabicbible.com/bible/codex151_article.htm

In any case, it does seem clear that

1) Arabic bibles have been around now for some time, they may not be as old as the Dead Sea Scrolls, but they a have a tradition of use dating back more than 1,100 years.

2) The name of "Allah" is found in Arabic bibles. Cold it be that the name of "Allah" was used by Arab Christian converts from BEFORE the arrival of Islam?

3) The name of "Allah" is also found in pre-Islamic Poetry. One cannot be certain that all such poetry was the work of pagans. There were Arabic Christian and Jewish communities on the Arabian Peninsula. Can we rule out that these Arab Jews and Christians never used the term "Allah"?

4) A convenient loss of the historical record only helps to buttress claims made by people who have harbor ulterior sectarian ambitions. When discussing history, it behooves one to trust objective scholarship over the haranguing of sanctimonious zealots...

Submitting....

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