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Response to zzazzeefrazzee

Reader comment on item: Is Allah God? - Continued
in response to reader comment: That premise that also works equally when for comparing Judaism and Christianty.

Submitted by Mark Durie (Australia), Apr 22, 2008 at 18:27

Zazzeefrazzee,

the arguments I present for YHWH being distinct from Allah of the Quran are based upon the Tanakh as much as the New Testament. The issue of the Trinity was not one of the principle points in my argument that YHWH s distinct in identity from Allah of the Quran.

However, whilst it is open to Jews to argue that the Christian conception of God is alien to their scriptures, Christians have always argued the opposite. The idea that there was a different god in the Tanakh from the New Testament was rejected early in church history as Marionism. And as I said, I was careful to base my arguments re YHWH and Allah on consideration of the whole Bible, including the Tanakh.

I would be very grateful for an academic reference to inscription you refer to. Often when I read this claim that Christians or Jews in pre-Islamic times knew YHWH as 'Allah', and I follow the reference, it ends up at a dead-end. I would be happy to find a more solid source.

However, even a reference to 'al-ilah' in a Christian inscription does not demonstrate that Allah was used by Christians. al-ilah just means 'the god'. The contracted form would be the one to look for, but perhaps there is no way to determine if that was used from the inscription itself, if the letters for al-ilah and for Allah would have been the same. Nevertheless, I would be grateful for the reference, as it would help answer a question which I have been wanting answered for a long time.

I don't consider the Syriac 'alaha' strictly pertinent to this issue of pre-Islamic use of Allah by Jews or Christians. Alaha is a different language, and a different construction. It seems many people have the Syriac usage in mind when the say that Allah was used by Christians before Muhammad, but that is very sloppy linguistics.

Yes, I imagine it was quite likely that pre-Islamic Christian Arabs did use the term 'alaha' to refer to YHWH, as they received their faith, as I understand, from Aramaic speakers.

I don't believe that Christian Arabs blaspheme when they use the term 'Allah'. Indeed I feel this is really an unhelpful and rude thing to say. However the Arab Christians would usually be referring to a different identity that when the same term is used by Muslims. LIkewise when early Germanic peoples took the pagan work 'god/guth' and applied it to YHWH of the Bible, this was not blasphemy, but translation. I don't begrudge the Christian Arabs their linguistic usage, but would personally prefer they hadused a different term, just as they (mostly) use a different term for Jesus, one derived from Aramaic, instead of the Arabic Isa. There is a complex and subtle continuuum of considerations here between valid enculturation on the one hand, and the Islamization of Christian discourse on the other. If someone however does assert that the god of the Quran, encompassing all his attributes as laid out in the Quran, does assert that this is the same identity as the God of the Bible - then yes this could be considered an insult to God's majesty, because it is attributing false attributes to God. I believe that God is not happy about this. This is different from just using the word 'Allah': you can do this and still not believe that the deities are the same. (I don't like the term 'blasphemy', because it is loaded down with so many meanings.)

Submitting....

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