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This book cleared up, and raised questions

Reader comment on item: A Prophet Has Appeared

Submitted by Dave (United States), Sep 11, 2021 at 17:07

First, my thanks to Dr. Pipes for his book review.

I purchased the Amazon kindle version and reviewed it myself. I think that it's an important work, although I'm sure that its dry, detailed, academic approach will keep it from ever appealing to an audience beyond certain specialists.

One thing that has always puzzled me was how it was that the Arab seventh century military campaigns were so successful. The current state of Islamic culture is marked by divisiveness, and that is not a characteristic of an effective army. The answer seems to be that Muhammed formed a very cohesive force based on a far more inclusive ideology that what we see today in modern Islam. He did it by forming a group of "Believers' based on belief in the Abrahamic legacy of monotheism. This included a broad base of Christians, Jews and monotheist Nomads, as Islam did not then exist.

It was not until many years after his death that Islam was created, the Koran written, "Believers" came to mean Muslims only, and non-Muslims were red-lined as inferiors.

It's interesting to note that the Abraham Accords between Israel and several Muslim states hark back to Muhammed's original strategy. There is much evidence pointing to Islam the religion as a later creation of opportunists in the Abassid caliphate in the eighth century, a creation that caricatures the historic Muhammed as a religious fanatic, sexual deviant and ruthless warlord. It's this latter creation that has ultimately led to today's grotesque mimics of a frightful legend that probably never existed.

The other question that has been raised but not yet answered pertains to Christianity's canonical Jesus. Like Islam, Christianity purports to tell the story of a significant figure long after his death, making him a central figure in a new religion. How much of the real Jesus story has been embellished or invented to fit convenient needs and prejudices of the time? There is much that is very negative about Jews in the Gospels. How much of that stems from real events and how much from resentment over the ultimate Jewish rejection of Jesus's divinity, or from lingering Roman antagonisms over the Bar Kokhba revolt? It may be that Jesus was a very positive figure, as Muhammed was, whose legacy has been exploited and distorted by opportunists. My curiosity is whetted for further investigation..

Submitting....

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Daniel Pipes replies:

I am glad the book got you thinking.

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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