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Is The Source Of Qur'an 18:60-65 The Alexander Romances? Print E-mail
Written by mquran.org   
Monday, 20 November 2006

1. Introduction

18.60: Behold, Moses said to his attendant, "I will not give up until I reach the junction of the two seas or (until) I spend years and years in travel."

18.61: But when they reached the Junction, they forgot (about) their Fish, which took its course through the sea (straight) as in a tunnel.

18.62: When they had passed on (some distance), Moses said to his attendant: "Bring us our early meal; truly we have suffered much fatigue at this (stage of) our journey."

18.63 He replied: "Sawest thou (what happened) when we betook ourselves to the rock? I did indeed forget (about) the Fish: none but Satan made me forget to tell (you) about it: it took its course through the sea in a marvellous way!"

18.64 Moses said: "That was what we were seeking after:" So they went back on their footsteps, following (the path they had come).

18.65 So they found one of Our servants, on whom We had bestowed Mercy from Ourselves and whom We had taught knowledge from Our own Presence.

The Holy Qur'an 18:60-65

Western scholars have claimed that Qur'an 18:60-65 is dependent upon stories from the Alexander Romances. Perhaps the most influential theory regarding the character of Qur'an 18:60-65 is that of Arent Wensinck's article "Al-Khadir" in the Encyclopaedia Of Islam.[1] This article has been printed in both the first (1927, Volume II) and the second (1978) editions of the Encyclopaedia Of Islam without any changes.

2. The Qur'an 18:60-65 & Alexander Romances

According to Wensinck and most of the subsequent scholarship,[2] Qur'an 18:60-65 depends on elements of Alexander Romances. The primary reason for associating the Qur'anic story with Alexander is the identification of the fish in Qur'an 18:61 and 18:63 with the dried fish in certain versions of the Alexander stories, which comes to life when Alexander's cook washes it in the "spring of life". One of the first people to link the Alexander stories and Qur'an 18:60-82 were Lidzbarski[3] and Dyroff[4] in 1892. The link was subsequently developed by Vollers,[5] Hartmann[6] and Friedländer.[7]

Before Friedländer's work, the association of the Alexander stories with Qur'an 18:60-82 was based on the presence of "al-Khidr" in the Arabic, Ethiopic, and Persian versions of the Alexander stories. The basis of interpretation of Qur'an 18:60-65 was in the light of identification of the "servant of God" with al-Khidr in Qur'an 18:60-65 and thus the association of al-Khidr with Alexander. These scholars did not perceive that the Arabic, Ethiopic, and Persian versions of Alexander stories which feature al-Khidr are not the sources of Qur'an 18:60-65; they are rather based upon the early Islamic commentator's identification of the "servant of God" in the Qur'an 18:65 with al-Khidr.[8] In other words, the Arabic, Ethiopic, and Persian versions of Alexander stories came about after the advent of Islam.

The Syriac version of the Alexander stories has been dated from between the sixth and the tenth centuries. Budge had argued for the Syriac version to be dated roughly between the seventh and ninth centuries. On the basis of the spelling of proper names and vocabulary, Wright had argued that the Syriac translation was made from an Arabic original and places it in the tenth century.[9] Nöldeke dated the Syriac version to the late sixth century. He argued that the spelling and vocabulary indicate not an Arabic but a Pahlavi origin.[10] This dating was based on the assumption that the bulk of Pahlavi literature appeared in the fifth and sixth centuries. This appears to be the most accepted dating of the Syriac version. Aside from the issues of dating, it is important to recognize that the fish episode, which is a key point in both Friedländer and Wensinck's argument that Qur'an 18:60-65 was derived from Alexander stories, does not occur in the Syriac version. The Syriac version is, in fact,

... a source of much of non-Koranic Alexander tradition and legend in the Islamic world...[11]

The origin of the fish episode, according to Friedländer, is a passage from the sermon on Alexander by Jacob of Serugh dated to early part of the sixth century; the dating is based on Jacob of Serugh's death in 521 CE.[12] Lines 170-197 describe how an old man tells Alexander to command his cook to take the salted fish and wash it at every spring of water he finds. When the fish comes to life, the old man explains, the cook will have found the water of life. The sermon then continues by mentioning how the cook was washing the fish in the spring when it comes to life and swims away. The cook, fearing Alexander may want the fish back, jumps into the water to retrieve the fish and gains immortality himself.[13] A close parallel to the fish episode is to be found in the Greek versions of the Alexander stories. The story, not found in recension a, occurs in recension b. The latter is dated to sometime between recensions a and recension l and L, identified as a later manuscript of recension b. Let us summarize the issues surrounding the fish episode in various Greek recensions.[14]

 

Recension

Date

Contents of the fish episode

a recension[15]

The 3rd century CENone

b recension[16]

Between the 4th and 6th centuries CEShorter fish episode. Contains the story of fish escaping but not the cook gaining immortality. Cook does not tell anybody about the fish.

l recension[17]

Not earlier than middle of the 6th century CECook takes the water of life in a silver vessel and gives some of it to Alexander's daughter.

g recension[18]

Not earlier than the 6th century CECook takes the water of life in a silver vessel and gives some of it to Alexander's daughter.
 

 

 

In all the Greek recensions, the cook finds the spring of life by accident in contrast with Alexander's instructions in Jacob of Serug's sermon that the cook used the fish as an indication that he had found the spring of life.

3. The Case Against The Alexander Romances And The Sermon Of Jacob Of Serugh

Friedländer takes the position that the entire story of Moses and al-Khidr in the commentaries on the Qur'an 18:60-65 is taken from Alexander Romance. According to him the character identified as Moses in the Qur'an is Alexander. Alexander's cook is made into two different characters, both the servant of Moses of Qur'an 18:61-65 and the mysterious servant of God of Qur'an 18:65. Friedländer opines that the commentaries' identification of the servant of God with al-Khidr is an attempt to explain the third character of the story.

Wensinck adopts a position similar to that of Friedländer but he rejects that notion that the two servants are the same character and the exclusive identification of Alexander's cook with al-Khidr. Wensinck accepts the identification of Alexander's cook with Moses' servant along with the fish from the two sources.[19] In order to support his viewpoint, Wensinck says that the Arabic term "fatā", as used for Moses' servant, is more consistent with an appellation for Alexander's cook. For Wensinck, this shows that Qur'an 18:60-65 is dependent on the Alexander romance rather than Ibn Shahin's story of Joshua b. Levi from which Qur'an 18:60-65 is allegedly derived.[20] It should also be added that Wensinck denies the connection which Friedländer makes between the water of life and the meeting place of the two waters.

Brannon Wheeler, who has discussed this issue of "borrowing" as adduced by Friedländer and Wensinck in great detail, says that:

There are a number of reservations against these contentions concerning the identity of the "fish" in the Alexander romance and Q 18:61 and 63. The identity of two fish is itself problematic. While the story in Q 18:60-65 has in common with the fish episode in Jacob of Serugh's sermon a fish whose escape is either made or noticed just before it is eaten, and mention of the some unusual water, it is not necessary to equate the two stories. Given the information in the Qur'an alone, it is uncertain that the fish in 18:61 and 63 was dead and escaped by being brought back to life in the water of life. Q 18:61 states that the two people, presumably Moses and his companion, forgot their fish, which made its way into the water. Q 18:63 likewise states that the fish made its way into the water. In neither case is there an indication, first that the fish was dead and, second, that if it were dead its escape was due to its contact with the water of life. Even if it is assumed that the fish was dead and escaped by coming back to life, there is no indication in verses 61 or 63 that this resurrection took place on account of the fish coming in contact with the water of life. In fact, in verse 63 Moses' companion states that the fish escpaed while he and Moses were taking refuge on a rock.[21]

Further he adds that:

More problematic for identifying Q 18:60-65 with the Alexander stories is the tendency of western scholars to confuse the information given in the Qur'an with its interpretation in the commentaries, just as the scholars confused the Qur'an and the commentaries in relation to Q 18:66-82. In the case of the fish episode, Wensinck and others have not paid close enough attention both to the variety within the early commentaries and to development of the explanations of Q 18:60-65 from the earlier to the later commentaries. For example, Q 18:61 states that the fish escapes making its way saraban. The term saraban has been understood as describing the fish's escape as a "miracle" in most translations of this verse. That the fish escaped by a miracle would be consistent with this episode having been taken from the Alexander Romance, where the fish, already dead, is brought back to life by the water of life and swims away. This understanding of the fish's escape is at odds with that of the commentaries, however.[22]

Wheeler, then discusses al-Tabari's commentary concerning how saraban describes the fish's escape. Al-Tabari lists three explanations of how saraban describes the fish's escape. The first explanation says that the fish made it way through a rock or water passage which Moses later discovered and followed to reach al-Khidr. The second says that wherever the fish swam the water became solid like rock, and Moses was able to walk over the water to an island on which he met al-Khidr. The third explanation states that the fish made it way across dry land only until it reached the water. In all the three explanations, it is assumed that the word saraban relates to the fish's escape via dry land.[23] Hence there were variety of interpretations given to Qur'an 18:60-65 in the early Muslim exegesis. Wheeler adds that:

There is also little indication that Q 18:60-65 was initially identified with the Alexander stories, except in two reports that reflect an attempt to link the fish in the Qur'an with the fish episode from the Alexander stories.... This interpretation insofar as it parallels the Alexander stories, must be distinguished from the information given in the Qur'an itself. The report of Ibn `Abbas is neither the only nor the "original" interpretation of the passage, but rather, it is an attempt to make an association between the Qur'an and otherwise extra-Qur'anic stories.[24]

Wheeler points out that in later commentaries, overtime, the fish episode in the Qur'an 18:60-65 became increasing identified with the fish episode in the Alexander stories. It is likely that by the twelfth or possibly as early as eleventh century, based on the Persian recensions of the Alexander stories, commentators understood the Qur'an 18:60-65 to be an allusion of the Alexander stories.

Apart from these issues, there are many theories concerning the reconstruction of the history of the Alexander stories' recensions; many of them based on mere assumptions. It is uncertain that the Syriac Pseudo-Callithenes was not written as late as the ninth century, even if we assume it was taken from a Pahlavi original as Nöldeke claims. Even if it was taken from a Pahlavi original, it would be incumbent to show from where the Pahlavi recension is derived. The most obvious possibilities would be some of the later manuscripts of recension b or recension l, which contain roughly the same material. It should be noted that, however, that the usual reconstruction of the history of the Alexander stories' recensions make b and l independent of the Syriac recension, which derives from a hypothetical d recension.[25] Keeping these possibilities in mind Wheeler says:

It is not possible to show that the Ethiopic and Persian versions of the Alexander stories are derived directly from the Syriac versions. There are number of problems with the dating of the Syriac versions and their supposed influence on the Qur'an and later Alexander stories, not the least of which is the confusion of what has been called the Syriac Pseudo-Callisthenes, the sermon of Jacob of Serugh, and the so-called Syriac Legend of Alexander. Second, the key elements of Q 18:60-65, 18:83-102, and the story of Ibn Hisham's Sa`b dhu al-Qarnayn do not occur in the Syriac Pseudo-Callisthenes. The fish episode, found in the sermon of Jacob of Serugh, although not necessarily the source of Q 18:60-65, is also missing from Syriac Pseudo-Callisthenes. Third, the brief so-called Legend of Alexander, which has been said to be a prose version of Jacob of Serugh's sermon, is not identical with the sermon, nor is it necessary to make it dependent upon the Syriac Pseudo-Callisthenes. It omits several elements found in the Jacob of Serugh's sermon, including the fish episode, and the elements it does mention could be derived from an independent Greek or Pahlavi source. Fourth, although Jacob of Serugh's sermon does contain the fish episode, albeit a story not identical with the more elaborate fish episode in the later Greek recensions, the sermon does not include the same key elements in the Qur'an and associated with Sa`b dhu al-Qarnayn.[26]

Based on the extensive studies concerning the influence by Syriac Pseudo-Callisthenes on Qur'an 18:60-102, Wheeler's conclusion can be shown in the following form:

Thus, the story in Qur'an 18:60-65, although later identified as the fish episode from the Alexander stories, does not resemble the earlier stories and is independent of the Alexander stories.

3.1 Dating The Christian Legend Attributed To Jacob Of Serugh

Leaving aside the above discussion on the untenability of the sermon of Jacob of Serugh being the source of Qur'an 18:60-65, just based on the dates suggested above for the composition of Jacob of Serugh's sermon, it can be said that this was the source of the fish story in the Qur'an. Nöldeke ascribed the Christian Legend Concerning Alexander to Jacob of Serugh, who died in 521 CE, and dates its composition 514-515 CE.[27] According to Nöldeke, the Legend reflected the invasion of Sabirian Huns in 515 CE,[28] and that it was composed soon thereafter. He implied that the theme of the Christian Legend was one which was created anew out of Alexander Pseudo-Callisthenes. This dating was Nöldeke was accepted with minor reservations.[29]

However, it was pointed out by Hunnius that the Legend contain an ex eventu (i.e., prophesy after the fact) knowledge of the Khazar invasion of Armenia (as the allies of Emperor Herakleios) in 628 CE.[30] Hunnius has convincingly argued against Nöldeke's 6th century dating of Christian Legend. Czeglédy, using Kmoskó's thesis, has also argued that the dating the Christian Legend of Jacob of Serugh to 628 CE is conclusive.

... it is all the more regrettable that Kmoskó's expositions, which settle the dispute, were not published earlier than a few years ago, and even then only in extracts. Kmoskó has a whole series of arguments to prove that both the metrical Legend and the prose text of the same contain unmistakable references to the war of Khosrav II and Herakleios. Hence both variants, in their present forms, contain variant of the Legend that came into being as an adaption definitely after 628. Kmoskó's arguments are surely conclusive. An adaption of this kind is a natural phenomenon in apocalyptic literature: after the passing of the date foretold in the latest vaticination [prediction or prophesy], the subsequent adapters inserts new prophecies into the text.[31]

The identification only gives us the date 628 CE as terminus a quo (a point of origin or a first limiting point in time). The text of the poem gives no date by which to fix the terminus ad quem (a final limiting point in time). Similarly Gero says:

Several features of the text [i.e., the Christian Legend] also occur in the Koranic narrative - the famous horns of Alexander, the journey to the west and then to the east, and of course the central theme of the gate, which will be opened at an apocalyptic Endzeit by divine command. But although this has been proposed by Nöldeke and often repeated since, the work also does not qualify as a direct source for the 'two-horned' Alexander of the Koran, at least not in its present form; recent investigations indicate an ex eventu knowledge of the Khazar invasion of Armenia in A.D. 629.

The prose legend (neshānā) was then in turn the literary source of the Syriac metrical homily discourse attributed to Jacob of Sarug (sixth century) in the manuscripts. The poem, however, was actually written in the seventh century, shortly before the Muslim conquest of Mesopotamia and Palestine.[32]

Sir Budge indicated a long time ago that the Christian Legend has been re-worked and is burdened with additions and that this work is that of Jacob of Serugh is improbable.

This composition appears to be an abbreviated form of which known to us is that given in the metrical discourse on Alexander attributed to Jacob of Serugh; both these works, in turn are based upon chapters xxxvii-xxxix of the second book of Pseudo-Callisthenes according to Muller's Greek MS. C. The Christian Legend has been burdened with many additions, evidently the work of the Christian redactor, which have no connexion whatever with the story. On the other hand many passages, as, for example, the account of his descent into the sea in a glass cage, have been entirely omitted. The names of the places which are given us freely in this legend seem to indicate that it was drawn up at a very late period; that it is the work of Jacob of Serugh is improbable.[33]

4. Conclusions

It is perhaps best to conclude using Wheeler's study on the alleged sources of the Qur'an 18:60-102; that includes the story of Moses and al-Khidr as well as Dhul-Qarnayn.

It is tempting, given the perplexing character of Q 18:60-82, to make connections between the Qur'an and other stories circulating in roughly the same period. Q 18:60-82 is rich in symbolism and possible allusions to other late antique motifs. The explanation given to these verses by Wensinck, and followed by the bulk of subsequent scholarship, is mistaken, however, in its lack of adequate attention to the dates and provenance of the so-called sources for Q 18:60-82. Wensinck's explanation is self-serving in that it supports the assumption that the Qur'an is comprised of Jewish and Christian materials both garbled in transmission and confused by Muhammad. By demonstrating that the admixture contained in the Qur'an can be understood only with knowledge of the original versions of the stories upon which it is dependent, scholars such as Wensinck were able to put themselves in a privileged position vis-à-vis other interpretations of the Qur'an. This approach to Q 18:60-82 results in an erudite-sounding explanation but misses a number of crucial points.[34]

Further, he adds:

It is important to recognize the Qur'an sharing in larger culture of late antiquity, but it is unfortunate to ignore the pivotal role played by the early commentators in identifying and appropriating certain late antique motifs to the understanding of the Qur'an. Q 18:60-82 is not necessarily derived from the Alexander stories. On the contrary, a more discerning examination of the different texts show that the later recensions of the Alexander stories are dependent upon the Qur'an as understood through the medium of early Muslim commentators. Key elements of the later stories, such as the appellation of "Dhu al-Qarnayn" attributed to Alexander owe their origins to the commentaries. A closer analysis of the commentaries on Q 18:60-82 shows the development of an increased association of Q 18:60-82 and 83-102 with Alexander stories. This recognition makes it possible to obtain a fresh understanding of the reconstruction of the history of the later recensions of the Alexander stories.[35]

As for the Christian Legend, terminus a quo for its composition is 628 CE. In conclusion, it is not only important to know the dates of composition of the individual works that are used to establish the theories of borrowing, but also to understand the difference between the Qur'an and the Qur'anic commentaries.

 


References & Notes

[1] "Al-Khadir", Encyclopaedia Of Islam, 1978, Volume IV, E. J. Brill (Leiden) & Luzac & Co. (London), pp. 902-903.

[2] A. Jeffery, The Koran: Selected Suras, 1958, The Heritage Press: New York (NY), p. 220, n. 6; C. C. Torrey, The Jewish Foundation Of Islam, 1967, Ktav Publishing House, Inc.: New York, pp. 123-125; Ibn Warraq, Why I Am Not A Muslim, 1995, Prometheus Books: Amherst (NY), pp. 60-61; N. A. Newman, Muhammad, The Qur'an & Islam, 1996, Interdisciplinary Biblical Research Institute: Hatfield (PA), p. 377. A very confusing view is presented by Newman. It is not clear from Newman's writings what exactly is the alleged source of the Qur'anic story.

[3] M. Lidzbarski, "Wer Ist Chadhir?", Zeitschrift Für Assyriologie Und Verwandte Gebiete, 1892, Volume 7, pp. 104-106.

[4] K. Dyroff, "Wer Ist Chadhir?", Zeitschrift Für Assyriologie Und Verwandte Gebiete, 1892, Volume 7, pp. 319-327.

[5] K. Vollers, "Chidher?", Archiv Für Religionswissenschaft, 1909, Volume 12, pp. 234-284.

[6] R. Hartmann, "Zur Erklärung Von Süre 18, 59 ff", Zeitschrift Für Assyriologie Und Verwandte Gebiete, 1910, Volume 24, pp. 307-315.

[7] I. Friedländer, "Zur Geschichte Der Chadhirlegende", Archiv Für Religionswissenschaft, 1910, Volume 13, pp. 92-110; I. Friedländer, "Alexanders Zug Nach Dem Lebensquell Und Die Chadhirlegende", Archiv Für Religionswissenschaft, 1910, Volume 13, pp. 161-246; Much of the argument from these two articles is in I. Friedländer's, Die Chadhirlegende Und Der Alexanderroman, 1913, Druck Und Verlag Von B. G. Teubner: Leipzig.

[8] For Persian Alexander Romances see M. S. Southgate, Iskandarnamah: A Persian Medieval Alexander Romance, 1978, Columbia University Press: New York, pp. 167-185. Southgate has depicted the origins of various Alexander romances pictorially on p. 185; For Ethiopic versions see E. A. W. Budge, The Life And Exploits Of Alexander The Great: Being A Series Of Translations Of The Ethiopic Histories Of Alexander By The Pseudo-Callisthenes And Other Writers, 1896, London; A good overview of some of the versions of Alexander stories is in E. A. W. Budge, The History Of Alexander The Great Being The Syriac Version Of The Pseudo-Callisthenes, 1889, Cambridge: At The University Press, pp. lii-cxi.

[9] E. A. W. Budge, The History Of Alexander The Great Being The Syriac Version Of The Pseudo-Callisthenes, 1889, op cit., p. lx.

[10] Th. Nöldeke, "Beiträge Zur Geschichte Des Alexanderroman", Denkschriften Der Kaiserlichen Akademie Der Wissenschaften, Philosophisch-Historische Classe, 1890, Volume 37, pp. 30-32.

[11] S. Gero, "The Legend Of Alexander The Great In The Christian Orient", Bulletin Of The John Rylands University Library Of Manchester, 1993, Volume 75, p. 5.

[12] E. A. W. Budge, The History Of Alexander The Great Being The Syriac Version Of The Pseudo-Callisthenes, 1889, op cit., lines 170-197 on pp. 172-175 describe the fish episode in the sermon on Alexander by Jacob of Serug.

[13] I. Friedländer, "Alexanders Zug Nach Dem Lebensquell Und Die Chadhirlegende", Archiv Für Religionswissenschaft, 1910, op cit., pp. 210-221 for in-depth discussion.

[14] The list is derived from the discussion by B. M. Wheeler in "Moses Or Alexander? Early Islamic Exegesis Of Qur'an 18:60-65", Journal Of Near Eastern Studies, 1998, Volume 57, pp. 194-195.

[15] This recension is found in a single complete manuscript. For other Greek manuscripts see Parisina Supplementum, Greci 689 in J. Trumpf's, "Eine Unbekannte Sammlung Von Auszügen Aus Dem Griechischen Alexanderroman", Classica Et Mediaevalia: Revue Danoise De Philologie Et D'Histoire, 1965, Volume 26, pp. 83-100; Codex Vaticano Greci 1700 in G. Ballaira's, "Frammenti Inediti Della Perduta Recensione d Del Romanzo Di Alessandro In Un Codice Vaticano", Bollettino Del Comitato Per La Preparazione Della Edizione Nazionale Dei Classici Greci E Latini (NS), 1965, Volume 13, pp. 27-59.

[16] More information about b recension in L. Bergson's, Der Griechische Alexanderroman Rezension b, 1965, Almqvist & Wiksell: Uppsala. For a brief discussion on the manuscripts that represent b recension see pp. v-viii.

[17] A good description of l recension is in H. van Thiel's, Die Rezension l Des Pseudo-Kallisthenes, 1959, Rudolph Habelt Verlag: Bonn. For various manuscripts of this recension see pp. 9-.

[18] For g recension see R. Merkelbach's, Die Quellen Des Griechischen Alexanderromans, 1954, C. H. Beck'sche Verlagsbuchhandlung: München.

[19] "Al-Khadir", Encyclopaedia Of Islam, Volume IV, op cit., p. 904.

[20] ibid., p. 903.

[21] B. M. Wheeler "Moses Or Alexander? Early Islamic Exegesis Of Qur'an 18:60-65", Journal Of Near Eastern Studies, 1998, op cit., pp. 195-196.

[22] ibid., pp. 197-198.

[23] ibid., p. 198.

[24] ibid.

[25] ibid., p. 201. A brief and lucid introduction to various recensions can be found in R. Stoneman's The Greek Alexander Romance, 1991, Penguin Books, pp. 28-31; Also see G. Cary's The Medieval Alexander, 1956, Cambridge at the University Press, pp. 9-12.

[26] B. M. Wheeler "Moses Or Alexander? Early Islamic Exegesis Of Qur'an 18:60-65", Journal Of Near Eastern Studies, 1998, op cit., pp. 201-202.

[27] Th. Nöldeke, "Beiträge Zur Geschichte Des Alexanderroman", Denkschriften Der Kaiserlichen Akademie Der Wissenschaften, Philosophisch-Historische Classe, op cit., pp. 31.

[28] E. A. W. Budge, The History Of Alexander The Great Being The Syriac Version Of The Pseudo-Callisthenes, 1889, op cit., p. 154.

[29] See A. R. Anderson, "Alexander's Horns", Transactions And Proceedings Of The American Philological Association, 1927, Volume LVIII, pp. 110-111; A. R. Anderson, Alexander's Gate, Gog And Magog, And The Inclosed Nations, 1932, The Mediaeval Academy Of America: Cambridge, MA, pp. 29-30; M. S. Southgate, Iskandarnamah: A Persian Medieval Alexander Romance, 1978, Columbia University Press: New York, p. 201.

[30] C. Hunnius, Das Syrische Alexanderlied, 1905, Göttingen, pp. 21-24. Interestingly, Nöldeke was aware of this date of Khazar invasion and he holds it as a genuine vaticination. He even admits that the Khazars, as the allies of Emperor Herakleios, invaded Armenia, through the Caucasus in 627 CE. This however, argues Nöldeke, did not mean the beginning of a campaign, as the Legend would make us suppose, but rather the conclusion of a protracted Byzantine-Persian war. Therefore, in Nöldeke's opinion, the date 940 of Greek Era (= 629 CE) is purely arbitrary, as it should naturally be in the case of a genuine vaticination. For the text of Christian Legend see E. A. W. Budge, The History Of Alexander The Great Being The Syriac Version Of The Pseudo-Callisthenes, 1889, op cit., p. 154.

[31] K. Czeglédy, "The Syriac Legend Concerning Alexander The Great", Acta Orientalia Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae, 1957, Volume 7, pp. 246-247. Czeglédy also discusses Kmoskó's arguments concerning metrical discourse of Jacob of Serug in "Monographs On Syriac And Muhammadan Sources In The Literary Remains Of M. Kmoskó", Acta Orientalia Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae, 1954, Volume 4, pp. 35-36. For the discussion on the Syriac prose legend refer to pp. 31-34.

[32] S. Gero, "The Legend Of Alexander The Great In The Christian Orient", Bulletin Of The John Rylands University Library Of Manchester, op cit., p. 7.

[33] E. A. W. Budge, The History Of Alexander The Great Being The Syriac Version Of The Pseudo-Callisthenes, op cit., p. lxxvii.

[34] B. M. Wheeler "Moses Or Alexander? Early Islamic Exegesis Of Qur'an 18:60-65", Journal Of Near Eastern Studies, 1998, op cit., p. 214.

[35] ibid.

John D'Urso, M S M Saifullah & Elias Karim

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