On Pirke De-Rabbi Eli`ezer As One Of The Sources Of The Qur'an
Written by mquran.org   
Monday, 20 November 2006

1. Introduction

It had been suggested by many early Western scholars of Islam that Jewish acquaintances of Muhammad were the reason behind a number of stories contained in the Qur'an. Perhaps the most common Jewish source that figures in the alleged borrowing is the 'midrashic commentary' Pirke de-Rabbi Eli`ezer. The earliest person to popularize the hypothesis of borrowing from this midrashic story into the Qur'an was Abraham Geiger in his book Was hat Mohammed aus dem Judenthume aufgenommen?[1]

Subsequent orientalists, apologists and missionaries claimed that while Muhammad was compiling the verses of the Qur'an, he decided to utilise Jewish source material known as Pirke de-Rabbi Eliezer he acquired (written/oral?) from some 'Jewish friends'. However due to Muhammad's free reproduction of events, he felt free to modify what he heard which led to errors and deviations in his narration, culminating in some eleven verses concerning the stories of Cain and Abel, the golden calf, Moses "leprous" hand, Pharaoh's repentance and becoming Muslim and Abraham's sacrifice. More recent authors merely repeat Geiger's claims. However, these authors almost always never cite the full discourse in the Jewish source to verify precisely what was borrowed and show even less familiarity with the manuscript evidence and related text-critical issues.

In this essay we would like to examine comprehensively the verses of the Qur'an which were claimed to have been allegedly borrowed from Pirke de-Rabbi Eli`ezer.

2. The Qur'anic Material Allegedly Borrowed From Pirke De-Rabbi Eli`ezer

Following are the stories in the Qur'an which were claimed to have been borrowed from Pirke de-Rabbi Eli`ezer.

A. STORY OF CAIN AND ABEL

The (selfish) soul of the other led him to the murder of his brother: he murdered him, and became (himself) one of the lost ones. Then Allah sent a raven, who scratched the ground, to show him how to hide the shame of his brother. "Woe is me!" said he; "Was I not even able to be as this raven, and to hide the shame of my brother?" then he became full of regrets. [Qur'an 5:30-31]

This part of the story of Cain and Abel in the Qur'an being borrowed from the Pirke de-Rabbi Eli`ezer is the most popular of all the alleged borrowing claims. It appears in nearly almost all the Christian missionary literature dealing with the Qur'an and Islam, either in the form of published books or on the web. The story in Pirke de-Rabbi Eli`ezer reads:

The dog which was guarding the Abel's flock also guarded his corpse from all the beasts of the field and all the fowls of the heavens. Adam and his helpmate were sitting and weeping and mourning for him, and they did not know what to do (with Abel), for they were unaccustomed to burial. A raven (came), one of its fellow birds was dead (at its side). (The raven) said: I will teach this man what to do. It took its fellow and dug in the earth, hid it and buried it before them. Adam said: Like this raven will I act. He took the corpse of Abel and dug in the earth and buried it.[2]

Just like many other claims of alleged borrowing, the initiator of this claim was Abraham Geiger. Comparing the stories of Cain and Abel in the Qur'an and in the Jewish writing Pirke de-Rabbi Eli`ezer, Geiger says:

The one event mentioned is their sacrifice and the murder which lead to it. Muhammad makes them hold a conversation before the murder, and one is likewise given in the Jerusalem Targum on the strength of the words in Genesis, "Cain said unto Abel his brother." Still, the matter of the conversation is given so differently in each case that we do not consider it worthwhile to compare the two passages more closely. After the murder, according to the Qur'an, God sent a raven which scratched the earth to shew Cain how to bury Abel. What is here attributed to Cain is ascribed by the Jews to his parents [as in Pirke de-Rabbi Eli`ezer]...[3]

As is evident, there are serious difference in the Qur'anic narrative and the one given in Pirke de-Rabbi Eli`ezer. In the Qur'anic account it is Cain who is taught to bury the body of his brother by a raven, whereas in Pirke de-Rabbi Eli`ezer, it is Adam who is shown how to bury the dead body. Apart from that the conversation between Cain and Abel as given in the Qur'an is absent in Pirke de-Rabbi Eli`ezer. Given these differences and as a consequence resulting from the claim of borrowing, Tisdall insists that the source of Qur'an 5:30-31 is Pirke de-Rabbi Eli`ezer and the differences between the two stories was due to "free reproduction". According to him:

But the source of the rest of the Qur'anic account of the murder is the legend related in the Pirqey Rabbi Eli`ezer... When we compare the Jewish legend with the one given in the Qur'an, we see that the only difference is that in the former the raven taught Adam how to bury the body, whereas in the Qur'an it is Cain who is said to have been taught. It is clear that the passage in the Qur'an is not a literal translation from one or more Jewish books, but is rather, as we might expect, a free reproduction of the story as told to Muhammad by some of Jewish friends, of whom early Arabian accounts mention the names of several. This explains the mistake that the Qur'an makes in attributing the burial of Cain instead of Adam.[4]

The claim that different parts of the Qur'anic story of Cain and Abel were borrowed from the above mentioned Jewish sources is actively endorsed by some people such as Rev. W. Goldsack,[5] L. Beven Jones,[6] Anis Shorrosh,[7] Abdiyah Akbar Abdul-Haqq,[8] Robert Morey,[9] N. A. Newman,[10] `Abdallah `Abd al-Fadi,[11] Mateen Elass,[12] Norman Geisler and Abdul Saleeb[13] and Joseph Smith.[14]

B. A GOLDEN CALF THAT LOWS

Then Moses went back unto his folk, angry and sad. He said: O my people! Hath not your Lord promised you a fair promise? Did the time appointed then appear too long for you, or did ye wish that wrath from your Lord should come upon you, that ye broke tryst with me? They said: We broke not tryst with thee of our own will, but we were laden with burdens of ornaments of the folk, then cast them (in the fire), for thus al-Samiri proposed. Then he produced for them a calf, of saffron hue, which gave forth a lowing sound. And they cried: This is your god and the god of Moses, but he hath forgotten. See they not, then, that it returneth no saying unto them and possesseth for them neither hurt nor use? [Qur'an 20:86-89]

This story of the lowing calf in the Qur'an is the second most popular claim of alleged "borrowing" from Pirke de-Rabbi Eli`ezer. The story in Pirke de-Rabbi Eli`ezer reads as follows:

Aaron found among the earrings one plate of gold upon which the Holy Name was written, and engraven thereon was the figure of the calf, and that (plate) alone did he cast into the fiery furnace, as it is said, "So they gave it to me: and I cast it into the fire, and there came out this calf"... It is not written here, "And I cast them in," but "And I cast it in the fire, and there came out this calf." The calf came out lowing, and the Israelites saw it, and they went astray after it.

Rabbi Jehudah said: Sammael entered into it, and he was lowing to mislead Israel, as it is said, "The ox knoweth his owner" (Isa. i.3).[15]

While discussing the story of golden calf and its lowing in the Qur'an and in Pirke de-Rabbi Eli`ezer, Abraham Geiger writes:

Muhammad says that the calf lowed as it come forth. With this is to be compared the Rabbinical statement: "There came forth this calf lowing and the Israelites saw it. Rabbi Jehuda says that Samael entered into it and lowed in order to mislead Israel." In the Qur'an it is said that among the people of Moses there was a tribe which kept the truth. This seems to refer to the tribe of Levi and especially to their behaviour about the calf, although possibly it may refer also to their belief in Moses' mission to Pharaoh of which we have spoken before. In the biblical accounts a statement is made, which is explained by the Rabbis as follows: "From Exodus 32. 26, it is clear that the tribe of Levi was not implicated in the matter of the golden calf."[16]

Following in the footsteps of Geiger, the Christian missionary Rev. Tisdall made a similar claim in his book The Original Sources Of The Qur'an:

This legend also comes from the Jews, as is evident from the following extract which we translate from Pirqêy Rabbi Eli`ezer, § 45, "And this calf came out lowing [the sound uttered by cattle; moo], and the Israelites saw it. Rabbi Yehûdah says that Sammaêl was hidden in its interior, and was lowing in order that he might deceive Israel." The idea that the calf was able to low must come from the supposition that, though made of gold (Exodus 32. 4), it was alive, since it "came out" (5. 24) of the fire. Here, again, we see that the figurative expression, when taken literally, led to the growth of a myth to explain it.[17]

Such views were also held by some people and apologists such as Rev. W. Goldsack,[18] Abdiyah Akbar Abdul-Haqq,[19] Robert Morey,[20] `Abdallah `Abd al-Fadi[21] and N. A. Newman.[22]

C. MOSES' "LEPROUS" HAND

And he [i.e., Moses] drew out his hand, and behold! it was white to all beholders! [Qur'an 7:108]

While discussing Qur'an 7:108, Geiger says:

Further Moses is supposed to have shewn the sign of his leprous hand before Pharaoh, which is not mentioned in [Jewish] Scripture, but which agrees with the ... statement in the Rabbinical writings.[23]

The rabbinical writing discussed here is Pirke de-Rabbi Eli`ezer. It says:

(Moses) put his hand into his bosom, and brought it forth leprous like snow, and the magicians also put their hands in their bosoms, and brought them forth leprous like snow. But they were not healed till the day of their death.[24]

Similar claims have been made by Abdiyah Akbar Abdul-Haqq,[25] N. A. Newman[26] and F. S. Coplestone.[27] Although J. W. Sweetman also made a similar claim, he did not provide any evidence of his source.[28] Not surprisingly, it is also repeated by some people. It appears that none of these authors had read the Qur'an carefully enough. The Qur'an nowhere mentions Moses' "leprous" hand; rather it says that when Moses drew out his hand from his robe, it was white. It is further clarified in Qur'an 27:12 that Moses hand did not suffer from any hurt or illness.

And put thy hand into the bosom of thy robe, it will come forth white but unhurt. (This will be one) among nine tokens unto Pharaoh and his people Lo! they were ever evil-living folk. [Qur'an 27:12]

That Moses' hand did not suffer from any illness or sickness is also confirmed in the tafsir literature.

D. PHARAOH'S REPENTANCE & BECOMING A "MUSLIM"

We took the Children of Israel across the sea: Pharaoh and his hosts followed them in insolence and spite. At length, when overwhelmed with the flood, he said: "I believe that there is no god except Him Whom the Children of Israel believe in: I am of those who submit (to Allah in Islam). (It was said to him): "Ah now!- But a little while before, wast thou in rebellion!- and thou didst mischief (and violence)! [Qur'an 10:90-91]

Sweetman,[29] Newman[30] and Coplestone[31] have claimed that the above Qur'anic narrative mentioning the repentance of the Pharaoh is from the following statements in Pirke de-Rabbi Eli`ezer.

Come and see from Pharaoh, king of Egypt, who rebelled most grievously against the Rock, the Most High, as it is said, "Who is the Lord, that I should hearken unto his voice?" (Ex. v. 2). In the same terms of speech in which he sinned, he repented, as it is said "Who is like thee, O Lord, among the mighty?"... The Holy One, blessed be He, delivered him from amongst the dead. Whence (do we know) that he died? Because it is said, "For now I had put forth my hand, and smitten thee"... He went and ruled Nineveh.[32]

It is interesting to note that the narrative in Pirke de-Rabbi Eli`ezer says that the Pharaoh repented and his repentance was accepted. He went on to rule Nineveh. On the other hand, the Qur'anic narrative mentions the repentance of the Pharaoh but his repentance was not accepted because he repented when death faced him while committing evil.

Of no effect is the repentance of those who continue to do evil, until death faces one of them, and he says, "Now have I repented indeed;" nor of those who die rejecting Faith: for them have We prepared a punishment most grievous. [Qur'an 4:18]

The Pharaoh's body was saved as a sign for later generations and on the Day of Judgement, he will be one of those who will receive severe punishment.

E. ABRAHAM WAS TOLD TO SACRIFICE HIS SON VIA A DREAM

And when (his son) was old enough to walk with him, (Abraham) said: O my dear son, I have seen in a dream that I must sacrifice thee. So look, what thinkest thou? He said: O my father! Do that which thou art commanded. Allah willing, thou shalt find me of the steadfast. [Qur'an 37:102]

Newman quoting Speyer claims that the latter has "shown" that the narrative of Abraham being informed via a dream to sacrifice his son in the Qur'an comes from Pirke de-Rabbi Eli`ezer.[33] On the other hand, the narrative in Pirke de-Rabbi Eli`ezer, which was allegedly the source of Qur'an 37:102, reads:

Rabbi Jehudah said: In that night was the Holy One, blessed be He, revealed unto him, and He said unto him: Abraham! "Take now thy son, thine only son, whom thou lovest, even Isaac"... And Abraham, having pity upon Isaac, said before Him: Sovereign of all worlds! Concerning which son dost Thou decree upon me? Is it concerning the son lacking circumcision, or the son born for circumcision?[34]

What is surprising is that the narrative in Pirke de-Rabbi Eli`ezer simply mentions that the revelation to Abraham from the Holy One came in the night and then there is a fairly lengthy dialogue between Abraham and God. There is no mention that the revelation of sacrificing his son came to Abraham in a dream in Pirke de-Rabbi Eli`ezer. It appears that this is a misreading on the part of Newman, perhaps in his zeal to ascribe Jewish "sources" to the Qur'an.

3. Dating Pirke De-Rabbi Eli`ezer: A Chronological Investigation

The writers who have claimed that Pirke de-Rabbi Eli`ezer was indeed the source of many Qur'anic stories that are listed above, have more or less tacitly assumed that Pirke de-Rabbi Eli`ezer pre-dates Islam.[35] However, it had been deduced by Leopold Zunz more than 110 years ago (some 13 years before Tisdall wrote his book The Original Sources Of The Qur'an) that parts of Pirke de-Rabbi Eli`ezer points to the coming of the messianic age for the year 729 CE.[36] Furthermore, an examination of another contemporary source from Tisdall's time reveals that Pirke Rabbi de-Eli`ezer was already considered to be a post-Islamic composition. The Jewish Encyclopaedia published in 1905, the same year as the publication of Tisdall's book, states under "Pirke de-Rabbi Eli`ezer":

Josh was the first to point out that in the thirtieth chapter, in which at the end the author distinctly alludes to the three stages of the Mohammadan conquest, that of Arabia, of Spain, and of Rome, the names of Fatima and Ayesha occur beside that of Ishmael, leading to the conclusion that the book originated in the time when Islam was predominant in Asia Minor. As in ch. 36, two brothers reigning simultaneously are mentioned, after whose reign the Messiah shall come, the work might be ascribed to the beginning of the ninth century, for about that time the two sons of Harun al-Rasid, El-Amin and El-Mamun, were ruling over Islamic realm.[37]

In recent times, Strack and Stemberger say that Pirke de-Rabbi Eli`ezer:

... appears to have originated in the eighth or ninth century... It alludes repeatedly to Arab rule, especially in the stories about Ishmael, as whose wives Aisha and Fatima are named (chapter 30). In the same chapter the Dome of the Rock on the Temple site is also known, and the joint rule of the two brothers is mentioned...[38]

The view of the late compilation of Pirke de-Rabbi Eli`ezer is also echoed in the Encyclopaedia Of Islam. While dealing with the story of al-Samiri in the Qur'an, it says:

Regardless of how the story [of al-Samiri] came about, the Kur'an appears to present the earliest record of this midrashic development; aspects of it which are found in the Jewish sources (e.g., Pirke De-Rabbi Eli`ezer and Tanhuma) would seem to date from after the rise of Islam.[39]

According to Geiger, Tisdall and others, Muhammad "composed" various accounts found in the Qur'an using a source that had not yet been compiled until hundreds of years after his death!

Abraham Geiger was not aware of chronology and redaction criticism of the Jewish literature which led him to draw erroneous conclusions concerning the alleged borrowing of Jewish material into the Qur'an. His book Was hat Mohammed aus dem Judenthume aufgenommen? has also been the subject of recent criticisms by scholars such as Norman Stillman for its exaggerated view of the Jewish influence on the Qur'an. Concerning the story of Cain and Abel in the Qur'an and the attribution to Pirke de-Rabbi Eli`ezer as its possible source, Stillman says:

... [Geiger's book] did tend to give exaggerated view of the Jewish contribution to the Qur'an. Many of the traditions that he cites are in oriental Christian as well as talmudic and haggadic literature. Our chronology of rabbanic literature is better today than in Geiger's, and many more texts - Muslim, Jewish, and Christian - have since being published. In the light of this we know now that in some instances what was thought to be a Jewish haggadic influence in an Islamic text might well be quite the reverse. The Pirqe de Rabbi Eli`ezer, for example, would seem to have been finally redacted after the advent of Islam.[40]

He advises us in his conclusion:

In conclusion, it should be emphasized that one should be extremely cautious about assigning specific origins to the story discussed here - or for that matter, any other story in the Qur'an.[41]

The late redaction of Pirke de-Rabbi Eli`ezer is also confirmed by the specialists of midrashic studies who generally agree that the earliest citation of this work is found in the near contemporaneous 9th century writings of Pirkoi Ben Baboi,[42] a Babylonian talmudic scholar who was a pupil of a pupil of Yehudai ben Nahman[43] who was the Ga'on of Sura between 760–764 CE. A chronological list of the Ga'ons of Sura can be extrapolated from the epistle of Sherira Ga'on (906–1006 CE), which was addressed to the scholars of Kaitwan wherein he recounts the history of the Babylonian academies.[44]

Interestingly, Sherira dates the appearance of Muhammad at the onset of the Ga'onite period. The famous Jewish historian Avraham Ibn Da'ud (c. 1110 – c. 1180 CE) dates the appearance of Muhammad to the Savora'ite period. Ibn Da'ud even provides a precise date for the appearance of Muhammad, being the year 4372 "after creation" which corresponds to c. 611 – c. 612 CE.[45] The date provided by Ibn Da'ud corresponds closely with two important events in early Islamic history – that of Muhammad declaring himself to be the final Prophet of God in c. 610 CE and the invitation to Islam he proclaimed to the general public in c. 613 CE at Mount al-Safa.[46] Appearing to reconcile both the above views, Joseph Sambari, a 17th century Egyptian chronicler dates the appearance of Muhammad at the point where the Ga'onite and Savora'ite periods converge.[47]

Therefore, based entirely on Jewish historical records originally written beginning around 1000 years ago, the writings of Pirkoi Ben Baboi can be dated at least 200 years after the time of Muhammad. Pirkoi Ben Baboi is also considered to be the earliest writing to contain a citation of Pirke de-Rabbi Eli`ezer. As for the manuscripts of Pirke de-Rabbi Eli`ezer, the earliest one dates from the 11th century CE and this work has come down to us in various editions. When these pieces of information are combined we can observe that those, apparently working in a different time dimension from the rest of academia, are guilty of propagating factually incorrect information, casting doubt on their ability to engage seriously with the subject matter in hand.

Acknowledging the flawed scholarship of Geiger, Tisdall and the numerous authors that uncritically adopted their conjectures, those retract their original argument that Pirke de-Rabbi Eli`ezer is a source of the Qur'an and in doing so posit another incredulous claim:

... However, Pirke is not a work of new material, written from scratch at that later time but mainly a collection of old traditions many of which are also found in the Talmud and midrashic sources (before Muhammad).

Those claim (unsupported, of course) that material contained in Pirke de-Rabbi Eli`ezer is found in sources "before Muhammad" (c. 571– 632 CE); not surprisingly, they are silent by the way of examples. Those' argument has some serious drawbacks. Firstly, Pirke de-Rabbi Eli`ezer is not a midrash in the real sense, but should be classed within the genre of "rewritten Bible" and in no case can it be attributed to Rabbi Eli`ezer ben Hyrcanus (80–118 CE). The book may simply have been named after Eli`ezer because it begins with him. However, since some manuscripts do not contain these two chapters, it is also possible that they were only subsequently connected with this work. Yet this in turn would have to have occurred at an early date, since the Genizah fragments already attest the present chapter numbering.[48] Secondly, Pirke de-Rabbi Eli`ezer contains almost no names of amoraim and falsely attributes sayings to many tannaim.[49] Given these facts, it would be difficult to find out which traditions are "older" in this pseudepigraphic work, especially those which are allegedly the "sources" of the Qur'an.

4. Conclusions

The common assumption shared by the majority of orientalist scholarship, including the views of the Christian apologists and missionaries who unhesitatingly adopt their views, is that Muhammad was the author of the Qur'an. Following the tone set by Geiger's work, later scholars used the authorship of Muhammad to explain the inconsistencies in the Qur'anic narrative, by separating the stories in the Qur'an from their "original" versions found in the Jewish and Christian sources. Many critics including Geiger and Tisdall consider these inconsistencies to be due not only to the fact that the Qur'an is dependent upon the Jewish and Christian sources, but also because Muhammad was responsible for a "free reproduction" of the stories he heard resulting in a flawed transmission. As we have observed, this is also true for the Jewish source Pirke de-Rabbi Eli`ezer – a source from which critics claim the author of the Qur'an used to borrow material from.

It was also observed that the claims of alleged "borrowing" almost always rested on the superficial reading of material in Pirke de-Rabbi Eli`ezer. Furthermore, Pirke de-Rabbi Eli`ezer was redacted at least 200 years after the advent of Islam and the borrowing might well have been quite the reverse – an important point which appears to have been lost on the vast majority of some people and apologists. In their fervour to prove a source of the Qur'an, the apologists and missionaries seem to be incapable of the relatively simple task of checking the date of a source – an undertaking that seems to be beyond their research capabilities. Furthermore, chronological data extrapolated entirely from Jewish sources that have been known beginning around 1000 years ago provides sufficient evidence that Pirke de-Rabbi Eli`ezer was not quoted in any writings prior to the 9th century CE – well after the advent of the Qur'an. Nevertheless, due to their indefatigable desire to identify sources of the Qur'an, their written works still continue to propagate the out-dated views of Geiger and Tisdall even although the scholarly literature that pre-dated Tisdall had conclusively shown that Pirke de-Rabbi Eli`ezer was an 8th / 9th century work.

5. Appendix

The Manuscripts of the Pirke de-Rabbi Eli`ezer

The following are a brief selection of some of the extant manuscripts of the Pirke de-Rabbi Eli`ezer. They date from 11th century CE onwards.

Cairo Genizah Fragments of Pirke de-Rabbi Eli`ezer: It contains chapters 26-29 (beginning). They are dated to 11th century.[50]

MS. A. Epstein: The manuscript is complete and probably has a Spanish origin. It is dated to 12th or 13th century.[51]

MS. Vatican No. 303: It is dated 1509 CE.[52]

MS. Parma No. 541: Undated.

A detailed listing of the manuscripts of Pirke de-Rabbi Eli`ezer was made by L. M. Barth.[53] Among the various editions of Pirke de-Rabbi Eli`ezer known are: Constantinople, 1518 [lacunae due to self-imposed censorship]; Venice, 1548; Sabbionetta, 1568; Amsterdam, 1712; Wilna, 1837; Lemberg, 1864.

And Allah knows best!


References & Notes

[1] A. Geiger, Judaism And Islam (English Translation Of Was hat Mohammed aus dem Judenthume aufgenommen?), 1970, Ktav Publishing House Inc.: New York.

[2] G. Friedlander, Pirke De Rabbi Eliezer, 1916, Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co. Ltd.: London, Chapter 21 ("Cain and Abel"), p. 156.

[3] A. Geiger, Judaism And Islam (English Translation Of Was hat Mohammed aus dem Judenthume aufgenommen?), 1970, op. cit., p. 80.

[4] Rev. W. St. Clair Tisdall, The Original Sources Of The Qur'an, 1905, Society For The Promotion Of Christian Knowledge: London, pp. 63-64.

[5] Rev. W. Goldsack, The Origins Of The Qur'an: An Enquiry Into The Sources Of Islam, 1907, The Christian Literature Society: London, Madras and Colombo, p. 15.

[6] L. Bevan Jones, The People Of The Mosque: An Introduction To The Study Of Islam With Special Reference To India, 1932, Student Christian Movement Press: London, p. 67.

[7] Dr. A. A. Shorrosh, Islam Revealed: A Christian Arab's View Of Islam, 1988, Thomas Nelson Publishers: Nashville, pp. 201-203.

[8] A. A. Abdul-Haqq, Sharing Your Faith With A Muslim, 1980, Bethany House Publications: Minneapolis, pp. 41-42.

[9] R. Morey, The Islamic Invasion: Confronting The World's Fastest Growing Religion, 1992, Harvest House Publishers: Eugene (OR), p. 149.

[10] N. A. Newman, Muhammad, The Qur'an & Islam, 1996, Interdisciplinary Biblical Research Institute: Hatfield (PA), p. 390. Newman simply repeats Geiger's assertions.

[11] `Abdallah `Abd al-Fadi, Is The Qur'an Infallible?, 1995, Light of Life: Villach (Austria), p. 315.

[12] M. Elass, Understanding the Koran: A Quick Christian Guide To The Muslim Holy Book, 2004, Zondervan: Grand Rapids (MI), pp. 102-103.

[13] N. L. Geisler & A. Saleeb, Answering Islam: The Crescent In The Light Of The Cross, 1993, Baker Books: Grand Rapids (MI), p. 309; Also see "Qur'an, Alleged Divine Origin Of", in N. L. Geisler, Baker Encyclopedia Of Christian Apologetics, 2002, Baker Books: Grand Rapids (MI), p. 628.

[14] J. Smith, The Qur'an – A Critique, 2005, p. 20, available online (9th February 2006). This paper was presented at the Evangelical European Leadership Forum (2005) based at Sopron, Hungary. The organisation describes itself as "a forum to train evangelical leaders in Europe"; it also states that one will "receive expert teaching and training from some of the world's best teachers." Given the bold description stated above, it is disappointing to note that Smith has chosen to base his argument on the statement of another non-specialist, namely fellow missionary Anis Shorrosh, instead of contemplating the mass of readily available scholarly literature on Pirke de-Rabbi Eli`ezer.

[15] G. Friedlander, Pirke De Rabbi Eliezer, 1916, op. cit., Chapter 45 ("The Golden Calf "), p. 354.

[16] A. Geiger, Judaism And Islam (English Translation Of Was hat Mohammed aus dem Judenthume aufgenommen?), 1970, op. cit., p. 132.

[17] Rev. W. St. Clair Tisdall, The Original Sources Of The Qur'an, 1905, op. cit., p. 112.

[18] Rev. W. Goldsack, The Origins Of The Qur'an: An Enquiry Into The Sources Of Islam, 1907, op. cit., p. 17.

[19] A. A. Abdul-Haqq, Sharing Your Faith With A Muslim, 1980, op. cit., p. 44.

[20] R. Morey, The Islamic Invasion: Confronting The World's Fastest Growing Religion, 1992, op. cit., p. 150.

[21] `Abdallah `Abd al-Fadi, Is The Qur'an Infallible?, 1995, op. cit., p. 316.

[22] N. A. Newman, Muhammad, The Qur'an & Islam, 1996, op. cit., p. 367.

[23] A. Geiger, Judaism And Islam (English Translation Of Was hat Mohammed aus dem Judenthume aufgenommen?), 1970, op. cit., p. 125.

[24] G. Friedlander, Pirke De Rabbi Eliezer, 1916, op. cit., Chapter 48 ("The Egyptian Bondage"), p. 380.

[25] A. A. Abdul-Haqq, Sharing Your Faith With A Muslim, 1980, op. cit., p. 44.

[26] N. A. Newman, Muhammad, The Qur'an & Islam, 1996, op. cit., p. 383.

[27] F. S. Coplestone (Updated & Expanded by J. C. Trehern), Jesus Christ Or Mohammed? A Guide To Islam And Christianity That Helps Explain The Differences, 2001, Christian Focus Publications: Ross-shire (Scotland), p. 80.

[28] J. W. Sweetman, Islam And Christian Theology: A Study Of The Interpretation Of Theological Ideas In The Two Religions, 1945, Volume I, Part 1 (Preparatory History Survey of the Early Period), Lutterworth Press: London & Redhill, p. 11.

[29] ibid.

[30] N. A. Newman, Muhammad, The Qur'an & Islam, 1996, op. cit., p. 382.

[31] F. S. Coplestone (Updated & Expanded by J. C. Trehern), Jesus Christ Or Mohammed? A Guide To Islam And Christianity That Helps Explain The Differences, 2001, op. cit., p. 80.

[32] G. Friedlander, Pirke De Rabbi Eliezer, 1916, op. cit., Chapter 43 ("The Power of Repentance"), pp. 341-342.

[33] N. A. Newman, Muhammad, The Qur'an & Islam, 1996, op. cit., p. 365.

[34] G. Friedlander, Pirke De Rabbi Eliezer, 1916, op. cit., Chapter 31 ("The Binding of Isaac on the Altar"), pp. 223-224.

[35] For example Robert Morey claims that Pirke de-Rabbi Eli`ezer is a "pre-Islamic" work. See R. Morey's The Islamic Invasion: Confronting The World's Fastest Growing Religion, 1992, op. cit., p. 149. Not surprisingly this claim is also repeated by some people (in many cases perhaps more appropriately termed Christian 'tentmakers') on the web under bold titles such as "Its True! The Quran Borrowed Stories From Preexisting Sources".

[36] L. Zunz, Die Gottesdienstlichen Vorträge der Juden: Historisch Entwickelt, 1892, Verlag von J. Kauffmann: Frankfurt, p. 289. Full discussion of Pirke de-Rabbi Eli`ezer in pp. 283-290.

[37] "Pirke De-Rabbi Eli`ezer", The Jewish Encyclopaedia, 1905, Volume X, Funk & Wagnalls Company, p. 59.

[38] H. L. Strack & G. Stemberger (Trans. Markus Bockmuehl), Introduction To The Talmud And Midrash, 1991, T&T Clark, pp. 356-357; Also see L. M. Barth, "The Ban And The "Golden Plate": Interpretation In Pirqe D'Rabbi Eliezer 38" in C. A. Evans & S. Talmon (Eds.), The Quest For Content And Meaning: Studies In Biblical Intertextuality In Honor Of James A. Sanders, 1997, Brill: Leiden, p. 626.

[39] "Al-Samiri", Encyclopaedia Of Islam, 1993, Volume VIII, E. J. Brill: Leiden, p. 1046.

[40] N. A. Stillman, "The Story Of Cain & Abel In The Qur'an And The Muslim Commentators: Some Observations", Journal Of Semitic Studies, 1974, Volume 19, p. 231.

[41] ibid., p. 239.

[42] "Pirke De-Rabbi Eliezer", Encyclopaedia Judaica, 1971, Volume 13, Encyclopaedia Judaica Jerusalem, col. 559.

[43] D. E. Sklare, Samuel Ben Hofni Gaon & His Cultural World: Text & Studies, 1996, Études Sur Le Judaïsme Médiéval (Volume XVIII), E. J. Brill: Leiden, p. 90.

[44] "Gaon", The Jewish Encyclopedia, 1905, Volume V, Funk and Wagnalls Company: London & New York, p. 571.

[45] Sh. Shtober, "Muhammad And The Beginning Of Islam In The Chronicle Sefer Divrey Yoseph" in M. Sharon (Ed.), Studies In Islamic History And Civilization: In Honor Of Professor David Ayalon, 1986, Cana: Jerusalem & E. J. Brill: Leiden, pp. 324–326.

[46] Safi-ur Rahman al-Mubarakpuri, Ar-Raheeq Al-Makhtum [The Sealed Nectar], 1996, First Edition, Maktaba Dar-us-Salam: Riyadh (Saudi Arabia), pp. 67–85.

[47] Sh. Shtober, "Muhammad And The Beginning Of Islam In The Chronicle Sefer Divrey Yoseph" in M. Sharon (Ed.), Studies In Islamic History And Civilization: In Honor Of Professor David Ayalon, 1986, op. cit., p. 326.

[48] H. L. Strack & G. Stemberger (Trans. Markus Bockmuehl), Introduction To The Talmud And Midrash, 1991, op. cit., p. 356.

[49] "Pirke De-Rabbi Eliezer", Encyclopaedia Judaica, 1971, Volume 13, Encyclopaedia Judaica Jerusalem, col. 559.

[50] H. L. Strack & G. Stemberger (Trans. Markus Bockmuehl), Introduction To The Talmud And Midrash, 1991, op. cit., p. 358.

[51] G. Friedlander, Pirke De Rabbi Eliezer, 1916, op. cit., p. xiv.

[52] "Pirke de-Rabbi Eli`ezer", The Jewish Encyclopedia, 1905, Volume X, Funk & Wagnalls Company, p. 59.

[53] L. M. Barth, "Is Every Medieval Hebrew Manuscript A New Composition?: The Case Of Pirqe Rabbi Eliezer", in M. L. Raphael (Ed.), Agendas For The Study Of Midrash In The Twenty-First Century, 1999, Williamsburg (VA), pp. 43-62.

M S M Saifullah & `Abdullah David

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