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When Reza Aslan’s bestseller Zealot came out in 2013, there was criticism that he hadn’t addressed his Muslim faith while writing the origin story of Christianity. In fact, Ross Douthat of The New York Times wrote that “if Aslan had actually written in defense of the Islamic view of Jesus, that would have been something provocative and new.” Mustafa Akyol’s The Islamic Jesu When Reza Aslan’s bestseller Zealot came out in 2013, there was criticism that he hadn’t addressed his Muslim faith while writing the origin story of Christianity. In fact, Ross Douthat of The New York Times wrote that “if Aslan had actually written in defense of the Islamic view of Jesus, that would have been something provocative and new.” Mustafa Akyol’s The Islamic Jesus is that book. The Islamic Jesus reveals startling new truths about Islam in the context of the first Muslims and the early origins of Christianity. Muslims and the first Christians—the Jewish followers of Jesus—saw Jesus as not divine but rather as a prophet and human Messiah and that salvation comes from faith and good works, not merely as faith, as Christians would later emphasize. What Akyol seeks to reveal are how these core beliefs of Jewish Christianity, which got lost in history as a heresy, emerged in a new religion born in 7th Arabia: Islam. Akyol exposes this extraordinary historical connection between Judaism, Jewish Christianity and Islam—a major mystery unexplored by academia. From Jesus’ Jewish followers to the Nazarenes and Ebionites to the Qu’ran’s stories of Mary and Jesus, The Islamic Jesus will reveal links between religions that seem so contrary today. It will also call on Muslims to discover their own Jesus, at a time when they are troubled by their own Pharisees and Zealots.


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When Reza Aslan’s bestseller Zealot came out in 2013, there was criticism that he hadn’t addressed his Muslim faith while writing the origin story of Christianity. In fact, Ross Douthat of The New York Times wrote that “if Aslan had actually written in defense of the Islamic view of Jesus, that would have been something provocative and new.” Mustafa Akyol’s The Islamic Jesu When Reza Aslan’s bestseller Zealot came out in 2013, there was criticism that he hadn’t addressed his Muslim faith while writing the origin story of Christianity. In fact, Ross Douthat of The New York Times wrote that “if Aslan had actually written in defense of the Islamic view of Jesus, that would have been something provocative and new.” Mustafa Akyol’s The Islamic Jesus is that book. The Islamic Jesus reveals startling new truths about Islam in the context of the first Muslims and the early origins of Christianity. Muslims and the first Christians—the Jewish followers of Jesus—saw Jesus as not divine but rather as a prophet and human Messiah and that salvation comes from faith and good works, not merely as faith, as Christians would later emphasize. What Akyol seeks to reveal are how these core beliefs of Jewish Christianity, which got lost in history as a heresy, emerged in a new religion born in 7th Arabia: Islam. Akyol exposes this extraordinary historical connection between Judaism, Jewish Christianity and Islam—a major mystery unexplored by academia. From Jesus’ Jewish followers to the Nazarenes and Ebionites to the Qu’ran’s stories of Mary and Jesus, The Islamic Jesus will reveal links between religions that seem so contrary today. It will also call on Muslims to discover their own Jesus, at a time when they are troubled by their own Pharisees and Zealots.

30 review for The Islamic Jesus: How the King of the Jews Became a Prophet of the Muslims

  1. 5 out of 5

    Steve Watson

    Akyol closes his book with these words. "As Muslims, who are latecomers to this scene, we have disagreements with both Jews and Christians. But we have major agreements as well. With Jews, we agree a lot on God. With Christians, we agree that Jesus was born of a virgin, that he was the Messiah, and that he is the Word of God. Surely, we do not worship Jesus, like Christians do. Yet sill, we can follow him. In fact, given our grim malaise and his shining wisdom, we need to follow him." (215) As tw Akyol closes his book with these words. "As Muslims, who are latecomers to this scene, we have disagreements with both Jews and Christians. But we have major agreements as well. With Jews, we agree a lot on God. With Christians, we agree that Jesus was born of a virgin, that he was the Messiah, and that he is the Word of God. Surely, we do not worship Jesus, like Christians do. Yet sill, we can follow him. In fact, given our grim malaise and his shining wisdom, we need to follow him." (215) As two examples of how contemporary Muslims can follow Jesus without worshiping him, Akyol says that Jesus' teaching on Kingdom - "The Caliphate is within you" - could help contemporary Muslims embrace a vision of God's reign that is more interior, less tied to nationalism and militarism. The other powerful example of contextualizing Jesus' teaching is, in Akyol's words, "The Shariah is made for man." Jesus could help religious people, as he originally did, embrace a more holistic, less literal approach to law that would be better promote human flourishing. Akyol gets to this conclusion by way of two points he develops, with clear and accessible prose, supported by considerable scholarship, both Christian and Muslim. One is that Islam is a closer cousin to Christianity than both traditions have generally acknowledged. In fact, Akyol closely reviews the theory and evidence that Islam - either through direct influence or through divine revelation - could be a further development of a Jewish form of Christianity, in which Jesus is honored as a messianic teacher and prophet, without being worshiped as part of the triune godhead. Muslims, after all, honor Jesus as a word of God, a prophet, a miracle-performer, a son of the virgin Mary, and one who will come again to restore all things. The second and related point is that Jesus can continue to serve as a guide and teacher and prophet, not just to the world at large, but specifically to the Muslim world. The West generally, and Christendom in particular have ironically made it much more difficult for Muslims to do this. A defining question for Muslims (and indeed, for much of the world) over the past two centuries has been how to relate to an aggressively powerful, colonial West. Understandably, defensiveness and hostility have resulted, rather than dialogue and reflection. Thankfully, Muslims need not consider Jesus a product of the West. A Palestinian Jew, born to a people group oppressed by a Western empire themselves, Jesus' teaching and legacy and prophetic voice are not the property of the Western world or even of Christendom. Muslims can embrace Jesus as their guide and teacher and prophet as well. Much more could be said. As a non-Muslim who is deeply committed to the Way of Jesus, I find Akyol's treasure trove of scholarship and perspective fascinating and hopeful. I'll close, though, with one more quotation, this one from a Jesus-oriented, 20th century Egyptian Muslim, Khalid Muhammad Khalid. "He is the love which knows no hatred, he is the peace that knows no disquiet, and he is the salvation that does not perish. And when all this is realized on earth, then at the same time, the return of Christ is realized. This is the Christ who will return, and whose return the Messenger prophesied: peace, love, truth, the good and beauty. With the truthful Messenger, we declare: 'Christ, not Barabbas, the true not the false, love not hatred, peace not war, life not destruction.'" (215) I follow and worship Jesus, but anyone who can view Jesus on such terms, regardless of the details of their theology, I will be glad to call friend and brother.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Chris Coray

    Amazing As a LDS student of religion who has lived in Damascus and Jordan this was absolutely fascinating and true to what I learned living among Muslims

  3. 4 out of 5

    Rick Edwards

    Akyol gives us an excellent read--a book that's thoroughly researched, thoughtful, and well written. He spells out areas of agreement and disagreement between Christians and Muslims regarding Jesus, and highlights the importance attributed to "Prophet Jesus" in the Qur'an and the hadiths of Prophet Muhammad. He's an Islamic exegete who also is very knowledgeable about the New Testament and the evolution of orthodox Christian doctrine about Jesus--the two natures, the Trinity, and more. He is fam Akyol gives us an excellent read--a book that's thoroughly researched, thoughtful, and well written. He spells out areas of agreement and disagreement between Christians and Muslims regarding Jesus, and highlights the importance attributed to "Prophet Jesus" in the Qur'an and the hadiths of Prophet Muhammad. He's an Islamic exegete who also is very knowledgeable about the New Testament and the evolution of orthodox Christian doctrine about Jesus--the two natures, the Trinity, and more. He is familiar with the Q document, the sayings gospel source of Jesus' teachings shared by Luke and Matthew. Essential to his perspective is a conviction that Jewish Christianity, which pretty much died away in the century or so following the destruction of Jerusalem in C.E. 70, found a lasting expression in Islam. I highly recommend the book for those seeking better to understand Islam and/or wanting a refresher regarding the divisions among early Christians. Regrettably, Akyol damns Paul as the source of all that Islam considers wrong in trinitarian faith, and asserts that nothing of Jesus' teaching finds its way into the letters of the apostle. In any case, read the book.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Yaman Hukan

    Very rich and extremely thought provoking, even for someone like me who was brought up in a fairly conservative muslim family and was already taught all about the story of Jesus from an Islamic perspective. The book establishes astonishing similarities between the Islamic view of Jesus and that of the community of Jewish Christians, and presents so many examples that support the claim. The last chapter which explores the theme of what muslims can learn from Jesus in specific is in my view a must Very rich and extremely thought provoking, even for someone like me who was brought up in a fairly conservative muslim family and was already taught all about the story of Jesus from an Islamic perspective. The book establishes astonishing similarities between the Islamic view of Jesus and that of the community of Jewish Christians, and presents so many examples that support the claim. The last chapter which explores the theme of what muslims can learn from Jesus in specific is in my view a must read for every muslim today, especially the parts that explore the Herodians and Zealots in a modern Islamic context, and the the part on the Islamic Caliphate. Highly recommended

  5. 4 out of 5

    Mona Haddad

    As a Muslim I found the book very interesting to read. Although I might not agree with the author on everything, I have learned to love Jesus more and it gave me a better perspective on the similarities between the three religions discussed. The references used show that the author tried to be as objective as possible, however I found some of the ideas he put forward didn't really come from legitimate sources. What I liked most about the book was the comparisons drawn by the author between the o As a Muslim I found the book very interesting to read. Although I might not agree with the author on everything, I have learned to love Jesus more and it gave me a better perspective on the similarities between the three religions discussed. The references used show that the author tried to be as objective as possible, however I found some of the ideas he put forward didn't really come from legitimate sources. What I liked most about the book was the comparisons drawn by the author between the obstacles facing Muslims today and the obstacles that were facing the Jews when Jesus was sent to them and how the answer to today's problem can be inspired from Jesus's teachings.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Steve Dallape

    This book was a real revelation (biblical pun not intended). I had heard that Islam holds Mary, the mother of Jesus in high esteem, and had been intrigued by the notion ever since. Then, I was recent;y listening to a podcast that featured the author of this book, speaking about it and other topics surrounding it. I immediately put it on reserve at the library, and was not able to put it down. The author lays out the history of the world's three major faiths - Judaism, Christianity and Islam, and This book was a real revelation (biblical pun not intended). I had heard that Islam holds Mary, the mother of Jesus in high esteem, and had been intrigued by the notion ever since. Then, I was recent;y listening to a podcast that featured the author of this book, speaking about it and other topics surrounding it. I immediately put it on reserve at the library, and was not able to put it down. The author lays out the history of the world's three major faiths - Judaism, Christianity and Islam, and explores how they have influenced each other, where they differ, and most importantly, where they overlap and agree. I came away with a much better understanding of not just Judaism and Islam, but also of Christianity, my own faith. I also had confirmed what I have long believed to be true - that we are all much more alike than we are different. Despite covering a topic that, on the surface, seems rather esoteric, this book is an easy, enjoyable read. Heartily recommended to anyone seeking better understanding of their friend, their neighbor and themselves.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Antonio

    The author is true muslim believer but he has also gone long way in order to get to know Jewish and Christian Bible. He found great many points where all major abrahamic religions are in agreement. The biggest one is the person of Jesus Christ. The book is great learning opportunity for Jews, Christians and Muslims, as well as the point of agreement in order to start inter religious communication. So this is my assessment of the book The Islamic Jesus by Mustafa Akyol according to my 8 criteria: The author is true muslim believer but he has also gone long way in order to get to know Jewish and Christian Bible. He found great many points where all major abrahamic religions are in agreement. The biggest one is the person of Jesus Christ. The book is great learning opportunity for Jews, Christians and Muslims, as well as the point of agreement in order to start inter religious communication. So this is my assessment of the book The Islamic Jesus by Mustafa Akyol according to my 8 criteria: 1. Related to practice - 4 2. It prevails important - 4 stars 3. I agree with the read - 3 stars 4. not difficult to read (as for non English native) - 3 stars 5. Too long (more than 500 pages) - short and concise (150-200 pages) - 4 stars 6.Boring - every sentence is interesting - 4 stars 7. Learning opportunity - 5 stars 8. Dry and uninspired style of writing - Smooth style with humouristic and fun parts - 3 stars Total score 3.75 stars

  8. 4 out of 5

    Patrick W.

    No major article of faith separates Moses, Jesus and Muhammad. It was Paul who created disagreement between Judaism, Christianity and Islam. That, in a nutshell, is the overriding message of Mustafa Akyol’s insightful and accessible study, The Islamic Jesus: How the King of the Jews Became a Prophet of the Muslims. Akyol, a visiting fellow at the Freedom Project at Wellesley College, outlines the historic consistency of the three Abrahamic religions. The author notes that the Qu’uran acknowledges No major article of faith separates Moses, Jesus and Muhammad. It was Paul who created disagreement between Judaism, Christianity and Islam. That, in a nutshell, is the overriding message of Mustafa Akyol’s insightful and accessible study, The Islamic Jesus: How the King of the Jews Became a Prophet of the Muslims. Akyol, a visiting fellow at the Freedom Project at Wellesley College, outlines the historic consistency of the three Abrahamic religions. The author notes that the Qu’uran acknowledges the Law and the Prophets of the Jewish faith and accepts Jesus as the Jewish Messiah. In the three decades after the occupying Roman army brutally executed Jesus by crucifixion, Jesus’ brother James, who was a priest at the Temple in Jerusalem, led Jesus’ followers who comprised a sect within the larger Jewish faith, not a separate religion. In fact, Akyol takes pains to point out the strong similarity between Jewish Christianity and Islam. Gentile Christianity, however, was a different matter. Paul, who spread the Jesus movement among Gentiles between the late 30s and early 60s of the Common Era, ignored the actual teachings of the man Jesus and instead focused on his role as the divine Christ who died for the world’s sins and was resurrected. It was Paul, a Hellenized Jew and Roman citizen, who proclaimed that Jesus was one-third of a triune God. The authors of the four Gospels, writing 40 to 70 years after the crucifixion and in the decades after Rome crushed the Jewish revolution, seized on Paul’s theology to transcend Israel’s defeat at the hands of the empire. “Throughout his 13 letters, which make up almost one-third of the New Testament, Paul never quoted a saying from Jesus—not even a single one,” Akyol notes. “In this new religion, what got reinterpreted would be not only the teaching of Jesus, but also his very self,” he says of the Gentile church, which focused on the universal atonement for sins achieved by Christ’s death and resurrection. Jewish Christians, on the other hand, “were more interested in Jesus’ teachings than in the meaning of his death.” Muslims, like their cousins the Jews, can accept chosen men as “sons of God’ but not as a divine Son of God. The Qu’uran refers to Jesus as the Son of Mary, and accepts the virgin birth, but rejects any notion that God physically impregnated Mary. Many Muslims do see Jesus as the Word of God, and even as the Spirit. But they view the Trinity as “a very un-Abrahamic idea that violates the absolute oneness of God.” Akyol draws many parallels between the three faiths. In one startling comparison, he recalls the outrage that the conquering Roman general Pompey created when he entered the Holy of Holies in the Jerusalem Temple, hoping to see the Jewish God. Jews considered it blasphemy for the Gentile to enter the sacred space. Similarly, when U.S. Marines entered a mosque in Iraq in 2004, newspapers throughout the world carried a photograph of the soldiers walking on a sacred carpet in their boots. Unwittingly, the Marines had delivered an outrageous insult to Islam. Perhaps more importantly, the author illustrates the political and theological links between Jews in the time of Jesus and Muslims in the 21st century. Noting the prevalence of numerous sects within Judaism 2,000 years ago, Akyol postulates that they generally fell into two camps, the Herodians and the Zealots. The Herodians played the hand they were dealt (i.e. Roman occupation) whereas the Zealots actively demanded new cards. The Sicarii, an offshoot of the Zealots, went even further, assassinating Romans and even Jewish collaborators. Similarly, the vast majority of modern-day Muslims seek to work cooperatively with people of other faiths to live in peace. But Islam has its own Zealots, who take a more confrontational approach. Sadly, it also has its own Sicarii, who resort to violence. Akyol still holds out hope that Judaism, Christianity and Islam can live together in peace. “Perhaps we can recall that Jesus, a great prophet of Islam, called for the exact same kind of reform in Judaism at a time when Jews were exactly like us. Jesus can, in other words, become a source of inspiration for the much-sought transformation in Islam.”

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan Zachary

    Examines the theological similarities between the Qur'an and pieces of the New Testament, as well as several early Jewish-Christian texts, and attempts to trace such paths of influence. Engaging from start to finish. Highlights the influence of Paul's legacy on early Christianity,his differences with James and the Jerusalem church; and above all discusses the Jewish, Christian, and Islamic ideas about Jesus and the nature of his mission.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Adnan

    Author tries to bring Christianity, Judaism and Islam closer together around joint figure of Jesus. Well researched with powerful messages.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Samar Dahmash Jarrah

    he wrote in 2017. Despite Studying Christianity in the early 2000’s Mustafa could not write about it at the time. He was prompted to do so after a friend wrote a book in 2014 about Jesus, it was a historical evaluation of who he was, the conclusion of which was that Jesus was a zealot, a Jewish fighter against Roman rule in 1st century Palestine. Mustafa wanted to write about how Islam understands Jesus, not explain how Quran or hadith describes him, but show that Islam’s understanding of Jesus he wrote in 2017. Despite Studying Christianity in the early 2000’s Mustafa could not write about it at the time. He was prompted to do so after a friend wrote a book in 2014 about Jesus, it was a historical evaluation of who he was, the conclusion of which was that Jesus was a zealot, a Jewish fighter against Roman rule in 1st century Palestine. Mustafa wanted to write about how Islam understands Jesus, not explain how Quran or hadith describes him, but show that Islam’s understanding of Jesus resonates with Christian tradition. Mustafa explains that Muslims believe in Jesus in an interesting way, we disagree with Jews in that we think Jesus was the messiah, Judaism does not accept him as their messiah, Christians accept Jesus but worship him, see him as god incarnate, so Muslims fall in the middle they accept him as a prophet and messiah but still see him as human. Jewish Christians are people who believe in Jesus as the messiah, and Christianity then developed further. Islam’s views on Jesus are in line with those of the Jewish Christians’. The Islamic Jesus follows the intriguing connection between Jewish Christianity and Islam and how we can interpret it in different ways. Mustafa points to more similarities between the two beliefs, Mary is named 34 times in the Quran and is the only woman mentioned by her name, Quran talks about her being a virgin mother, one of the core beliefs in Christianity, but that it did not mean Jesus was god, this is also true for Jewish Christians, they believe Jesus was born of a virgin, but they did not believe this made him divine. listen to Mustafa talking to me about his books http://samarjarrah.com/en/radio-shows...

  12. 4 out of 5

    Zippergirl

    Interesting and accessible to open-minded readers of all faiths, and nonbelievers alike. Akyol explores the shared roots of the Torah, the Gospels (canonical and otherwise), and the Qur'an, and the relevancy of the lessons of Jesus to each.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Altaf Hussain

    I am writing an average long review of a book after months. Thanks to this isolation period. I am having a feeling that I really like reviewing books that I read. So here is the review of "The Islamic Jesus" by Mustafa Akyol. I bought this book from #KIBF 2019 randomly. The title of the book made me to buy it. I am glad that I bought it. Comparative religion always excites me. It's always fun to read relationships between religions and analysis of them. The relationship between all three Abrahami I am writing an average long review of a book after months. Thanks to this isolation period. I am having a feeling that I really like reviewing books that I read. So here is the review of "The Islamic Jesus" by Mustafa Akyol. I bought this book from #KIBF 2019 randomly. The title of the book made me to buy it. I am glad that I bought it. Comparative religion always excites me. It's always fun to read relationships between religions and analysis of them. The relationship between all three Abrahamic religions is beautifully explained in it. This book can be divided into two parts. The first part focuses on proving that Prophet Jesus (PBUH) came to the Jews to renew their faith. To bring them to the right path and not to bring a new religion. Author gives all the references in two ways; doctrinal and historical. In doctrinal perspective, he argues that there was nothing new that requires birth of a new religion that Jesus PBUH addressed that wasn't addressed before to Jews from Prophets like Moses, Jacob, David etc. In historical perspective, he shows the comparison between Jewish Christianity (Those who follow James the Just, brother of Jesus PBUH) and Paulian Christianity ( Those who follow St. Paul's version). Jewish Christianity can be defined as an ideology that believed in Moses and all the prophets before him and after him and considered Jesus PBUH as one of the prophets of Yahweh (The God) who came to Jews as a Prophet. In second part, author develops the relationship between Jewish Christianity and Islam. This part connects Jews and Christians with the followers of Muhammad SAWW. I was not a novice to the whole concept. Following Reza Aslan's books, especially Zealot, and his talks helped me to grasp the heavy content in the book. As Reza says, "Judaism and Christianity are not adversaries to Muslims, but rather intrinsic parts of the entire Islamic belief system." So, this book furthered my this belief. I really enjoyed reading this book. I highly recommend it to you, if you have interest in knowing religions. 5/5 for me.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Argum

    Interesting premise, but lacks some expertise and knowledge. The beginning and end are great, but the middle focusing on ties to Jewish Christianity relies heavily on Protestant conceptions of Jesus and apocrypha that postdates Islam in many cases. I personally believe that if more Americans and Westerners knew about Islam for what it actually is and says there would be less strife and hatred directed at Muslims. I think that realizing that Jesus is an important Quranic figure is a great entry p Interesting premise, but lacks some expertise and knowledge. The beginning and end are great, but the middle focusing on ties to Jewish Christianity relies heavily on Protestant conceptions of Jesus and apocrypha that postdates Islam in many cases. I personally believe that if more Americans and Westerners knew about Islam for what it actually is and says there would be less strife and hatred directed at Muslims. I think that realizing that Jesus is an important Quranic figure is a great entry point to this. But for example to say that Christianity differs from Judaism and Islam in believing in faith alone and disregarding works is wildly inaccurate outside of Protestantism - Catholics and Orthodox Christians would whole heartedly agree as would the Bible - Faith without works is dead. My second issue is with the proof texts used to show Jewish Christians and a separate church at Jerusalem run by James that was squashed by Paul is like Bart Ehrman run amok. Using apocryphal texts is fine and many were excluded because they lacked content not because of error, but using ones that postdate Islam to say see this survived is nonsense. An example is the finding of a church with a palm tree dedicated to Mary to prove the Quranic Nativity story. He doesn't say much about this church's history, but referring to it as Byzantine is a clue. It was built around the time of Muhammed. It was also later turned into a mosque. This isn't proof of anything. Mr Akyol does a lovely job of explaining Islamic Jesus. He should have stopped there. He isn't exactly arguing with a straw man because Protestants exist, but his historical ties and presentation of Christian history is flawed by his reliance on a subset of Christian thinking. Worth reading but with a grain of salt

  15. 4 out of 5

    Caroline Mathews

    There is a lot to like about The Islamic Jesus: How the King of the Jews Became a Prophet of the Muslims by Mustafa Akyol. It's the kind of research book I adore, the bibliography long and thorough, as the text runs so smoothly that you almost believe the whole book was written from original sources. I tip my hat to a writer who narrates in a way that doesn't interrupt one's train of thought with myriad, if imaginary, footnotes. Much of this material, I knew; some, I had forgotten. I've never re There is a lot to like about The Islamic Jesus: How the King of the Jews Became a Prophet of the Muslims by Mustafa Akyol. It's the kind of research book I adore, the bibliography long and thorough, as the text runs so smoothly that you almost believe the whole book was written from original sources. I tip my hat to a writer who narrates in a way that doesn't interrupt one's train of thought with myriad, if imaginary, footnotes. Much of this material, I knew; some, I had forgotten. I've never read any of the information presented from the perspective of a Muslim; yet, that one difference was an eye-opener although Akyol was not tough about leaning either towards the Muslim point of view, nor even his own, in speaking of today's current events. I love comparing and contrasting Jewish and Gentile Christianity; nevertheless, I had never factored in all the sects, their histories (or their differences) with the rise of Islam (with its own sects) through the prophet Mohamed. I appreciated that the The Islamic Jesus pointed out the differences as well as the similarities of the viewpoints of the people of the Book concerning the life and works of Jesus (his purpose) and tied that information in with our, often cloudy, perspective of today's world problems. I have a better understand of underlying modern currents of thought after digesting this material, as well as a different mindset, and something like a newborn appreciation for the reasons behind the animosity, now and through the centuries, among the Muslims, the Jewish, and Christianity itself.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Deirdre Good

    In this new and timely book, the journalist Mustafa Akyol makes a convincing case for linking traditions about religious practice in Islam to performances and beliefs about Jesus evident in the New Testament and in Jewish Christian gospels and writings of the second, third, and fourth centuries CE. The surprising result is a picture of Islam and Christianity in which shared practices and convictions open up a world in common scarcely visible e.g. in media coverage of these two religious traditio In this new and timely book, the journalist Mustafa Akyol makes a convincing case for linking traditions about religious practice in Islam to performances and beliefs about Jesus evident in the New Testament and in Jewish Christian gospels and writings of the second, third, and fourth centuries CE. The surprising result is a picture of Islam and Christianity in which shared practices and convictions open up a world in common scarcely visible e.g. in media coverage of these two religious traditions today. Muslims need to follow Jesus, the author concludes. By noting that Christian tradition is not monochromatic, and that there are a variety of views about Jesus in the New Testament and early Christian traditions for several centuries after Jesus’ death, Mustafa Akyol points out through careful readings both of the English text and sound scholarship what it is all too easy for Christians to overlook, namely, that Torah-observant followers of Jesus, were not, as the Acts of the Apostles would have us believe, a tiny minority swept aside by the rising tide of gentle Christianity led by Stephen and then by the apostles Peter and Paul as they broke from Judaism. No, indeed; in Antioch, Edessa, and Syria, Jewish Christian followers of Jesus continued not as a heretical minority but to flourish openly. The epic view of Acts that all roads lead to Rome, is simply untenable. The Paul of Acts is not the Paul of the Epistles. Christianity in fact expanded in the first century CE eastwards into Armenia and Syria, and to the south into ancient Nubia, Ethiopia, and Africa.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Areeb Rizvi

    A thorough, deeply informative and well researched book. Dove deep into the depths of Jesus Christ and his (often forgotten) importance in Islam. Occasionally there were portions where certain arguments felt hollow, the overall essence of the book has strong scholarly value. It highlights various agreements and disagreements between modern day Christianity and Islam, and indulges itself in highlighting the forgotten Jewish Christianity and its striking similarities to the Qu'ran. It's conclusion A thorough, deeply informative and well researched book. Dove deep into the depths of Jesus Christ and his (often forgotten) importance in Islam. Occasionally there were portions where certain arguments felt hollow, the overall essence of the book has strong scholarly value. It highlights various agreements and disagreements between modern day Christianity and Islam, and indulges itself in highlighting the forgotten Jewish Christianity and its striking similarities to the Qu'ran. It's conclusion was strong and thought-provoking and tied the entire book together into action. My only major criticism of the book would be the lack of proper characterization of Prophet Muhammad (saww). Perhaps it's my own personal bias talking but there were glimpses where it felt that he was not properly represented and was shown mildly "inferior" to Prophet Isa (a.s) to perhaps gain the attention of a Christian reader, even though the Islamic interpretation states otherwise. For example, on its conclusion, it stated that "Prophet Muhammad emphasized justice and using the sword, and Jesus emphasized mercy and upholding peace". This took me by surprise as this is misleading on the account of Prophet Muhammad (saww) being shown as a relatively more "violent" prophet being an advocate of the sword when this could not be further from the truth.

  18. 5 out of 5

    RK

    I really liked this book, and have nominated it my best new read of 2019. I found it to be valuable, informative,and thought- provoking. I loved the opportunity to read more about Jesus’ teachings, and how these were received by different faith communities. It was especially heartening to reflect on how much I have in common with people of supposedly different faiths. That said, I don’t buy all of the author’s ideas wholesale. I have seen zero evidence to support the author’s assertion that Musli I really liked this book, and have nominated it my best new read of 2019. I found it to be valuable, informative,and thought- provoking. I loved the opportunity to read more about Jesus’ teachings, and how these were received by different faith communities. It was especially heartening to reflect on how much I have in common with people of supposedly different faiths. That said, I don’t buy all of the author’s ideas wholesale. I have seen zero evidence to support the author’s assertion that Muslims in general (y’know, one bigoted monolithic whole) somehow downplay the teachings of Isa (Alayhis Salam - Peace be upon him). Because when I think ‘Muslim’ or think of Muslim traditions, I think of Muhammad (SAW) and his clear love and reverence for Jesus and Mary. Surely I myself, as a practicing Muslim, am reading this book because I also share that love and reverence? Second, I’m not sure I see myself as personally living in the context of first century Nazareth or Jerusalem. Even with my faith, I think I am pretty firmly living in the context of 21st Century London. One cannot, and should not, deliberately pick examples from the lunatic fringe, and think that this is somehow representative of the whole.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Sieglinde

    It was actually an enjoyable read. He was digging a bit for his proofs but it was certainly food for thought. His main premise is the the Koran was influenced by resident Jewish Christians. These are Christians who remained Jewish. If you have not read about the division of the church between James, the brother of Jesus and Paul, you may want to read up on that also. The version of Jesus in the Koran is of a great teacher who also had special powers given him by God but not the son of God. The M It was actually an enjoyable read. He was digging a bit for his proofs but it was certainly food for thought. His main premise is the the Koran was influenced by resident Jewish Christians. These are Christians who remained Jewish. If you have not read about the division of the church between James, the brother of Jesus and Paul, you may want to read up on that also. The version of Jesus in the Koran is of a great teacher who also had special powers given him by God but not the son of God. The Muslims do believe in the virgin birth but warn against worshipping Mary or Jesus. You will learn that the Muslims have great respect for Jesus and Mary. The author is a moderate Muslim and strikes me as very spiritual person.

  20. 5 out of 5

    James Klagge

    An interesting perspective. What I most enjoyed was the discussion about the early Jewish-Christianity led by James, brother of Jesus, which was displaced by Paul's Gentile-Christianity. The traces of this exist in the NT Letter of James, hints in Acts, and in later non-canonical writings, known mostly through the attacks on them as heretical. The relevance for this book is that the Islamic view of Jesus gives him a very high place, short of calling him God or literally son of God, just as the e An interesting perspective. What I most enjoyed was the discussion about the early Jewish-Christianity led by James, brother of Jesus, which was displaced by Paul's Gentile-Christianity. The traces of this exist in the NT Letter of James, hints in Acts, and in later non-canonical writings, known mostly through the attacks on them as heretical. The relevance for this book is that the Islamic view of Jesus gives him a very high place, short of calling him God or literally son of God, just as the early Jewish-Christians seem to have done. I don't know how academically respectable the claims of this book are on this subject, but it made for intriguing ideas and an interesting read. Just the kind of ideas I enjoy.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Helaine

    A very readable and enlightening book for those of us who know little of what the Quran contains. Mustafa Akyol underlines the similarities among the Jewish, Christian and Muslim religions--particularly as to Jesus. Along with this info, is a condensed history of the Jesus Movement and the many groups that evolved from it, including the major split between James, brother of Jesus who continued Jesus mission to the Jews and Paul, who preached to the Gentiles. Possibly it would do us well to take A very readable and enlightening book for those of us who know little of what the Quran contains. Mustafa Akyol underlines the similarities among the Jewish, Christian and Muslim religions--particularly as to Jesus. Along with this info, is a condensed history of the Jesus Movement and the many groups that evolved from it, including the major split between James, brother of Jesus who continued Jesus mission to the Jews and Paul, who preached to the Gentiles. Possibly it would do us well to take Akyol's initial approach when he was handed a copy of the Bible on the streets of Istanbul: sit down with our blue and red pencils and mark what is similar in the Quran and the Bible.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Diane

    Written by a Turkish journalist, this book looks at Jesus in both Islam and Christianity, and compares the two. The author clearly has good intentions, and tries to be fair to believers of both religions, but I thought when he talked about Christianity, he tended to rely on scholars who had an obvious agenda and made distorted arguments. A lot of the material about Islam was familiar to me already. I thought the last chapter of the book, where he compares contemporary Islam to 1st century Judais Written by a Turkish journalist, this book looks at Jesus in both Islam and Christianity, and compares the two. The author clearly has good intentions, and tries to be fair to believers of both religions, but I thought when he talked about Christianity, he tended to rely on scholars who had an obvious agenda and made distorted arguments. A lot of the material about Islam was familiar to me already. I thought the last chapter of the book, where he compares contemporary Islam to 1st century Judaism and Christianity, was the strongest and most creative. I also thought that his arguments were often not logical and scattered.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Kiki

    An excellent book. The scholarship is superb and the analyses thoughtful. It provides a deep and thorough look at Islam's teachings and ponderings on Jesus, as well as the forms of Christianity and even pagan ideas about Jesus and Mary that would have existed at the birth of Islam in the world of Mohammed's time, especially in his immediate surroundings in Arabia. It also provides a convincing argument that Jesus is the link through which the three great monotheisms of the world can come togethe An excellent book. The scholarship is superb and the analyses thoughtful. It provides a deep and thorough look at Islam's teachings and ponderings on Jesus, as well as the forms of Christianity and even pagan ideas about Jesus and Mary that would have existed at the birth of Islam in the world of Mohammed's time, especially in his immediate surroundings in Arabia. It also provides a convincing argument that Jesus is the link through which the three great monotheisms of the world can come together in meaningful conversation.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Charlie Miksicek

    Surprisingly good. Talks about the parallels between early Jewish Christianity (the Jesus - James tradition) and Islam. I didn't realize how many mentions of Jesus and Mary are in the Quran. It also helped me realize how much the teachings of Paul, who never met Jesus (except maybe in a vision), influenced what most people think of as Christianity today. I had intended to just browse it to get basic insights, but I pretty much read it straight through. A must for anyone interested in the history Surprisingly good. Talks about the parallels between early Jewish Christianity (the Jesus - James tradition) and Islam. I didn't realize how many mentions of Jesus and Mary are in the Quran. It also helped me realize how much the teachings of Paul, who never met Jesus (except maybe in a vision), influenced what most people think of as Christianity today. I had intended to just browse it to get basic insights, but I pretty much read it straight through. A must for anyone interested in the history of religions.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Ladonna

    I teach the subject of World Cultures in high school and we do an extensive unit on the Middle East. I knew that Muslims recognized Jesus as a Jewish prophet, but little more. This book broadened my understanding of the connections between Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The author is well versed in the Koran and presents his views in a clear, detailed way that allows people with exposure to one of the religions to follow his train of thought. I don't agree with everything he says about Jesus, I teach the subject of World Cultures in high school and we do an extensive unit on the Middle East. I knew that Muslims recognized Jesus as a Jewish prophet, but little more. This book broadened my understanding of the connections between Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The author is well versed in the Koran and presents his views in a clear, detailed way that allows people with exposure to one of the religions to follow his train of thought. I don't agree with everything he says about Jesus, however, his viewpoint is interesting and I appreciate his candor.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Terrence L.

    Highly recommended reading! Just finished the Kindle version of The Islamic Jesus. Now I’m going to order the hardback version to read again in greater detail and highlight passages. This is a remarkable book that is well thought out filled information and reverence sources for all statements. Beautifully composed and compelling arguments for his conclusions. A must read for anyone of the Muslim, Christian or Jewish faith. This really makes you step back think and see a broader picture.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Rose

    The Islamic Jesus by Mustafa Akyol is an eye opening look at Jesus from a Muslim. We are shown Jesus from an Islamic and historical perspective. I liked how it showed what the Jews of the time would consider a messiah. It also showed similarities between the three abrahamic religions. This is a great book for anyone wanting to learn more about Jesus and how he impacted not only Christianity but Islam as well.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jorian

    Historically, this book is great. I have learned a lot about the historic similarities between Christianity, Judaism and the Islam and I am grateful to know them now. For me, it changed my perspective on how Muslims perceive their faith. However, as the author mentions a couple of times, he is a muslim himself and it is clear that, though he knows a lot, he doesn't really touch the main message of Christianity.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Shukti Chaudhuri-brill

    This was a really fascinating book, it made me realize how little I know about Islam and how little one would continue to know if they only got their information from the media and discussions about Islam in the west. It's a timely book, and a hopeful book, about finding ways to build meaningful bridges between different theological and cultural divides both within Islam and between Islam and Judaism and Christianity.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Sabeeha Rehman

    A masterful study! This is a book that I post-it-noted, highlighted, wrote in margins, made notes in my notebook...so rich is it. Mustafa Akyol traces the history of the historical Jesus, his message, the evolution of Jewish Christians, Pauline Christianity, and the honored place of Jesus in Muslim theology. Muslims have a lot to learn from Jesus, is his masterful conclusion. Set aside a weekend, and indulge in this book. It has something for everyone.

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