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In Search of the True Religion

Monk Jurjī and Muslim Jurists Debating Faith and Practice


In the thirteenth-century, a debate transpired over the course of several days between a monk named Jurjī and several Muslims jurists in the city of Aleppo. This debate represents a careful and sophisticated example of a literary genre that had been developing among the Christians living under Islamic rule since the seventh century. The immense popularity of this work is demonstrated by the sheer volume of surviving manuscripts, which number around hundred. This volume provides a critical edition and translation of the text.
Publisher: Gorgias Press LLC
SKU (ISBN): 978-1-4632-4394-4
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Publication Status: Forthcoming
Publication Date: Feb 28,2022
Interior Color: Black
Trim Size: 6 x 9
Page Count: 200
Language: English
ISBN: 978-1-4632-4394-4
$114.95
Your price: $91.96

In the thirteenth-century, a debate transpired over the course of several days between a monk named Jurjī and several Muslims jurists in the city of Aleppo. This debate represents a careful and sophisticated example of a literary genre that Sidney Griffith calls the “monk in the emir’s majlis.” By the time of Jurjī’s debate, this literary genre had been developing among the Christians living under Islamic rule since the seventh century. Prominent examples of this genre were composed by Timothy I, Theodore Abū Qurrah, and Elias of Nisibis to name a few. During his encounter, Jurjī and his opponents discuss the entire gamut of Christian-Muslim controversy, from dietary restriction and sexual relations to the Trinity and Incarnation. Jurjī’s can be divided into three major sections: (1) Comparing the Messages and Personalities of Christ and Muḥammad; (2) The Sacraments of Christianity; and (3) An Examination of the Four Major Religions. In addition to citing scriptures in his arguments, both the Bible and the Qurʾān, Jurjī uniquely makes use of extended parables throughout his debate. Although the general tenor of the debate is friendly and respectful, Jurjī does occasionally offer rather frank criticisms of both Islam and Muḥammad. Nevertheless, in the end after triumphantly defending Christianity and systematically criticizing Islam, Jurjī is praised by the emir and marches off into the sunset toward his monastery. The immense popularity of this work is demonstrated by the sheer volume of surviving manuscripts, which number around hundred. Due to the lack of academic study of this notable work, we have decided to prepare a critical edition and translation of a once significant work among the Christians of the Middle East with the hopes of reviving its importance in the monk in the emir’s majlis genre.

In the thirteenth-century, a debate transpired over the course of several days between a monk named Jurjī and several Muslims jurists in the city of Aleppo. This debate represents a careful and sophisticated example of a literary genre that Sidney Griffith calls the “monk in the emir’s majlis.” By the time of Jurjī’s debate, this literary genre had been developing among the Christians living under Islamic rule since the seventh century. Prominent examples of this genre were composed by Timothy I, Theodore Abū Qurrah, and Elias of Nisibis to name a few. During his encounter, Jurjī and his opponents discuss the entire gamut of Christian-Muslim controversy, from dietary restriction and sexual relations to the Trinity and Incarnation. Jurjī’s can be divided into three major sections: (1) Comparing the Messages and Personalities of Christ and Muḥammad; (2) The Sacraments of Christianity; and (3) An Examination of the Four Major Religions. In addition to citing scriptures in his arguments, both the Bible and the Qurʾān, Jurjī uniquely makes use of extended parables throughout his debate. Although the general tenor of the debate is friendly and respectful, Jurjī does occasionally offer rather frank criticisms of both Islam and Muḥammad. Nevertheless, in the end after triumphantly defending Christianity and systematically criticizing Islam, Jurjī is praised by the emir and marches off into the sunset toward his monastery. The immense popularity of this work is demonstrated by the sheer volume of surviving manuscripts, which number around hundred. Due to the lack of academic study of this notable work, we have decided to prepare a critical edition and translation of a once significant work among the Christians of the Middle East with the hopes of reviving its importance in the monk in the emir’s majlis genre.

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ContributorBiography

Ayman Ibrahim

Ayman S. Ibrahim is Bill and Connie Jenkins Professor Of Islamic Studies and the Director of the Jenkins Center for the Christian Understanding of Islam. Ibrahim was born and raised in Egypt. He completed two PhDs in Islamic Studies (Fuller 2014, Haifa University 2018). Since 1991, he has taught in various countries in the Muslim world and in the West at the undergraduate and graduate levels. He has taught in the United States and in the Arab World. He is a member of the Center for the Study of Inter-Religious Encounters at Ben Gurion University of the Negev; the International Quranic Studies Association; and the Evangelical Theological Society. His publications include Conversion to Islam (Oxford University Press, 2021); Basics of Arabic (Zondervan 2021); A Concise Guide to the Quran (Baker Academic, 2020); and The Stated Motivations for the Early Islamic Expansion (Peter Lang, 2018).

Clint Hackenburg

Clint Hackenburg is an independent scholar and teacher at Convent and Stuart Hall High School. His research and publications focus on Christian Arabic literature, Christian-Muslim relations during the 'Abbāsid era, and religious conversion.

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