Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Apocryphote of the Day: 7-8-08

Jesus said, "O disciples, do not seek the world by destroying yourselves. Seek salvation by abandoning what is in the world. Naked you came into the world and naked you shall depart."

Ahmad ibn Hanbal, al-Zuhd, p. 146 (no. 488)

Commentary: the words of Jesus as remembered by a medieval Islamic scholar. You can find these and other words of Jesus in T. Khalidi, The Muslim Jesus: Sayings and Stories in Islamic Literature (Cambridge: Harvard University, 2001).

3 comments:

Geoff Hudson said...

One can hardly seek anything except death by destroying oneself - an idea that has a modern ominous ring. It is exactly this kind of ambivalent stuff that can be exploited by extremists to influence the more vulnerable. The text could be read as: 'seek salvation by destroying yourself (abandoning the world).'

The so-called words of Jesus remembered by a medieval scholar were fabricated either by the scholar, or by someone else who passed them on. Of course, by the seventh century there was plenty for Muhammad to go on. His available background information was little different that of Joseph Smith, founder prophet of the Mormons. One of Muhammad's concubines was a Cotic Christian. She no doubt gave Muhammad a few tips. And there were the Jews of Medina who refused to accept Muhammed as a prophet. But it's hard luck for Muhammad as a prophet, if Jesus never existed.

John Noyce said...

please post more of these extracts!

(and it would be nice if Mr.Hudson confined his rantings to his own site)

Leon said...

In the Talmud, someone asks why is that when a child is born, his fist is closed tight, but when he dies as an old man, his hand opens up. It is answered that when a child is born, he thinks the world is his, but when he dies, he realizes he has nothing.

There are also many stories in rabbinic lit about gathering treasure in heaven, not on earth. In fact, sometimes a rabbi will pray to have heaven undo a miracle which gave him some riches when he realizes that this means he will lose treasure in heaven. And it is often his wife who has to remind him of this lesson.

Leon Zitzer