“NOTHING BUT TIME DESTROYS US”: THE DENIERS OF RESURRECTION IN THE QUR‘AN

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Patricia Crone†

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Abstract

In this posthumously published paper, Patricia Crone (d. 2015) examines a corpus of verses in the Qur‘an in which the mushrikun, the supposedly pagan opponents of the qur‘anic prophet, are portrayed as objecting to the doctrine of the resurrection, one of the central tenets of the Qur‘an. In contrast to the traditional understanding of the mushrikun as idolaters ignorant of monotheism, the evidence of the Qur‘an itself suggests that the mushrikun were familiar with the concepts of judgment and resurrection but were either skeptical about them or denied them outright. The Qur‘an attributes statements to them that indicate that the resurrection was an ancestral doctrine they had come to reject, not a new teaching. Not only do the mushrikun appear to have been directly familiar with monotheistic concepts, but the Qur‘an attributes statements to them that seem to reflect biblical phraseology. The author concludes that the most radical deniers may have represented a strain of eternalism or rationalism current in the late antique world in which the Qur‘an was revealed.

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