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“NOTHING BUT TIME DESTROYS US”: THE DENIERS OF RESURRECTION IN THE QURʾĀN

Patricia Crone†

Abstract


In this posthumously published paper, Patricia Crone (d. 2015) examines a corpus of verses in the Qurʾān in which the mushrikūn, the supposedly pagan opponents of the qurʾānic prophet, are portrayed as objecting to the doctrine of the resurrection, one of the central tenets of the Qurʾān. In contrast to the traditional understanding of the mushrikūn as idolaters ignorant of monotheism, the evidence of the Qurʾān itself suggests that the mushrikūn were familiar with the concepts of judgment and resurrection but were either skeptical about them or denied them outright. The Qurʾān 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 mushrikūn appear to have been directly familiar with monotheistic concepts, but the Qurʾān 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 Qurʾān was revealed.


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