Pharaoh and His Council Great Minds Think Alike

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Joseph Witztum

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Abstract




In two suras of the Quran (Q 7 and Q 26) a dialogue between Pharaoh and his council members (malaʾ) is recorded after Moses performed miracles before them. The account in Q 7 is textually problematic, the version of Q 26 is smooth . After a brief survey of possible pre-Islamic precedents for the dialogue, this note explores the two nearly identical yet contradictory intraquranic parallels and the relationship between them, and surveys the harmonizing approaches of the classical exegetes as well as the critical attitudes of modern scholars to the issue . Finally, the textual dynamic that caused the passage in Q 7 to change is reconstructed. An appendix examines the other minute differences between the two passages .




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