Iskandar ibn Aḥmad's epistle in refutation of Christians
Keywords:Anti-Christian polemics, Muslim apology, Iskandar ibn Aḥmad, divinity of Jesus, humanity of Jesus
Abstracthttps://doi.org/10.12730/13091719.2012.31.50 This paper introduces the short epistle written by Iskandar ibn Aḥmad as an anti-Christian polemic. Iskandar identifies himself as "a philosopher from Trabzon," a city in the north-east of modern Turkey. No information about him is available other than this detail. The author of the polemic attempts to confute the basic Christian idea that Jesus Christ is God using biblical verses. As he refers to biblical verses accurately and in Greek (transliterated into the Arabic alphabet), one can be sure that he is very familiar with the New Testament. In addition to the biblical verses, he also uses logical arguments and Qurʾānic verses to show that Jesus Christ is only a human being. This paper starts with a brief history of Muslim anti-Christian apologetics and polemics in the Ottoman Empire and succinct information about Iskandar ibn Aḥmad's epistle. Then, the paper provides the English translation and Arabic text of the epistle. Because the epistle is a unique copy, it is not possible for us to illustrate the differences among copies of the text. However, the footnotes provide biblical and Qurʾānic references, transliteration of the Greek biblical verses, and the author's mistakes in the usage of Arabic languages.
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