Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are considered kindred religions-holding ancestral heritages and monotheistic belief in common-but there are definitive distinctions between these "Abrahamic" peoples. Shared Stories, Rival Tellings explores the early exchanges of Jews, Christians, and Muslims, and argues that their interactions were dominated by debates over the meanings of certain stories sacred to all three communities.
Author Robert C. Gregg shows how Jewish, Christian, and Muslim interpreters—artists as well as authors—developed their unique and particular understandings of narratives present in the two Bibles and the Qur’an. Gregg focuses on five stories: Cain and Abel, Sarah and Hagar, Joseph and Potiphar’s Wife, Jonah and the Whale, and Mary the Mother of Jesus. As he guides us through the often intentional variations introduced into these shared stories, Gregg exposes major issues under contention and the social-intellectual forces that contributed to spirited, and sometimes combative, exchanges between Jews, Christians, and Muslims.
Offering deeper insight into these historical moments and their implications for contemporary relations between the three religions, Shared Stories, Rival Tellings will inspire readers to consider—and reconsider—the dynamics of traditional and current social-religious competition.
Robert C. Gregg is Professor in Religious Studies, Emeritus, at Stanford University. His publications are historical studies of belief systems, with special attention to the competition of religions in the late Roman-early medieval Mediterranean and Levant.
Table of contents
Part I: Cain and Abel/Qabil and Habil
- Preview: Chapters 1-3 The first murder
- Chapter 1: Cain’s fratricide: rabbis and other early Jewish writers judge the case
- Chapter 2: Cain and Abel in Early Christian Writings and Art
- Chapter 3: Muslims on "...the story of the two sons of Adam"
- Comparative Summary: Cain and Abel/Qabil and Habil
Part II: Sarah and Hagar: Mothers to Three Families
- Preview: Chapters 4-6 Abraham’s rival wives
- Chapter 4: Sarah and Hagar: Jewish portrayals
- Chapter 5: Sarah and Hagar in Christian interpretations
- Chapter 6: Hagar and Ishmael, Ibrahim’s family in Mecca
- Comparative Summary: Sarah and Hagar: Mothers to three families
Part III: Joseph’s Temptation by his Egyptian Master’s Wife
- Preview: Chapters 7-9 Joseph/Yusuf and the Temptress
- Chapter 7: Joseph and Potiphar’s wife—Jewish interpretations
- Chapter 8: Joseph put to the test—Christian sermons and art
- Chapter 9: Yusuf with Zulaykha
- Comparative Summary: Joseph’s temptation by his Egyptian master’s wife
Part IV: Jonah the Angry Prophet
- Preview: Chapters 10-12 "The one of the fish"
- Chapter 10: Jonah, Nineveh, the Great Fish, and God: Jews ponder the story
- Chapter 11: Jonah and Jesus: In One Story, Two.
- Chapter 12: Islam’s Yunus: from anger to praise
- Comparative Summary: Jonah the angry prophet
Part V: Mary, Miriam, Maryam
- Preview: Chapters 13-15 Mary through three religions’ eyes
- Chapter 13: Mary’s Story in Christian imagination: from Jewish maiden to ever-Virgin to Heavenly Advocate
- Chapter 14: Miriam, mother of Yeshu the false messiah: Jewish counter-stories
- Chapter 15: Islam’s Maryam: "chosen...above the women of the worlds"
- Comparative Summary: Mary, Miriam, Maryam