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Devin J. Stewart

and so on, are replaced with predictions of the Day of Resurrection and the Day
Judgment. While the soothsayer's pronouncements derived from the
directly by inspiration, or through the mediation of a familiar spirit, the n~''"ho+'
revelations derived from a celestial book, a scripture that was intangible and .
existed on a higher plane. A broad, comparative perspective suggests that the
Qur' an, and the Prophet Mul;~ammad' s mission itself, may be profitably viewed as .
representing a particular stage in religious development, that of transition between
an oracular and a prophetic moment.

Does the Qur'an deny or assert

Jesus's {!rucifixion and death? 1
Suleiman A. Mourad

.The issue of Jesus's crucifixion and death in the Qur'an has been extensively exam. ined in modem scholarship, primarily by scholars concerned with religious dialogue
or polemics. 2 One reason for this interest is the perception that the Qur' an refutes the
crucifixion and death of Jesus; this perception, which is often tied to a pair of verses
. (Q 4:157-58), places Islam's scripture in direct opposition to the foundational
doctrine of the Christian faith. Yet although Muslim scholars have overwhelmingly
. rejected the crucifixion of Jesus, they are divided regarding the reality of his death .
..The possibility that Jesus actually died and was resurrected from death was argued
by a number ofleading early Muslim exegetes, and became an essential view within
. the tradition.3 This shows that, on the one hand, the way the Qur'an addresses the
:;~crucifixion/death narrative allows for conflicting interpretations, and, on the other
hand, that what is perceived as the standard position in Islam is favored in some
modem Muslim and non-Muslim circles because it is rooted in Christian-Muslim
poiemics; this position is often used in an attempt to legitimize one's own religion
prove the other religion wrong. 4 In this chapter, I offer some reflections on the

.. I This paper was presented at The Qur 'lin in Its Historical Context conference, held at the University
ofNotre Dame (April 19-21, 2009). I want to thank my friend GabrielS. Reynolds for his generous
invitation for me to take part in this conference. An earlier draft was presented at a symposium held
at Middlebury College (January 17-19, 2008), entitled Engaging Passions: The Death of Jesus
and Its Legacies; I want to thank my former colleague and friend Oliver Larry Yarbrough for his
generous invitation for me to take part in the symposium.
2 Gabriel S. Reynolds covers some of the same material in his recent article "The Muslim Jesus:
Dead or alive?" BSOAS 72, 2009, 237-58. For examples, see E.E. Elder, "The crucifixion in the
Koran," Muslim World 13, 1923, 242-58; H. Michaud, Jesus se/on /e Co ran, Neuchatel: De!achaux
et Niestle, 1960, 59-71; G. Parrinder, Jesus in the Qur'an, New York: Oxford University Press,
1977, 105-21; M.M. Ayoub, "Towards an Islamic Christology, 2: The death of Jesus- reality or
illusion?" The Muslim World 70, 1980, 91-121; G. Rizzardi, II problema della cristologia
coranica, Milano: Istituto Propaganda Libraria, 1982, 141-43; N. Geagea, Mary in the Koran: A
Meeting Point between Christianity and Islam, trans. L.T. Fares, New York: Philosophical Library,
1984, 107-8; and A. H. Mathias Zahniser, "The forms ofTawaffa in the Qur' an: A contribution to
Christian-Muslim dialogue," Muslim World 79, 1989, 14-24.
3 See, for example, the discussion inN. Robinson, Christ in Islam and Christianity, Albany: SUNY
Press, 1991, 117-26.
4 I am not arguing here that the Qur'iin is not a polemical text.


Suleiman A. Mourad

crucifixion/death narrative in an attempt to show that the denial in the Qur'an is

directed .to its reality, but rather to its theological implications. My investiga:tion
focuses principally on Qur'anic textual evidence, with the conviction that the study
and understanding of the Qur' an must assume the unity of the text. 5
It is well known that the Qur'an is a very complicated text in terms of its'
language, a fact attested by the degree of disagreement among exegetes as to
proper interpretation of most of its verses. At times the ambiguity of the language
has left the exegete utterly helpless, as when the notorious Egyptian Islamic funda~
mentalist Sayyid Qutb (d. 1966) addresses the death and resurrection of Jesus:
As for how his death occurred and how he was raised to Paradise, these
incomprehensible issues; they pertain to the category of the arrtbi!ruous.
Qur'anic verses whose proper meaning is known only to God. There is
benefit from pursuing them, be it for dogmatic or legal purposes. Those
pursue them and tuni them into a controversy end up irt hypocrisy, C011fu:siot1 ~
and complication, without ever getting to the absolute truth or ~al.t::Wii,;LJ.uu
about something that should after all be deferred to God's knowledge. 6
Qutb adds in another instance that "the Qur' an does not offer details regarding
raising up" of Jesus, "whether it occurred in body and soul while still alive, of.'
only in soul after his death."7 He also comments that "God brought.upon Jesus'
death, and then lifted him up to Himself; some say that he is alive with
which, as I see, should not be a cause of confusion, for God could have
death upon him in earthly life, but he is alive with God, like the martyrs who
on earth but are alive with God. As for their way of life with Him, we have
knowledge about it, and likewise the way oflife of Jesus." 8
It is clear that the complexity of the Qur' anic language and syntax, as well as .
the theological implications of taking sides in this debate, given the diversity
Muslim opinions on the issue, convinced Qutb to caution the Muslims against
making any speculations about the details of Jesus's death. He makes these
comments in connection with verses 3:55,4:157-58, and 5:117:
Remember when God said: "0 Jesus, I shall cause you to die (mutawaffika) ..
and make you ascend to Me. I shall purify you from those who blasphemed ... " (Q 3:55).

5 See W. Saleh, "The etymological fallacy and Quranic Studies: Muhammad, paradise, and Late
Antiquity," in A. Neuwirth et al. (eds), The Qur'an in Context: Historical and Literary Investigations into the Qur 'anic Milieu, Lei den: Brill, 2009, 649-98.
6 Sayyid Qutb, Fi,:ilal al-qur'an, Cairo: Dar al-Shuriiq, 1992, 1:403.
7 Qutb, Fi ?ilal al-qur 'an, 2:802.
8 Ibid., 2: 100 L

The Qur'an and Jesus's crucifixion and death


was made to appear to them (shubbiha !a-hum). Those who disputed

concerning him (jihz} are in doubt over the matter; they have no knowledge
thereof but only follow conjecture. Assuredly (yaqfnan) they killed him not,
but God raised him up to Him; and God is Almighty, All-Wise (Q
I was a witness to them while I lived among them. But when You caused me
to die (tawaffaytanl), it was You Who kept watch over them. You are a
witness over all things (Q 5:117). 9
verse 3:55, the difficulty is the combination of the phrases "mutawaffika" and
you ascend to Me," as witnessed by the debate irt Islamic scholarship
-"~'-'uu.u"' their meaning. 10 The exegetes offer various explanations for them;
a1"';u''"u''" to some, the Qur' an means that God caused sleep to overcome Jesus
then raised him up to Himself - hence mutawaffika means "overcome by
sleep." Others argue that both phrases refer to removing Jesus from this world to
the next world without death. According to a third view, mutawaffika implies the

death of Jesus, and the words in verse 3:55 and their implications should
understood to follow a proper chronological sequence; hence, God will first
Jesus up to Paradise, and then He will bring him down to earth irt the future,
he will die. According to a fourth view, however, the expressions refer to
physical death of Jesus and his subsequent resurrection from death by God,
both events having occurred irt the past. 11
The promoters of the first three positions articulated them in light of their belief
God would not or could not have let Jesus be'' killed, by his enemies; the
of verses 4:157-58 indicates that the claim to have crucified and killed
Jesus was made by a Jewish group (although it is not certairt whether this refers to
the time of Jesus or to a Jewish group making those claims at the time of
M~ammad). 12 Therefore, in, their efforts to explain away any possibility that God

9 Translation of the Qur'iin is based on T. Khalidi, The Qur'an, New York: Penguin G.roup, 2008. I
have inserted the Arabic text in order to point to problematic language or important issues.
10 See the survey of Muslim exegetical sources in B.T. Lawson, "The crucifixion of Jesus in the
Qur' an and Quranic commentary: A historical survey," Bulletin of Henry Martyn Institute of
Islamic Studies 10, 1991, 2, 34-62, and 10, 1991, 3, 6-40; and idem, The Crucifixion and the
Qur 'an: A Study in the History ofMuslim Thought, Oxford: Oneworld, 2009.
11 For these views and their promoters, see, for example: Taban (d. 310/922), Jami' a/-bayanji
ta 'wrl al-Qur'an, ed Mu\mmmad Bay<,liin, Beirut: Diir ai-Kutub al-'Ilmiyya, 1992, 3:288-90;
Jishumi (d. 494/1101 ), al-Tahdhib fi tafsir al-Qur 'an (Ms. Ambrosia11a Library/Milan, Fl84), f.
40a; and al-Riizi (d. 606/1210), a/-Tafsir al-kabir, ed. lbriihim Shams al-Din and Ahmad Shams
a1-Drn, Beirut: Dar al-Kutub al-'Ilmiyya, 1992, 8:59-63.
12 It is possible, of course, that this could be a simple rhetorical statement, and that no group at the

time ofMuhammad actually made such a claim. It could also be the case, however, that the Qur'iin
is engaging claims such as the one found in the Talmud (Sanhedrin 4:ia). See G. Basetti-Sani, The
Koran in the Light of Christ: A Christian Interpretation of the Sacred Boak of Islam, Chicago:
Franciscan Herald Press, 1977, 171; and G.S. Reynolds, "The Muslim Jesus," 257.


The Qur 'an and Jesus's cntcifixion and death

Su{eiman A. Mourad

did not come to the rescue of Jesus, some Muslim exegetes maintained that
indeed prevented Jesus's death by interfering and lifting him up to
Moreover, the view that Jesus was removed from this world without
death was justified on the basis of a prophetic /:Iadfth that speaks of the return
Jesus at the End of Days to kill the Antichrist, after which he will die and
buried by the Muslims. 13 Thus, there could not have been a past death, for .
human can die twice (since God creates humans, causes them to die, then resur-
rects them; see Q 19:33). Jesus can die once, and his death is in the future.
But the /:Iadfth in question belongs to anti-Christian polemical literature; it
supposedly uttered by Mul:mmmad when a Christian delegation from Najriin
an argument with him over the crucifixion of J esus. 14 The Prophet. refuted them
pointing to the future return of Jesus. But clearly the alleged circumstances of
l;Iadfth do not match the language of verses 4:157-58, the only place in the
where the issue of Jesus's crucifixion is raised. Again, it is evident in these
as well as in the preceding ones, that the group which boasts about crucifYing
killing Jesus is Jewish; at least the Qur' iinic reference is made to a Jewish
It is impossible, therefore, to connect verses 4:157-58 with a discussion'--~----~
MulJammad and a Christian group; that would necessitate that such a Christian
group identify themselves as "the killers ofJesus."
The adherents of the fourth view also maintain that God only rescued
from crucifixion. Jesus died, but he did not die on the cross. Their interpretation
based on the common meaning of the expression "mutawaffika'; (cause to die)
they hold that Jesus could only have ascended to heaven if he had first died and
been resurrected. Yet they disagreed as to the nature of that resurrection: whether
only in soul or both in soul and body.
There is, however, complete agreement in the denial ofthe crucifixion ~s
ring to Jesus, although Muslim exegetes have offered differing explanations
what actually happened. The most popular view is that God made someone
look like Jesus, and it was that person who was crucified (again, there is uoa"-'""ment on the person's identity). Another, less popular explanation is that one
Jesus's disciples volunteered to be crucified in his place (and was transformed to
look like Jesus). 16 But even the most popular view had its share of problems,
because according to some exegetes its theological implications were not tenable.'.

13 Examples of this eschatological hadith as well as other narratives, attributed to the

Muhammad and his companions, about Jesus's career at the End of Days are listed by Ibn 'Asiikir"
in his biography of Jesus. See S.A. Mourad, Sirat a/-sayid a/-masib li-Ibn 'Asakir, Amman: Diir ..
al-Shuriiq, 1996, 230-84 (nos. 282-364).
14 See, for example, Tabar!, Jami' al-bayan, 3:290. This episode is also reported on the authority or'
Ibn Isl)iiq in Ibn Hishiim, ai-Sira al-nabawiyya, ed. Ibrahim al-Saqqa et a!., Beirut: Dar al-Khayr,
1990, 2: 162-70; idem, The Life of Muhammad: A Translation of Ibn Is(laq 's Sirat Rasiil Alliih,
trans. A. Guillaume, Lahore: Oxford University Press, 1967, 270-77.
15 The Qur'anic term used is ahl al-kitab (People of the Book), which in the context of the verses~-
could only mean the Israelites/Jews.
16 For a range of these views, see Tabar!, Jami' al-bayan, 4:35I-55; and RiizT, al-Taftir al-kabir,


philosopher al-Riizi (d. 606/121 0), for example, in his exegesis of the Qur' iin
the possibility that God could have made someone else look like Jesus, for
would inevitably leag to doubting the certainty of everything, including faith,
how can we be certain of anything if its reality can be different from its
!Jlj:lparent manifestation? 17
ww..LU..U'"' to verses 4:157-58, it is notable that the emphasis throughout is on
-~-...,=,., the claim that Jesus was killed, which is restated at the outset: "and their
'It is we who ldlled the Christ Jesus son ofMary, the messenger ofGod.'"
followed by the denial ofboth the killing and the crucifying of Jesus: "they
him not, nor did they cntcify him." The pair "kill/crucify" (qatl/.yalb) occurs
together in the Qur'iin: the first instance is here in verse 4:157; the second
5:33, where it describes the fates of those who fight the Prophet
'':lV.LUI}amma.u, which include being killed or crucified. Clearly, then, Qur'iinic
.Ciucifixion (.yalb) means "death by crucifixion."
Following the denial that Jesus was killed comes the explanation "shubbiha
" This expression means that something was made to appear to them that
,,,,"""u1 v was not true. It does not necessarily mean that someone was made to
like someone else, as it is commonly understood. The Qur'iin uses derivaofthe same root, sh-b-h, to indicate confusion and ambiguity, as in verse 3:7:
It is He Who sent down the Book upon you. In it are verses precise in meaning:
these are the very heart of the Book. Others are ambiguous (mutashabihat).
Those in whose heart is waywardness pursue what is ambiguous therein (rna
tashabaha minhu), seeking discord and seeking to unravel its interpretation.
But none knows its interpretation save God.
It is obvious from Qur' iinic usage that the meaning of "shubbiha !a-hum" is not
restnctea to visual confusion. It can also be applied to something that, if accepted
jn its literal aspect as true or correct, leads one into confusion and error. My view,
then, is that shubbiha !a-hum in verse 4:157 makes sense only if it refers either to
the act (killing/crucifying) or to Jesus. It is absurd to assi.une that the expression
indicates someone else who was made to look like Jesus and was crucified, for it
clearly refers to someone or something that has already been mentioned in the
verse, and here only the act (killing/crucifying) and Jesus are mentioned. And it is

absurd to argue that Jesus was made to look like someone else. So we are
with two possible interpretations of shubbiha !a-hum in this verse: the expreseither denies the actuality of the act or denies that Jesus died as a conse-

"... "'u"'""" of his crucifixion.

Verse 4:157 continues: "Those who disputed concerning him (f"Ihi) are in doubt
over the matter; they have no knowledge thereofbut only follow conjecture." Here
.too ''fiht' cannot be a reference to a person who was crucified in lieu of Jesus, for
that actually makes the Qur'iin deny that someone else was crucified in place of

See Riizl, ai-Taftir a/-kabir, I I :79.


Suleiman A. Mourad

Jesus. The only way that the rest of this part of verse 4:157 can be understood
as an added emphasis, namely that what appeared to them (those who claimed
have killed/crucified Jesus or those who believe that Jesus was killed/crucified)
a matter of false perception. This is all the more clear given what comes
"Assuredly (yaqTnan) they killed him not, but God raised him up to Him; and
is Almighty, All-Wise." The Qur'an is questioning the certainty (yaqfnan)
Jesus's death; there is no denial of the act of crucifixion here. This certainty
argued for on the basis of Jesus's resurrection: "God raised him up to Him."
other words, the import is that one might think Jesus was killed, but he was
because he was resurrected from death, and he is alive with God. That is, for
someone to be considered killed he must remain dead! Thus those who asserted
that Jesus was killed by crucifixion, on the basis of what they saw, are indeec!
So I suggest the following translation for verses 4:157-58:
For their saying: "It is we who killed the Messiah Jesus son of Mary,
messenger of God." Nay, they did not kill him by crucifYing him. They .
thought they did, and those who affirm that are uncertain; they have no .
knowledge about it except by speculation. In certainty they did not kill hin{
because God raised him from death up to Him.

Further supporting this interpretation is the fact that the contrast of perception
certainty regarding someone being dead or alive is a theme that is raised
times in the Qur'an. In addition to verses 4:157-58, it can be found in verse 3:169: .
Do not imagine those killed in the path of God to be dead. Rather, they are
alive with their Lord, enjoying his bounty.
It cannot be argued that the Qur'an is saying that those who were killed fighting,.,.
in the path of God did not die; the same case is also raised in verse 2:154. They,.
did indeed die. But once they have been resurrected, it is no longer proper to refer :
to them as dead. Clearly the Qur'an is cautioning against judging on the basis of
apparent perceptions, which can be completely misleading; the misleading percep-"
tion in this case is that someone is dead when he or she is alive in Paradise. It is
evident, therefore, that verses 4:157-58 refute issues of apparent perception that
are in reality false: those who think Jesus was killed by crucifixion are wrong, ,~,
because he is alive in Paradise.
It is worth noting that the Qur' anic expression shubbiha !a-hum in relation to "
the crucifixion of Jesus cannot be a reference to the Docetic theology, as has been
argued by some scholars. 18 Docetism holds that Jesus was made to appear to his
18 See, for example, Michaud, Jesus se/on le Coran, 68-71; Rizzardi, II problema della cristo/ogia
coranica, 143; and C. Schedl, Muhammad und Jesus: die christologisch re/evanten Texte des :
Korans, Vienna: Herder, 1978, 435-36. See also the discussion in Parrinder, Jesus in the Qur 'an,
118-19; and Reynolds, "The Muslim Jesus," 252-53.

The Qur 'an and Jesus's cntcifixion and death


":followers in a human form but in reality was an illusion; the Qur'anic Jesus is
in every form, however. References in Qur'anic exegesis to explanations
'.itJ.,ntiifui'ina the person who was crucified in place of Jesus are nothing more than
by Muslim scholars to explain verse 4:157 by drawing on Christian
~ources that were known to them. They do not reflect the Qur'an's adoption of
Pocetic or Gnostic theology regarding the nature of Jesus.
The issue of Jesus's death is raised in two other verses in the Qur'an. Besides
5:117, quoted earlier, it is referred to in verse 19:33, which reads,
Peace be upon me the day I was born, the day I die (amiitu), and the day I am
resurrected, alive\
the earlier verses, 19:33 does not draw the attention of Muslim exegetes,
though it raises the issue of Jesus's death; most do not make the connection
,u.,Lw<;<>u the expression "the day I die" and the future coming of Jesus, although
they tend to discuss the latter issue at length in connection with verse 3:55. 19 But
. according to the early Muslim authority on monotheistic traditions Wahb b.

(d. ca. 110/728), here the Qur'an is quoting Jesus informing his disciples that he is about to die and be resurrected.20 Moreover, if one were to accept
that the reference to Jesus's death is intended as a reference to its future occur. renee, then this should similarly apply to the case of John the Baptist, about whom
the Qur'an similarly says in verse 19:15,
Peace be upon him the day he was born, the day he dies (yamiitu), and the day
he is resurrected, alive!
Both verses use the imperfect tense with respect to the issue of death (amzltu/
yamiitu); the first person singular in the verse referring to Jesus, and the third
person singular in the verse referring to John. If the Qur'an means that Jesus did
not yet die, then John too did not die and is likewise waiting to die sometime in
,the future. But this is absurd. If John died in the past, then the imperfect tense does
_ not refer to a future death; this is one of the many distinctive characteristics of
" Qur'anic parlance.
One final point to add here is that verses 4:157-58 must be understood in their
own context. After all, one of the principal issues raised in the preceding verses,
which are the direct context for the two verses in question, is the Qur' anic accusation in verse 4:155 against the lsraelites/Jews for "renouncing their covenant,"
and "killing prophets unjustly." If Jesus did not die on the cross, then this accusation, which is presented as one of several transgressions against God actually
committed by the Israelites/Jews, is oddly placed, especially given that the
example of Jesus's death is the only death of a prophet discussed following the

, 19 See, for example, Tabati, Jiimi' al-bayiin, 8:340.

" 20 AI-Tabati, Jiimi' al-bayiin, 8:340.

356 Suleiman A. Mourad

accusation. The context of verses 4:157-58 therefore shows that the Qur'iin is
denying the actuality of the crucifixion and death of Jesus, but rather engaging
their implications.

Reading verses 4:157-58 in light of their immediate context as well as
3:55, 5:117 and 19:33 leads us to the conclusion that the Qur'iin affirms
death on the cross, followed by his resurrection. Indeed, stories about and
ences to Jesus's physical death as an event that occurred in the past are
throughout Islamic scholarship, even in works by authors who affirmed otherwise. .
For instance, the chronicler and exegete Tabari (d. 31 0/922) relates in his History
that a group of people from Medina say that Jesus's grave is located on top
al-Jammii' mountain, south of Medina; strangely, this story dates Jesus's time
earth to the period when the Persians ruled western Arabia (fourth century
since, as the story indicates, Jesus's tomb inscriptions were in old Persian. 21
irrespective of its apparent anachronicity, it .is clear that 1) Tabari '"""""'s"
believes that Jesus did not die, as is attested in his exegesis of the Qur'iin, 22
2) the report is not related on the authority of Christians or converts from
anity, or for that matter the authority of Jews, but rather on the authority of
Muslim - a certain Ibn Sulaym al-An~iiri al-Zuraqi - who must have lived
Medina shortly after the time of Mubammad. Iii. another instance, the
mystic al-Niibulusi (d. 1143/1731), contrasting al-mawt al-ikhtiyarr (facing
willingly) and al-mawt al-i{i{irarr (being taken by death), uses the example
Jesus as someone who readily gave himself to death. 23
I am not, however, arguing that most Muslims, especially exegetes, were
incompetent, and that they could not determine the meaning of verses 4:157-58. I.
am not suggesting either that the text is simple. In my view, the reason this text
has been misconstrued,. despite the best efforts of scholars, is that the set
assumptions that were brought to bear on such issues in the Qur'iin made it inevitable that the meaning would be missed. The Qur'iin reflects the insistence of the
early Mul;tammad movement that the crucifixion of Jesus does not represent a
defeat of God. In other words, this movement could not accept, as a matter of
basic belief, that Jesus's career ended on the cross, with God unable to intervene.
For what would that mean about God's commitment to protecting them? Thus
they argue that God was the ultimate victor because He could do something those
who crucified Jesus could not: He could annul Jesus's death by resurrecting him.

21 The tomb inscriptions read: "'This is the grave of Jesus son of Mary, the messenger of God to the people.
of this land." See Tabati, Ta 'rlkh al-rnsul wa-1-mu/iik, ed. M.J. De Goeje et al., Leiden: Brill, 1879-
1901, 1:738--39; trans.: The History ofal-Tabari, vol. 4, trans. M. Perlmann, Albany: SUNY Press,
1987, 4:123-24. There is no doubt that, given what we know, this story is to be treated as a complete
myth, with no historical basis whatsoever.
22 AI-Taban, Jami' al-bayan, 3:289.
23 Al-NiibulusT, Risa/at al-tawbld, ed. Mui)ammad ShTkhiinT, Damascus: Diir Qutayba, 1999, Ill.

The Qur 'an and Jesus's cntcifixion and death


But the issue was so complicated that it was left at that level without further
or explanation. It was, later Muslim exegetes who developed the
, .-wvVF.J of God's obligation to protect his prophets to the extent that there was no
in it for the acceptance of Jesus's dying on the cross. Hence God must have
int,,rv,.m>rl to rescue him prior to that. The stories that describe God's intervention
the plot of the Israelites to kill Jesus, and describe who was made to be crucified
Jesus's place, merely reflect efforts on the part of these exegetes to come up
acceptable responses to a challenging issue. The stories that later exegetes
traditionalists report are theological speculations that make use of a large
of lmown and conflicting narratives within the Christian tradition that
the crucifixion of Jesus. After all, the Muslims were not the first, or the only,
to be puzzled by the theological implications of Jesus's crucifixion and
That several early Christian groups (e.g. Gnostics) could not tolerate the
of Jesus's crucifixion is a case in point: their belief could not stand if his
.: cruci.tixion were not absolutely rejected. Indeed, one cannot emphasize enough
Christianity ultimately emerged out of the attempts to make sense of the
uvillAJLvll and death of Jesus.
Finally it is important to note that the use of verses 4:157-58 in anti-Christian
J-'V''"w""" constrained the way Muslim scholars could interpret them. Once these
were situated in polemic, their function became essentially to point to the
of Christian belief regarding the crucifixion of Jesus, and thus Muslim
>exegetes, operating within the parameters of the polemical contextualization of
these verses, were simply unable to come to a different reading.