Jesus and Muhammad: Parallel Tracks, Parallel Lives

F.E. Peters, Oxford Univ., $24.95 (304p) ISBN 978-0-19-974746-7
Peters, New York University professor emeritus, adds this short book juxtaposing the lives of the central figures of Christianity and Islam to his already prolific offerings on comparative religion. Most chapters address one aspect of each prophet's life: the setting for Jesus' life and then Muhammad's in chapter one, a brief biographical background on Jesus and then Muhammad in chapter two, and so on. Natural similarities and potentially enlightening differences appear (such as Muhammad's becoming the sovereign of his own Islamic nation while Jesus, who never held a governance position as Muhammad did, was a "man-God, a human voice with the gravity of the Divine"), but not much more is done with them. Peters seems particularly and inexplicably dismissive of certain commonly held beliefs among Muslims and Muhammad biographers, among them Muhammad's age (Muslim tradition says he was 40); the circumstances of his marriage to his first wife, Khadija (most sources say it resulted from Khadija's own proposal); and Peters's stubborn habit of describing the Qur'an as poetry and Muhammad as a poet, although such a view is anathema in Islam or Islamic studies. Besides being somewhat dull, the book is short on useful conclusions. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 10/18/2010
Release date: 11/01/2010
Genre: Religion
Open Ebook - 241 pages - 978-0-19-978137-9
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