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Lecture | FLARe lecture series

How to Safeguard Divine Revelation from Satanic Falsification: The “Protection of the Prophets” from Late Antiquity to Early Islam

Wednesday 16 December 2020
Framing Late Antique Religion Lecture Series
This is an online event. Please register to receive the link to the lecture.

The issue of satanic interjections has troubled Islamic theologians not just recently, this debate may have begun centuries earlier.

Qurʾān Q22 Sūrat al-Ḥajj 52 teaches that “We did not send before you any apostle or prophet but that when he recited (ʾillā ʾidhā tamannā), Satan interjected in his recitation (ʾalqa l-shaiṭānu fī ʾumniyyatihī). Thereat God abrogates whatever Satan has interjected (fa-yansakhu llāhu mā yulqi l-shaiṭānu) [and] then God confirms His verses (or: signs, ʾāyātihī), and God is knowing, wise.”

Beginning with a brief consideration of classical positions on the matter (and especially that of Ibn Taymiyyah, to which Shahab Ahmed has drawn our attention), this lecture will probe the Biblical and Late Antique discourse about human and especially satanic interpolations into Scripture, considering the ways in which Jews, Christians and the Qurʾān responded to an existential threat to their traditions.

About Holger Zellentin

Holger Zellentin is an award-winning scholar of Late Antiquity, with a focus on Talmudic and Qur’anic studies. He combines literary, legal and historical approaches in order to understand shared and diverging patterns within Jewish, Christian and early Islamic cultural traditions. He has received funding from the European Research Council, the British Academy, and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (UK), and has been awarded a Philip Leverhulme Prize (2014) as well as an ERC Consolidator Grant, The Quran as a Source for Late Antiquity (2020-2025). He currently serves as the chair of the board of the International Qur’anic Studies Association, and has previously served on the steering committee of the British Association for Jewish Studies. In 2019, he joined the University of Tübingen, where he now lives, climbs and cycles.

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