A bird from clay

Twice in the Qur’an we read a story about Jesus who gave life to a bird from clay (3:49, 5:110). The story came from a book called Infancy Gospel of Thomas (not to be identified with the more popular Gospel of Thomas) which was dated to the 2nd or 3rd centuries. It shows Muhammad’s familiarity (in overall, vague familiarity) with several aspects of Christian tradition, and perhaps in particular with Syriac Christian tradition, since the Infancy Gospel of Thomas came from the Syriac tradition (such extracanonical stories need not necessarily be taken as negative, since usually even such stories were told by and meant for Christians). And it was consistent with the life of Muhammad itself, who did have contact with Syriac Christians during his days as a trader.

The question then, is such literary dependency (if it were admitted, of course one could still deny the link between Qur’an and Infancy Gospel of Thomas) necessarily problematic for the mechanical view of inspiration of the Qur’an?


4 thoughts on “A bird from clay

  1. yosua

    not problematic of course if, and only if, it’s allowable to put the idea of inspiration and Qur’an together…

      1. yosua

        That’s exactly what I mean, as far as I know Qur’an is more on acquired ‘words’ rather than ‘knowledge’. IMHO, the question you are asking is beyond the understanding of how Qur’an is acquired. But I think the proof of there is such similarity between those two literatures should raise a question of whether there is a possibility of inspiration (hence, your original question will fill this gap).

        1. septian Post author

          indeed. that’s why Christian view of inspiration is different with Islam’s. human authors wrote our Scriptures with all faculty of their will and mind, so cultural dependency is assumed and actually expected for our case.

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