Newsweek on the Qur'an vs. the Bible
While Christianity Today examines how Christian and Muslim views of God differ, Newsweek's cover story looks at the two religions' books. "As sacred texts … the Bible and the Qur'an could not be more different," writes Kenneth L. Woodward. "Like the Bible, the Qur'an asserts its own divine authority. But whereas Jews and Christians regard the Biblical text as the words of divinely inspired human authors, Muslims regard the Qur'an … as the eternal words of Allah himself. Thus, Muhammad is the conduit for God's words, not their composer. … If Christ is the word made flesh, the Qur'an is the word made book."

Woodward also examines the difference between the two books' treatment of religious violence:

The Bible, too, has its stories of violence in the name of the Lord. The God of the early Biblical books is fierce indeed in his support of the Israelite warriors, drowning enemies in the sea. But these stories do not have the force of divine commands. Nor are they considered God's own eternal words, as Muslims believe Qur'anic verses to be. Moreover, Israeli commandos do not cite the Hebrew prophet Joshua as they go into battle, but Muslim insurgents can readily invoke the example of their Prophet, Muhammad, who was a military commander himself. And while the Crusaders may have fought with the cross on their shields, they did not—could not—cite words from Jesus to justify their slaughters.

Woodward has really done a tremendous job in this piece (though there are a few small errors—such as saying that Abraham's father is not named in the Bible). Those interested in more should also check out The Atlantic Monthly's January 1999 cover story, "What Is the Koran?" Newsweek's Web site also offers ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.