The Voice, the Word, the Books: The Sacred Scripture of the Jews, Christians, and Muslims

The Voice, the Word, the Books: The Sacred Scripture of the Jews, Christians, and Muslims

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By (author) F. E. Peters

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  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Format: Hardback | 320 pages
  • Dimensions: 160mm x 236mm x 28mm | 590g
  • Publication date: 1 May 2007
  • Publication City/Country: New Jersey
  • ISBN 10: 0691131120
  • ISBN 13: 9780691131122
  • Illustrations note: 16 color plates.
  • Sales rank: 569,171

Product description

Jews, Christians, and Muslims all believe that their Scriptures preserve God's words to humanity, and that those words were spoken uniquely to them. In "The Voice, the Word", the Books, F. E. Peters leads readers on an extraordinary journey through centuries of written tradition to uncover the human fingerprints on the Hebrew Bible, the New Testament, and the Quran, sacred texts that have enriched millions of lives. Bringing the latest Biblical and Quranic scholarship to a general audience, Peters explains how these three powerfully influential books passed from God's mouth, so to speak, to become the Scriptures that we possess today. He reveals new insights into their origins, contents, canonization, and the important roles they have played in the lives of their communities. He explores how they evolved through time from oral to written texts, who composed them and who wrote them, as well as the theological commonalities and points of disagreement among their adherents. Writing in the comparative style for which he is renowned, Peters charts the transmission of faith from the spoken word to the printed page, from the revelations on Sinai and Mount Hira to Mamluk ateliers in Cairo and Gutenberg's press in Mainz. Peters is an acknowledged expert who has written extensively on these three great world religions, each of them an inheritor of the faith of Abraham. Published in conjunction with an exhibit at the British Library, this illustrated book includes beautiful images of the rare editions on exhibit and constitutes Peters' most ambitious and illuminating examination yet of the sacred texts that so inform civilization both East and West.

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Author information

F. E. Peters is Professor of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies at New York University. His books include "The Children of Abraham: Judaism, Christianity, Islam: A New Edition" and the forthcoming "The Creation of the Quran: The Making of Muslim Scripture" (both Princeton).

Review quote

Winner of the 2007 Best Professional/Scholarly Book in Theology and Religious Studies, Association of American Publishers "This is undoubtedly one of the best single volumes on the history of sacred text in the Abrahamic faiths."--Publishers Weekly (starred review) "Many readers will appreciate this probing interfaith investigation for the insight it offers into sacred books that both link and divide the world of faith."--Booklist "In today's culture of interfaith outreach, this book, agreeably approachable, offers insights into the parallel and intersecting paths the sacred books of the three great Abrahamic religions followed."--Suzi Brozman, Atlanta Jewish Times "Highly readable...The Voice, the Word, the Books, with its lavish illustrations and adequate index, will prove very valuable for those teaching an introduction to the Hebrew Bible, the New Testament, or the Koran."--Patrick J. Ryan, The American "Readers who have some knowledge of biblical history and scholarship will already be familiar with much of the territory Peters surveys. But here that familiar territory borders on a detailed discussion of the Qur'an, and the frontier between these two traditions makes for an illuminating and often surprising adventure of ideas...The depth of the author's scholarship is...evident on every page."--Lawrence S. Cunningham, Commonweal "The open critique, dialogue and reworking of a tradition, which has been essential to the relevance of Judaism and Christianity to the modern world, awaits its day in Islam. In Peters' work you will find clues as to how big that task will be."--Rachael Kohn, Australian Review of Public Affairs "F. E. Peters offers here a remarkably well-informed, thoughtfully conceived, and elegantly written comparative... The scholarship is, in my opinion, an example of the comparative study of religion at its finest. The author's argument is grounded in first-hand, extensive knowledge of each tradition he handles, nourished by wide and incisive readings of secondary scholarly studies, and shaped overall by a clearly envisioned comparative... In my opinion, Peters has not only delivered fully on this promise to mark the histories of the Abrahamic scriptural traditions as a passage from spoken word to text and back to spoken utterance, but also presented the field of religious studies with a model for comparative studies beyond the Abrahamic traditions as well."--Martin S. Jaffee, Journal of the American Academy of Religion "In these days it is especially a pleasure to encounter a gentle, intelligent work, written for the educated general public, that promotes understanding, even empathy, for the other. Peters ... offers new information and insights for practitioners of these faiths as well as for the inquiring and the curious."--Robert W. Lebling, Saudi Aramco World "Peters has made an important contribution to the comparative study of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam."--Barry Dov Walfish, Journal of Religion

Flap copy

""The Voice, the Word," the Books is an important new work on the authoritative texts of the Abrahamic religious traditions. It amounts to a comparative study of the three major Western faiths by looking through a window--in this case the window of scripture. Frank Peters is preeminently qualified to write such a work."--Richard C. Martin, Emory University "This is a thorough and rich book, the remarkable work by one of the great authorities of our time on the three Abrahamic monotheistic religions. It examines scripture--Jewish, Christian, and Muslim--from every conceivable angle. It is written in Peters's engaging prose and accessible to any intelligent reader."--Mark R. Cohen, Princeton University

Table of contents

Introduction. The Voice from Sinai 1 Chapter 1: Sacred Words, Sacred Book 5 "Thus Spake Yahweh": What Is the Bible? 7 "Then the Lord Said": What Is the New Testament? 17 "Recite! in the Name of God": What Is the Quran? 28 Chapter 2: Book Shaping: The Making of a Canon 38 From Biblia to Book: The Making of the Bible 41 The Making of a "New" Testament 51 The "Old" and the "New" in the Covenant 61 The Collection of the Quran 67 Chapter 3: Reciters, Rhapsodes, and Scribes: How the Bible Reached Us 80 The Matter of Authorship 81 The Higher Criticism of the Bible 83 Composing and Performing 85 The Scribes 87 From Recitation to Writing 88 Authors behind the Authors 90 Enter J, E, and Company 92 The Writing Begins 94 Jeremiah 95 Who "Wrote" the Books? 96 Writing in Scripture 98 The Levites 100 The Masoretes 101 Chapter 4: The Reporters: The Good News and How We Got It 105 Jesus: The Setting 105 The Gospels 106 Extracting Q 107 Dating the Gospels 108 John 109 The Gospels as Documents 109 From Aramaic to Greek 110 New Approaches 111 Community Authorship 113 Paul and the Rest 114 The Apocryphal Gospels 115 Thomas and His Twin 117 Chapter 5: The Poet in Performance: The Composition of the Quran 120 The Revelations 120 Biography and the Quran 122 Approaching the Quran 126 The Cultural Environment 127 Writing and the Quran 128 Writing in Arabia 130 Oral Poetry and the Quran 132 Muhammad, Poet and Performer 133 The Bible in the Quran 135 The Mantic Seer 137 The Oral Performance 139 A Change in Style 140 The Writing Down of the Quran 141 Other Possibilities 143 Uthman or Later? 147 In Sum 150 Chapter 6: The Book in Mortal Hands 152 The Word Made Flesh: Books and Bookmaking in the Ancient World 152 Scrolls and Books 153 Searching the Scriptures 155 From Notebooks to Books 157 The Christians Adopt the Codex 159 Toward a Standard Edition? 160 The Shape of the Page: Chapter and Verse 164 Dividing the Text 164 Marking the Text 167 Suras and Ayas 169 The Sacramental Text 172 Sefer Torah: Torahs and Their Arks 174 Washing Their Hands of the Christians 180 A Matter of Etiquette: The Book in Our Hands 182 Chapter 7: In Other Words 189 The Loss of God's Tongue 190 Targums and Methurgemans 192 Scripture for the Hellenized: The Septuagint 195 Origen: Multitasking the Bible 198 From Old Latin to the Vulgate 200 Hebraica Veritas and the Latin West 203 The Polyglot 208 Enter the Humanists 210 Translating the Untranslatable Quran 214 Chapter 8: Picturing the Word 219 The Rabbis and the Second Commandment 219 Adorning and Illustrating the Hebrew Bible 223 Christian Images 228 Icons and Iconoclasm 229 The Bible with Pictures 233 Printing with Pictures 238 The Reformation and Images 240 The Word Unpictured: Islam and Images 242 Drawing in the Book 243 Chapter 9: Giving Voice to the Word 247 Talking Back to God 248 Reading through the Torah 249 The Scripture in Church 251 Praying the Quran 256 The Scripture as Libretto 258 The Cantorial Scripture 259 The Divine Office 260 The Art of Qira 263 Epilogue. Three Books, Side by Side 271 Glossary 277 List of Illustrations 281 Index 283