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Hans Zirker

Do not Revile the Gods of Others!

Two Remarkable Commandments in Bible and Koran

 

From: Stimmen der Zeit, 8/2011, P. 531-541
webmaster's own, not authorized translation

 

    Both in the Bible and the Koran there are similar statements, which call on us to respect members of other religions. Hans Zirker, emeritus professor of systematic theology at the University of Duisburg-Essen, interprets the relevant texts.

 

A theology of religions as an extensive sophisticated undertaking is always in danger to adapt the reality of many and diverse relationships to a too narrow system and to smooth down thus some unwieldy things. In contrast, a restrained but in its limitation perhaps more attentive approach is able to apprehend individual judgments with their assumptions, intentions and effects. This shall happen here in view of two instructions in Bible and Koran. These directives are strikingly similar to each other but at the same time contrary to many other things which are said otherwise about alien religious cults in both Scriptures. Thus, from the beginning these two sentences have got varying interpretations; but they point beyond themselves to more fundamental elements of religious faith and their fate still today provides food for thought.

 

The Texts

The first requirement is found in the "Covenant Code", a collection of legal propositions in the Book of Exodus (from 20.22 to 23.33). However, one must fall back on the meaning which is given to verse 22.27 (28) {1} in the Septuagint, the translation of the Hellenistic Jews in Alexandria. For where it speaks of "gods" (theous), there is found "elohim" in the Hebrew text. This plural may admittedly relate to the multitude of deities (as shortly before in verse 22.19: "'Anyone who sacrifices to the gods and not the Lord alone ..."), but it means usually the one and sole, absolutely powerful God. This also applies to the original meaning of our verse. Understood in this way, it strikingly juxtaposes the heavenly and the earthly master in a parallel formulation in the same meaning, "You will not revile God, nor curse your people's leader." {2} It is therefore all the more remarkable that the Greek Bible and the translations dependent on it, at last also the Latin one, the Vulgate, do not keep to that meaning but - for obvious reasons - want to protect the polytheistic environment from disparaging remarks. Some manuscripts even explicitly clarify that "alien (!) gods" are meant {3}. In this sense, we read also in Luther's translation of 1545, "Den Göttern soltu nicht fluchen" {4}.

 


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This cannot be pushed aside as a mere mistake, or in view of the original Hebrew text be seen as inconsequential. In its peculiarity it is a respectable, but in its intentions at the same time a surprising piece of biblical tradition. Why is it important for it that the religious world of others shall not be defamed?

The Qur'anic verse 6.108 is comparatively unproblematic in wording and meaning: "And do not insult those they invoke other than Allah ... !". It does admittedly not speak explicitly of "gods" but it, too, without doubt calls for restraint regarding the polytheistic cults. Only in one respect the translations of this verse remarkably differ from each other: Shall one only show consideration for those gods who are implored "in addition to God" resp. "apart from" him or also for those who are invoked "instead of God" resp. "in his place"? The difference is considerable. In the latter case, the break with the true worship would be radical: God would simply displaced and no longer exist. Where, however, people "in addition to" God call on other gods, they want to keep also to Him, despite all their religious aberration. An examination of the Koran's language use and mode of thought but also of the contemporary religious evidence shows that only this translation is correct: most clearly in Surah 5.116 where God asks Jesus, "... did you say to the people, 'Take me and my mother as deities besides Allah?'" Here, the evil is to put partners with God, but not to ignore and eliminate him.

Of course, there is no reason for the Koran to protect Jesus and Mary from defamation, because among Muslims they are universally seen as God's mighty "signs for all the world" (21.91). But around itself, the Koran sees a wider range of gods that are worshiped and invoked: There are other "gods" (11.101), "the tin gods" (2.256 f), "idols" (14,35) and "graven images" (21.52), the "lords" in a large variety of different ways put beside God (12.39) and the many "names which you have named" (12:40), the goddesses al-Lat, al-lizza and Manat are expressly mentioned (53.19 f.), also the gods Wadd, Suwa', Yaghuth, Ya'uq and Nasr (71.23), Dschibt and Taghut (4.51 in uncertain interpretation). What is more, in Muhammad's time one might have thought also of the Christian saints as regards those "whom they implore besides God" - for the Koran this is all in all a diverse pantheon of human aberration {5}. It is all the more surprising that the Koran, too, calls on us not to defame these delusional beings.

 

In the Background: Polemics on Idols

The inclination to revile the gods of others is obviously prior to the command not to do so. The security of one's own faith seems to be strengthened to the extent to which one succeeds in belittling the alien one. In this sense, the biblical word aims at the extreme antagonism:

 


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"Nothingness, all the gods of the nations. Yahweh it was who made the heavens" (1 Chronicles 16:26) - or in Luther's translation: "For all the pagans' gods are idols". In terms of historical linguistics, he thus got this particular word of debasement generally accepted.

But one needs not see such a sentence as a "insult", as long as it is not aimed at the other community and does not degrade those people who are attached to these "gods". Within one's own ranks, it first conduces to the assurance of one's faith, and this shall connect and oblige. But given such a polarization, it is difficult not to trespass the border-line between proclaiming one's faith and defaming others. The situations are rapidly changing, and talk changes into ridicule: "The makers of idols are all nothingness; the works they delight in serve no purpose. ... Who ever fashioned a god or cast an image without hope of gain?" Jes 44.9 f.). These castings are but "delusion, with no breath in them. They are futile, a laughable production" Jer 10.14 f.). The reduction of the foreign gods to their statues, which "cannot see or hear, eat or smell." (Deuteronomy 4:28) and even are in danger to totter and even to fall over Jes 40.20, 41.7, Jer 10, 4; Wis 13:16), is among the widely varied basic patterns of biblical mockery {6}. And the Koran mocks in the same tone: "Do they have feet by which they walk? Or do they have hands by which they strike? Or do they have eyes by which they see? Or do they have ears by which they hear?" (7.195).

The foreign gods experience the most shameful humiliation when their figures and shrines are destroyed (as in Ex 34,12 f. - Israel's occupation and settlement of land), and even the killing of their followers (as in the story of the "golden calf" Ex 32,20.27 f. or the contest with the prophets of Baal 1 Kings 18.40). In 2 Kings 10.27 we read about a particularly tough profanation of the sanctuary following the assassination of the idolaters: "They demolished Baal's image and demolished Baal's temple too, making it into a latrine, which it still is today."

In some such biblical stories the reciprocity of aggression is manifest. But later Jewish traditions characteristically insert hostility, ridicule and destruction of this kind already in the story of Abraham, and thus enshrine them in the primal situation of faith - prior to all the circumstances of historical vicissitudes. While the Bible confines itself to a short and undramatic passage about Abraham's separation from his family: "They served other gods. I then brought your ancestor Abraham from beyond the River ...." (Joshua 24.2 - the preceding narrative of the departure of Abraham in Genesis 12 does not yet have even this concise motivation of religious alienation). But the Book of Jubilees, a text of the second or third century BC, which was esteemed also in early Christianity, and further traditions tell of violent clashes between Abraham and his father together with his folks. Relevant scenes can also be found in the Quran {7}. Here, in his belief in the One God, Abraham does not only distance himself from his polytheistic environment but aggressively attacks it with mockery.

 


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He reproaches his father, like biblical polemics against idols, for the folly of serving "that which does not hear and does not see and will not benefit you at all? (19,42), and he warns him of being a "friend and companion of Satan" (19.45). In another drastically described scene (21.52 to 70) Abraham smashes the idols to pieces, mockes those who worship them, and finally scolds hotly and contemptously, "Uff to you and to what you worship instead of Allah!" (V. 67).

In both scenes Abraham's behavior leads to deadly hostility, but he is not blamed for it. His father threatens to stone him (19.46) and his folks call to each other, "Burn him and support your gods - if you are to act." (21.68). In the end, he is saved by God's commanding word, "O fire, be coolness and safety upon Abraham!" (21.69) and makes thus his opponents "the greatest losers" - "They intended for him harm" (21.70) - but only Abraham's in advance announced "plan" (v. 57) succeeds.

In March 2001 we saw a drastic updating of this story: the blowing-up of the Buddha statues in Afghanistan's Bamiyan valley, staged with previous notice to the world public. What was regarded as "World Heritage" by the UNESCO, as a powerful witness to the piety of a religion, was for the Taliban only a pagan sculpture - it had to be destroyed like the idols in Abraham's time. Apart from the two largest statues of 53 and 35 meters, a number of smaller ones has been destroyed. They date back to the 3rd to 10th century. Their cultural importance is also manifested by the fact that they were located at a main trade route from Europe to the Far East. The fact that they were visited last rather out of tourist curiosity than pious devotion was insignificant for the Taliban. The brutal action with dynamite had its small-scale counterpart and its apparent justification in Abraham's tangible deed.

However, what can the soothing appeals not to defame what is worshipped by other people still mean in such literary and real circumstances? But they are definitely written down. Remarkable in their specificity, they urge us to reflect on them and the contradictions of their world.

 

Negotiations

Conflicting messages and instructions do not only embarrass the readers and listeners but can also clear a space for them, so that they are able to find out what these words mean to them. But this requires a mindset which cannot be taken for granted as far as the Holy Scriptures are concerned. The more stable their authority is the more one expects from them the solution of what may yet be only seemingly inconsistent. One had only to read correctly, then one would also find the real meaning.

 


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The most obvious method is to trace the differences to different situations with changing cultural and political conditions and to the individual peculiarities of the authors. This is particularly evident in the biblical texts from many centuries, the more so when we add their translations. The situation is more difficult as regards the Koran: according to the traditional Muslim point of view it is regarded as the direct and sole word of God and was handed over to Muhammad for the sole reason that it is proclaimed. The Islamic theology does not, as from time immemorial the Christian, know the additional role of a "second author" {8}. And yet, it, too, discusses the question to what degree human circumstances entered in what the Koran says and what can be read there.

Already the early Islamic exegesis developed two ways of relativizing certain passages and phrases: First, the question of the "causes of revelation" (occasions for a revelation) and, secondly, the assumption of situational "abrogations" (suspensions, cancellations - which are, understandably, only possible with regard to rules of conduct and ritual instructions but not as far as fundamental beliefs are concerned) {9}. Both have led to extensive historical exploration and insight - naturally according to the time- and faith-conditioned possibilities, and both play still an important role in the Islamic interpretation of the Scripture, also for the assessment of verse 6.108 with its moderate attitude.

They agreed on the fact that most parts of the sixth sura date from Muhammad's Meccan period. The majority of the Western sciences of the Koran has joined this view and at the same time more accurately identified the last years of this phase: about 620-622. At that time, the life of Muhammad and his followers was burdened by strong hostility, threats and repression. Due to this situation, the commentators consider the call, namely not to hurt the unbelievers as regards the things to which they are attached, to be understandable and justified, the more so as its intention is added to the verse: "And do not insult those they invoke other than Allah, lest they insult Allah in enmity without knowledge!" The mastery of their aggression should also motivate the opponents to show restraint. The series of Koranic verses, which are similarly formulated in order to avoid quarrels and to achieve compromises or reconciliation is numerous (contrary to the popular cliché that the Koran is a thoroughly aggressive book) {10}. The conditions of behavior are often also mentioned, whereas the intention is seldom as evident as in our verse. However, in the Koran it is a firmly coined liguistic and moral pattern that one could parry "the bad with the good" or "the better". In one place it is particularly impressively formulated: "And not equal are the good deed and the bad. Repel [evil] by that [deed] which is better; and thereupon the one whom between you and him is enmity [will become] as though he was a devoted friend (41.34 {11}).

 


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However, the clearer the demands are connected with conditions and intentions, the more it is obvious that their validity was possibly limited to promising situations or even abrogated by subsequent Koranic verses which respond to changing circumstances. In order to demonstrate that this is given in our case, many rigorous commentators quote above all the so-called "sword vers" (9.5). It has most probably been preached in the last years of Muhammad's life and, "as some later theorists believed, is supposed to have abrogated (stillgelegt) up to 124 earlier verses" {12}: "... kill the polytheists wherever you find them!" But this assessment of the conflicting statements of the Koran is controversial within Islam. Since the 19 century, these "sword verses" are applied to historically limited conditions and thus relativized. Those who want to have the matter definitely clarified must seek their evidence elsewhere than in the book. What they need are monopolies of interpretation, authoritative commentators and "readers", whom they can follow, because the Koran does not mark the passages which might be abrogated or at least restricted in their validity. It leaves the possibly outdated texts still as God's word. Thus, it turns out that the recourse to the situations where the texts emerged does by no means relieve the reader or listener from his responsibility and possible embarrassment but confronts him all the more with the question what these words mean to him.

Often, however, one chooses a seemingly simpler way out of the uncertainty: One keeps simply to the sentence which currently went down well, as if no passages existed which are opposed to it. Thus, the Qur'an commentary of Sayyid Qutb, the leading theoretician of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood (executed in 1966 under Gamal Abdel Nasser), considers quite simply "the attitude of decency, propriety and civilized behavior, as it befits those who believe in God," to be what the Qur'an in Surah 6.108 demands {13}. In article 12e of the "Universal Islamic Declaration of Human Rights" of 1981 {14} it says apodictically:

"No one shall hold in contempt or ridicule the religious beliefs of others or incite public hostility against them; respect for the religious feelings of others is obligatory on all Muslims: 'And do not insult ... ' (Qur'an 6.108)."

The limitations of this one verse are thus removed. It has been elevated to absolute validity, as if it would not be possible to refute it or at least to restrict its binding force and, in the case of a changed balance of power, to declare that it has been cancelled. With such a seemingly clear and undisputed acknowledgment, this verse is several thousand times present on the Internet as commonplace of Islamic self-portrayal - a shining evidence of tolerance {15}.

This increase in significance cannot be deduced from the Koran alone. Such appreciation is not attached to the verse already in the context of the Koran, but rather the Koran is read in the context of today's high esteem for religious tolerance.

 


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What was only a compromise in a time of social vulnerability, intended for the interrelationship of "do ut des", is now presented as a noble trait of faith. However, the conflicting opinion, namely to see these words only as a tactical command, is thereby not removed. On the contrary, the verse still leads to controversy.

It is different with the commandment of the Greek Bible, which is similar to the Quranic verse: "Thou shalt not revile the gods." (Ex 22:28) First, it is of course far less conspicuous than that of the Quran: it is not present in public quotes, to a great extent unknown, and has no topicality. However, in inter-religious comparison, it is instructive and illuminating for both sides. The common traits of the two sentences, both in form and content, cannot be missed, but there are also clear differences: The origin, i.e. the motivation of the biblical directive is not clearly visible and neither what exactly is advocated by it. If the obvious reference to the pagan gods was originally intended at all, it cannot be clearly found out whether one has to think here of "a sincere tolerance", "a tendency of compromising", "a piece of Jewish apologetics" {16} or even, as in the case of the Koran it suggests itself, only of a benefit calculus.

For all this there is evidence from the religious and cultural climate of Alexandria, up to the view expressed in the Letter of Aristeas: Zeus and the God of Israel would "only named with different names" but were basically identical {17}. In such an environment the commandment "Thou shalt not revile the gods", which is already the transformation of an older text for the Hellenistic situation, in turn entails negotiations and different adaptations. This applies also to the history of the Christian interpretation where one refutes the accusation that this verse was no longer compatible with the biblical monotheism {18}.

In such a context one may also think of the interpretation tactics of Paul, as the Acts of the Apostles tell us. How he in Athens overcomes his "anger at the sight of countless idols" (Acts 17:16) and leaves the by the Bible suggested polemics against idols behind: He takes as sample the "unknown God", as an epigraph on an altar reads, out from the polytheistic assembly of gods and goddesses and identifies him as the one true God - "it is in him that we live, and move, and exist" (Acts 17,23.28).

In view of their openness to different meanings, it is responsible and even necessary to consider time and again the understanding of religious testimonia, if one wants that they remain in touch with reality and an aid to orientation under changed conditions of life. This, however, we can only appreciate sufficiently, if we also see the competence of the faithful to bring their conditions of life and their ways of thinking into play, and if we do not leave out of account what they put aside or leave behind. Then also our two verses from Bible and Koran reveal the extent and weight of historical change, to which they are exposed. For it we turn to the present time.

 


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Change in Orientation

Today the reminder, not to revile alien gods, means largely preaching to the converted or simply leads nowhere. And yet it is not absolutely outdated. Christian mentalities give still rise to the question whether "Allah" is a "tin god" {19}. Even if such assertions are rather heard at the edge of the ecclesiastical spectrum, they nevertheless mark our societal climate and the widespread low regard for Islam. In the German language the use of the word "Allah" is often the expression of disrespectful distance {20}, despite the fact that the Arabic Bible consistently gives God this name; i.e. also Arabic-speaking Jews and Christians refer to "Allah".

Behind this is a tradition that reaches beyond the border-lines of denominations and, e.g. with Karl Barth, leads to the theologically momentous opinion: "The God of Mohammed is an idol, like all other tin gods. It is based on an optical illusion if one describes Christianity together with the Islam as 'monotheistic' religion." {21} With increased demarcation, Barth assesses "the so-called monotheism" of Islam as the "potentiation of all other paganism" {22}.

Accordingly, the "World Prayer Meeting for Peace", which took place in Assisi in October 1986 at the invitation of Pope John Paul II and to which the representatives of various religions, Hindus and Buddhists, Jews and Muslims and others came together, led to heated arguments and drastic criticism. Under the sharp claim to Christian exclusivity, one saw it as "a sin of the Pope against the first article of faith" and justified this opinion by referring to the Bible: "He has not considered what is at the beginning of the Ten Commandments: You shall have no other gods to rival me." {23} According to such a viewpoint, one could set against the prayer meeting of Assisi the other on Mount Carmel where the prophet Elijah staged a contest between the God of Israel and Baal, between God and the tin god (1 Kings 18) {24}. "As sinful participation in vain idolatry", for Christians the prayer meeting with the members of other religions should have been out of the question from the outset {25}.

But this clinging to the (short-sighted view of) tradition or the relapse into old patterns of demarcation shall here no longer be taken into account. The elements which have furthered the relationship with other religions are of greater significance.

Not tactical considerations, not the consideration of advantages and disadvantages of behavior, not the need for compromise for the sake of the common weal are crucial to the modern understanding of tolerance - what matters is the basic freedom of the individual person to decide in religious affairs. Decisive is not what is seen as "God", "gods" or "tin gods" nor what is seen as "true" or "wrong" but the dignity of the person who stands by their beliefs.

 


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Thus, it was possible that mere toleration was replaced by acknowledgment, the negatively formulated commandment by the positive: instead of not reviling the gods, what is required is to respect the members of other faiths. With it the old command is, of course, not cancelled, but in the changed context it has got a new meaning, or better said: it has been overtaken by a new mentality.

The arguments which already erupted at the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) show how difficult this conversion was for the church. The resistance was fierce, especially in the context of the "Declaration on Religious Freedom" (with the significant name of its first two words "Dignitatis Humanae"). Right up to the end it was uncertain whether this document would be adopted in the General Assembly of the Council. Those who refused to accept it assumed with good reason that it was here not only about the autonomy of the individual at a legal level but about a far-reaching change in the assessment of faith. Even as late as 1955, in religious education the magisterium had pre-formulated as the students' belief: "Other people must laboriously search for the truth that God has revealed. To me it is a gift from childhood." {26} It would be totally absurd to teach such a principle today. The downgrade between the ingroup and the "other", which is asserted by it, can no longer be conveyed.

The Second Vatican Council has acknowledged the religious and ideological pluralism of our society as commendable, despite the insecurities which originate from it and enter into the consciousness of the individual, because this pluralism makes it possible that all people who "have discovered the truth, or think they have discovered (it) ... " (DH 3) can come together in mutual respect, without drawing a clear border-line between the one and the other. They are not appreciated according to the degree of commonalities of their faith (as in "Nostra Aetate", the "Declaration on the Relationship of the Church to Non-Christian Religions"), but because of their fundamental ability and willingness to communicate and to listen to each other, as it is "proper to the dignity of the human person and his social nature" {27}. However, the warnings about the impending "relativism" and "subjectivism", which are propagated today within the church, show how anxiety-provoking this change is.

The situation is all the more dramatic, because the dignity of self-determination must consistently also be granted to those who do not believe in God. Godlessness was traditionally at the same time the epitome of immorality. But now to the sentence "Thou shalt not revile the gods." let us keep to this speech pattern - the variant is added: "Thou shalt not revile the atheists!" or, in the spirit of the Council said better more positively: "As regards questions of faith, thou shalt respect the dignity, freedom and personal responsibility of all people, even of the atheists!"

The distance between the ancient guideline and the modern implementation is enormous. Between them is a long way of revisions. Nobody can say that it has already reached its end.

 


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As it was in the past not yet foreseeable where we stand today, so it is also today an open question, where the path will lead. And as it ran from the distant past not in a straight line and people did not go on it in agreement, so it will continue to have its curves, detours and errors. Neither the sciences are able to find out nor is the magisterium able to decree what moves the religious consciousness when it perceives its environment and how it changes thereby through the various epochs.

Today, of course, the question of who is able to adapt to the changed, modern way of thinking is particularly explosive in view of Islam: the opposing religious mindsets and political tendencies in it. It is then primarily the task of the Muslims to settle among themselves the given tensions, namely to decide also about the question of what worth has the verse, so often quoted as evidence of the Islamic tolerance, for them, how do they understand it, and what follows from it for them. But Muslims will also be asked repeatedly from the outside what they stand for and how they deal with the different interpretations of what the Qur'an says. The decisive factor will be that this is not happening in a climate of prevailing distrust and not under the assumption that there is admittedly a position in the Islamic faith - the same for all Muslims and all time - but there is no way. Quite the contrary, we - Christians and Muslims - who are living in the same society are perhaps able to go together even the one or the other stretch of road. But this, too, is still widely open, and cannot be passed off as certain in a well-meaning attitude.

 

NOTES

{1} The counting is inconsistent: verse 27 in the Hebrew Bible, the today popular German translations as well as the Septuagint edition by A. Rahlfs is according to the Septuagint edition by W. Wevers like verse 28 in the Vulgate. In this essay we quote from Septuaginta deutsch, edited by W. Kraus and M. Karrer (Stuttgart 2009).

{2} The translations from the Old and New Testament follow mostly the "New Jerusalem Bible", [quotations from Koran are taken from http://quran.com/].

{3} See M. Karrer, Begegnung u. Widerspruch, in: Religionen unterwegs 13 (2007) No. 4, 9-15, 15, note 14.

{4} So it said still in the edition of 1912, but in quotation marks which obscure the sense: "Thou shalt not curse the 'gods'." Only the later revisions use the word "God" here.

{5} As overview see G. R. Hawting, Idolatry and Idolaters, in: Encyclopaedia of the Qur'än 2, 476-480; the same, Idols and Images, in the same place 2,481-484; M. Mir, Polytheism and Atheism, in the same place 4, 158-162.

{6} See H. U. Steymans, Götterpolemik (AT), in: Wissenschaftliches Bibellexikon (wibilex.de). About the opposite trends of theological communicating "in der Minderzahl", "uneinheitlich in Terminologie und Lösungsvorschlägen", "sachlich unausgeglichen neben den anderen Texten" see W. Groß, YHWH u. die Religionen der Nicht-Israeliten, in: ThQ 169 (1989) 34-44, 44.

{7} See H. Speyer, Die biblischen Erzählungen im Qoran (Gräfenhainichen 1931) (reprint Hildesheim ³1988) 130-140.

 


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{8} About the distinction between "auctor principalis" (God as literary originator) and "auctor secundarius" (the human writer) see H. Gabel, Inspiration, III. Theologie- u. dogmengeschichtlich, in: LThK3, volume 5, 535-538, 536.

{9} See A. Radtke, Offenbarung zwischen Gesetz u. Geschichte (Wiesbaden 2003) 39-58 (Asbab an-nuzul - Offenbarung als historisches Ereignis [Revelation as historical event]), 59-74 (Nash, Die relativierte Autorität der Schrift [The relativized authority of the Scripture]).

{10} See the placement of Sura 6.108 among a number of other rules of conduct of the Koran, which are keen to avoid controversy, in A. Th. Khoury, Toleranz im Islam (München 1980) 22; and my overview "Gewalt u. Gewaltverzicht im Koran" (duepublico.uni-duisburg-essen.de/servlets/DocumentServlet?id=15449

{11} See also 13,22; 23,96; 28,54.

{12} J. van Ess, Der Fehltritt des Gelehrten (Heidelberg 2001) 163; M. Rohe, Das islamische Recht. Geschichte u. Gegenwart (München 2008) 149 with note 562.

{13} Sayyid Qutb, In the Shade of the Qur'än, Vol. 5, Surah 6 (Leicester 2002) 232: "an attitude of propriety, decency and refinement ...".

{14} Written by the "Islamic Council of Europe" (a non-official representative of the "Organization of the Islamic Conference", which is supported by more than 50 countries with Muslim populations), published in Paris; translated into German and commented by M. Forstner, Cibedo-Dokumentation, no. 15/16 (Frankfurt 1982).

{15} See the entries under the English search input "sura [surah] 6:108".

{16} P. W. van der Horst, "Thou shalt not revile the gods". The LXX translation of Ex. 22:28 (27), its Background and influence, in: The Studia Philonica Annual 5 (1993) 1-8, 1 f.

{17} Arist 16; quoted from K. Müller, Aristeasbrief, in: TRE, volume 3, 719-723, 720. The pseudonymous Jewish writing probably dates from the second Half of the 2nd Century BC

{18} About apologetic responses that "gods" meant rulers or also judges, bishops, priests - as in the second half of the verse; see van der Horst (note 16) 4-8.

{19} See M. Bongardt, Sind Muslime Götzendiener? in: HerKorr 62 (2008) 29-32.

{20} See for instance the whole host of book titles of the one author H.-P. Raddatz: "Von Allah zum Terror", "Allahs Schleier", "Allah im Wunderland: Geld, Sex und Machteliten", "Von Gott zu Allah?", "Allahs Frauen"; in contrast H. Bobzin, "Allah" oder "Gott"? in: MThZ 52 (2001) 16-25.

{21} K. Barth, Gotteserkenntnis u. Gottesdienst nach reformatorischer Lehre (Zollikon 1938) 57; approvingly quoted e.g. by J. Bouman, Der Glaube an den einen Gott im Christentum u. im Islam (Gießen 1983) 10.

{22} K. Barth, Die kirchliche Dogmatik 2,1 (Zürich 41958) 505.

{23} So F. Schmidberger, der Generalobere der Priesterbruderschaft Pius XII., quoted from G. Riedl, Modell Assisi (Berlin 1998) 14; see also the "small anthology" about traditionalist polemics, a "mixture of panic, anxiety and hatred", quoted from M. Seckler, Synodos der Religionen, in: ThQ 169 (1989) 5-24, 5f.

{24} See Riedl (note 23).

{25} In the same place 15, in summary this applies to "the followers of Karl Barth's 'Dialectical Theology' or to evangelical circles of Churches of the Reformation".

{26} Katholischer Katechismus der Bistümer Deutschlands (Freiburg 1955) (commonly called "the green catechism") 123.

{27} DH 3. In the official German translation first the "path of free research" is mentioned. This is incorrect. According to meaning and linguistic usage of the context "... libera ... inquisition" means "free inquiry", "exploration", i.e. mindfulness, reflection and mutual understanding - but not a scientific process.

 

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