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Hans Zirker

The Fictional Side of Religion from an Interreligious Perspective


From: Stimmen der Zeit, 1/2014, P. 14-24.
webmaster's own, not authorized translation


    The modern critique of religion reproached the religion for fictionality. HANS ZIRKER, professor emeritus of systematic theology at the University of Duisburg-Essen, examines the importance of fiction for religions with regard to the inter-religious understanding.


It is a well-known critical objection that religions are products of human imagination, fantastic projections of earthly realities. It stands to reason that the defense responses against this above all insist on reality and experience. But this has its limitations. One therefore readily concedes that not everything must be understood "literally," many things are meant "only figuratively", according to our "way of thinking." But what is said seems then to be like a garment around what is "really meant," as a mere means of expression. The idea that fiction - the made-up stories and imaginations - reach up to the middle of religious faith and possibly constitutes its essence is disturbing. This will be examined here, also in the interest of inter-religious understanding. For the sake of the current urgency, Islam is taken as dialogue partner, in addition to the biblical testimony of the Koran.


Reality and Fiction - Blurred Border-lines

With regard to the initial semblance, the terms "real" and "fictitious" clearly contrast with each other. "Reality," as one might say tautologically, is precisely what is real. "Fictitious," in contrast, are all the things which we imagine (and their literary, cinematic or otherwise designed representations are "fictional"). However, as soon as one tries to examine more precisely the relationship of the two areas, they are deeply tangled with each other {1}.

On the one hand, what we take as reality is always created also by us. We perceive and select. We make connections and draw border-lines. We emphasize the one thing and overlook the other one or even disparagingly push it aside - we compose. Here, limits are certainly imposed on us. From the outside by those things upon which we come with our senses, and from the inside by irrefutable insights. However, we are involved to such an extent in the construction of our reality that philosophical positions and movements could emerge which question our relation to reality at all, or explicitly deny it. In the book of history of mind, they are accordingly entered as "fictionalistic."

Nietzsche for instance asserted hyper-pointedly, "There are no facts, only interpretations." {2}. According to him, cognition is always at the same time invention. The things which are real for us are "always only a simplification for the sake of practical purposes" {3}.



Even though such extreme theses are only signals for a problem, they include nevertheless a plausible core. In an admirable formulation Hans Blumenberg points out the subjective constitution of our reality, "The connection of the possessive pronoun with the expression 'reality' is characteristic of this term." {4} Of course, this subjectivity is socially embodied. Our reality is always also a "social construction" {5}.

On the other hand, everything that we unselfconsciously recognize as fictitious is always constructed with the help of elements of our world. From this it gains - from fairytales up to utopias - its possible force to address us in such a way that we notice, "that's us" or "this is aimed at us." Not everything, of course, affects us equally seriously. From some statements we learn that we and our world are at stake, whereas other words seem just be said unthinkingly and are of no importance for us - up to banalities. Other things, however, perhaps urge us in the first place to decide what they might mean to us, what horizons are opened up by them, and what dimensions of our life they foreshadow.


The Disregard of Fiction

According to general assumption, the biblical traditions have become problematic above all in two respects for our modern thinking. On the one hand, the confidence in them has declined, due to the historical-critical findings. Alleged authors of sacred writings disappeared into the anonymity of immeasurable strands of tradition or behind the fiction of their pseudonyms. Actors who had been taken for historical remained only graspable as literary figures. Reports became legends, reliable testimonies became devout poetry. Have Abraham and Moses ever existed, has the exodus of the twelve tribes of Israel out of Egypt ever taken place, has the discovery of the empty tomb at "the third day" ever happened? Which relation is between the "Christ of faith" and the "historical Jesus"? In these and similar questions, the careful study of the sources came to more differentiated insights than the radical critique. But this could no longer fundamentally change the situation.

Added to this was the other, the radical change in the view of our world view, due to scientific findings. The cosmic spaces, times and events allowed no longer to regard the world as intended for man. The idea of the evolutionary interplay between chance and selection opposed the faith in a methodically designed and targeted creation. The general validity of the laws of nature made the testimonies of miracles as powerful means of revelation even eccentric.

Under the impression of this criticism from two directions of impact it is easily overlooked, in what respect and to what extent the fictional traits of religion are already perceived and considered from the perspective of their preconditions. To make oneself aware of this, is significant not only out of apologetic interests, but primarily for the sake of the religious self-understanding.



The poetic commitment to what "one has to invent for the truth's sake" {6} should provide ample food for thought also with regard to the self-responsibility of religious belief. As important as its probation is in the needs of our world, so necessary is it also to recognize the importance of what goes beyond the unquestionable reality. It is precisely this transcendence which turns out to be an essential element of religion. Without it, religion would lose itself.


Three Types of Religious Fictionality

The fictional traits in the statements of religious belief are inconsistent. Three kinds belong to the basic stock of the texts. They clearly differ from each other, and each has its special function. The first two are rather easily accessible and will therefore be treated briefly in the following. The third type, however, is religiously irritating but particularly revealing.

First, we have the direct fictional speech. In the Song of Songs of the Old Testament, for instance, two young people sing about their love for each other. Apart from their female and male role, they have no further identity. The fact that this text has already early been pictorially related to the relationship between God and his people Israel or to Christ and his Church, underlines its interpretable character: it is open to different interpretations. The various biblical parables are in the same way fictional entities. In Jesus' sermons they often begin with the formula, "With the kingdom of heaven is it as if .... / like with ..." (in Mt beginning with 13:24). Also the Koran knows such forms of speech:

"And the likeness of those who spend their wealth in search of Allah's pleasure, and for the strengthening of their souls, is as the likeness of a garden on a height. The rainstorm smiteth it and it bringeth forth its fruit twofold. And if the rainstorm smite it not, then the shower. Allah is Seer of what ye do," (2,265)

The works of the unbelievers, however, are "as darkness on a vast, abysmal sea. There covereth him a wave, above which is a wave, above which is a cloud. Layer upon layer of darkness. When he holdeth out his hand he scarce can see it." (24,40) The Quran occasionally refers explicitly even to the Bible. About the faithful it says:

"Such is their likeness in the Torah and their likeness in the Gospel - like as sown corn that sendeth forth its shoot and strengtheneth it and riseth firm upon its stalk, delighting the sowers." (48,29) {7}

The function of such fictionality includes not only the illustration of the matter which has to be told, not only the aesthetic design and the parenetic forcefulness of speech, but also the reference to the fact that the mentioned reality transcends superficially describable facts.



The second type of fiction results from the amount of what is contained in the traditions as regards historically uncertain matters or certainly unhistorical fact. A clear border-line between the one and the other cannot be drawn, and the scope of the entire material cannot be established universally valid. This strengthens the role of those who take up these religious expressions. First, the believers and their communities are directly affected, then - in clinical expertise - the scientists, and finally all those who participate in any way in the adoption of those testimonies. They all are facing the question: As what may we interpret this or that passage? In some cases, the answer in favor or against the historicity is generally unavoidable. In others it remains controversial, partly due to lack of reliable sources, partly due to religious beliefs.

It might meet without exception with approval that the story of the Tower of Babel is a fictional story, even if the archaeologically verifiable ziggurats of Mesopotamia belong to the narrative material. The conditions for the reception, as e.g. in the "infancy narratives" at the beginning of Matthew's and Luke's gospel, however, are completely different. Not only from scientific preconditions, here "the with many problems connected question about its historical value arises" {8}. But also ideological and dogmatic viewpoints are of importance. It must give food for thought that in the stories about Jesus, as a whole, we have to reckon "with a high proportion of theological constructions and poetic imagination" {9}. If we assume that Jesus never walked "across the sea" (Mt 14:25), never "shouted at the winds and the sea that they died down and became calm" (Mt 8:26), then it is not enough to explore exegetically where these motifs come from. Rather, we are faced with the task to learn to read them in the manner of "as if ... ," i.e. in their "fictional reality" {10}.

It is similar with those texts which make us aware of what has not yet happened but what we should expect in the Last Days. In this perspective, historical criteria are unnecessary. But it remains all the more open, with what degree of reality these stories are to be read.

Not every religion is equally faced with such literary decisions. In the discussions about the question of what corresponds to the real history and what was told fictionally, faith-specific moments become clearly apparent. By the recognition of the human authorship, the negotiations about such issues might be somewhat relaxed when biblical traditions are at stake. In his introduction (2 Macc 2, 19-32), the author of 2 Maccabbees refers in amusing distance to the efforts of historians. He leaves it to them to examine critically the details, because what matters to him is something else, namely to offer his readers, according to their needs, entertaining useful information. He sees himself as an architect, as painter and decorator when they build a house, as a cook when he prepares a delicious meal. Within the biblical writings, this is admittedly an unusual (deuterocanonical) voice. It does not adopt the serious tone as e.g. the author of the Gospel of Luke, who follows those who carefully and reliably strive to collect and compile the reported things (Lk 1, 1-4). But also this author admits that he literarily composes.



For Islam, in such a context mainly two characteristics are significant. On the one hand, what it tells is not a comprehensive major narrative, a history of salvation, but consists in a large number of mainly small pieces. They were already before the Koran in circulation. By alluding to them, Muhammad had only to remind his listeners, "Has not the news reached you of those who disbelieved aforetime?" (64.5). The past has its reminder value for the sake of the present. It is therefore totally seen typologically. The now living people should grasp themselves in the image of those who preceded them. God's messengers came also to those people and, "In their history verily there is a lesson for men of understanding." (12.111) Especially the parts about Abraham, Moses and their people are in this manner applied to Muhammad and his contemporaries. Here, it is not about a one-time occurence in the past but about something that returns in the same way. In such a perspective, it could in principle be easier primarily to appreciate the narrative as an example, and to postpone the question of its historical reality. But this view is opposed by something else.

The Koran, in all its parts, is believed to be God's word. It lets the bygone things be heard, even though it only fragmentarily alludes to them. The narrated things have their value from the reliability of God. However, the Koran designates a circumstance which could create room - if one would look for it. In view of its multifarious comparisons, metaphors and images, of which we have already spoken and will immediately speak again, God emphasizes in formulaically repeated variations, "We have coined for mankind in this Qur'an all kinds of similitudes." (30,58) Similar words are admittedly never said in relation to the traditions of former events. It is totally alien to the Koran to distinguish between what might be historical and what is likely to be fictitious {11}. But in the Koran, God basically presents himself also as narrator of only imagined past events, as e.g. in 18, 32-44 with the allegorical story of two men and their gardens, of which one was destroyed as a punishment.

Historical-critical standards, as they have been worked out with regard to biblical traditions, are only occasionally and with severe resistance applied by Muslim scholars to the Koran. But different approaches prove that also in this respect the cultural border-lines are permeable and mentalities are changing {12}.

A third type of fiction, which is fundamental and momentous for the religious self-understanding, becomes apparent in our talking about God. The problem here is not whether God exists but, already before this, the question of from where the language when it refers to Him shall gain its meaning at all.



God and "God"

The fact that God "has created" the world, that He "speaks" to people and "leads" them, that He is "merciful" but also "punishes" etc. is one of the basic statements of Jewish, Christian and Muslim faith. If we ask what this means, we come to narratives in which God acts so and so, as an actor among others in our world. However aloof He might be - in terms of space, time, and the extent of His capabilities - He nevertheless acts within the fabric of our social relations; He is part of a multiplicity.

In those stories it may here and there already be seen that we are not allowed to content ourselves with these objective ideas of God, that He must be seen as the "wholly other." In the context of Moses' vocation, the revelation of God's name (Exodus 3:14 f) is actually the refusal to reveal His name; it is a mere reference to the fact that he will be there. However, the fact that God refuses the pictorial access to Him and eludes our classifications is told to us in stories in which He nevertheless is subject among subjects, object besides objects. Immediately before God, in a concealing-revealing manner discloses His name, He introduces Himself to Moses as the "God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Jacob, and the God of Isaac" (v. 6), and thus as the one who has not only been invoked by those fathers but appeared in their scenes - "And He (YHWH) appeared to him, Abraham, at the oaks of Mamre, as he in the noonday heat sat at the entrance of the tent" (Gen 18:1).

Of course, we may easily keep such tales away from us. We may attribute them to little-known ideas. We may let some stories rest, and turn our attention to others, with which we may cope better. But the dilemma remains: either we leave God in the language of our world, our relationships and our actions or our speech about Him becomes meaningless. Even if we only rely on scarce statements of confidence (that he is "is here" and "helps us"), on non-mythically appealing metaphors (that he "holds us in His hands") - these sentences live always by our imagination. Metaphors are condensed fictions. We are able to say what we connect with them, why we take them up and - in this sense - what they mean to us. But we cannot say what else they say about God beyond these fictions. We may rely on the attributes which are boundlessly assigned to God ("omnipotent", "omniscient") or on the transcendence-referencing negations ("infinite," "unfathomable") and even then we remain still trapped in our fictional material. As a last option we have the cryptic abandonment of any name - God as "the mystery of our lives." But this abstraction can only be useful if we leave it in the context of the more powerful metaphorical language or reconnect it to it.

Have we God always only in a meaning which is thought in analogy to our circumstances and projected beyond them? God only meaningful in the context of our texts? God only as "God"?



Precisely this is asserted with serious arguments by representatives of a linguistic-analytical philosophical school with a tendency to religious criticism {13}. We need not look into the controversies connected with it in the field of philosophy. The point at issue rather is, how and in what sense we may answer for corresponding issues also under religious presuppositions.

We get concise and inspiring statements for this above all by the Koran. It reflects repeatedly on its own character, especially that of its speech about God. This is due to the pressure of the surrounding polytheistic and Christian language worlds. The Koran's impulses in the field of lingustic theory are accordingly significant for interreligious understanding.

In the Qur'an, the heated argument with the polytheists is due to the fact that both sides reproach each other for the same thing: its faith were a product of phantasy {14}. On the one side Mohammed's adversaries mock, "This is a wizard, a charlatan. Has he made the gods (all) into one Allah? [...] This is naught but an invention" (38.4 f. 7). The Quran counters them and says (here by Josef in view of the gods of Egypt), "Are divers lords better, or Allah the One, Almighty? Those whom ye worship beside Him are but names which ye have named, ye and your fathers" (12,39).

Here, not simply poly- and monotheism confront each other but different boundaries between reality and fiction. With regard to the right speech about God (and thus also for the cult), there is a crucial criterion in the Koran, "There is nothing whatever like unto Him" (42:11) - "And there is none comparable unto Him" (112.4) - with the consequence, "Invent not similitudes for Allah!" (16,74). It is understandable that in this perspective the Christian belief that Jesus was "Son of God" is already for linguistic reasons wrong.

But the Koran speaks of God often freely in an anthropomorphic way. God "talks" and "sees", "leads" and "leads astray", "writes down" and "settles up with someone", as this can be said also in biblical language and is familiar to us as human action. However, in the Koran a significant border-line becomes apparent here. To apply human feelings to God, as e.g. that He "regrets" his deed (Gen 6:6) or that He was "jealous" (Deut 5:9) would after all go too far for the Koran. But that in the Koran the correspondence between God and man may even go up to acts of violence is proved by the martial reminder, "And you did not smite when you smote (the enemy), but it was Allah Who smote" (8:17).

This fundamental dependence of the god-related speech on human reality continues in the attributes which are ascribed to God in the Koran. In a detailed sequence His name is

"Beneficent, Merciful [...] the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One, Peace, the Keeper of Faith, the Guardian, the Majestic, the Compeller, the Superb [...] the Creator, the Shaper out of naught, the Fashioner [...] the Mighty, the Wise" (59, 22-24).



All of these names apart from "the Holy One" come from intramundane relations. In contrast to the majestic names, God is called elsewhere also in a simply affable kind "the best host" (23,29).

If so, what about the directive to avoid forming "comparisons" with reference to God? In the Koran, the answer is found immediately after the wide-ranging speech, which is rich in metaphors. In the mighty "verse on light" (24:35) where it creates the most poetic image "Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth [...] Light upon light" it says didactically, "Allah speaketh to mankind in allegories." The Koran sees us therefore empowered by God to speak of him in certain fictional forms, and He acquaints us with the appropriate language. We are not responsible for it, and we could also not be it.

The principle that all names of God, all statements about him, and our relationship are only meaningful if they are "coined" by him is confirmed by the Quran in emphatic repetitions - and necessarily remains here again trapped in the fictional language, because the minting of linguistic phrases as well as of coins is understandable to us from human doing.

However, for Islamic theology the question of how one can say something about God was thus not yet settled. It rather led to fierce controversies. The spectrum of positions ranged from a naive anthropomorphic realism (which was forbidden by the Koran and accordingly could not prevail) over metaphorical interpretations (which must remain half-hearted) up to the instruction that one should use the language without determining its content - "without a how" {15} -, alone in the pragmatic confidence that this would help us appropriately to understand our relation to God and to behave accordingly. However, one question remains here: How should the reference to "God" to "Him" with the words "he" and "you" remain unaffected and realistic if its entire linguistic environment loses this character?

The biblical writings do not so vigorously demand as the Qur'an to reflect on the language. The polemics against idols cited in DeuteroIsaiah aimed especially at the by craftsmen casted images, and the statement that God "dwells in unapproachable light" and "No man has ever seen Him" (1 Tim 6:16) draws no conclusions for the language. However, this happens intensively in the history of theology. Here we will only refer to two representative voices, not in the sequence of occurrence but according to their hermeneutical intensification.

In his "examination of the Koran" (1460/61, but similarly also in other works) {16}, Nicholas of Cusa states that God, considered from the point of view "first cause," [für sich genommen] "transcends all sense perception, every thought, every name and every Nameable." In this respect, it is impossible to "name Him either the One or the Triune also not good, wise, Father, Son or Holy Spirit, and this applies to everything that we may say or think about him. This means that we cannot, in the true sense, say and assert something about him what would not be transcended by him." In this regard, what remains for us to do is to "look up in silence to him, to immerse ourselves in him, and to worship him."



This is not the opening of negative theology, because apart from this, the dimension of positive speech about God is also preserved. The latter is justified in Nicholas of Cusa, in view of God's creation of the world, above all "in analogy to the rational activity" of man. But it is remarkable in what high esteem here, in view of Islam, are held both the inability of language and religious relinquishment of language.

Already a century before Nicholas of Cusa, Meister Eckhart ( 1328) deals more drastically with this problem. As an example for this may serve one of his sermons {17}. Eckhart radically abandons the in Nicholas of Cusa given idea that God admittedly transcends infinitely everything that we say of him but that these traits nevertheless apply to him according to his boundlessness:

"If I say, 'God is good' - this is not true. I (rather) am good, but God is not good [...] For what is good can become better, what can become better can become the very best. [...] All three - 'good', 'better' and 'best of all' - are far from God, for he is above everything [...] an entity that transcends everything else [überseiendes], and a nothingness that is beyond everything [überseiende]!"

And towards the end of the sermon, Eckhart asks rhetorically condensed, "For if you love God as he is God, as he is spirit, as he is person, and as he is image - all this must go."

But how is in such speechlessness faith still communicable, how is it still shared by a community, how is it more than mystical isolation? Eckhart shows this with the last sentence of his sermon, "God may help us to it. Amen." He returns to the language, the nature of which - as he has previously explained - was thoroughly fictional. It can therefore never convey the final reality [das Endgültige] to him, not even inadequately. He passes it on to his parishioners, so that they may find their confidence in it.

The result of all this is, to say it more profane, that the language of our faith has been handed down to us in historical and social communication. And we may meaningfully use them, as far as they prove their worth for us in our life contexts, even if the reality which, beyond the semantical fictionality and what is practically livable, corresponds to these concepts is withdrawn from us. What has to prove its worth is the fundamental assumption that certain, for us important traditions, however fictional, help us confidently to embrace our life and to endure its unreasonable demands. But the decisions on such a probation remain provisional in principle. As they intersubjectively obviously turn out to be not unanimous and are disputed, they are equally also in terms of life and history of religion always unfinished and revisable.



Of particular importance is the prayer in this context. Meister Eckhart, at the end of his sermon where all human conceptions of God are strictly rejected, returns to the simple request, "God may help us to it." Thus, also every personal prayer creates a relation. You may call it fictitious but nevertheless sincerely make it your own. Unlike the fictional stories, when we pray not stories are told but a communicative scene is created: The worshiper is here and God is "there." He listens to us. We implore him to help us. We thank him for his gift or fall silent because God hides. In whatever way the worshipers relate to God, they create roles out of human imagination. To know that this is so, needs not reduce the seriousness but may reaffirm and deepen it. In that respect, the worth of this form of life is proved.


From Apologetic Narrow-mindedness to Inter-religious Understanding

The modern critique of religion reproached above all Christianity for the unenlightened fictional character of its faith, but applied it then to religion as such. Symptomatic of this is the result of Ludwig Feuerbach's writings "The essence of Christianity" (1841) and "The Essence of Religion" (1846). Thus, an interreligious community of fate was suggested to the Christians. First, they did naturally not feel obliged to to accept this. If other religions should be challenged - especially the Jewish and the Islamic faith were also affected - it seemed not to be in the Christian interest to side with them. Meanwhile, the conditions of inter-religious perceptions have changed significantly. It brings us closer to each other to see to what extent our respective faith is occupied by fictions, and it encourages us to reach agreement about ourselves in a larger horizon.

A medieval document may illustrate this. The author of the writing "Against the divinity of Jesus" {18} - according to popular, but uncertain attribution the great Muslim theologian Al-Ghazali ( 1111) - assumes that Christians would speak in the ordinary sense of Jesus as God's "son" and of God as his "Father." This is reprehensible for him. But in John's Gospel, in which he trusts, he reads that also Jesus had already said, "I and the Father are one." He takes no offense at this, because:

"When Jesus used this statement, and he [...] seeks to exclude misinterpretation of the meaning of a word, then he proves in this way that he was allowed to use these words and the aforementioned metaphorical manner of speech."

In the view of this author, the differences between the religions can also go back to the fact that they are pre-determined by their respective Shariah to follow different language rules. If Christians would only concede that they, too, do not literally but metaphorically understand their creed, they would be justified in this respect.



It is here not intended to say that the christological differences were thus really removed. But that we are able to go on, if we become aware of the extent to which our world, also that of our faith, is composed according to our respective assets of imagination and language.



{1} About the ambiguity of the relationship cf. the range of contributions in: Dieter Henrich / Wolfgang Iser (eds.), Funktionen des Fiktiven. München ²2007.

{2} Friedrich Nietzsche, Nachlaß. Werke in drei Bänden III. edited by Karl Schlechta. München 1966, 903.

{3} In the same place 547.

{4} Hans Blumenberg, Wirklichkeitsbegriff und Möglichkeit des Romans, in: Hans Robert Jauß (ed.), Nachahmung und Illusion. München ²1991, 9-27, 13.

{5} See the classic study by Peter L. Berger / Thomas Luckmann, The Social Construction of Reality. New York 1966 (in German Frankfurt 242012).

{6} Christa Wolf, Nachdenken über Christa T. Berlin 1975, 29.

{7} See Hans Zirker, Der Koran. Zugänge und Lesarten. Düsseldorf 22012, 43-49: Gleichnis, Vergleich und Beispiel (Lit.).

{8} Thomas Kauth, Kindheitsgeschichte Jesu. I. Neues Testament, in: LThK3, vol. 5, col. 1449 f., 1450.

{9} Wolfhart Pannenberg, Das Irreale des Glaubens, in: Henrich / Iser (note 1) 17-34, 33.

{10} See Hans Zirker, Jesus-Geschichten als phantastische Literatur, in: Der Evangelische Erzieher 35 (1983) 228-243; online:, Dokument 11062.

{11} See Franz Rosenthal, History and the Qur'än, in: Encyclopaedia of the Qur'än, vol. 2, 428-442, 428.

{12} See Mustafa Öztürk, Über die Notwendigkeit und die Methoden der Entmythologisierung des Koran, in: Die Welt des Islams 50 (2010) 278-299.

{13} See Hans Zirker, Sprachanalytische Religionskritik und das Erzählen von Gott, in: Religionspädagogische Beiträge, No. 10 (1982) 148-160; online:, Dokument 11587.

{14} See Zirker (note 7) 136-140: Streit um Realität und Fiktion.

{15} See Binyamin Abrahamov, The Bi-la Kayfa Doctrine and its Foundations in Islamic Theology, in: Arabica 42 (1995) 365-379.

{16} Nikolaus von Kues, Cribratio Alkorani. Sichtung des Korans. Zweites Buch. edited by Ludwig Hagemann / Reinhold Glei. Hamburg 1990, the following quotations 5: No. 88 and 11: No. 96.

{17} Modern High German, quoted from: Meister Eckhart, Deutsche Predigten und Traktate. edited and translated by Josef Quint. München 71995, 352-355 (= sermon 83 quoted from Meister Eckhart. Die deutschen Werke III. edited by the same Stuttgart 1976), the following quotations 353 u. 355.

{18} Translated in: Franz-Elmar Wilms, Al-Ghazälis Schrift wider die Gottheit Jesu. Leiden 1966, hereinafter cf. 79.


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