What is a religion? How do we discern the boundaries between religions, or religious communities? When does Judaism become Judaism, Christianity become Christianity, Islam become Islam? Scholars have increasingly called into question the standard narratives created by the various orthodoxies, narratives of steadfastness and consistency, of long and courageous maintenance of true doctrine and right practice over the centuries, in the face of opposition (and at times persecution) at the hands of infidels or heretics.

The 11 chapters in this book, Geneses: A Comparative Study of the Historiographies of the Rise of Christianity, Rabbinic Judaism and Islam, written by an international group of specialists the languages, religions, laws and cultures of early Judaism, Christianity and Islam, tackle these questions through a comparative study of these narratives: their formation over time, and their use today. They explore three key aspects of the field: (1) the construction (and scholarly deconstruction) of the narratives of triumph (and defeat) of religions, (2) how  legal imperatives are constructed from religious narratives and sacred texts, and (3) contemporary ramifications of these issues. In doing so, they tap into the significant body of research over the last 30 years, which has shown the fluidity and malleability of these religious traditions in relation to each other and to more traditional "pagan" and Zoroastrian religions and philosophical traditions.

This book represents an important contribution to, and a valuable resource for, the burgeoning field of comparative history of the Abrahamic religions.

chapter |16 pages


ByJohn Tolan

part 17I|2 pages

Narratives of triumph and defeat

chapter Chapter 1|16 pages

The contours of Abrahamic identity: a Zoroastrian perspective

ByYishai Kiel

chapter Chapter 2|29 pages

The twilight of the ancient gods 1

ByDanuta Shanzer

chapter Chapter 3|23 pages

Simon the god: imagining the other in second-century Christianity

ByDuncan E. MacRae

chapter Chapter 4|11 pages

Contested ground in Gaza: the narrative of triumphalist Christianity

ByClaudia Rapp

part 115II|2 pages

Forging legal paradigms

chapter Chapter 6|15 pages

What is “Islamic” about geonic depictions of the Oral Torah? 1

ByMarc Herman

chapter Chapter 9|10 pages

Slavery and sexual ethics: divergence and change in Hanafi legal discourse

ByKaren Moukheiber

part 199III|2 pages

Contemporary echoes

chapter Chapter 11|22 pages

The Shahada and the creation of an Islamic identity

BySuleiman A. Mourad