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An Apology for the Christian Faith, to the Muslims

(c.800 AD)

"The library of the Monastery of Saint Catherine at Mount Sinai preserves, as Sinai ar. 154, a parchment codex usually dated to around the year 800— making it the oldest (reasonably well preserved) Arabic-language Christian book known to us today... This treatise, for which no witnesses besides the Mount Sinai codex are known, is an important starting point for the study of Chalcedonian Orthodox theology in the Arabic language and, indeed, for the study of Arabic Christian literature in general." (Mark N. Swanson, "An Apology for the Christian Faith," edited by Samuel Noble and Alexander Treiger, ch.1 of

(Amazon book, 2014)

 

An Apology for the Christian Faith, to the Muslims (Part I, Section B) 

says, "Then God expelled them from the Garden, and they dwelt opposite it; and God made the wall of the Garden to be of fire. Adam inherited rebellion, sin, and death, and [thenceforth] these ran in Adam’s progeny. No human being—prophet or otherwise—was able to save Adam’s progeny from rebellion, sin, and death... Thus God sent, from His Throne, His Word, who is from Himself—and saved Adam’s progeny. He clothed Himself in this defeated, enfeebled humanity from Mary the Good, whom God elected over the women of the worlds, and veiled Himself through her.* He destroyed, conquered, and overthrew the Devil by means of [this defeated, enfeebled humanity], and left him feeble and contemptible, no [longer] vaunting himself over Adam’s progeny, and severely distressed (when God defeated him by means of this humanity in which He had clothed Himself)."

[* = Swanson's footnote: The language of “veiling” is significant not only because of its previous use in Christological catechesis (in which Christ’s divinity is “veiled” by His humanity) but also because of the overtones of Qurʾan 42:51: God may speak to a mortal “from behind a veil.”]

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