Author

Jeong Jae Yoo

Abstract

Despite the differences between Islam and Christianity, Islam is the only non-Christian religion in the world, which requires its adherents to believe that Jesus is one of the prophets of God. Ibn al-’Arabī, one of the Sufi mystics of the 12th century, wrote an entire chapter devoted to Jesus in his book, Fuṣūṣ al-ḥikam, translated as the Bezels (or Seals) of Wisdom. In this chapter, Jesus is characterized by five names that most clearly explain his attributes. These names are ‘the Spirit of God’, ‘the Word of God’, ‘the Breath of God’, ‘the Mercy of God’, and ‘the Slave of God’. Each of these names represents an important characteristic that Ibn al-’Arabī wishes to convey about Jesus as the Seal of the general Sainthood, his most famous notion manifested in all of Ibn al-’Arabī’s writings. Christian scholars such as Thomas Aquinas, St Anselm of Canterbury and Meister Eckhart – who lived during the same period - wrote a considerable amount on Christian doctrines. These writers discussed crucial topics such as the Trinity, the virgin birth, the Judgment day, the angels, and more. This thesis is a comparative study of Jesus as portrayed by Ibn al-’Arabī and the three Christian scholars: analyzing and comparing the embedded meanings of the five names mentioned above. It can be concluded that all of the differences between Ibn al-’Arabī and Christian scholars derived from fundamentally divergent perspectives on the deity of Jesus Christ. Although there are some superficial similarities, there is not any significant similarity between the two sides.

Department

Arab & Islamic Civilizations Department

Degree Name

MA in Arabic Studies

Date of Award

6-1-2013

Online Submission Date

March 2013

First Advisor

Ahmad, Nizamuddin

Committee Member 1

Talib, Adam

Committee Member 2

Reimer, Michael

Document Type

Thesis

Extent

89 p.

Library of Congress Subject Heading 1

Ibn al-ʻArabī, 1165-1240 Fuṣūṣ al-ḥikam.

Library of Congress Subject Heading 2

Jesus Christ -- Islamic interpretations.

Rights

The author retains all rights with regard to copyright. The author certifies that written permission from the owner(s) of third-party copyrighted matter included in the thesis, dissertation, paper, or record of study has been obtained. The author further certifies that IRB approval has been obtained for this thesis, or that IRB approval is not necessary for this thesis. Insofar as this thesis, dissertation, paper, or record of study is an educational record as defined in the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 USC 1232g), the author has granted consent to disclosure of it to anyone who requests a copy.

IRB

Approval has been obtained for this item

Comments

I would like to thank my supervisor, Dr. Saiyad Nizamuddin Ahmad, for all the help he has given me in this work; to my two readers Dr. Michael Reimer and Dr. Adam Talib for providing me with constructive comments.

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