Talking Points: Glen Bowersock on the Qur’an

Inevitably the Qur’an is rooted in its time, just as the brutal parts of the Hebrew Bible are. Even so, much of what the Qur’an proclaims is more benevolent and less barbarous than many of the fundamentalist doctrines that emerged in later centuries. We must remember that there is no jihad in the sense of holy war in the Qur’an and that there is no legal system called sharia. The Muslim Holy Book undoubtedly affirms the need to destroy those who take up arms against the One God. But it proudly acknowledges its affinity with the two other great monotheistic religions that preceded it and recognizes their prophets. This is why the Qur’an firmly anchors Islam among the Abrahamic religions.—Glen W. Bowersock, Professor Emeritus in the School of Historical Studies, in “The Voice of God,” The New York Review of Books, December 7, 2017,