The Christian Bible in a Muslim Context

The research project entitled The Christian Bible in a Muslim Context is conducted by Dr Miriam Lindgren Hjälm with funding from the Swedish Research Council (2017-01630).

After the Muslim conquests of the Near East, many Christians faced new religious and intellectual challenges posed by an ascendant Islam and adjusted their traditions in an ongoing process of accommodation and/or resistance with respect to the dominant culture. This dialectical tension motivated them to translate their Scriptures and other theological texts into Arabic, a language intrinsically connected with Islam and the vernacular of the Empire, and to compose new tracts, often polemical in character. Over four years, Dr Miriam L Hjälm will study the conceptualization of and the exegetic approach to the Bible, especially as revealed in Christian Arabic manuscripts at the British Library. The project will be conducted in cooperation with scholars from Tel Aviv University who have extensively studied the social, intellectual and religious interactions between Judaism and Islam. This project contributes to tracing conceptual interfaces between religious communities in the Arabic-speaking world of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages.

Selected publications related to the project:

Hjälm, Miriam L., “Scriptures beyond Words: ‘Islamic’ Vocabulary in Early Christian Arabic Bible Translations,” Collectanea Christiana Orientalia 15 (2018), pp. 49–69:

Hjälm, Miriam L., “The Qurʾānic Subtext of Early Arabic Bible Translations” on the Biblia Arabica blog, 2019:ʾanic-subtext-of-early-arabic-bible-translations/

Hjälm, Miriam L., “Universal Wisdom in Defense of the Particular: Medieval Jewish and Christian Usage of Biblical Wisdom in Arabic Bible Treatises,” in Wisdom on the Move: Late Antique Traditions in Multicultural Conversation: Essays in Honor of Samuel Rubenson, edited by Susan Ashbrook Harvey, Thomas Arentzen, Henrik Rydell Johnsén and Andreas Westergren (Leiden: Brill: 2020), pp. 224–246.

Hjälm, Miriam L., “1.2.12 Arabic Texts,” in The Textual History of the Bible, vol. 2A. Edited by Frank Feder and Matthias. Leiden: Brill, 2020, pp. 483–495.

Hjälm, Miriam L., “1.1.10 The Arabic Canon,” in The Textual History of the Bible, vol. 2A. Edited by Frank Feder and Matthias Henze. Leiden: Brill, 2020, pp. 280–298.