Antiquity,  Articles,  Christianity,  recent posts,  Religion

A new Paradigm for the Rise of Islam

I. – The new paradigm for the Rise of Islam

(Footnotes are still not linked; this will be corrected soon)

Prophetic return to the “High-Place-Religion,” postponement and concealment of this return by post-prophetic Islam 1)

Each of the three biblical religions, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, exhibit lacunas of 200 to 250 years in the phases of the development of their canons of Holy Scriptures. Critical minds have always conjectured that behind these lacunas lie fundamental distortions of the original religious intentions of their founders and their communities. But hitherto the key to solve the riddle of these lacunas has not been found and so also the enigma behind the early lengthy lacuna of Islamic tradition remained unsolved.

But since the middle of the 19th century, Arabists and Islamists have already discussed many facts of the pre- and proto-history of Islam by means of contradictions with the traditional view of the genesis of Islam. Pre-Islamic Arabic poetry (in the main authentically transmitted) contains copious Koranic ideas and phrases long before the revelation of the Koran. And there is the general problem of the linguistic situation of pre- und proto-Islamic Central Arabia discussed as early as the 19th century. Carlo de Landberg (1848-1924) and Karl Vollers (1857-1909) contested with good reason the dogmatic tenet of the Islamic tradition that the sophisticated Arabic used in the classical Arabic poetry and known from the canonical Koran dominated the public life of Central Arabia already at the time of the prophet Muhammad, and they claimed to acknowledge the overwhelming dominance of popular tongues and a vernacular language (koine) in pre- and proto-Islamic Central Arabia. And on the basis of these data Karl Vollers tried to prove the existence of a vernacular “Ur-Koran,” whlich had in postprophetic times been recast into a standard-language-shaped piece of literature.

All this has not been enough to break open the traditional paradigm of the rise of Islam, which had been more and more consolidated since the second century (Year of the Hegira), but has always been questionable because of the broad lacuna in the early Islamic tradition about early Islamic history. It is only when the paradigm-destroying results of neighbouring disciplines were introduced as additional tools into Islamistic research in early Islamic history that a breach could be made in the traditional paradigm, from which the search could start for the foundation of the new paradigm of the genesis of Islam.

These paradigm-destroying results are on the one hand those of the Leben-Jesu-Forschung of Protestant theology, essentially those of Albert Schweitzer and his Swiss pupil Martin Werner. These results were made known to the English audience by S.G.F. Brandon’s translation of Martin Werner’s Die Entstehung des Christlichen Dogmas (Bern 1951 = The Formation of Christian Dogma, London, 1957).

Of equally great importance is the research into the pre-state societies built on family, clan, and tribe relations and regulated by blood feud and the right of hospitality (asylum). These findings, essential for the insight into the pre- and proto-Islamic state of affairs, emerged from two different fields of research, namely Old Testament studies (W.F. Albright, Otto Eissfeldt and others) and recent social-anthropology and ethnology (Arnold Cenlen, Claude Levi-Strauss, A.E. Jensen and others).

For the overthrow of the orthodox Islamic paradigm for the rise of Islam, the linguistic and literary-historical research in the Koran surely plays a central role. But all the attempts begun since the end of the 19th century (D.H. Müller, Rudolf Geyer, Karl Vollers) to elucidate the history of the editing of the Koran via reconstruction of the original strophic and koine-Arabic text, could finally succeed only after the addition of the critical Christian theological arguments as welcome reinforcement, so that arguments out of two totally different and independent departments of knowledge could verify one another. If, for instance, the formal reconstruction of a rhyme, which had been removed by the Koran editors, simultaneously revealed a new meaning of this text which agreed much better with the new critical insights into Koranic theology, then this reconstruction of the text of the “Ur-Koran” had for the first time really obtained cogent evidence because of its being proved out of two different and independent areas of knowledge. By the same token, if a questionable theological Koranic statement could be corrected on account of new dogma-critical findings, then this dogmatical correction could be acknowledged as clearly proved, if it at the same time revealed a better fitting form of the text, ideally a rhyme which had been formerly suppressed.

This double line of argumentation to verify the existence of strophic hymns and a vernacular in the Koran is finally further strengthened by numerous variant readings of the Korantext, handed down to us by Moslem Koran scholarship, which have always been regarded as only formal (i.e., orthographic, etc.) and meaningless but which now turn out to be the specifically dogmatical relics of the suppressed “Ur-Koran.” These variants indeed constitute a third category of evidence for the reconstruction of the “Ur-Koran.”

However, new or even spectacular findings in the linguistic and literary-historic field did not result from the definite verification of the “Ur-Koran” thesis of the turn of the century. The only novelty is that all that we did already know about early Islamic and medieval Arabic strophic poetry and vernaculars is now clearly to be found in the Koran, and this doubtless as a Christian-Arabic literary product of pre-Islamic times, at least of the sixth century C.E.

This result is putting all previous reflections on the dependence and originality of the prophet Muhammad, as well as all previous chronological arrangements of the Koranic suras on a very new and different basis.

But much more important than this now indispensable reshuffling of the chronology of the genesis of the Korantext is the readjustment of the new theological aspects which have appeared after the break-up of the traditional paradigm of the rise of Islam. To give only one example, I should indicate the now evident fact that the prophet Muhammad did understand himself to be an archangel, an “angel of the High Council (of God)” (LXX Isa 9:5f.: angelos tes megalas boulas), and that he implicitly wanted to be understood by his adherents as such an archangel. This reticence of the prophet in his self-designation as archangel has its own dogmatical logic and corresponds therefore exactly to the ‘Messias Secret’ of Jesus,2), that is that Jesus did understand himself as archangel-Messiah and wanted to be understood as such by his disciples and adherents but that he refused and interdicted (Matt 16:12ff.; Mark 8:27ff.; Luke 9:18ff.) to be in his lifetime expressis verbis declared and publicly preached as this Messiah. This obvious archangel-quality of the prophet Muhammad in his estimation of himself has the logical consequence that the prophet could on no account have been dependent upon the archangel Gabriel as mediator of the revelation as commonly related by the post-prophetic Islamic tradition. Not only the ubiquitous legendary occurrence of the archangel Gabriel in the Islamic biographies of the prophet, but also the obviously accidental and additional occurrence of this archangel Gabriel in the Koran (2.97f.; 66.4), agrees with this logical conclusion. So the ursemitic and ur-Christian angel-prophetology of the prophet Muhammad is a strong argument for the judgment that these Gabriel-citations in the Koran should be ascribed to the hand of a postprophetic Koran-editor.

But these dogmatical problems of the Koran are of secondary importance here. The main problem, which has arisen out of the break-up of the traditional paradigm of the genesis of Islam, is what cannot be harmonized or reciprocally interpreted by means of Jewish and Christian dogmatics, that is to say, those points in which the pre- and proto-Islam shows a clear and steady opposition to the Jewish and Christian religions. The traditional Islamic paradigm, which sees Islam as an evolution from pagan polytheistic heathendom to monotheism, has never been very plausible because it could not explain how a prophet Muhammad, who allegedly had received only at a very late time gradual and vague information about the awe-inspiring doctrines of the Jews and Christians, could suddenly turn and adopt an intransigent attitude towards these doctrines.

The most important discovery emerging from the difference between the reconstructed strophic hymns of the Koran and the genuine Islamic texts in the Koran added later to these Christian hymns, is that the movement of the prophet Muhammad was not, as the traditional paradigm pretends, a movement from pagan heathendom towards the allegedly only insufficiently known monotheistic religions, but on the contrary a movement from these properly distinguished religions back to the religious and moral principles of the Central Arabian heathendom, and in particular back to the High-Place-religion, to the cult of the gannat algibali kama hiya, as Waraqa b. Naufal said, shuddering, in one of his poems. This return means a return to what is considered in the Jewish tradition as well as in post-jesuanic Christianity as the non plus ultra of wicked godlessness.

This prophetic return to the pagan (= tribal) rules of life of the Central Arabian tribal (= pagan) conditions (with modifications due to the epoch which can be neglected here) can also be discovered in the findings R.B. Serjeant displayed already in his paper of 1962.2A) .

Serjeant demonstrates that the prophet constructed his religious community according to the religious and social principles of the millenia-old system of asylum around sacred enclaves which can fairly well be recognized as old-semitic (= early Israelite) High Places. At the same time, Serjeant shows that these Ur-Islamic religious and social traditions were from the beginning of the second half of the first century AH onward suppressed and abandoned. These findings of Serjeant consequently do manifest what the successful reconstruction of the Ur-Koran brought to light in another way. Also Tryggve Kronholm concluded recently: “We are bound to research in another direction than those of Jewish, Christian, Gnostic, Manichaean, Zoroastrian, or whatever impulses, when looking for the milieu in which the natural dependence of Muhammad is rooted, viz. that of the traditional culture of pre-Islamic Arabia, as we know it from the literary remnants of the Jahilya.”3) .

And, on the other hand, also the Koran itself repeatedly declares Islam to be “the religion of Abraham and Ishmael.” So if we keep in mind that Ishmael has always been considered in Jewish and Christian tradition the eponymous ancestor of the Central Arabian heathen tribes, and if surely the prophet Muhammad clung to the same traditional notion, then this Koranic declaration of Islam as “the religion of Abraham and Ishmael” propagates nothing else than what has been ascertained by the findings of Serjeant and the results of the reconstruction of the Ur-Koran- and that this Ur-Islamic prophetic return to the Central Arabian conditions of life and religion was shelved and concealed very soon after the prophet’s death. Otherwise we should not have to refresh this self-evident meaning of “religion of Ishmael.” One of the causes for this concealment was obviously the power-political inferiority of the decentralizing democratic organization of the tribal society in the face of the centralized power of the (Jewish and Christian supported) imperialism striving after world-government. The real circumstances of pre- and proto-Islam were that the main enemies of Islam were the Hellenistic Christians of Mecca, who were polemically classified as polytheists because of their belief in the Trinity and as idolaters because of their veneration of the holy pictures of the Christian Saints. The concealment of this Christian opposition (after-wards pseudo-historically replaced by a phantasmagoria of a heathen opposition) was obviously caused by the fact that the young and unstable Islam had to avoid any dogmatical and, in particular, any historical-theological dispute with the ample Jewish and Christian theology. Otherwise the Central Arabian Ishmaelite Arabs would have been confronted with an overwhelming store of questionable scriptural and even more doubtful historical arguments, without the possibility of opposing it with anything comparable. They would have lost by red tape what they had gained in the battle-field.

The fact that early Moslems showed great fear and disappointment about every theological dispute with Jews or Christians was discussed within the research on Islam at the turn of the century, 4) but it did not find the attention it deserves. As a motive for certain tendencies in the post-prophetic editing of the Koran it is now of great importance because an essential intention of the early removers and concealers of the prophetic return to Central Arabian heathendom was to change the original radical-prophetic opposition against Judaism and Christianity to a “moderate getting along one with the other.” This appeasement was obtained by the introduction of a new picture of the genesis of Islam turning the true one upside down: that Islam had been a movement turning away from Central Arabian heathendom to found a “state-supporting” monotheism like that of the Jews and Christians. Therefore, the only considerable result of research in the Koran and Islam which exceeds the themes sufficiently discussed since the turn of the century is the rediscovery of the prophet’s return to the spirit of the High Places most hated by all Jews and Christians. That means that the central issue is to answer the question how the prophet’s return has to be understood. For surely that explanation is no longer worthy of belief, which the Christian Occidental self-righteousness of the 19th century would have given: that the prophet entered by this return the service of Satan. Even conservative occidental Islamists have long been ready to acknowledge that the activities of the prophet Muhammad are only comprehensible as the outcome of a completely sincere endeavour. Therefore, it is, so to speak, the necessary vindication of the prophetic honour which stimulates the research to understand the essence of High-Place-religion: the prophet must have been striving after something positive! After what?

II. – The new appreciation of ‘High Place”-Religion

The new appreciation of “High-Place”-religion in the context of the archaic conception of the world.

It should be clear that we cannot present all the evidence in our limited scope. The following ideas can only be put forward in the form of theses with commentaries and some hints at previous research.

Thesis 1:
The High-Place-religion is not essentially a sexual or fertility cult as denounced in the Jewish and Christian traditions, but the cult at a grave. For the High Place is in principle —this follows from its old Hebraic name bama— a gravesite interpreted as the trunk of an animal in which the grave-chamber symbolizes the uterus of this animal. 5) With this totemistic symbolism is indicated a faith in resurrection and/or rebirth to which also corresponds the custom of burying the dead in crouching position, symbolizing the bearing of the human embryo.

Commentary: The first impulse to this understanding was given by William F. Albright in his paper “The High Place in Ancient Palestine” (Suppl. to VT, Congres Strasbourg 1956, Leiden 1957, 242-258). Otto Eissfeldt had a similarly objective attitude towards the cult of the High Places in early Israel. 6) The objections which have been put forward against Albright’s assertion by the clerical conservative theology are untenable, as I demonstrated in several essays. 7)

Thesis 2:
The High-Place-cult is, as a grave-cult, first of all a hero worship. This hero worship is faith in resurrection and/or rebirth. As such, this hero worship at the High Place corresponds to the old Semitic (early Israelite) Messiah cult.

Commentary: the most important arguments for this equation (“cult of High Places” = Messiah-cult) follow under thesis 3. Here we may only briefly point out that “anointing,” underlying the notion of “Messiah,” has much significance in the cult of the dead ancestors. This is also to be seen in the sacrament of the (deathbed) “extreme unction” still practised in the Catholic church.

Thesis 3:
Since the cult of the heroic ancestors forms a unit with the social conception of blood feuds, the High Place is the center of the substantial blood feud system (blood revenge, right of hospitality, asylum). And since the right of the blood feud is the central power which uniformly penetrates all sectors of the blood feudal society, this system of blood feud and asylum is the most important and most extensive theme at the High Place.

Since the system of blood feud stands in incompatible opposition to the right of the town-state and the imperial state and thus in opposition to the “state-supporting” monotheistic religions, this system of blood feud has always been particularly exposed to the suppression and denunciation by the “progressive” organs and theologians of the imperial state. How successful this denunciation was may be measured by the shocking thesis that the morals of the Sermon on the Mount (“Sermon on the High Place”!) with the New Testament “love of the enemy” are originally the morals of the blood feud system at the High Place, an idea which seems nowadays incredible owing to the millennia-long denunciation of the blood feud system bound up with the High Place. So the long-overdue task at the present time is to deduce from the system of the blood feudal society and its interpretation of the world (the archaic appreciation of death, life, guilt, fate, punishment, retribution/restitution, adoption, asylum, etc.), that love of the enemy was one (if not indeed the central) category of the blood feud society – a task which on account of the available material for evidence promises success.

Here it may suffice to hint that in the biblical tradition the Messianic “redeemer” (e.g., Job 19:25: “I know that my redeemer liveth”) is, according to the proper meaning of the Hebrew notion (go`el), the blood feudal “recompenser” of a blood debt and therefore ultimately the blood revenger in the fullest sense of the word: life for life. Actually, the New Testament Messiah, “the good shepherd, who gives his life for the sheep,” is by the history of this concept the blood feudal chieftain, who according to the rules of blood feud has unconditionally to offer his life for the right of his relations. And he is often the “innocently suffering servant” of his folks since he has not seldom, himself being innocent, to intercede for the debt of his relatives with his life, so being “brought as a lamb to the slaughter” (Isa 53:7). And to him in opposition stands “the hireling, who is not the shepherd,” that is, the professional judge and statesman of the imperial state. Another important argument in favor of the origin of the Messiah concept from the blood feudal society is, as I have elsewhere deduced, 8) the early Israelite Passover: pasah means “to go lame,” and this going lame of the victim, produced by cutting the sinews of the legs, is the sterotyped intimation of the victim’s impending death by dismemberment, after which all separated members will be, as depicted in the grandiose revival scene of Ezekiel 37, recollected and provided with new life. To this early Israelite lame-victim-sacrifice corresponds exactly the ta’ arqib-sacrifice of the Beduins of Central Arabia, where this lame-victim-sacrifice is also clearly connected with the blood-feud-faith and the blood-feud-practice.

Another connection that makes clear that the Old- and New Testament Messiah has his original home in the blood feud faith of the High Places is the archaic metallurgy tied to the same myth of sacral dismemberment and rebirth which is the base of the passover-sacrifice. 9) And since also in the metallurgical area the sacral laming by cutting the sinews, as with the passover and ta’ arqib-sacrifice, means the symbolic intimation of the death by dismemberment with subsequent rebirth (making this a purification rite), the old smiths, in order that their work may succeed, subjected themselves to this rite. Only from these associations does the depiction of the Messiah-king David in the Central Arabian Islamic tradition as the mythic armourer smith become plausible.10) This early Israelite smith-Messiah David is, it is true, not depicted as lame like the mythic smiths Agni of India, Hephaistos of Greece, and the Old Nordic Wieland. But that the mythical lameness also belongs to the picture of the biblical Messiah is shown by the strong early Christian tradition that Jesus was lame in his right leg, a tradition which is with utmost probability connected with the remarkable form of the Orthodox (or Russian) cross with the lopsided footrest (suppedaneum). 11)

Thus we have quite different, 12) and mutually independent reasons for stating that the Old- and New Testament Messiah is, in origin, closer to the limping High-Place-priests of the Baal of Jezebel, the Tyrian Princess and wife of the North Israelite king Ahab (875-852 BCE), than to the “orthodox” Israelite adversaries of the Baalim of the High Places. But it must be taken into consideration that this North Israelite cult of Baal of Ahab’s time must already have been considerably distorted because of its integration into the state-cult, which means remoteness from the parent blood-feud reality of the tribes. So we can start from the assumption that the New Testament Messiah does not derive from the Tyrian cult of Baal, but stems from a tradition which preserved the native blood feud idea of “the shepherd, who giveth his live for the sheep,” reasonably unhurt by progressive state-doctrinarian distortions.

Taking the word “distortion” as our connecting link, there is a further argument for the origin of the Christus-Messiah belief from the blood-feud-culture: the eschatology of the late Jewish sects, among which primitive Christianity has to be classed. This eschatology derives undoubtedly —as Friedrich Schwally already undertook in 1892 to prove, at the expense of his career as theologian, but fortunately for Koranic scholarship, which became henceforth his field— from the religion of the Semitic heathendom. The eschatology of these sects is, as I have demonstrated elsewhere, 13) the totally deformed cyclical aspect of time and the other world, an essential of the blood-feud-faith, deformed by breaking this cycle and stretching it to a linear duration with beginning and end.

Thesis 4:
Thinking in the archaic blood-feudal society is extraordinarily strange compared with modern systematical thinking, but it is just as systematic as the modern, even if in another manner, because all things are systematically put together into a spiritual order, but under another system of relations relying on other evaluations. I would like to give here only one suggestive example: the Ark of Covenant of the OT, which uncontestedly belongs as the archaic “paladium of war” in the context of “Holy War” and therefore to the blood-feud culture. This Ark of the Covenant has already been explained by Walther Reimpell in 1916 and by W.B. Kristensen in 1953 as the transportable symbol of the High Place, and I might enlarge their argumentation with some further considerations. These also show that the old Israelite Ark of Covenant has (because of the ubiquity of the archaic blood-feud culture) numerous clear analogies in other archaic cultures, e.g., in the Indo-Germanic, where the cult and kettle wagons have exactly the same functions as the Ark.14)

How remarkably systematic this archaic thinking is can be discovered from the fact that there could be deduced from various linguistic and archeological connections the curious peculiarity that the archaic-systematic meaning of the Ark and the corresponding “international” cult wagons correlate exactly to the archaic systematic meaning of the hilt of the sword (or any weapon, even every tool). 15) Only after the publication of these findings did I by chance come across the confirmation of these peculiar correlations which is preserved in Shi’ite tradition, namely in a group of hadiths under the heading matalu silahi rasuli llah matalu t-tabuti fi bani ‘isra’i1, (“the sword of the prophet of God corresponds to the Ark with the Israelites”). 16) These hadiths do not only confirm this peculiar equation “Ark/cult-wagon = hilt of the sword,” but also show that the systematic world-conception of the blood-feud society had remained alive in Central Arabia until the prophet Muhammad.

Thesis 5:
The systematology of the blood-feud interpretation of the world, indicated here under theses 3 and 4 by occasional examples, belongs to the scientific-systematic conception of the world of the “homme du neolithique ou de la proto-histoire,” whom Claude Lévi-Strauss declares the “heritier d’une longue tradition seientifique.” 17) In this scientific-systematic conception of the world the pattern of the dying and reviving hero (the “anointed in death,” the chieftain of the blood-feud system) is the basic pattern according to which all things of this world are proceeding or are produced, just as also the moon (like Osiris) dismembers by 14 phases until its death to revive afterwards by 14 phases out of 14 recollected members. Therefore A.E. Jensen calls his outline of the archaic conception of the world Die getötete Gottheit. Weltbild einer frühen Kultur (The Slain Diety. Worldview of an Early Culture). 18)

Most important, as Lévi-Strauss points out, is that this systematically coordinated archaic science is a parallel to the scientific world conception which was later founded under the leadership of Greek philosophy. The difference between these two scientific systems does not lie in a difference of intellect and logic (Lévy-Bruhl’s thesis of a primitive “prelogical thinking” should forever be banished!) but in the different object: the archaic world-conceiving system is aimed at the visible and ostensible appearance of all objects and at the “personal” subject behind the outward reality of these things. The reality one tries to “comprehend” is therefore extended by the dimension of “the beyond” to the outward material form, and by the dimension of the “substance” and the “spirit” behind all animated beings and all material things.

This manner of conceiving the world has, therefore, in a really appropriate manner been termed “sympathetic reasoning/ thinking”. 19) It is indeed an essential feature of this neolithic scientific “conceiving the world” that it consists in an identification (or mutual interpretation) of all animated and material things of the world, one with the other. It is the system of reasoning of just that human being who consciously and compassionately integrates himself into the surrounding nature as an equal part of it.

We have to abstain from further expositions and to characterize the opposing modern scientific system of “conceiving the world” as briefly as possible by stressing its last (and recent) consequences: that it is the system of reasoning of a human culture which differentiates the surrounding nature and “distances” itself from it — which no longer regards the surrounding nature with its rhythm of millions of years as equal to and thus relativizing humankind. Rather, it undertakes to force upon nature shortsighted human measures which indeed change nature fundamentally, but herewith damage or even destroy it for ever.

Thesis 6:
Modern ethnology judges magic to be a phenomenon of decadence and a “group-egoistic or even egocentric” utilization of partial perceptions of the given archaic-systematic conception of the world. As Arnold Gehlen formulates this: magic “makes use of all available (not created by itself) spirits and beings as means to reach an artificial as much as egocentric (group egocentric) stabilization of the world by the manipulation of the essential correlations.”20) The ethnologists have deduced this perception from the problems of the history of archaic and antique religion, especially in view of the phenomenon of the steady increase, the exuberant growth of magic in correspondence to the decay of the archaic conception of the world.

But this plausible definition of old magic permits the understanding of the growth of the present modern industrial society, which can be called exuberant in view of its seemingly irresistible acceleration, as produced by “new magic,” that is: this time on the basis of the group-egoistic utilization of partial perceptions of the given modern-scientific conception of the world.

Commentary: It is reasonable to analyse the systems of dominion in history on the basis of this definition of magic because, as Arnold Gehlen points out, “a conscious conservation of magic out of interest of dominion” plays an eminently important role in the history of states and religions. 21) while in this context, on the other hand, the intransigent enmity of early Islam against hierarchy and its sacramentalism comes out very well.

On account of the suggested connections and the opposition of the two systematically coordinating conceptions of the world, when we use of our notion “High Place” we must always include the whole complex of the archaic scientific conception of the world, so that the notion “High Place” always functions as a pars-pro-toto designation. The term “High Place” used with this amplitude of meaning will have lost its shocking effect if we now repeatedly make the statement: the essential event of the pre- and proto-history of Islam is that the prophet Muhammad turned consciously away from Judaism and Christianity and back to the spirits and conditions of High-Place-religion.

III. – On the Israelite prehistory of the High-Place-Islam

Julius Wellhausen assessed the old Arabic blood-feudal society as “on a very primitive level” and emphasized “that it was not particularly effective.”22) This questionable verdict will be forgiven him in view of the standard of ethnological knowledge in those days, and we will also note in his favour that in his time the possibly irresistible consequences of the steadily growing efficiency of industry-imperial culture had not yet been discernible. It is this questionability of the occidental effectiveness which makes it advisable to see the surely – in terms of growth of materialistic wealth – not very effective blood feudal society of the High-Place-religion with new and totally different eyes from Wellhausen and his contemporaries. Wellhausen’s time-bound partisanship for the high-cultural imperial state and against the “Gemeinwesen ohne Obrigkeit” is, in the last analysis, the reason he confirmed the wrong judgments of his time in the field of Arabistics and Islamics and established them with his authority.23)

The standard of research at the turn of the century is also circumscribed with the judgment (incredible as it seems today) of one of the celebrated heads of the religionsgeschichtliche Schule. Hugo Gressmann came to the conclusion that the Messiah-conception could not have been known to the Israelites of the time before the setting up of their kingdom. He had worked out the misconception that the Messianic idea had been bound up only with the institution of kingdom. Gressman also took the view that “never can an Israelite or Jew have believed in a suffering and dying Messiah” because he considered this belief to be “specifically Christian.” 24) After Gressmann no comparably comprehensive study into the origin of the Messianic idea has been undertaken in the sphere of Christian theology until now.

At present scholarship relating to ancient Israel is setting out for new shores, namely for a new paradigm for the genesis of Israel and its document of belief, the Hebrew scriptures, and this parallels the situation in Arabistics and Islamics: the clerical conservative theological research regnant since World War I has been “a regression as against the critical research around the turn of the century,” and there are many indications “that we are today, in many respects, on the way to ‘turning back’ to the perception of that time.”25)

But it would surely mean again following the path up a blind alley if one were to start from the concepts of Wellhausen and Gressmann to substantiate the new paradigm of research which is perceived as “coming.” We will therefore not accidentally pick up the thread of the work of such representatives of the exemplary critical research of the turn of the century, professed opponents of Wellhausen, such as Hugo Winckler (1863-1913) and Fritz Hommel (1854-1936), and those whose research was rejected very recklessly by Wellhausen, such as Reinhart Dozy (1820-1883). But our slighting judgment of Wellhausen may not be regarded as absolute, for we owe to him an immense deposit of masterly research. But even this research remained within the scope of traditional conceptions and could not break the traditional paradigm of the history of Israel.

Our fundamentally new position compared to that of Wellhausen and Gressmann is this: we do not see any “primitive” nature in the representation of High-Place religiosity by the prophet Muhammad, but a very high-ranking religious attitude, almost akin to the Ur-Messianism of early Israel and the Messianism of primitive Christianity, and we assume, on account of modern ethnological and social-anthropological research, a prehistory of this Central Arabian blood-freud-faith at the High Places reaching back at least to the beginning of the neolithicum.

Regarding Islam, this new perspective means that we have to question whether the emphatic Koranic identification of the new religion, Islam, with “the religion of Abraham and Ishmael” and the bonds of the biblical Hagar and her son Ishmael to the archaic Kaaba of Mecca, insisted on in Islamic tradition, have in fact a historical nucleus. That is, that consequently the early Israelite Messianic blood-feud faith, while certainly dominating the time of the Patriarchs, had nevertheless, and in spite of the considerable temporal distance, a direct historic connection to the Messianism of eschatological primitive Christianity and into the High-Place-bound blood-feud faith of pre- and proto-Islam.

This means a totally new conception of research for the history of the religion of Israel and of the traditions of the Hebrew scriptures. Because Wellhausen also considered the premonarchial state of the tribes a very primitive initial stage, the historical development of Israel has until now been understood as gradually evolving from a religiously, culturally, and economically primitive state to a highly moral religion supporting a most effective high culture.

But with the identification of the morals of the High Place with the morals of the Sermon of the Mount there emerges a totally different conception for the understanding of the history of the development from early Israel, through Christianity, to Islam: no development from primitive to morally advanced is to be sought because nothing of that kind was going on. We have rather to observe in the Hebrew scriptures the seesaw, with its fluctuations between victory and defeat, of the permanent battle between two totally different systems of conceiving the world, and on their respective moral qualities we neither want nor feel (for the present) capable to pass judgment.

The existence of the powerful continuous line of tradition of the Messianic High-Place~bound blood-feud faith, from long before the time of the Patriarchs until primitive Christianity and Islam, makes for the first time the continuity of the competing parallel line of tradition (namely that of the imperial state-doctrine and its state-supporting theology) seem more important than the stages of development within this continuity. The text-critical and literary-critical quarrel from Wellhausen to Moshe Weinfeld,26) as to whether a priestly text from the premonarchial period, or from the monarchy, or from the postexilic-theocratic epoch of Israel has been incorporated into a historically wrong place within the Hebrew scriptures or not, loses its hitherto outstanding importance almost completely.

For it is indeed uncontested that there has been in Israel through all these different periods, on whichever level of cult-development, a hierarchic-centralistic state-supporting priesthood. It has now become much more important, that since the time of the Patriarchs there runs parallel to the Israelite priestly tradition, inspired by hierarchic-centralistic high culture and leading finally to Jewish orthodoxy, an opposing decentralistic, anti-priestly line of tradition, which could maintain surely, with at least the same moral right, and has maintained, the claim to be, ever since Abraham, the true Israel, and which extends into primitive Christianity and Ur-Islam. (By contrast, Hellenistic Christianity and post-prophetic Islam are assimilations —the first aggressive, the second defensive— to the continuing tradition of the religiously supported state.) As the guiding research for the new paradigm of the genesis of lslam had already been done around the turn of the century, so also for the new paradigm of the biblical history since the Patriarchs as the history of parallel running lines of traditions. We will put the most important aspects of its results in a row, confining the scope on account of our special reference to Islam in the time since the installation of monarchy in Israel:

Reinhart Dozy published in 1864 (when Wellhausen was at age twenty!) a book in German (a Dutch edition preceded) in which he substantiated comprehensively with an abundance of arguments (most of which are still quite tenable) the thesis clearly defined in the title: Die Israeliten zu Mekka von Davids Zeit bis ins fünfte Jahrhundert unserer Zeitrechnung. Wellhausen dismissed Dozy’s project summarily, without providing a single counter-argument, with the simple, thoughtless sentence, Dozy had failed “to present for it any solid reasons” (Reste Arab. Heidentums3, 93f.).

This reaction of Wellhausen and his contemporaries 27) is typical as a consequence of their prepossession with the traditional paradigm: Dozy presented fairly plausible explanations for problems for which until that time, as until now, there were no explanations at all. But they turned Dozy’s explanations down because they contradicted the ruling paradigm, and they preferred doing without explanations at all to placing the ruling paradigm in question.

Dozy presented, e.g., a very detailed and plausible explanation for the great peculiarity that in all antique authors until the third century CE Mecca is not makka but Macoraba. Dozy explains this longer name as the Hebrew makka rabba,”great battle(field),” a term which frequently occurs in the Hebrew scriptures (Num 26:21; Deut 25:3; 2 Chr. 13:17), and even more often in the formation makkä gedolä, likewise: “great battle(-field).” Only on this interpretation does it become intelligible why the longer name could be shortened: they omitted the adjective “great” and were content with “the battlefield.” 28)

Dozy substantiates the name “great battle-field” by the likewise extensive information given by the Hebrew scriptures and the Arabic-Islamic tradition about the secession of the Israelite tribe of Simeon from the early Israelite tribal confederation at the time of the first kings Saul and David, to settle in the Hijaz where they defeated the Amalekites at the forever-remembered “battle-field.” 29) Israel later on naturally, as Dozy rightly comments, tried to hush up and conceal this embarrassing affair, that a whole tribe broke en bloc with the Israelite sacral confederation. And Dozy may well also be right in his further conclusion “that the difference between the Simeonites and the Ishmaelites lies only in the name”, that is to say, that in postexilic times the editors of the Hebrew scriptures described the Simeonites under the name of “Ishmaelites,” by this means surreptitiously depicting the Simeonites as leaving the community already at the time of the Patriarchs.30) Today, scholarship is coming more and more to the conception that the biblical narratives on the Patriarchs, and therewith the narratives on Hagar and Ishmael, were not composed until a fairly late, most probably post-exilic date.31)

Another theme likewise perplexing for Islam-scholarship because it does not fit with the traditional paradigm, is that of the idols, especially the idols Isaf and Na`ila at the pre-Islamic Kaaba. What Islamic tradition tells concerning these idols can be divided into two parts: either this information is reasonably concrete and credible, in which case it is obviously referring to images of Christian Saints, or this information is fantastic and incredible, and then refers to the allegedly Central Arabian heathen idols. The conclusion suggests itself that all “idols” at the Kaaba were but images of biblical Saints and that the fanciful invention of heathen idols corresponds to the tradition perceptible everywhere in Islam of disguising the real conditions of religious life in pre-Islamic Central Arabia.

Since the Islamic information on the idols Isaf and Na`ila is so fantastic that already Gustav Freytag (1788-1861) rejected it as incredible, I suggested, not knowing Dozy’s explanation given in 1864, Isaf and Na`ila might be martyrs of the early struggle for Christian predominance in Mecca, having afterwards become celebrated Saints. But Dozy’s explanation of 1864 is cogent (how astonishing that it was not immediately accepted!). 32) He furnishes proof that in Islamic tradition the pairing Arabic words al-fart wa d-dam, in Arabic, as in the Aramaic Talmud, meaning “faeces and blood (of the victims),” occur as synonyms for the pairing words Isaf wa Na’ila. And then he shows very plausibly that these alleged names of idols were indeed the bowdlerized Hebrew words asof (“depot [for the offal]”), and nwali (“dunghill”). Dozy demonstrates with further information to be found in Islamic tradition that we have indeed to see in these pairing words the relics of an old Israelite cultic tradition at the Kaaba of Mecca, which the Islamic tradition was very soon incapable of interpreting properly.

That Islam-scholarship neither accepted this cogent explanation of Dozy, nor gave any other approximately plausible explanation, is a further example of the blinding effect of the traditional paradigm.

But let us now leave Dozy and turn to the following discussion of his problems:

Dozy had moreover supported the scattered, but as a whole cogent, information about the emigration of the tribe of Simeon to the Hijaz by refering the oracle of Isa 21:11 to the (about 1000 BCE) secessed Simeonites / Ishmaelites (translation according Gesenius: “If you want to ask, do ask: convert and then return!”).33) Today, many arguments suggest that the king of Isaiah, Hezekiah (715-696 BCE) tried in the course of his anti-Assyrian politics to conspire also with his relations, the heretically secessed Simeonites / Ishmaelites of the Hijaz.

After Dozy’s death, his interpretation of Isa 21:11 was strongly reinforced by the research of Hugo Winckler and Fritz Hommel. They furnished proof that numerous texts of the Hebrew Bible beyond Isa 21:11 did not, as later Jewish tradition and often already the compilers of the Hebrew Bible had interpreted them, refer to Egypt, but to North-West Arabia with its Simeonite / Ishmaelite population. 34)

Their argumentation rests fairly firmly on the basis that according to cuneiform information the north-western region of Arabia south-eastward of the Gulf of Aqaba was, until the 7th century BCE, named Musri (or Musur, Must, Misr) and that Israel had cultivated intense relations with this Musri, with its Simeonite / Ishmaelite population. Where still nowadays Egypt is in Arabic named Misr and in the Hebrew Bible Misrayim (= dual: two misr), it is all too easy to confound erroneously or intentionally Musri/North-West Arabia with Misr/ Misrayim/Egypt. Hugo Winckler in particular has pleaded with weighty arguments for the thesis that only with the conscious and/or unconscious indentification of Musri/North-West Arabia, occurring in old Hebraic texts, with Misryaim/Egypt did there develop in post-exilic times “the lay of Israel’s stay in Egypt.”35)

In present Hebrew Bible scholarship forces are stirring which plead for the same thesis of a post-exilic origin of the exodus from Egypt narrative 36) but without any reference to the weighty argument of Hugo Winckler, the equation “Musri = North-West Arabia.” This argument seems to have been totally driven out of the range of vision. I found the last emphasis laid on this equation in Trude Weiss Rosmarin, who wrote in 1932: “Although the majority of research workers hold Musri throughout to be Egypt, I want to refer with Winckler and Hommel to an Arabic land Musri, which must have lain in the northern part of the Arabian peninsula.” 37)

But the resurrection of this argument also seems to be coming: It is also Dozy who already explained the peculiar Central Arabian people named Gurhum from very early pre-Islamic times, 38) – they are in Arabic-Islamic tradition divided into the first and the second Gurhum – 39), as the two waves of Israelite emigration which, after the destruction of the first Temple in the sixth century BCE and the destruction of the second Temple in the first and second century CE, poured into Central Arabia, where these heretically secessed Simeonite-Ishamelite Israelites, to whom at least the common people of Israel had always maintained some kinsmanlike relationship and in particular important trade-connections, had been already dwelling since the turn to the millennium BCE.

Since from Islamic tradition it appears that the Gurhum carried on Israelite cult-traditions (they also owned the Psalter) 40) and because the Guthum obviously came from the environ of Bahrain, where the town Gerrha lies, one of the important trade-centers of antiquity, and considering that antique historiography depicts this town as founded by refugees who had come to that area, Dozy came to set up the equation “Guthum = gerim (that is, ‘Jewish emigrants’) from (the ger-town) Gerrha.” 41)

This equation “Gurhum = emigrants of Gerrha” has now again been represented in modified form by Toufic Fahd. The essential improvement on Dozy is that Fahd for the first time definitely localizes Gerrha, pointing out that it is not to be identified, as hitherto by mistake, with the place al-Ga’ran near al-Qat’if. Fahd takes as a basis of the name Gerrha the Arabic place-name g·r·h 42) But this speculation, already undertaken by Dozy, about the relation between the people-name Guthum and the town-name Gerrha, can be given a better foundation. I would like to assert that gurhum is the retrograde formation of a singular from a word gerahim, which should be regarded as a Hebraic-Aramaic-Greek influenced formation of a plural to designate the inhabitants of Gerrha, i.e. for gerahi, “someone from Gerrha.” T. Fahd does not go as far as to claim this origin of the name Gurhum. He contents himself with the statement that the people of Gerrha were “Araes arabisés,” “emigrés Araméens”. 43)

Now we proceed beyond Dozy and Fahd by adding a further aspect. This aspect, which should enable the drawing of a more precise, more historical picture of Central Arabia, inundated throughout a millenium by heretical Israelites, is the theme “Levites and Minaeans.”

A 1961 essay of Roland de Vaux continued the research work of the turn of the century, especially picking up the thread of Hubert Grimme. We cannot report the research of de Vaux; here we can only name the problem, which had been discussed around the turn of the century and which now is obviously again becoming topical, in order then to present our very brief attempted solution based on R. B. Serjeant.

The Minaeans seem to have had their center in the town Ma’in, one of the most important towns of the incense-trade at the northern border of the Yemen, and they maintained a considerable trade-colony at Ma’in Musran (i.e., the Ma’in of Musri = Dedan). And with these Minaeans were, as many inscriptions of the second half of the pre-Christian millennium show, Levites, even female Levites, who had remarkably much to do with funds, capital and other assets, a fact whose importance will become evident presently. 44)

Map of the the incense-trade-triangle of the Minim/ Minaeans/ Gurhum | © 2001 Dr. Günter Lüling | Grafik: Kairodata Mediendesign

Hebrew Bible scholarship has always been rather at a loss to explain why the Levites of Israel, on the one hand, did not count as a separate tribe but lived as a special group dispersed among the twelve tribes, and why then, on the other hand (apparently in later times), they nevertheless were suddenly numbered among the twelve tribes, the number of twelve being saved by inserting in place of Ephraim and Manassah, Joseph (assumed to be their father). 45) Since Martin Noth’s amphictyony thesis is no longer accepted, 46), this ambiguity regarding Levi is linked to the total perplexity concerning the question of how pre-state Israel “functioned” at all as a federation of tribes. If we start from the thesis already established by Dozy that since the turn to the last millenium BCE Israelites remigrating47) from Palestine were playing a leading role in Central Arabia, then a bright light is shed back from the Levites and the Minaeans of Central Arabia on early Israel.

That Levites are found with the Minaeans can be explained by the degradation of the Levites by the cult-reform of the Judaean king Josiah (640-609 BCE), i.e., the centralization of the cult into the Temple of Jerusalem while banning all cult-places (from old High Places) in the countryside, of which the Levites had been the priesthood. Related to this disdain seems to be the fact that at the end of the Babylonian exile surprisingly few or almost no Levites returned to Judaea (cf. Ezra 8:15-19: no Levite is to be found among those willing to remigrate and only after a special mission could two Levite families be prompted to join). It is therefore not astonishing that we can find in the Talmud the hint that in the army of Nebuchadnezzar (605-562 BCE) 80,000 young Jews of priestly origin were serving, who were afterwards to settle in Central Arabia.48) Only the current false opinion that the people of Israel had throughout its history always been an unswerving uniform community without shocking rebellions and permanent desertion has condemned these and similar traditions to insignificance. And Jewish repression of this seamy side of Jewish history is most probably the main reason for the abiding uncertainty in the evaluation of the Minaean problem.

In his book Kritische Beiträge zur Entstehungsgeschichte des Christentums (Berlin 1906), Bernhard Kellermann has a chapter “Das Minäer-Problem.” However, he does not mean by this the South-Arabian and Midianite-Dedanite Minaeans, but the Minim, the Israelite heretics populating all cardinal points but especially the East. For the church-historian Jerome writes: “Usque hodie per totas Orientis synagogas haeresis est, quae dicitur Minaearum.”49) An imprecation in the 12th prayer of the Shemone Esre of the synagoge is dedicated to these Minim/Minaeans: “And may the Noserim and the Minim suddenly perish. Let them be blotted out of the book of the living, and not be written with the righteous” (cf. Ps. 69:28).

Jewish scholars have understandably always been disposed to explain the Minim as Jewish Christians 50) On the Christian side this explanation has never been very impressive, 51) not only because in the Shemone Esre the Noserim (Jewish Christians) are separately mentioned next to the Minim. Even according to Rabbinic tradition, the Minim are people who originally and essentially belong to the Israelite custom and tradition, but who are looked upon by Jewish orthodoxy as excommunicated because of heresies. And these heresies are above all that the Minim disapprove of monotheism, believing in more than one creative power 52) (which can not be claimed as Jewish Christian belief but which matches the commonly polytheistic faith in preexilic Israel!) 53) and that they are rather worldly orientated, therefore also being classified as Epicureans (likewise not a Jewish Christian feature!). 54) They are numbered among merchants (of long-distance trade?). 55) Least fitting of all to the equation “Minim = Jewish Christians” is the fact that, again according to Rabbinic tradition, the Minim represent a problem which was already acute in pre-exilic times and which also in Alexander the Great’s days harrassed Jewish orthodoxy. 56) But this epoch, from the beginning of the Babylonian exile to the rise of Christianity, is precisely the flourishing period of the Minaeans, of the incense trade Minaeans of Central Arabia (Ma’in and Ma’in Musran).

So we are already, on the basis of these data, entitled to identify the Minim (Jewish heretics) with the Minaeans (the incense-merchants of South- and Central Arabia) and equate these with the Guthum of the Arabic tradition. (The later heresy “Christianity” we can, without more ado, neglect as a special variant of the Minaean.)

Now we will support our equation “Minim = Minaeans” with an inquiry into the circumstance that among the incense-Minaeans at Ma’in and Ma’in Musran, Levitism played a certain role:

First of all, we have to keep in mind that since at least the sixth century BCE the Minaeans cut a great (if not the decisive) figure in the incense-trade all over Central Arabia. But for this Minaean role the history of the incense-trade in the preceding centuries is of importance. And behold, this incense-trade had in this earlier period obviously lain in the hands of the Simeonites / Ishmaelites who had seceded from Israel around the turn to the last pre-Christian millennium. For it is they who had become the heirs of the Amalekites after defeating them – and as Hubert Grimme already detected in 1904 from their name, 57) these Amalekites were none other than the “incense-people,” because the common word in cuneiform texts to designate the incense-land, Melukhkha, is derived from the root from which also the word Amalek is established. As Eduard Glaser could register, in South Arabia even today incense is referred to as lamlokh 58) (I add my thesis, that the classical Arabic m·l·q is the correlation to this, compounded of ma la’iq. This means that here a semasiological parallel to “Aithiop” belonging to Arabic ‘atyab, “good, pleasant,” is at issue.)

If therefore the Simeonites / Ishmaelites became, after their victory over the Amalekites, “the incense-people,” having taken over the job of the defeated, and if, which seems reasonable, the predominantly Levitie Israelite emigrants of the first wave (= first Guthum) after cult-centralization and the destruction of the first Temple leaned, as a help for their start in the new situation abroad, upon their former Israelite compatriots, the Simeonites / Ishmaelites, then this would have the consequence that these predominantly Levitical emigrants became, likewise, incense merchants 59)

And this corroborates our thesis, that Minim, Minaeans, and Gurhum are essentially identical — the ones named according to their status as heretics, the other according to their status as refugees (gerim) and the “town of the refugees,” Garrha. (The common equation “Minaeaus = Ma’inim” is apparently a contamination, which cannot be discussed here).60)

The Minaeans as “incense-people” were settling not only in Ma’in but nearly everywhere, in any case besides Dedan also in Hadhramaut and Kataban. It should be taken as certain that the Gerrhaeans/Gurhum could be, when appealed to as heretics, called and were called Minim/Minaeans. This is a matter of pure synonyms!)

The long-distance incense trade across the deserts of Arabia had to master two great problems: one was the protection against rapacious Bedouin tribes. The other was to establish and maintain a monopoly so as to be in a position of bargaining lucrative prices from their high-cultural, super-power customers (Egypt, Rome, Greece, Mesopotamia). The extraordinary high customs in these centers of power seem to have had the result that the incense-trade sought routes through most powerless areas, as, e.g., Mecca-Djidda-Elephantine-Ammon’s Oasis-Carthage, or through the Sinai-peninsula to the seaport of el-Arish, or across the Persian Gulf through East Iran to Bactria. 61) The monopoly could only be established by concentrating the incense-trade of the triangle Ma’in-Dedan-Gerrha in one hand or in a committee. 62) This committee was probably the council of elders of the Minaean/Gurhumite kinsfolk.

About the former and surely most important problem, Freya Stark writes: “Indeed the enormous length of the road and the passing from one people to another must have entailed a great deal of very delicate diplomacy and many distant relationships… The whole of the trade was an immense machine, delicately adjusted.”63)

The “many relationships” were warranted by the above supposed kinship of the Minaeans/Gurhum, who were, having followed the distribution network, established throughout centuries by the Simeonites, sitting everywhere, e.g., surely also in Punic Carthage. And the heretical Jewish colony of Elephantine should also be better understood as a trade-colony on the route Mecca-Carthage, since on the whole the more fitting picture of the dispersion of the Jewish religion is that Jewish orthodoxy could everywhere follow, and has followed, the traces of the incense-Minim.

But what did the “immense delicately adjusted machine” that warranted the security of the caravan traffic across Arabia look like? This construction is only to be understood out of the blood-feud culture dominating the political and social structure of Central Arabia throughout the time of the Simeonites / Ishmaelites and the Minim / Minaeans / Gurhum. Therefore it is the research work on the Yemeni blood-feud system by R. B. Serjeant and G. R. Puin that shows us how, by the system of blood-feudal confederacies based on long-distance relations between “sacred enclaves” (= High Places) as relay-stations, the safety of’ travel could be guaranteed in “dark heathen” times. Serjeant explicitly refers to the total security (h.urmah wafirah) granted to the caravan traffic: “nay, if there be a small boy of them [G.L.: the blood feudally warranted] in the caravan or one of their slaves, nobody will molest them.”64)

These circumstances not only explain the peculiar dichotomy of the population in Minaean South Arabia into chieftain of tribe and tribes-men, on the one hand, and Kabir (“elder of the trade-colony”) 65) and his community, on the other (which correlates with the dichotomy “autochthonous South Arabians” and “immigrated Minaean charges”). These circumstances also throw light back onto the pre-state, even pre-Mosaic situation within the early Israelite federation of tribes, faced with which biblical scholarship has been somewhat at a loss since Martin Noth’s amphictyony thesis was abandoned. This amphictyony-thesis had been a retrojection of the religious and cultic conditions of the monarchic-theocratic constitution of the Jewish religion into early Israel. But early Israel had been organized on blood-feudal, i.e., High Place lines; and where an incredibly stable continuity of blood-feudal High Place practices to maintain confederacies, as depicted by Serjeant and Puin, obviously reaches from early Minaean times into the Yemen of our day, we are allowed to reckon with a similar continuity from the Simeonites’ victory over the Amalekites (ca. 1000 BCE) until the Minim / Minaeans. In the heralds of the blood feudal chieftain equipped with colours and drum, as depicted by Serjeant, we can rediscover the Levites, 66) i.e., the servants of the blood feudal system at the High Places of the early Israelite tribal confederacy.

Because these early Israelite Levites were consecrated to the High Place sanctuary, this consecration meant, according to blood feudal belief, adoption by the hero of the High Place. And this explains why the early Israelite Levites, after they had been convinced by “Moses from Musri / Midian” to introduce at all High Places Yahve as the only one intertribal God, became a thirteenth tribe of Israel: as long as they had been consecrated to the hero of the sanctuary, they had become adoptives of these different eponym tribes. But since they were consecrated at all sanctuaries in all tribes likewise to the newly introduced one intertribal God Yahve, they then and they alone and nobody else of the regular tribesmen-became adoptives of Yahve and thereby a special tribe of Yahve-servants. 67)

When the blood feudal faith at the High Places had been driven out and conclusively abrogated in Israel by the cult-centralization, these specialists of blood feudal constructions of sacral peace and inter-tribal federations, the Levites, apparently did not eat humble pie and join the centralized cult at the Jerusalem Temple as grudgingly tolerated foreigners and inferior aides, but they emigrated thither (or remained where they were exiled) where their profession was still understood and appreciated: in blood feudal Central Arabia.

Since all these hitherto discussed names – Simeonites, Ishmaelites, Minim, Minaeans, Gurhum, Gerrhaeans, Minaean Levites, even Amalekites – have become to us synonyms, we have to put the dot on the i by adding the names Hagarenes (Agarenoi) and Saracenes, which already in the second century BCE were usual as names for Arabian tribes. 68) That the Hagarenes were named after the biblical Hagar, mother of Ishmael, is beyond question. But the name Saracenes has still remained a rather enigmatic one. However Jerome seems right to place Hagarenes and Saracenes together under the eponym of Ishmael: “Ismaelitarum gentes, qui postea Agareni et ad postremum Saraceni dicti.” He knows also that the Saracenes named themselves after Sarah (“sibi assumpsere nomen Sarae”), 69) the rival of Hagar as wife of Abraham. However he thought that they had done so to boast of being her offspring, and he judged consequently, because they were the offspring of Hagar, that they were not entitled to this boasting. But Jerome did not know any longer the original meaning of the Greek syllable ken in this Greek designation of Central Arabian tribes. This syllable means, as I have pointed out elsewhere, “to combat someone.” 70) The Saracenes are therefore “the fighters against Sarah,” not “the offspring of Sarah,” as Jerome suggested. So these names Hagarenes and Saracenes are indeed also synonyms and the two sides of one coin: they who are for Hagar, are at the same time against Sarah.

Herewith we end our rough draft of the continuous blood-feudal High-Place-bound line of tradition which runs since the beginning of biblical history parallel to the “progressive,” “materialistically effective,” and “successful” line of tradition, and which we only in our day have come to discover because this “successful” line has become so very questionable.


© (Heirs of) Günter Lüling | Erlangen · 1985
Original Title : A new Paradigm for the Rise of Islam and its Consequences for a New Paradigm of the History of Israel
Originally appeared in The Journal of Higher Criticism Nr. 7/1, Spring 2000, pp. 23-53



For lack of time, we can’t offer still the English version of Footnotes; please be patient. Note that the original English text has a slightly different counting of Footnotes; here we stuck to the German version.
1) The expositions given here in section I are a summary of the main results of my monographs Über den Ur-Qur`an (Erlangen, 1974) and Die Wiederentdeckung des Propheten Muhammad (Erlangen, 1981). In this section, therefore, notes are given only concerning problems discussed subsequent to these works. Main Text
2) s. dazu Albert Schweitzer, Das Messianitäts- und Leidensgeheimnis. Eine Skizze des Lebens Jesu, 3.Aufl. Tübingen 1956 (1.Aufl. 1901). Main Tex
2A) “Haram and Hawtah, the Sacred Enclave in Arabia,” in A. Badawi (ed.), Mélanges Taha Husain (Cairo, 1962); see also Gerd R. Puin, “The Yemeni Hijrah Concept of Tribal Protection,” in Land Tenure and Social Transformation in the Middle East, ed. T. Khalidi (Beirut 1984) Main Text
3) T. Kronholm, Dependence and Prophetic Originality in the Koran, Orientalia Sueccana 31/32 (1982/83), 64. Sehr ähnlich E. B. Serjeant, a.a.O., 57. Main Text
4) s. C. H. Becker, Christliche Polemik und islamische Dogmenbildung, in: Islamstudien, 1.Bd., Leipzig 1924, 433, 435, 442-445. Main Text
5) s. die etymologischen Ausführungen von W. F. Albright, The High Place…. a.a.O., 247-253; dazu G. Lüling, Archaische Wörter und Sachen im Wallfahrtswesen am Zionsberg, Dielheimer Blätter z. AT (DBAT) 20 (1984), 52-59.Main Text
6) Otto Eissfeldt, Der Gott des Tabor und seine Verbreitung, ARW 31 (1934), 40f. Main Text
7) G. Lüling, Archaische Wörter und Sachen… a.a.O.(hier A.5), 52ff mit A. 5. Main Text
8) G. Lüling, Das Passahlamm und die Altarabische Mutter der Blutrache, die Hyäne, ZRGG 34 (1982), 130-147. Main Text
9) G. Lüling, Archaische Metallgewinnung und die Idee der Wiedergeburt, ZRGG 37 (1985) 22-37. Main Text
10) Eine der jüngsten Stellungnahmen zu diesem Thema: Ralph Stehly, David dans la Tradition Islamique à la lumière des Manuscrits de Qumran, R.H.P.R. 1979, 357-367 Main Text
11) s. dazu R.W. Hynek, Golgotha im Zeugnis des Turiner Grabtuchs, 2.Aufl. Karlsruhe 1950, 44ff; Zur jüdischen Tradition eines lahmen Jesus-Bileam s. R.T. Herford, Christianity in Talmud and Midrash, Neudruck New Jersey 1966, 64-78 Main Text
12) Wichtig wäre auch das Argument der höhenkultisch-totemistischen Symbolik der jüdischen Tradition; s. dazu z.B. Joseph Gutmann, Leviathan, Behemoth and Ziz: Jewish Messianic Symbols in Art, HUGA 39 (1968), 219-230. Main Text
13 G. Lüling, Archaische Wörter und Sachen… a.a.o. (hier A.5), 94-98. Main Text
14 Walter Beimpell, Der Ursprung der Lade Jahwes, OLZ 19 (1916), 326-331; W. B. Kristensen, De Ark van Jahve, Amsterdam 1933 (Meded. d. Kgl. Akad. v.W., Afd. Letterk., Deel 76 Ser. V, Nr.5, 136-171; G. Lüling, Archaische Wörter und Sachen… a.a.O (hier A.5), 51ff. Main Text
15 G. Lüling, a.a.O., 82ff Text
16 al-Kulini, Al-Usul min al-Kgfi, 3 Teheran 1388, Teil 1, 238 Main Text
17 Claude Lévi-Strauss, Das Wilde Denken, Frankfurt a.M. 1968, 27 Main Text
18 Urban-Bücher Nr. 90, Stuttgart-Berlin-Köln-Mainz 1966. Main Text
19 Arnold Gehlen, Urmensch und Spätkultur, Bonn 1956, 262; auch die Altorientalistin Margarete Riemschneider, Fragen zur vorgeschichtlichen Religion, 1. Augengott und Heilige Hochzeit, Leipzig 1953, verwendet sinnvollerweise diesen Begriff. Main Text
20 Arnold Gehlen, Urmensch und Spätkultur, 273f; s. auch Adolf Ellegard Jensen, Mythos und Kult bei Naturvölkern, Wiesbaden 1951, 249-323: Über die Magie. Main Text
21 Arnold Gehlen, Urmensch und Spätkultur, 278 Main Text
22 J. Wellhausen, a.a.O., 1 u. 6. Main Text
23 s. z.B. seine Fehlurteile bezüglich der im Urislam als Götzendienst verurteilten christlichen Bilderverehrung in Mekka; vgl. G. Lüling, Die Wiederentdeckung des Propheten Muhammad, über Namensindex: Wellhausen. Zurück Main Text
24 Hugo Greßmann, Der Messias, Göttingen 1929, 231, 276, 336. Zurück Main Text
25 Heike Friis, Ein neues Paradigma für die Erforschung der Vorgeschichte Israels? (aus dem Dänischen übersetzt von B.J. Diebner), Dielheimer Blätter z. AT 19 (1984), 11; s. auch Heike Friis, Das Exil und die Geschichte, DBAT 18 (1984). Zurück zum Text
26 Moshe Weinfeld, Getting at the Roots of Wellhausen’s Understanding of the Law of Israel, On the 100th Anniversary of the Prolegomena, Institute for Advanced Studies, The Hebrew University Jerusalem, Report No. 14, 1979 Zurück zum Text
27 J. W. Hirschberg, Jüdische und Christliche Lehren im vor- und frühislamischen Arabien, Krakow 1939, 38 spricht von “der längst widerlegten Theorie Dozy’s” ohne Hinweis auf irgendeinen Widerleger. Die sehr umfangreiche “Widerlegung” von K. H. Graf in ZDMG 19 (1865), 330-351 wirkt hilflos, ist insbesondere heute unhaltbar wegen seiner unkritischen Anerkennung des Pentateuch als historische Quelle. Das gleiche gilt von Th. Nöldekes Abhandlung “Die Amaleqiter” (Orient und Occident 2/1864, 614-655), der alle arabischen Nachrichten als aus AT-Texten herausgesponnen betrachtet (heute aufgrund der keilschriftlichen Forschungsergebnisse nicht mehr haltbar). Nöldeke nennt Name und These Dozys nicht, nimmt aber detailliert zu allen in Dozys These angesprochenen Themen Stellung, so daß sich der Verdacht aufdrängt, daß Nöldeke die Thesen Dozys bereits kennen gelernt hatte (vor Veröffentlichung als Manuskript oder aus der niederländischen Fassung) und ohne Nennung Dozys zu seinen Thesen Stellung genommen hat. Zurück zum Text
28 R. Dozy, a.a.O., 70ff Zurück zum Text
29 R. Dozy, a.a.O., 40ff Zurück zum Text
30 R. Dozy, a.a.O., 58ff Zurück zum Text
31 s. dazu Bernd Jörg Diebner, Erwägungen zum Thema Exodus, in: Festschrift Wolfgang Helck, Hamburg 1984 (= Studien zur Altägyptischen Kultur Bd. 11), 597f (III. u. IV); B. J. Diebner und Hermann Schult, Thesen zu nachexilischen Entwürfen der frühen Geschichte Israels, DBAT 10 (1975), 41 ff; B.J. Diebner und H. Schult, Argumente ex silentio. Das Grosse Schweigen als Folge der Frühdatierung der ‘alten Pentateuchquellen’, DBAT 11, SEFER Rendtorff, Dielheim 1975, 24-35. Zurück zum Text
32 R. Dozy, a.a.O., 180ff Zurück zum Text
33 R. Dozy, a.a.O., 58-65. Zurück zum Text
34 s. dazu Hugo Winckler, Alttestamentliche Untersuchungen, Leipzig l892, 120ff. 146-156, 168ff; Hugo Winckler, Musri, Melukhkha, Ma’in. Ein Beitrag zur Geschichte des ältesten Arabien und zur Bibelkritik, (Mitteilungen der Vorderasiatischen Gesellschaft 1) Berlin 1898, 32-37; Hugo Winckler, Altorientalische Forschungen I, Leipzig 1893, 24-41: Das nordarabische Land Musri in den Inschriften und der Bibel; Fritz Hommel, Vier neue arabische Landschaftsnamen im Alten Testament, München 1901. Wincklers und Hommels Arbeiten rechnen mit einer falschen, die Minäerherrschaft zu früh ansetzenden Chronologie. Ihre Ausführungen zum AT sind aber unter Ansetzung des heute allgemein anerkannten Spätansatzes des Minäertums noch bedeutsamer. Zurück zum Text
35 Hugo Winckler, Geschichte Israels in Einzeldarstellungen, Leipzig 1895, 55-59 Zurück zum Text
36 s. dazu die hier A.31 angegebene Literatur. Zurück zum Text
37 Trude Weiß-Rosmarin, Aribi und Arabien in den babylonisch-assyrischen Quellen, Journal of the Society of Oriental Research 16 (1932), 3 Zurück zum Text
38 R. Dozy, a.a.O., 134 ff, 186ff Zurück zum Text
39 Manfred Kropp, Die Geschichte der ‘reinen Araber’ vom Stamme Qahtan, Dias, Heidelberg 1975, Bd. 1, 76a sieht in der Einteilung “l. und 2. Gurhum” einen “Kunstgriff der Genealogen”, die “die alten Völker einfach verdoppeln”. So leicht sind die Probleme nicht zu lösen! Zurück zum Text
40 R. Dozy, a.a.O., 154. Zurück zum Text
41 R. Dozy, a.a.O., 94ff, 139ff Zurück zum Text
42 T. Fahd, Gerrhéens et Gurhumites, Festschrift Berthold Spuler, Leiden 1981, 67-78, spez. 71 A. 20 Zurück zum Text
43 T. Fahd, a.a.O., 74. Nach Fertigstellung dieser Abhandlung sehe ich, daß T. Fahd das Buch und also auch die These Dozy “Die Israeliten in Mekka seit der Zeit Davids” vor Abfassung seines hier zitierten Aufsatzes bereits kannte (siehe sein “Le Panthéon de l’Arabie Centrale à la Veille de l’Hégire”, Paris 1968, 264). Wie ist sein Schweigen zu Dozy zu erklären (siehe hier A. 27)? Zurück zum Text
44 Zur religiös-rituellen Sicherstellung von Vermögenswerten in den minäischen Levitentexten siehe H. Grimme, Der südarabische Levitismus, Le Muséen 37, 172 f, 178 f, 182, 186, 189 f, 193 f; ferner Martin Hartmann, Die Arabische Frage, Leipzig 1909, 35 ff; Alois Sprenger, Die Alte Geographie Arabiens, Bern 1875, 224 f; D. S. Margoliouth, The Relations between Arabs and israelites prior to the Rise of Islam, London 1924, 62; de Lacy O’Leary, Arabia before Muhammad, London 1927, 182; Adolf Grohmann, Arabien, München 1963, 136-138 Zurück zum Text
45 s. dazu A.H.J. Gunneweg, Leviten und Priester, Göttingen 1965, 38-44 Zurück zum Text
46 s. dazu Otto Bächli, Amphiktyonie im AT, Basel 1977 und Herbert Donner, Geschichte des Volkes Israel und seiner Nachbarn in Grundzügen, Göttingen 1984, 72ff u. 146ff. Zurück zum Text
47 Zur These einer ursprünglichen Herkunft der Hebräer (‘lbri = Wüstendurchquerer von Südarabien nach Midian und Mesopotamien) aus dem Weihrauchfernhandel des 3. und 2. Jahrtausends v.Chr. können wir hier nicht Stellung nehmen. Doch ist dieses Urteil von Carl Rathiens, Kulturelle Einflüsse in Südwestarabien von den ältesten Zeiten bis zum Islam, Jahrbuch f. Kleinasiatische Forschung 1 (1950), 13 sehr bedenkenswert. Zurück zum Text
48 s. dazu Roland de Vaux, a.a.O., 272 mit A 37 Zurück zum Text
49 zitiert nach R. T. Herford, a.a.o. (hier A.11), 378 Zurück zum Text
50 ich nenne hier nur R. T. Herford, Bernhard Kellermann, A. Buchler (Festschrift Hermann Coben, Berlin 1912) und meinen hochverehrten Lehrer Hans-Joachim Schoeps. Zurück zum Text
51 s. Z.B. Karl Georg Kuhn, Giljonim und Sifre Minim, Festschrift Joachim Jeremias, Beihefte zur ZNW, 26 (1960), 36ff, 55ff Zurück zum Text
52 R.T. Herford, a.a.O. (hier A.11), 29ff, 297ff Zurück zum Text
53 Zur Entstehungszeit des Monotheismus s. Othmar Reel (Hg.), Monotheismus im alten Israel und seiner Umwelt, (= Biblische Beiträge 14), Freiburg (CH) 1980 und Bernhard Lang (Hg.), Der Einzige Gott. Die Geburt des biblischen Monotheismus, München 1981 Zurück zum Text
54 R.T. Herford, a.a.O., 293ff Zurück zum Text
55 P.T. Herford, a.a.O., 177ff Zurück zum Text
56 R.T. Herford, a.a.O., 181 u. 331 Zurück zum Text
57 Hubert Grimme, Muhammad, München 1904, 11; ausführlicher Fritz Hommel, Grundriß der Geographie und Geschichte des Alten Orients, München 1904, 566ff Zurück zum Text
58 s. dazu de Lacy 0’Leary, Arabia before Muhammad, London 1927, 57. Zurück zum Text
59 Diese Verschmelzung der Simeoniten mit den 1. Gurhum drückt sich auch in der starken arabischen Tradition aus, daß Ismael, der Sohn der Hagar, sich mit einer Gurhumitin verheiratete. Im übrigen liegt in dieser Verschmelzung der Ismaeliten mit diesen 1. (hauptsächlich levitischen) Gurhum allen Umständen nach auch der Grund dafür, daß in Gen. 49,5-7 (im sogenannten “Jakobssegen”, der höchstwahrscheinlich erst in nachexilischer Zeit verfasst wurde) die Stämme Simsen und Levi zu zurücksichtslos-gewalttätigen Komplizen erklärt und verflucht werden. Zurück zum Text
60 Fritz Rommel, Nachträgliches zum Reich von Ma’in, Aufsätze und Abhandlungen arabistisch-semitologischen Inhalts, Erste Hälfte, München 1892, 128: “daß ich jetzt zu der Überzeugung; gelangt bin, daß Minaioi und Ma’in von Haus aus verschiedene Namen sind”; ähnlich auch schon Alois Sprenger, Die Alte Geographie, 231. Zurück zum Text
61 Zu dieser Tendenz s. Carl Rathjens, a.a.0. (hier A.47), 22f und de Lacy O’Leary, a.a.0. (hier A.58), 106. Zurück zum Text
62 Die verwandtschaftlichen Beziehungen zwischen den (gurhumitischen) Minäern in Dedan und Ma’in dürfen wir auch zwischen diesen Minäern und den autochthonen Gurhum in Gerrha voraussetzen (zumindest durch Heiratspolitik geknüpfte Verwandtschaftsbeziehungen). Zurück zum Text
63 Freya Stark, The Southern Gates of Arabia, London 1946 , 266 Zurück zum Text
64 R.B. Serjeant, a.a.0. , 55′ t 52 f. Zurück zum Text
65 s. dazu A. Grohmann, Arabien, München 1963, 124f , 130, 273f (Stellungnahme zu A. van Branden). Grohmann zeigt 127 seine grundsätzliche Fehleinschätzung der südarabischen “Verfassungssituation”, indem er sie als einen “ungeheuren Fortschritt” (!! ??) gegenüber dem Absolutismus in Ägypten und Babylon darstellt. Die Ratsversammlung unter dem Kabir heißt maswad, ein hebräisches Wort! Die Hebraismen der minäischen Kultur bilden ein eigenes umfangreiches Kapitel. Zurück zum Text
66 R.B. Serjeant, a.a.O., 53 f und W.H. Ingrams, Hadhramaut, Geographical Journal 88 (1936), das Foto gegenüber S. 542: “The Mansab of Meshed” mit seinem “Leviten’, 1). Zurück zum Text
67 A. H. J. Gunneweg, a.a.o. (hier A.45), 58 schreibt noch: “Ein ganzer Stamm oder gar ein ganzer Volksstamm von lauter Priestern ist – auch noch als Fiktion -, zumal in der für das ältere (G.L. : Stämme-)System von Eponymen vorauszusetzenden, früheren Zeit, schlechterdings” undenkbar. Zurück zum Text
68 “Sarazenen” finden sich etwas später als die Hagarener zum ersten Male bei Dioskuridee. Diese Datum des ersten Erscheinens in der Literatur kann natürlich nicht als das Datum des ersten Gebrauchs dieser Bezeichnung gelten. Zurück zum Text
69 Hieronymus in seinem Kommentar zu Ezechiel, zitiert nach EI (deutsche Ed.) s.v. “Sarazenen”; a. auch M.F. Nau, Un Colloque du Patriarche Jean avec l’Emir des Agaréens, Journal Asiatique, 11. Serie, Tome V, 238 note 3 Zurück zum Text
70 s. dazu G. Lüling, a.a.0. (hier A-5), S. 91 mit A. 94 : kn ist etymologisch-semasiologisch die “Maskierung, Kriegsbemalung”: lat. conari, griech. konein, kindyneuein, kinesis (in seiner archaischen Grundbedeutung: “Krieg beginnen”). Zurück zum Text

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *