By Camilla Adang and Sabine Schmidtke
The articles brought together in this volume deal with Muslim perceptions and uses of the Bible in its wider sense, including the Hebrew Bible or Old Testament as well as the New Testament, albeit with an emphasis on the former scripture. While Muslims consider the earlier revelations to the People of the Book to have been altered to some extent by the Jews and the Christians and abrogated by the Qurʾān, God's final dispensation to humankind, the Bible is at the same time venerated in view of its divine origin, and questioning this divine origin is tantamount to unbelief. Muslim scholars approached and used the Bible for a variety of purposes and in different ways. Thus Muslim historians regularly relied on biblical materials as their primary source for the pre-Islamic period when discussing the creation as well as the history of the Israelites and the prophets preceding Muḥammad. Authors seeking to polemicize against Jews and Christians were primarily interested in the presumed biblical annunciations of Muḥammad and his religion and / or in perceived contradictions and cases of internal abrogation in the Bible. These various concerns resulted from and had an impact on the ways in which Muslim authors accessed the scriptures.