Jesus, author of the Gospel
This question arose on Planet Bahai, 24 March 2010, in relation to Baha’u'llah’s reference, in the Kitab-i Iqan, page 150 to “Moses, the Revealer of the Pentateuch, and Jesus, the Author of the Gospel.”
The Pentateuch includes an account of Moses’ death, and the four Gospels were written decades after Jesus’ lifetime. So what’s going on here?
The Persian text does not say “the writer of the Gospels” but rather [the
Saahib/master of the Evangel]. Saahib is also used in the sense of
“characterised by”, for example, in the Epistle to the Son of the Wolf
Baha’u'llah says that [every saahib of justice and fairness will give ear
to this concept], which Shoghi Effendi translates “Every just and
fair-minded person will bear witness unto this…”
Similarly, Moses is called the saahib-e Torah, translated as the Revealer
of the Pentateuch. It could be less elegantly translated as Moses the one
characterised by Torah/Law.
Both Moses and Jesus are relatively common names. There is for example at
least one Moses in the Quran who is not the Moses of the Torah, but Moses
a Jewish Rabbi (in the Surah of the Cave). There are said to be at least
two Davids in the Quran: one who invented iron working and the other the
king of Israel. So part of the point here is that Baha’u'llah makes clear
he is talking about THAT Moses and THAT Jesus and not any other, and yet,
he says, their opponents at widely different times are treated by the
Quran as identical to the opponents of Muhammad, centuries later.
The argument in the Iqan reads:
Muhammad, … saith: “Although they had before prayed for victory over those who believed not, yet when there came unto them, He of Whom they had knowledge, they disbelieved in Him. The curse of God on the infidels!”[Quran 2:89] Reflect how this verse also implieth that the people living in the days of Muhammad were the same people who in the days of the Prophets of old contended and fought in order to promote the Faith, and teach the Cause, of God. And yet, how could the generations living at the time of Jesus and Moses, and those who lived in the days of Muhammad, be regarded as being actually one and the same people? Moreover, those whom they had formerly known were Moses, the Revealer of the Pentateuch, and Jesus, the Author of the Gospel. Notwithstanding, why did Muhammad say: “When He of Whom they had knowledge came unto them” — that is Jesus or Moses — “they disbelieved in Him?” Was not Muhammad to outward seeming called by a different name? Did He not come forth out of a different city? Did He not speak a different language, and reveal a different Law? How then can the truth of this verse be established, and its meaning be made clear?
(Baha’u'llah, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 150)
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