Biblical Bonding Between Arabs And Jews

by Robert Wright

While guest blogging this week, I’ll again be sharing some excerpts from my book The Evolution of God. Tonight’s excerpt shows how, more than a millennium before Muhammad’s birth, the Bible paved the way for Islam’s inclusion in the Abrahamic family.

It’s well known that Muhammad claimed that Muslims had descended from Abraham’s son Ishmael. What’s less well known is that here he was picking up on the Bible’s own depiction of Arabs as “Ishmaelites”. And what’s almost entirely unknown is that this depiction of Arabs, initially unflattering, was revised upward by a later, more Arab-friendly biblical author, who thus created a narrative that Muhammad could embrace and extend. Here's the story.