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Abstract

The biblical tradition is manifest in the Quran in many different ways. Similarly, scholars have adopted a number of different approaches to the phenomenon of the biblical ‘borrowings’ found in the Quran. Since the foundation of the modern discipline of Islamic studies in the nineteenth century until very recently, scholars have often seen the appearance of biblical stories in the Quran, often in significantly altered, distorted, or amplified form, as reflecting Muhammad's dependence upon Jewish teachers and thus an overarching Jewish influence on Islam. In point of fact, this approach to the biblical tradition in the Quran has significant roots in medieval Christian polemic against Islam. In recent years, a few scholars have sought to develop more constructive approaches to this material and to Quranic narrative in general; nevertheless, a full-scale reconsideration of the basic problem is still lacking, and the legacy of medieval polemic in the early Orientalist tradition, as well as its modern implications, has yet to be widely recognized.