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An Evaluation of the Identity of Sāmirī in the Qurʾān

Tolga Savaş Altınel

Abstract


https://doi.org/10.12730/13091719.2018.91.175

According to the classical Orientalist view, the Qurʾān copies biblical stories and, not infrequently, does so in an incorrect way. The Qurʾānic story of the Golden Calf, with the Sāmirī (Samaritan) character as the protagonist, is given to be an explicit example of this incorrect copying. This paper, however, considers the possibility that the incidents depicted in the story might have happened in a different way from what is described in the Bible. Thus it aims to examine the Biblical version of the story with reference to the Qurʾānic version, but unlike the classical Orientalist view, adopts an unbiased attitude. In this way, an explanation is offered of the etymology of the word “Sāmirī” indicating its possible relation to the concept of “firstborn” as well as to the genealogy of Joseph.

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