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with that school among the Mahometans, which had engrafted its teaching upon the Greek philosophy.1 

Far otherwise was it with the Jewish faith. By reason of his hostile relations with the Jews at Medina, it is true that Mahomet hated and denounced the whole race with a bitterness which he never displayed towards the Christian. But his book and his system were not the less cast in a thoroughly Jewish type. The histories and legends, the precepts and ceremonial, of the Coran are largely adopted from the Old Testament and Rabbinical tradition. Islam, thus sympathising closely with Judaism, was capable of copious illustration from it. Indeed, a large portion of the Coran cannot be properly understood without some knowledge of the biblical and rabbinical sources which inspired the Prophet. The Jewish converts, then, were not severed, like the Christian, from all sympathy with their old traditions. And these, easily accessible to the Mahometan commentators and genealogists, were eagerly devoured and reproduced by them, often in a distorted form so as to suit their own ends and the national taste. Hence the flood of Jewish tale and legend which forms a distinguishing mark of the literature of Islam.

This important consideration is well known to the Mahometans themselves. Ibn Khaldûn thus writes:— 

The Arabs were a people without literature or science, rude and unlearned. When that longing after knowledge which is natural to humanity arose in their hearts, they betook themselves to the People of the previous Book, and sought information from them. These were the adherents of the Tourāt (Old Testament) consisting of the Jews and such Christians as adopted their faith. But the adherents of the Tourāt who lived amongst the Arabs were as rude as the Arabs themselves, and possessed on such subjects no other knowledge than that gained from tribes who professed to follow the Scriptures. Amongst the most important of these were the Himyarite (Christian) converts to Judaism. Although these, on coming over to Islam, adhered rigidly to Mahometan doctrine, yet, in all things not dependent on Moslem dogma, they held also to their old teaching, especially 

1 The connection between Arab philosophy and Christian literature is interestingly discussed in the essay on "Arab Peripateticism," in Three Essays on Philosophical Subjects, by T. Shedden, M.A. London, 1866.


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