Join the Conversation

Introducing Three Testaments

August 24, 2009

Three Testaments

The three testaments of Abraham, Hagar & Sarah’s family are the sacred scriptures of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. They are linked by more than family ties; indeed it is also the literary and spiritual connections that make it important to publish them at last together in an appropriate format, not as a “new Bible” for any branch of the family, but as a peace treaty between them all. The third in Brown’s interfaith trilogy, the book, Three Testaments, will conclude the work introduced in Noah’s Other Son and continued in Forensic Scriptures. Obvious links between the three testaments include such things as revelations through the angel Gabriel, the positioning of Matthew as a deliberate connector between the Old Testament and the New Testament, and the appearance of Revelation as written in the same apocalyptic style as the Qur’an. An example of linkages appreciated only recently would be current evidence from the Qur’an indicating more extensive Persian influence in the Old and New Testaments than previously recognized. Another link is our growing appreciation of the role of women in the writing.

This work premises that Zoroastrianism is a key link between Judaism, Christianity and Islam, and that it also links Western Monotheism with the religions of the orient: Buddhist, Hindu, Sikh, and Jain, as well as Tao, Shintoist and Confucian philosophies. As a major religion, Zoroastrianism is little known because its Persian base became so completely Islamicized in the 9th and 10th centuries CE. It would now appear that much in the Qur’an was “revealed earlier” in the Zoroastrian Avesta scriptures, most of which have long since disappeared. It may at last be possible to reconstruct some of the Avestas from lengthy sections of the Qur’an believed to “confirm” Zoroastrian scriptures which were seminal for the world. Among the extant Avestas, hundreds of ancient Zoroastrian hymns are used by Parsis (“Persians”) in India, Iran, the United Kingdom and North America. Computer generated clusters of unique or key words from the scriptural hymns appear to dominate vast sections of the Qur’an even more completely than the well-known Qur’anic sections which had been revealed in Hebrew and Christian scriptures.

Cascade Books is to be joined by the Jewish Publication Society and Islamic World Publications to produce this book of landmark significance for Jews, Muslims and Christians, as well as of potential interest to other world religions and those seeking to understand the historic phenomenon of religion in the twentieth century context. Senior editors of these three publishing houses will be contributors to this book, authoring significant introductions to its scriptural parts. Readers, students and teachers who use Noah’s Other Son and Forensic Scriptures in class have formed an interfaith online community of collaborators to assist in research and to input ideas leading to the publication of Three Testaments, scheduled for early 2012. You are invited to “join the conversation” for a more complete outline of the book in August.

Posted by: Brian Arthur Brown