John of Damascus on the word 'Saracen'

Thanks to a reader for calling me on my too-quick use of slave for a word which technically means destitue or empty-handed. A slave is owned by another and owns nothing of her own, making her destitute and empty handed. In any case, here is the full quote from John of Damascus, Fount of Knowledge:

There is also the superstition of the Ishmaelites which to this day prevails and keeps people in error, being a forerunner of the Antichrist. They are descended from Ishmael, [who] was born to Abraham of Agar, and for this reason they are called both Agarenes and Ishmaelites. They are also called Saracens, which is derived from Sarras kenoi, or destitute of Sara, because of what Agar said to the angel: ‘Sara hath sent me away destitute.’ [99] These used to be idolaters and worshiped the morning star and Aphrodite, whom in their own language they called Khabár, which means great. [100] And so down to the time of Heraclius they were very great idolaters. From that time to the present a false prophet named Mohammed has appeared in their midst. This man, after having chanced upon the Old and New Testaments and likewise, it seems, having conversed with an Arian monk, [101] devised his own heresy. Then, having insinuated himself into the good graces of the people by a show of seeming piety, he gave out that a certain book had been sent down to him from heaven. He had set down some ridiculous compositions in this book of his and he gave it to them as an object of veneration.


Jeff said…
Do you find the Quran as unrelievedly ridiculous as St. John does?
Abu Daoud said…
Hi Jeff,

I don't. I would certainly not describe the Quran as ridiculous. At some points it is certainly incomprehensible, confusing, contradictory, but at others it is indeed a pleasant and mellifluous-sounding text. The content is the main problem for me. It results in, let us say, an unlivable life.

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