form in chapter xlvi. The reason of this is that the latter part of the book is taken from the "Gospel of Thomas the Israelite."

We notice here again that, while the legend is evidently the same as that briefly referred to in the Qur'an, yet the difference is sufficient to prove that Muhammad was reproducing a shortened form of it from memory, and was not consulting any written document. Hence he mentions only one bird instead of twelve, and speaks of life being given to it by the breath of Jesus and not by a command of His. The brief reference made to the tale in the Qur'an shows that the story had obtained wide currency and was generally believed at the time. This again proves how little knowledge of the New Testament there then was in Medina; for not only are no such accounts of miracles performed by our Saviour in His childhood recorded in the canonical Gospels, but John ii. 11 shows that none were wrought until after His Baptism at the age of about thirty.

4. Story of the Table.

This supposed miracle of Christ is related in Surah V., Al Maidah 112-15, and gives its name 1 to the Surah. Translated as literally as possible, the tale runs thus:—

"When the Apostles 2 said, ‘O Jesus, Son of

1 Maidah means a table provided with food.
2 The word used here (
حواريّون ) is always applied to the

Mary, can Thy lord cause a Table to descend upon us from the heaven?’ He said, ‘Fear ye God, if ye be believers.’ They said, ‘We desire to eat from it and that our hearts be confirmed, and that we may know that Thou hast told us truth and may be witnesses unto it 1.’ Jesus, Son of Mary, said, ‘O God, our Lord, cause a table to descend unto us from the heaven which shall be a festival unto us, to the first of us and to the last of us 2, and a sign from Thee, and feed Thou us: and Thou art the best of feeders.’ God said, ‘Verily I cause it to descend unto you: but whosoever among you thereafter shall disbelieve, I shall assuredly punish him with a punishment wherewith I shall not punish any other creature.’"

Unless there be some Æthiopian legend on the subject which the early Muslim refugees had brought back with them from that country, we must trace this myth to a misunderstanding of certain passages in the New Testament. If there be some such legend found elsewhere, which we have not traced, it must have had the same ultimate source. One of the New Testament passages which doubtless helped to give rise to it is the verse

Apostles of Christ exclusively. It is an Æthiopic word. Does this show any connexion between the fable and some legend current in Æthiopia, whither Muhammad's first converts fled for refuge?
1 To the Table.
2 These expressions show that there is a reference to the institution of the Lord's Supper.