Nativity of Mary," "The Protevangelium of James the Less," and the Arabic "Gospel of the Infancy" are more authentic monuments of the early Christian faith as taught by Christ than are the canonical books of the New Testament! Experience of the Muhammadan controversy renders the warning permissible.

6. Denial of the Crucifixion of Christ.

It is well known that all Muhammadans have from the earliest times denied that Christ died on the Cross. In this they are supported by the Qur'an, which, in Surah IV., An Nisa, 156, represents the Jews as saying, "Verily we have slain the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, the Apostle of God." Muhammad then in reply to them says, "And they slew Him not, and they crucified Him not, but He was represented unto them [by another] ... And they slew Him not really, but on the contrary God exalted Him unto Himself."

Muhammad's denial of the death of Christ on the Cross cannot be traced even to such untrustworthy authority as his favourite apocryphal Gospels. It is needless to say that he contradicts both the Old Testament Prophets and the New Testament Apostles, though doubtless merely through ignorance. It seemed to him to be derogatory to the dignity of Christ to have been crucified and put to death by His enemies; and Muhammad was all the more convinced of this


when he found his own enemies, the Jews, exulting at having slain Jesus. Hence he gladly adopted the assertion of certain heresiarchs, with whose views in other respects he had little in common. Several of these had, long before Muhammad's time, denied the actual suffering of Christ. Irenaeus tells us with reference to the teaching of the Gnostic heretic Basilides, who flourished about A.D. 120, that, in speaking of Jesus, he taught his deluded followers "That 1 He had not suffered; and that a certain Simon of Cyrene had been compelled to carry His cross for Him; and that this man was crucified through ignorance and error, having been changed in form by Him, so that it should be thought that he was Jesus Himself." This language coincides very closely with that of the Qur'an in this matter. Yet Muhammad would have repudiated the principle upon which this view, according to Irenaeus, was based: for Basilides held that Jesus was identical with νους or Mind, the first emanation 2 from the unknown God, and that He could not suffer because He had no real human body. This is absolutely opposed

1 "Neque passum eum; et Simonem quendam Cyrenaeum angariatum portasse crucem eius pro eo; et hunc secundum ignorantiam et errorem crucifixum, transfiguratum ab eo, uti putaretur ipse esse Iesus."
2 For our present purpose it is unnecessary to refer to the difference between Irenaeus' account and that given by Hippolytus in his Philosophumena. Much as the two reports differ in certain respects, they agree sufficiently in showing the general fact of Basilides' Gnostic views in these matters.