When a Roman Catholic scholar involved in the Dead Sea Scrolls Project discovers a heretical message contained in one of the Scrolls he hides it. Decades later, a prominent archeologist discovers reference to the scroll in an archeological dig. This discovery spurs the world religions into a dangerous game of cat and mouse, in which all who seek the hidden scroll are mysteriously silenced, leaving the salvation of humankind to a father and son, who must either find the hidden scroll … or die trying.
Reader's Review: The First and Final Commandment
Take a tour of the Semitic religions from Abraham to Muhammad (peace be with them)
This scholarly tome is a MUST for any students of comparative religion, especially if your area of interest happens to be the Semitic faiths of Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
A thoroughly well-researched piece of engrossing scholarship, Dr. Brown has done a commendable job in narrating the evolution of faith from the religion of the Jews through Pauline Christianity and culminating in the global faith of Islam. All the major doctrines are dissected in a scholarly fashion highlighting the differences and similarities between the Abrahamic faiths.
This book is divided into 6 sections, with the first section focussed on the subject of monotheism (belief in one God) which underpins the theological concept in the Abrahamic religions. The Jewish concept of God is contrasted with the Christian Trinity and compared to the Islamic tawheed (absolute monotheism) that proclaims Allah as the One True God worthy of worship.
Section 2 goes into detail on the nature and attributes of God as understood in the 3 religions. Special emphasis is given to the ever controversial mainstream Christian dogma venerating the alleged divinity of Christ as the son of God. This is quite an exciting part of the book packed with tons of references that puts Christology under a scholarly microscope as it dissects all points of view and arguments.
Section 3 explores the origins, composition and transmission of the religious scriptures, namely the Jewish Tanakh, Christian New Testament and the Muslim Quran. It provides an in-depth coverage on the makings of those heavenly texts with a richly documented analysis on the historical reliability and textual integrity of the Qur'an as God's final revelation to the world.
The following section elaborates on the concept of prophethood and divine messenger-ship from Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Aaron, David, Solomon, John the Baptiser, Jesus Christ and finally Muhammad. Their noble character, mortal existence, miracles performed and the message they preached are given adequate and equal attention.
Next, the discussion revolves around things unseen which are accepted as a matter of faith - the world of angels and eschatology as portrayed in those religious traditions. Dr. Brown does a fine job in explaining this theme backed by solid research. Quite rare for a non-specialist to achieve this feat. The final section neatly summarises the main themes expounded in this book and takes a quick look at some man-made cults and modern-day heresies. Dr. Brown also touches on how to arrive at a correct understanding of faith that accords with common sense and human logic.Quite philosophical and spiritual at the same time.
Obviously much effort has been put into the making of this book and for that Dr. Brown deserves our accolade. For those who wish to acquire a clearer understanding of Islam vis-à-vis the earlier Semitic religions, this book is adequate compensation. It is equally relevant for Muslims who wish to share their faith with their fellow humans among the believing Jews and Christians. Believe me, The First & Final Commandment is worth your time and money. You won't regret it.