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“Il profeta Giuseppe” by Massimo Campanini is a truly fascinating essay that allows you to fully understand the value and differences of the prophet Joseph in the Bible and in the Quran
“Il profeta Giuseppe” or The Prophet Joseph
The story of Joseph is defined by the Quran as “the most beautiful story ever told”. This book separately analyzes the biblical story of the patriarch Joseph, framing it in the historical evolution of Yahwism and in relation to the proto-monotheism of the pharaoh Akhenaten, and the Koranic sura dedicated to the prophet Joseph. The thesis supported is that, while biblical history has the aim of exalting the destiny of glory of Israel, a chosen people in which God recognizes himself, the Quranic history has the universalistic aim of exalting the mercy of God and his providential guidance.Therefore, a different meaning of Jewish monotheism is highlighted with respect to Islamic monotheism. Thomas Mann’s novel Joseph and his brothers is also evoked to support the argument.
Joseph biblical patriarch
As usual, the work of the late Massimo Campanini turns out to be a pearl of rare sagacity and interest, literally full of ideas and topics really useful to better discover this particular surah and its prophet. The first part of the book consists of a profound analysis of the evolution of the Jewish faith, a phenomenon that is too often trivialized and which, on the other hand, is essential to truly grasp the biblical message and its structure. According to the reconstructions of the great Milanese scholar, in fact, the story of Joseph is fundamental for truly understanding Jewish monotheism and its evolution, as the figure of this patriarch de facto marks the foundations of their monotheism as we know it today, opening the doors upon arrival of Moses and its laws.
In the Bible, in fact, it is the Interpreter of dreams who is the first to announce the future glory of the Jewish people and to this end a series of precise narrative choices would have been made both in terms of content and style. In fact, most biblical scholars are now almost certain that the writing of this sacred book took place after the Babylonian Exile, a moment in which the Jewish-Yahwist identity was definitively established, laying the foundations of today’s Jewish world.
Yusuf Quranic prophet
Not having the purpose of “showing a genealogy” and / or “a historical path”, the Quranic version of the story of Joseph is similar in form, but profoundly different in meaning from the biblical one. If in the Old Testament it aims to tell the story of a glorious dynasty, here instead it has the sole objective of narrating about a prophet who abandons himself to God and is raised by Him.
The differences between the two stories are mostly minimal and resemble nuances, but they are enough to alternate meaning and scope. In the Bible, in fact, Joseph is a patriarch, here he is an example for all humanity, who must feel inspired by him and ready to accept every conscious fate that, like Joseph was imprisoned and thrown into the well but later became an eminent figure, so the faithful who place their trust in Allah will then be rewarded. “Il profeta Giuseppe” by Massimo Campanini is a book full of meaning and meanings (sometimes too much), able to finally pay homage to “the most beautiful of stories”.
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