The History of Religions can no longer remain ignorant of the recent developments in Qumranic Studies. Denying the presence of a monastic sect close to the Dead Sea, these new developments, relying on a vast array of data from archeology, exegesis, and Islamology, have brought to light a far greater history of the messianic movement. While the latter’s origins predate our era (as preliminary), the ideological construct of salvation it is finally predicated upon began to form and spread following the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple in AD 70.
A path of research opened up a long time ago, yet left underexploited until recently, reveals a variety of critically significant common features between this movement, comprising many groups of self-designated “Nazareans” (or “Nazarenes”), and the so-called Proto-Muslims. Up until the 8th Century, the latter designated themselves under the name of “Immigrated” or muhâjirûn – i.e. those who made the new Exodus. The denomination muslimûn, though Koranic, appeared later (its original meaning, so far as the prime Koranic text is concerned, is not the same).
The present study aims at following along the same path of investigation, but in a more systematic and comprehensive manner. In particular, one of its major scholarly contributions is to bring into focus and allow for the kind of interdisciplinary analysis that the complexity and depth of the questions pertaining to Messiahship and salvation have, for far too long, been calling for.