On the portrayal of the Messiah
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Within religious belief systems, God serves to represent one or both of two ideas: the incomprehensible and uncontrollable nature of reality and the instantiation of all moral virtue. The research question for this paper is: how does the portrayal of Jesus in the Biblical Gospels compare to the Qur’anic portrayal of Prophet Issa? The focus of this essay will be to analyze the commonality and differences between their respective roles as the Messiahs within both texts; how their respective representations of the Messiah figure function as a means to convey their fundamental religious message. This essay will specifically discuss some of the similarities and differences with which the respective texts describe the circumstances surrounding their births, the antagonism directed towards them and their respective associations with the religion’s deity. This will be a textual analysis of their respective character portrayals. The conclusion that is made from this investigation is that the characterizations of both Messiahs are meant to depict an awe-inspiring quality of God. In the Qur’an, the character of Prophet Issa serves to portray the God of Islam as a being who can never be subject to full human comprehension, making it foolish to attempt to either deify anyone else in comparison or to go against his will. Within the Gospels, the portrayal of the Messiah as “God made flesh” serves to portray a deity who is capable of understanding the basic human condition.