The Doctrina Jacobi (or
'Teaching of Jacob'), is a 7thcentury
Greek Christian polemical tract written sometime between 634-640 AD. The text
provides one of the earliest external accounts of Islam.
“When the candidatus was killed by
the Saracens, I was at Caesarea and I set off by boat to Sykamina. People were
saying "the candidatus has been killed," and we Jews were overjoyed.
And they were saying that the prophet had appeared, coming with the Saracens,
and that he was proclaiming the advent of the anointed one, the Christ who was
to come. I, having arrived at Sykamina, stopped by a certain old man
well-versed in scriptures, and I said to him: "What can you tell me about the
prophet who has appeared with the Saracens?" He replied, groaning deeply:
"He is false, for the prophets do not come armed with a sword. Truly they
are works of anarchy being committed today and I fear that the first Christ to
come, whom the Christians worship, was the one sent by God and we instead are
preparing to receive the Antichrist. Indeed, Isaiah said that the Jews would
retain a perverted and hardened heart until all the earth should be devastated.
But you go, master Abraham, and find out about the prophet who has
appeared." So I, Abraham, inquired and heard from those who had met him
that there was no truth to be found in the so-called prophet, only the shedding
of men's blood. He says also that he has the keys of paradise, which is