The Story of Joseph

Joseph’s story is undeniably the oldest, if not, the most enduring story in the world’s secular and religious literature. This can be attributed to the fact that it has been variously interpreted, told, and retold, thus it serves as a pool of spiritual meaning for different religions and cultures.

Thus, it is not surprising that this story is among the most extended narratives in Genesis as well as the longest sustained tales in the Quran. However, it is important to note that there are several similarities and differences in the manner in which Joseph and his story have been depicted in the Bible (Genesis 37:2-50) as well as in the Quran (Sura 12). As Stoke (1997) contends, whereas the important incidents of Joseph’s story are similar in the two religious books, the emphasis, the effect, and the presentation of both texts is very different due to the diverse nature of the two religions. The most vivid comparison and contrast of Joseph and his story in the two religious books emanates from the coverage that the two books give. As is in the case of the Bible, Joseph’s story is the most coherent and detailed narrative in the Quran (Tremper, 2005). Whereas the Bible depicts Joseph as a spoiled and arrogant young man, a trait that inspires his brothers to hate him, the Quran depicts him as a person of high morals.

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The metaphor of Joseph’s dream is highlighted in both books. Both the Bible and the Quran highlight the fact that Joseph saw seven stars in his dream (Stoke, 1997). On the other hand, the dream metaphor reveals that contrast between the two religious books. For example, only one dream is mentioned in the Quran while the Bible mentioned two dreams. The Quran highlights the fact that Joseph told his dream only to his father. On the contrary, Joseph taunts his brothers with his dream in the Bible (Duane Alexander, 2010).

While the metaphors of the garment and dreams form the central theme in the Bible, the Quran version stresses the purpose shared by God and the unity of understanding.