poetry versus prophecy

If someone told me I was imaginative, a skillful storyteller, a master of the language (and if I thought they were being genuine, rather than employing sarcasm to insult me), I’d be very flattered. It’s hard to imagine being insulted by such an assessment. Unless you think of yourself as a prophet:

Time and again in the Meccan suras, Muhammad is dismissed out of hand — as a “sorcerer,” as an “impostor.” Like Jesus, he is accused of being controlled by demonic forces, possessed by “djinn.” (And, unlike Jesus, he is accused of being a “poet.” Sounds flattering, but this explanation for the beauty of his Arabic verse was pejorative compared to his own explanation — that the Koran emanated from God and was conveyed via his chosen intermediary.)

Robert Wright, The Evolution of God

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