In Syriac and Arabic sources, the standard issues in Christiandisputation texts of the eighth century are a) the Trinity and the Incarnation, b) whether or not Muhammad’s name appears in the New Testament/Muh}ammad’s status as a prophet, and c) the question of the Qur’an as a legitimate book of revelation. One late 8th‑/early 9th‑century Arabic conquest narrative includes a report of an elaborate exchange between a Muslim general named Mu‘adh ibn Jabal and the Byzantine general Bahan. Their conversation addresses these three issues and closely mirrors the dialogue between the catholicos Timothy I and the caliph al‑Mahdi, said to have taken place in 781 AD, and resonates with the disputation genre in contemporary Arabic and Syriac Christian sources.
Syriac or Syrian Christianity (Syriac: ܡܫܝܚܝܘܬܐ ܣܘܪܝܝܬܐ, mšiḥāiūṯā suryāiṯā) — the Syriac-speaking Christians of Mesopotamia) comprises multiple Christian traditions of Eastern Christianity. With a history going back to the 1st Century AD, in modern times it is represented by denominations primarily in the Middle East Christianity began in the middle east in Palestine among Aramaic speaking Semitic peoples. It quickly spread to Sassanid-ruled Mesopotamia & Assyria, Roman-ruled Syria (ancient Aramea), Phoenicia, and Egypt. From there it spread to Asia Minor, Greece, Armenia, Georgia and the Caucasus region.
Syriac Christianity is divided into two major traditions: Eastern Rite, historically centered in Assyria/Mesopotamia, and West Syrian, centered in Antioch. The Eastern Rite tradition was historically associated with the Church of the East, and is currently employed by the Middle Eastern churches that descend from it, the Assyrian Church of the East, Ancient Church of the East, and the Chaldean Catholic Church, (the members of these churches usually consider themselves to be ethnic Assyrians) as well as by the Malankara churches of the Saint Thomas Christian tradition in India and the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church of India. The West Syrian tradition is used by the Syriac Orthodox Church, the Maronite Church, the Syriac Catholic Church, and churches that descend from them.
Syriac Christian heritage is transmitted through various Neo Aramaic dialects (particularly the Syriac dialect of Mesopotamia) of old Aramaic. Unlike the Greek Christian culture, Assyrian culture borrowed much from early Rabbinic Judaism and Mesopotamian culture. Whereas Latin and Greek Christian cultures became protected by the Roman and Byzantine empires respectively, Syriac Christianity often found itself marginalised and persecuted. Antioch was the political capital of this culture, and was the seat of the Patriarchs of the church. However, Antioch was heavily Hellenized, and the Mesopotamian cities of Edessa, Nisibis and Ctesiphon became Syriac cultural centres.