Having read your articles responding to the claim that the story of Abraham (pbuh) and the idols is borrowed from the Midrash, I wanted, inshallah, to provide a little further information that I have found in case this might clarify things.
The Christian missionaries have stated that the story of Abraham (pbuh) and the idols is not to be found anywhere in religious writings except this Midrash. In fact, this is incorrect. The Book of Jubilees, an apocryphal work, contains it. Below is a link to the translation of the Book of Jubilees on the web. The pertinent passage can be found at the beginning of Chapter 12.
Interestingly, the introduction to the translation of the Book of Jubilees says that it was probably written between 150 and 100 BCE (about three centuries before the Midrash of Rabbi Hiyya), and that it was based both on the Hebrew Bible and on apocryphal stories known at the time, of which the story of the idols would be one. A further discussion of this can be found at:
Another thrust of the missionaries’ argument seems to be that the story was so obscure that the Prophet (pbuh) could only have learned of it through direct instruction from a Jewish rabbi in Medina. However, elements of it have been discussed in the Talmud, particularly the rescue of Abraham from the fire. The following is taken from the book “Everyman’s Talmud” by Abraham Cohen:
‘Gabriel was the messenger of God on numerous missions…He wished to rescue Abraham from the furnace into which he had been flung by order of King Nimrod, but God said, “I am One in the Universe and he is likewise unique; so it is proper that I Who am One should rescue him who is unique” (Pesachim 118a)’ (p. 51)
As well, the place of this story in the narrative given in the Torah, and lessons that can be derived from it, have been discussed by many Jewish scholars. Some citations of this discussion can be seen on the following webpages:
One of these (http://www.emanuelnyc.org/bulletin/archive/47.html) even states that ‘every religious [Jewish] schoolchild’ is familiar with the story. Indeed, it is often quoted as part of the basic Jewish teaching about Abraham (pbuh). This can be seen from the following links:
Based on all of the above information, it appears that the essence of the story dates back to at least 150 BCE, when it was already commonly known, and that the story was well-known in Talmudic times (c. 100-500 CE), has been thoroughly discussed by the scholars, and is accepted by most traditional Jews as fact. The scholars have even discussed the question of why the story ISN’T in the Torah (http://www.jewishnt.com/torani/nehama/lech.html).
It seems from this that the Jews of Medina must have been as familiar with this story as they were with what is in the Bible, so it was no more odd to them that the Quran would mention it than it was that the Quran would mention stories that ARE in the Bible. That would explain why there is no record that they protested about it or claimed that it had been ‘plaigarized’ by the Prophet (pbuh).
Inshallah, I hope this information may shed some light on the question.
W’as-salaam wa Ramadan kareem
Thank you for your comments.