"Let books be your dining table, / And you shall be full of delights. / Let them be your
And you shall sleep restful nights" (St. Ephraim the Syrian).

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Islam, Christianity, and the West

As I have noted many times before, the encounter between Christians and Muslims, in which Eastern Christians in particular have played, and continue to play, the leading part for now 1400 years, remains even today too little known and understood adequately. Along comes a new book that may help: Robert A. Burns, Christianity, Islam, and the West (University Press of America, 2011), 150pp. 

About this book the publisher tells us: 

This book has its origins in a comparative religions course Burns has taught at the University of Arizona for the past thirty years. Those who have enrolled in the class have come from diverse religious and cultural backgrounds. Whatever the mix, a shared curiosity about Christianity, Judaism, and Islam has always been present. Since the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, students-as well as the general public-are especially interested in Islam. Like many Americans, they have little or no knowledge of the Islamic religion. This work touches upon the origins and central teachings of the Islamic religion and discusses the commonalties and differences between Islam and Christianity. Throughout the book, Burns poses and answers the kinds of questions most frequently asked by his students. This approach will be helpful to students in comparative religions courses, as well as other individuals interested in the connections between Christianity and Islam. The purpose of this book is to help alleviate the misinformation surrounding Islam and Christianity and to inspire a dialogue between the two religions. Such communication will, the author hopes, help promote justice and peace throughout the world.

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