"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, December 7, 2017

Is Islam a Christian Heresy?

Next month, in their hugely important History of Christian-Muslim Relations series, Brill is bringing out a book that will revisit a long-standing debate going back almost to the beginnings of Christian encounters with, and analysis of, Islam:  John of Damascus and Islam: Christian Heresiology and the Intellectual Background to Earliest Christian-Muslim Relations (English and Greek Edition) by Peter Schadler (Brill, 2017).

The publisher supplies the following blurb about the book and then a detailed table of contents:
How did Islam come to be considered a Christian heresy? In this book, Peter Schadler outlines the intellectual background of the Christian Near East that led John, a Christian serving in the court of the caliph in Damascus, to categorize Islam as a heresy. Schadler shows that different uses of the term heresy persisted among Christians, and then demonstrates that John’s assessment of the beliefs and practices of Muslims has been mistakenly dismissed on assumptions he was highly biased. The practices and beliefs John ascribes to Islam have analogues in the Islamic tradition, proving that John may well represent an accurate picture of Islam as he knew it in the seventh and eighth centuries in Syria and Palestine.



1 Heresy and Heresiology in Late Antiquity
 Problems in Associating Islam with Heresy
 Manichaeism: The Exception that Proves the Rule
 Heresy as Opposition to the Church
 Other Understandings of Heresy in Late Antiquity
 Early Christian Use of Heresiology
 The Demonic Nature of Heresy
 Heresy as the Result of Philosophical Speculation
 Other Typical Traits of Heresiology

2 Aspects of the Intellectual Background
 The Encyclopedism of Christian Palestine
 Heresiology as History?
 The Sociological Imperative to Institution Building as a Force for Islam’s Inclusion
 From Heresiology to Panarion and from Panarion to Anacephalaeosis: The Shifting Nature of Heresiology
 John of Damascus and non-Christian Philosophy
 The Definition of Heresy in John’s Works
 Demons and the Heresiology of John

3 The Life of John of Damascus, His Use of the Qurʾan, and the Quality of His Knowledge of Islam
 The Life of John of Damascus
 John of Damascus and Arabic
 The Qurʾan and its Apparent Use Among Christians
 John of Damascus and the Qurʾan
 Anastasius of Sinai and the Qurʾan
 The Alleged Leo-Umar Correspondence
 Lives of the Prophets and Other Sources

4 Islamic and Para-Islamic Traditions
 Scholarly Accounts of Early Islam
 Revisionist Islamic Studies and its Antecedents
 Contemporary Islamic Studies
 John of Damascus, the Black Stone, and the Ka’ba
 The Ka’ba, the Black Stone, and the Maqām Ibrāhīm in the Islamic Tradition
 An Untraditional Perspective
 The Damascene’s Observations Given the Untraditional Perspective
 Rivers in Paradise
 The Monk and an-Nasara
 Female Circumcision
 Pillars of Faith

5 John of Damascus and Theodore Abu Qurrah on Islam
 Problems Authenticating Abu Qurrah’s Greek Corpus
 Theodore Abu Qurrah on Islam
 Theodore, the Qurʾan, and Muhammad
 The Arian Monk
 Theodore and Heresy
 Theodore and John: Some Differences and Conclusions

Appendix 1: Greek Text and English Translation of ‘On Heresies 100’
Appendix 2: Potential Qurʾanic References in ‘On Heresies 100’

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