"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).

Friday, January 21, 2022

Muslim-Christian Relations

We live in a happy time when, as I have tried to document on here for over a decade, scholarship devoted to Muslim-Christian relations, in which Eastern Christians take pride of place, is blossoming. A new book adds to the riches: David Thomas, ed., The Bloomsbury Reader in Christian-Muslim Relations, 600-1500 (Bloomsbury, 2022), 352pp.

About this collection we are told this:

This Reader brings together nearly 80 extracts from the major works left by Christians and Muslims that reflect their reciprocal knowledge and attitudes. It spans the period from the early 7th century, when Islam originated, to 1500.

The general introduction provides a historical and geographical summary of Christian-Muslim encounters in the period and a short account of the religious, intellectual and social circumstances in which encounters took place and works were written. Nearly all the translations are new, and a map is provided. Each of the six parts contains the following pedagogical features:

-A short introduction

-An introduction to each passage and author

-Notes explaining terms that readers might not have previously encountered

On the Christian side topics include: condemnations of the Qur'an as a fake and Mu?ammad as a fraud, depictions of Islam as a sign of the final judgement, and proofs that it was a Christian heresy. On the Muslim side they include: demonstrations of the Bible as corrupt, proofs that Christian doctrines were illogical, comments on the inferior status of Christians, and accounts of Christian and Muslim scholars in collaboration together.

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