"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).

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Muslim-Christian Dialogue

David Bertaina, an historian at the University of Illinois-Springfield, has just reviewed for Logos: A Journal of Eastern Christian Studies a recent publication: Philip Wood, `We Have No King but Christ': Christian Political Thought in Greater Syria on the Eve of the Arab Conquest (c.400-585) (Oxford Studies in Byzantium, 2010), 350pp. His very careful scholarly review will be published in the fall issue of Logos.

Bertaina is himself the author of a new book Christian and Muslim Dialogues: The Religious Uses of a Literary Form in the Early Islamic Middle East (Gorgias Eastern Christian Studies, 2011).

About this book, the publisher tells us:
Christian and Muslim Dialogues examines the history of interreligious discourse between Christians and Muslims in the Middle East from the pre-Islamic period until the eve of the Crusades. Linked by a common geography and claim to the true religion, Eastern Christians and Muslims composed texts in the form of dialogues in light of their encounters with one another. This book surveys the development of the literary genre and how dialogues came to determine the patterns of conversation. Each chapter highlights a thematic feature of the literary form, demonstrating that Christian and Muslim authors did not part ways in the first century of Islamic rule, but rather continued a dialogue commending God's faithful believers.
This book will help readers to better understand historical approaches to Christian-Muslim encounters, the conditions for dialogue, the literary form and its content, and several significant dialogues of the period. It reveals how dialogues were used for Christological debate, divine exegesis, conquest and conversion, competing historiographies, theological education and dialectic, hagiography, and scriptural reinterpretation. Using dialogue literature as a guide, the book argues that Christians and Muslims integrated into the dominant Islamic culture in a symbiotic fashion by articulating an explicit identity while simultaneously incorporating the realities of religious pluralism into their communities.
We will have this book expertly reviewed in Logos: A Journal of Eastern Christian Studies. 

And, I'm happy to report, I will have an interview on here with Bertaina in the coming weeks as well. We can hear more about his book and his scholarship in general.

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