"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).

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Christians Studying Islam

One of the very surprising things I discovered in reading both Congar's diaries of Vatican II and also those of Maxim Hermaniuk was the extent to which there was widespread unease in the council about any proposed statement on Islam for fear of inflaming the Arab world. How things have changed in the last half-century. Now a new book documents the extent to which the council's treatment of Islam gave birth to a new generation of Christian scholars of Islam: Christian Troll and C.T.R. Hewer, eds., Christian Lives Given to the Study of Islam (Fordham U Press, 2012), 320pp.

About this book the publisher tells us: 
This book captures the autobiographical reflections of twenty-eight Christian men and women who, in the wake of the Second Vatican Council, committed their lives to the study of Islam and to practical Christian-Muslim relations in new and irenic ways. Their contributions come from across the spectrum of the Western church and record what drew them into the study of Islam. Their accounts take us to twenty-five countries and into all the branches of Islamic studies: Qur'an, Hadith, Shari'a, Sufism, philology, theology, and philosophy. They give fascinating insights into personal encounters with Islam and Muslims, speak of the ways in which their Christian traditions of spiritual training formed and nourished them, and deal with some of the misunderstandings and opposition they have faced along the way.

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