"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).

Monday, December 2, 2013

The Quran in Christian-Muslim Dialogue

My students continue to struggle to make sense of passages in the Quran treating Christians and Jews, and to struggle with related issues of hermeneutics (what role for the hadiths? what about the so-called doctrine of naskh?) and authority (who gets to proffer an authoritative or normative interpretation of the texts today?). For it is plain that the Quran does not speak with one voice on relations to non-Muslims--nor on much else besides.A new book may help with these questions: Corrie Block, The Qur'an in Christian-Muslim Dialogue: Historical and Modern Interpretations (Routledge, 2013), 368pp.

About this book we are told:
Offering an analysis of Christian-Muslim dialogue across four centuries, this book highlights those voices of ecumenical tone which have more often used the Qur’an for drawing the two faiths together rather than pushing them apart, and amplifies the voice of the Qur’an itself. Finding that there is tremendous ecumenical ground between Christianity and Islam in the voices of their own scholars, this book ranges from a period of declining ecumenism during the first three centuries of Islam, to a period of resurging ecumenism during the most recent century until now. Among the ecumenical voices in the Christian-Muslim dialogue, this book points out that the Qur’an itself is possibly the strongest of those voices. These findings are cause for, and evidence of, hope for the Christian–Muslim relationship: that although agreement may never be reached, dialogue has led at times to very real mutual understanding and appreciation of the religious other.Providing a tool for those pursuing understanding and mutual appreciation between the Islamic and Christian faiths, this book will be of interest to scholars and students of Islam, the Qur’an and the history of Christian-Muslim relations. 
We are also given the contents of this volume: 
Introduction Part 1A: The First Christian Encounters with Islam 1 The History of Christianity in Arabia 2 Christian Doctrine in South Arabia in the Sixth and Early Seventh Centuries 3 Muhammad's Direct Encounters with Christians 4 The Qur'an: the Original Muslim-Christian Apology 5 The Treaty of Muhammad with the Narjan Christians Part 1B: Early History and Trends in Interfaith Dialogue 6 The Trinity 7 The Incarnation 8 The Crucifixion 9 Tahrif 10 Muhammad’s Prophethood 11 Islamic Expansion 12 Comments on Tone in the Phases of Dialogue Part 2: Modern Scholarship in Christian-Muslim Relations 13 The Trinity 14 The Incarnation 15 The Crucifixion 16 Tahrif 17 Muhammad’s Prophethood 18 Islamic Expansion 19 Comments on the Tone of Dialogue 20 Inter-Textual Trends Part 3: Expanding the Qur'anic Bridge 21 Ecumenism as Humble Orthodoxy 22 Orthopraxy 23 Perichoresis 24 Qur'anic Christianity 25 Concluding Thoughts

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