"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, April 10, 2015

Christians Reading and Criticizing the Quran

One of the interesting developments in the last three decades has been that of evangelicals "discovering" the Christian East. There are a number of books--of varying quality, accuracy, and therefore reliability--from evangelicals documenting these discoveries, including James R. Payton's Light from the Christian East: An Introduction to the Orthodox Tradition, which I reviewed elsewhere (largely favorably) several years ago.

Daniel Clendenin has also written several books along these lines, including Eastern Orthodox Christianity: A Western Perspective. Peter Gilquist, of course, was a part of one of the first large groups of evangelicals to move en masse into Orthodoxy, as he recounts in his Becoming Orthodox: A Journey to the Ancient Christian Faith. Gilquist's book really needs to be read alongside the recent book of my friend, Oliver Herbel, as I noted in my review of it and interview with him: Turning to Tradition: Converts and the Making of an American Orthodox Church.

Now a new book comes along, asking how "Bible-believing" Christians are to read and understand competing truth-claims in the Quran. And the author, quite sensibly, realizes that in a book being published in 2015, evangelical Christians should not be beginning from scratch when it comes to Quaranic exegesis and dealing with competing claims. Rather, there is a 1400-year history of Eastern Christians engaging Islam, and that history and those engagements remain hugely valuable today: J. Scott Bridger, Christian Exegesis of the Qur'an: A Critical Analysis of the Apologetic Use of the Qur'an in Select Medieval and Contemporary Arabic Texts (Pickwick, 2015), 200pp.

About this book we are told:
Can Christians read biblical meaning into quranic texts? Does this violate the intent of those passages? What about making positive reference to the Quran in the context of an evangelistic presentation or defense of biblical doctrines? Does this imply that Christians accept the Muslim scripture as inspired? What about Christians who reside in the world of Islam and write their theology in the language of the Quran-Arabic? Is it legitimate for them to use the Quran in their explanations of the Christian faith? This book explores these questions and offers a biblically, theologically, and historically informed response. For years evangelical Christians seeking answers to questions like these have turned to the history of Protestant Christian interaction with Muslim peoples. Few are aware of the cultural, intellectual, and theological achievements of Middle Eastern Christians who have resided in the world of Islam for fourteen centuries. Their works are a treasure-trove of riches for those investigating contemporary theological and missiological questions such as the apologetic use of the Quran.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Anonymous comments are never approved. Use your real name and say something intelligent.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...