Christians, Muslims and Jesus

Christians, Muslims and Jesus

Mona Siddiqui
Copyright Date: 2013
Published by: Yale University Press
Pages: 288
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    Christians, Muslims and Jesus
    Book Description:

    Prophet or messiah, the figure of Jesus serves as both the bridge and the barrier between Christianity and Islam. In this accessible and revelatory book, Muslim scholar and popular commentator Mona Siddiqui explores the theological links between the two religions, showing how Islamic thought has approached and responded to Jesus and Christological themes from its earliest days to modern times. The author finds that the philosophical overlap between the two religions is greater than previously imagined, and this being so, her book brings with it the hope of improving interfaith communication and understanding.

    Through a careful analysis of selected works by major Christian and Muslim theologians during the formative, medieval, and modern periods of both religions, Siddiqui focuses on themes including revelation, prophesy, salvation, redemption, grace, sin, eschatology, law, and love. How did some become the defining characteristics of one faith and not the other? Which-and why-do some translate between the two religions? With a nuanced and carefully considered analysis of critical doctrines of Christianity and Islam, the author provides a refreshing counterpoint to contemporary polemical arguments and makes an important contribution to reasoned interfaith conversation.

    eISBN: 978-0-300-18926-1
    Subjects: Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-v)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vi-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 1-5)

    I have been engaged in Christian–Muslim relations for most of my academic life. While this was not initially a particular research area of mine, my involvement in ‘dialogue’ over the years inspired in me a much deeper interest in the theological themes and conversations between the world’s two largest faiths. Dialogue itself is a contested term, but for me it has always been about learning, my desire to know more about Christian theology, and through this to be challenged in my own Muslim faith. As a Muslim woman, often a lone voice in what is still a largely male-dominated...

  5. CHAPTER 1 The End of Prophecy
    (pp. 6-59)

    In Islam, prophecy and scripture are inextricably tied to divine communication, so that it is principally through Muḥammad and the Qur’ān that Muslims come to see God as a moral and eschatological reality. There is an understanding that throughout history God sends and humanity receives different forms of God’s communication. It is in this receiving that humankind understands something of God, a God who both hides and reveals himself. Scripture is given first and written second. By contrast, scripture and prophecy play a secondary role in Christianity in the sense that through Jesus Christ, God no longer offers us a...

  6. CHAPTER 2 God as One: Early Debates
    (pp. 60-96)

    In the previous chapter we saw how prophecy as a mode of divine communication and divine presence has been understood and defined in the persons of Muḥammad and Jesus. While prophecy as a conceptual paradigm of God’s purpose remained central to Islam, it gradually assumed a lesser relevance in Christianity. Here, in the person of Jesus, God himself was present and thus the status of prophecy was eclipsed by the doctrine of the Incarnation. The divine/human nature of Christ unfolded as a unique event which went far beyond prophetic mission and guidance for Christians. For Muslims, however, this Christic complexity...

  7. CHAPTER 3 Scholastic, Medieval and Poetic Debates
    (pp. 97-148)

    In Chapter 2, we looked at select writings to explore how God’s nature was discussed by Christians and Muslims, especially the Christians of the Arabic/Syriac-speaking world. Christian theologians realised that despite some disagreement on the exact expression of the inner character of the doctrines of the Incarnation and the Trinity, both these doctrines were fundamental to an authentic faith in Christ. Even if these doctrines continued to be contentious between Christian groups centuries after the first ecumenical councils, they remained essential to the faith and had to be made intelligible to a Muslim audience which quite simply rejected any idea...

  8. CHAPTER 4 Reflections on Mary
    (pp. 149-170)

    While Jesus remained at the centre of most of the polemical as well as irenic conversations between Christians and Muslims, Mary often featured as a more conciliatory figure between the two religions. As the virginal mother of Jesus in Christianity and Islam, Mary’s womanhood and femininity, along with her pious devotion, became the subject of much theological speculation in both religions.

    When I was expecting my first child, I started reading the Qur’ān for longer periods of time and more frequently. Very early on my mother encouraged me to readsūraMaryam at least once a day throughout my whole...

  9. CHAPTER 5 Monotheism and the Dialectics of Love and Law
    (pp. 171-223)

    The early part of the twentieth century saw Christian missionaries travel to Muslim lands where they formulated their own rather ambivalent opinions on the Muslim faith and Muslim life; there was both contempt and admiration for Islam and Muslim piety. In the above quote Hendrik Kraemer (1888–1965) identifies a common perception among many Christians (and also extolled by some Muslims) that Islam is a simple religion in which submission to God’s will and majesty encapsulates the very heart of the faith. But whereas Muslims, rightly or wrongly, see virtue in this ‘simplicity’, Kraemer saw in it superficiality. Kraemer identified...

  10. CHAPTER 6 Conclusion: Reflections on the Cross
    (pp. 224-248)

    The concept of the word God has become unclear. The renowned Catholic theologian Karl Rahner stated that the word God has become as enigmatic for us as a blank face.¹ To this point Wolfhart Pannenberg wrote that while the word God can seem to be an embarrassment for Christian proclamation, without this word an appeal for faith in Jesus of Nazareth loses its foundation:

    If Jesus is just one man among others, and merely a man for all the uniqueness of his life and teaching, then we cannot believe in him in the sense of primitive Christian preaching, and above...

  11. Notes
    (pp. 249-264)
  12. Select Glossary
    (pp. 265-267)
  13. Bibliography
    (pp. 268-275)
  14. Index
    (pp. 276-286)