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Islamic Studies Islam and Christianity
by
Daniel A. Madigan, Diego R. Sarrio

Introduction

Islam and Christianity have been related since the former emerged as what Muslims would see as a divinely initiated reform and restoration of perennial prophetic religion, particularly in its Abrahamic forms in Judaism, Christianity, and the rituals of the sanctuary of Mecca. The relationship has been theological and cultural as well as political. Despite a common tendency to read “Islam and Christianity” as signifying “Islam and the West,” a substantial part of the interaction has taken place in the central Islamic lands. The Qur’an itself engages in conversation, sometimes controversy, with the biblical and postbiblical tradition, and Islamic thought developed in a close relationship of both dialogue and polemic with the existing traditions of the Middle East, particularly Christianity. Grand narratives about the relationship have tended either to see a history permanently marked by conflict between two incompatible systems or to see Islam and Christianity as integral parts of the continuing, though nonetheless contentious, history of Western monotheism. In either case, both traditions have continued to construct their identities in relation to one another.

Bibliographies

The various partial bibliographies available may eventually be superseded by the monumental project of Thomas, et al. 2009, which intends to cover all historical periods and geographical areas. The analyses of Anawati 1969 and Caspar 1975, although now somewhat dated, are from two major authorities in the field. The bibliographies of Christian Arabic literature (Graf 1944–1953, Teule and Schepens 2005, and North American Society for Christian Arabic Studies) are generally for the specialist. The Centre for Muslim-Christian Studies, Oxford is developing more introductory resources, and the website of the Muslim dialogue initiative Common Word offers graduated lists.

  • Anawati, Georges C. “Polémique, apologie et dialogue islamo-chrétiens: Positions classiques médiévales et positions contemporaines.” Euntes Docete 22 (1969): 375–451.

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    Covering polemical works of Muslim authors from the 9th century to the 16th, then the most relevant works of both Muslim and Christian authors 1865 to 1968. The author analyzes 20th-century developments in Muslim attitudes toward Christianity by comparing them to the classical positions.

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  • Caspar, Robert. “Bibliographie du dialogue islamo-chrétien.” Islamochristiana 1 (1975): 125–181.

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    Continued in Islamochristiana 2 (1976): 187–249; 3 (1977): 257–286; 4 (1978): 247–267; 5 (1979): 299–317; 6 (1980): 259–299; 7 (1981): 299–307; 10 (1984): 273–292; 13 (1987): 173–180; 15 (1989): 169–174. Covering the period from the 7th century to the 14th, this series of essays includes not only the works written in Arabic by both Muslim and Christian authors but also Christian works originally written in Greek, Latin, Armenian, Georgian, Coptic, and Syriac.

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  • Centre for Muslim-Christian Studies, Oxford.

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    “Starter bibliographies” on various issues related to Muslim-Christian relations.

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  • Common Word.

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    Graduated reading lists for the understanding of the two religions contributed by scholars (both Muslim and Christian) involved in the Common Word initiative.

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  • Graf, Georg. Geschichte der christlichen arabischen Literatur. Studie testi 118, 133, 146, 147, 172. Vatican City: Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, 1944–1953.

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    History of Christian Arabic literature. Covers literature in Arabic concerned with Christianity until the end of the 19th century. Graf sought to complement Carl Brockelmann’s Geschichte der arabischen Literatur, which did not include Christian Arabic literature. A guide to the use of this work produced by the Middle East Librarian’s Association (MELA) is available online.

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  • North American Society for Christian Arabic Studies.

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    Notices of recent publications in Christian Arabic studies, including many on Islam and Christianity.

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  • Teule, Herman G. B., and Vic Schepens. “Christian Arabic Bibliography 1990–1995.” Journal of Eastern Christian Studies 57.1–2 (2005): 129–174.

    DOI: 10.2143/JECS.57.1.2003120Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This project from the Institute of Eastern Christian Studies (Radboud University, Nijmegen, The Netherlands) is compiling a bibliography of Christian Arabic studies since the work of Graf 1944–1953. A subsequent publication by the same authors is “Christian Arabic Bibliography 1996–2000,” Journal of Eastern Christian Studies 58.1–2 (2006): 265–300.

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  • Thomas, David, and Barbara Roggema, with Juan Pedro Monferrer Sala, Johannes Pahlitzsch, Mark Swanson, Herman Teule, and John Tolan, eds. Christian-Muslim Relations: A Bibliographical History. Vol. 1, 600–900. The History of Christian-Muslim Relations 11. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2009.

    DOI: 10.1163/ej.9789004169753.i-960Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Impressive first volume of a major project covering all written sources to do with Muslim-Christian relations. In addition to David Thomas’s general survey, includes useful essays on the presentation of Christians in the Qur’an, in its commentaries, in prophetic biography, in hadith, and in Sunni law.

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  • Thomas, David, and Alex Mallett, with Juan Pedro Monferrer Sala, Johannes Pahlitzsch, Mark Swanson, Herman Teule, and John Tolan, eds. Christian-Muslim Relations: A Bibliographical History. Vol. 2, 900–1050. The History of Christian-Muslim Relations 14. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2010.

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    Originally projected to cover the period to 1200, because of the quantity of material this volume only covers the period prior to the Crusades. Introductory essays include David Thomas on Muslim regard for Christians and Christianity and Nicholas Drocourt on sources and themes of Christian-Muslim diplomatic relations in the period.

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Journals

Periodicals in this area, though often initiated within one or other of the traditions, increasingly publish and are edited by members of both. Most notable in this regard is Muslim World. Hugoye: Journal of Syriac Studies and the Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs have less interest in Muslim-Christian relations and dialogue than the nonetheless scholarly Islamochristiana: Dirāsāt Islāmiyya Masīḥiyya and Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations. Encounter: Documents for Muslim-Christian Understanding is not widely available yet is a valuable resource.

Historical Relations

These surveys have been chosen for their ability to take some critical distance from and examine the classical polemical tropes of Muslim and Christian conflict. Dalrymple 2004 reviews Fletcher 2003 and other case studies and contrasts them with the more jaundiced view of the well-known scholar Bernard Lewis. Gaudeul 2000, Goddard 2000, and Haddad 1995 give thorough introductions. Fletcher 2003 and Tolan 2000 focus on the medieval and early modern periods, while the single-civilization approach proposed in Bulliet 2004 is shown by Wheatcroft 2004 to be consistently threatened by continually constructed narratives of enmity.

  • Bulliet, Richard W. The Case for Islamo-Christian Civilization. New York: Columbia University Press, 2004.

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    Argues in support of the notion of “Islamo-Christian civilization”—the idea that the Christian society of western Europe and the Muslim society of the Middle East and North Africa belong to a single historical civilization and that they should be thought of as two versions of a common socioreligious system.

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  • Dalrymple, William. “The Truth about Muslims.” New York Review of Books 51.17 (1 November 2004): 31–34.

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    This review article shows well the shortcomings of commonplace monolithic notions about the relations between Islam and the Christian West.

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  • Fletcher, Richard A. The Cross and the Crescent: Christianity and Islam from Muhammad to the Reformation. London: Allen Lane, 2003.

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    A good, concise introduction to the history of medieval Islam and its relations with the Christian world. The focus is more on contact and cross-fertilization than on conflict and division.

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  • Gaudeul, Jean-Marie. Encounters and Clashes: Islam and Christianity in History. 2 vols. Rome: Pontificio Istituto di Studi Arabi e d’Islamistica, 2000.

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    Volume 1, A Survey; Volume 2, Texts. Excellent chronological survey of Muslim-Christian interaction throughout history; stresses the relevance of past events for present problems in the relations between the two faiths. The second volume contains an impressive selection of texts in translation, arranged chronologically and thematically. The first edition (1984) also offers the original Arabic texts.

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  • Goddard, Hugh. A History of Christian-Muslim Relations. Chicago: New Amsterdam, 2000.

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    An introduction to Muslim-Christian relations that takes the reader from early Christian views of non-Christians to late-20th- and early-21st-century interest in interreligious dialogue. Presents both the historical context and the evolution of ideas and mutual perceptions between the two traditions.

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  • Haddad, Yvonne Yazbeck, and Wadi Zaidan Haddad, eds. Christian-Muslim Encounters. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 1995.

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    Twenty-eight essays cover a wide variety of topics geographically, historically, and thematically, from old French accounts of Muslim beliefs to the 20th-century Egyptian debate about the place of Christians in a Muslim state. Organized in two parts: the historical heritage and the 20th-century situation.

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  • Tolan, John Victor, ed. Medieval Christian Perceptions of Islam: A Book of Essays. New York: Routledge, 2000.

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    Fifteen essays that reflect the wide range of medieval (7th–16th centuries) Christian responses to Islam, highlighting their variety, both in East and West, and the persistence of several key themes. John Lamoreaux’s chapter on early Christian responses to Islam is an excellent survey of the subject. Originally published, New York: Garland, 1996.

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  • Wheatcroft, Andrew. Infidels: A History of the Conflict between Christendom and Islam. New York: Random House, 2004.

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    Not a complete history of relations but focusing on three episodes—the Reconquista, the Crusades, and the 19th-century Balkan Wars—to examine how these events have been seen against the background of and have themselves contributed to grand narratives of enmity that have become the mythology of each side. Originally published, London: Viking, 2003.

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Textual Sources

Primary texts are becoming available in translation either in anthologies (Newman 1993 and Gaudeul 2000) or in the series Thomas, et al. 2003–. These include both Muslim and Christian texts, whereas the series Corpus Islamo-Christianum (Hagemann and Glei 1987–) and Eastern Christian Texts 2002– are restricted to Christian texts. See also Rida 2008 and Abd al-Jabbār 2010 (cited under Muslim Perceptions of Christianity).

  • Eastern Christian Texts. Provo, UT: Brigham Young University Press, 2002–.

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    This series, edited by Daniel C. Peterson and others, publishes editions of original texts together with facing English translations of writings from the full spectrum of Eastern Christian literatures, languages, and traditions. This literature records the thought and religious life of Christians indigenous to the Middle East. A presentation of the series and the published titles is available online.

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    • Gaudeul, Jean-Marie. Encounters and Clashes: Islam and Christianity in History. 2 vols. Rome: Pontificio Istituto di Studi Arabi e d’Islamistica, 2000.

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      Volume 2, Texts. A broad sampling of texts in translation arranged both chronologically and according to theme. For the Arabic original of the text selections, consult the first edition (1984) of this work.

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    • Hagemann, Ludwig, and Reinhold Glei, eds. Corpus Islamo-Christianum. Wiesbaden, Germany: Harrassowitz, 1987–.

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      Conventionally abbreviated CISC. Texts, translations, and commentaries on historical Christian texts (Greek, Latin, Arabic, and Coptic) concerning Islam. Most of the translations are into German, though the Arabic texts are translated into French. A presentation of the series and the published titles is available online.

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      • Newman, Neal A., ed. The Early Christian-Muslim Dialogue: A Collection of Documents from the First Three Islamic Centuries, 632–900 A.D.; Translations with Commentary. Hatfield, PA: Interdisciplinary Biblical Research Institute, 1993.

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        A collection of English translations of some of the major texts from the first three centuries of Muslim-Christian interaction, from the dialogue of the Jacobite Patriarch John I and the Amir ʿAmr ibn al-ʿAs in the year 639 to Al-Jahiz’s (d. 869) “Reply to the Christians.”

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      • Thomas, David, Tarif Khalidi, Gerrit Jan Reinink, and Mark Swanson, eds. The History of Christian-Muslim Relations, Texts and Studies. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2003–.

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        This series aims at illustrating the development in mutual perceptions as these are contained in surviving Christian and Muslim writings. It includes fully introduced text editions and annotated translations and also monographs and collected studies. A presentation of the series and the titles published is available online.

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        Christianity and the Origins of Islam

        Substantial new developments are being made on this question, not least because of a reexamination of the conviction that Islam originated in the full light of history. Earlier approaches (often apologetic or even polemical) have emphasized Islam’s “borrowings” from Judaism and Christianity (Andrae 1955, Bell 1968, Trimingham 1990). More recently, thanks at least in part to the radical revisionism of John Wansbrough (see Berg 1997, Rippin 2001), even scholars who would not share his skepticism (for example, see Donner 2010) have begun to look again at the evidence about the early years of Islam and to elaborate more convincing proposals about Islam’s emergence and development. Even though the reliable evidence will not yet furnish the kind of confident historical narrative that the disputed sources have, Hawting 1999 and Reynolds 2010 are laying the groundwork piece by piece for a new narrative. Griffith 2001 provides a careful introduction to as much as we can say about Christianity and the Qur’an.

        • Andrae, Tor. Les origines de l’Islam et le Christianisme. Translated by Jules Roche. Paris: Adrien-Maisonneuve, 1955.

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          Three articles previously published by the author in which he discusses the influences and borrowings from Syriac Christian sources in the Qur’an, particularly in the field of eschatology. Originally published as Der Ursprung des Islams und das Christentum (Uppsala, Sweden: Almqvist and Wiksells, 1926).

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        • Bell, Richard. The Origin of Islam in Its Christian Environment: The Gunning Lectures, Edinburgh University, 1925. London: Cass, 1968.

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          Bell sought to show the importance of Arab Christianity in the emergence of Islam. Its relationship to Judaism had already begun to be documented in the 19th century. He argues that, as Muhammad came to know the other traditions, he progressively incorporated Jewish and Christian ideas into his own religious project. Originally published, London: Macmillan, 1926.

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        • Berg, Herbert, ed. Special Issue: Islamic Origins Reconsidered: John Wansbrough and the Study of Early Islam. Method and Theory in the Study of Religion 9.1 (1997).

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          A special issue containing five essays discussing John Wansbrough’s work on early Islamic texts and the origin of the Qur’an. A historian specializing in early Islamic manuscripts, Wansbrough criticized the traditional account of Islamic origins as being later literary reconstruction. He explained the rise of Islam as evolving out of an environment of competing Judeo-Christian sects.

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        • Donner, Fred M. Muhammad and the Believers: At the Origins of Islam. Cambridge, MA: Belknap, 2010.

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          A sophisticated rereading of early Islamic history. Donner argues that Muhammad’s religious reform emphasizing strict monotheism and righteous behavior included Christians and Jews as well as “Qur’anic believers,” each group living according to a revealed law. The conviction that Muslims constituted a separate community would have emerged a century later.

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        • Griffith, Sidney H. “Christians and Christianity.” In Encyclopaedia of the Qur’ān. Vol. 1. Edited by Jane Dammen McAuliffe, 307–314. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2001.

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          An indispensible introduction to the question of the relationship of Christians and Christianity to early Islam; their presence in Arabia; direct and indirect references in the Qur’an, hadith, and the biography of the Prophet.

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        • Hawting, Gerald R. The Idea of Idolatry and the Emergence of Islam: From Polemic to History. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1999.

          DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511497490Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

          Argues that the emergence of Islam owed more to debates and disputes among monotheists than to arguments with actual idolaters and polytheists. Accusations of polytheism and idolatry are characteristic polemic tropes used among monotheists against those whose beliefs and practices were judged to fall short of true monotheism.

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        • Reynolds, Gabriel Said. The Qur’ān and Its Biblical Subtext. Routledge Studies in the Qur’an. London: Routledge, 2010.

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          Moving away from the apologetic alternatives of seeing the Qur’an as a collection of borrowings or as an entirely original text, Reynolds proposes to see it as a text that takes the biblical tradition (broadly understood) for granted and that is unabashedly in conversation with it.

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        • Rippin, Andrew. “Literary Analysis of the Qur’an, Tafsir, and Sira: The Methodologies of John Wansbrough.” In Approaches to Islam in Religious Studies. Edited by Richard C. Martin, 151–163. Oxford: Oneworld, 2001.

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          A very helpful exposition of the rather complex work of Wansbrough. Originally published, Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1985.

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        • Trimingham, J. Spencer. Christianity among the Arabs in Pre-Islamic Times. London: Longman, 1990.

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          Examines the spread of Christianity among the Arabs prior to the rise of Islam. The last two chapters in particular deal with Christian influence on the Arabian Peninsula proper and the relationship between Christianity and the nascent Islamic community.

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        Christians Living under Islam

        Nowhere perhaps has the grand narrative of permanent conflict and incompatibility played out more than in the discussion of Christians living under Muslim rule. There is a great deal being researched and published in this area. Griffith 2008 is the most approachable way into the subject, followed by Cragg 1991, which covers a longer time frame. Hoyland 1997 and Hoyland 2004 both examine the relations of other religious traditions, not only Christians, to the emerging Islamic community. Christys 2002 focuses on the particular case of Christians under Islamic rule in the West. The more scholarly volumes in the series The History of Christian-Muslim Relations (Grypeou, et al. 2006; Thomas 2003), to say nothing of the archaeological study Schick 1995, remind us constantly of the complexities of the question and the difficulty of sustaining the stereotypical myths of conquest and conversion. See also the first part of John V. Tolan’s Medieval Christian Perceptions of Islam: A Book of Essays (Tolan 2000, cited under Historical Relations), which explores Eastern Christian responses to Islam.

        • Christys, Ann. Christians in Al-Andalus, 711–1000. Richmond, UK: Curzon, 2002.

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          A study of literary sources, Latin and Arabic, that shed some light on the history of the indigenous Christian communities under Muslim rule in al-Andalus throughout the first three centuries after the Arab conquest.

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        • Cragg, Kenneth. The Arab Christian: A History in the Middle East. Louisville, KY: Westminster/John Knox, 1991.

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          A study of Arab Christianity and its quest for identity and self-definition in the face of Muslim dominance of Arabness. Sometimes criticized for a less than generous approach to the Arab Christian theological tradition.

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        • Griffith, Sidney H. The Church in the Shadow of the Mosque: Christians and Muslims in the World of Islam. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2008.

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          A masterful treatment of the cultural and intellectual life of Syriac- and Arabic-speaking Christians living in the world of Islam from the time of the Prophet Muhammad to the Mongol invasions in the 13th century.

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        • Grypeou, Emmanouela, Mark Swanson, and David Thomas, eds. The Encounter of Eastern Christianity with Early Islam. The History of Christian-Muslim Relations 5. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2006.

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          A wide-ranging collection of fourteen essays covering some of the most important political and theological aspects of the encounter of Christianity with early Islam in the eastern provinces of the Byzantine Empire and in Persia.

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        • Hoyland, Robert G. Seeing Islam as Others Saw It: A Survey and Evaluation of Christian, Jewish, and Zoroastrian Writings on Early Islam. Princeton, NJ: Darwin, 1997.

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          Discusses the nature of the Muslim and non-Muslim source material for the 7th- and 8th-century Middle East and argues that by lessening the divide between Islam and the other traditions we can come to a better appreciation of this crucial period. Includes a detailed analysis of non-Muslim textual sources.

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        • Hoyland, Robert G., ed. Muslims and Others in Early Islamic Society. Aldershot, UK: Ashgate, 2004.

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          A collection of fifteen essays previously published elsewhere dealing with different aspects (social, legal, financial, polemical, and so forth) of the relations between Muslims and non-Muslims in the early Islamic world.

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        • Schick, Robert. The Christian Communities of Palestine from Byzantine to Islamic Rule: A Historical and Archaeological Study. Princeton, NJ: Darwin, 1995.

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          Examines the Christian presence in Palestine from just before the Islamic conquest to the early Abbasid times (until 813 CE). Attempts to answer from archaeological and epigraphic evidence questions of conversion to Islam, taxation, the status of churches, and Muslim policies toward the Christians in general.

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        • Thomas, David, ed. Christians at the Heart of Islamic Rule: Church Life and Scholarship in ‛Abbasid Iraq. The History of Christian-Muslim Relations 1. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2003.

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          A collection of thirteen scholarly papers, each dealing with an aspect of the life of Christians under Abbasid rule, covering topics from the Christians’ sense of superiority over the Muslims, through intra-Christian theological disputes, to the use of Gospel verses in Muslim-Christian polemics.

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        Islam and Western Christianity

        If the history of Muslim-Christian relations in the Middle East has been seen as one of constant conflict, this is even more true of the West, and the rhetoric of the Crusades tends to dominate the imagination on both sides. Armour 2002 and Bulliet 2004 examine history and seek to offer more constructive ways forward. Deconstruction of the myth of eternal conflict requires careful sociological observation (Cesari 2006) of how the relationship is playing itself out in various regions (Haddad 2002) as well as alternative proposals for seeing the future (Ramadan 2004, Jenkins 2007).

        • Armour, Rollin S. Islam, Christianity, and the West: A Troubled History. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 2002.

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          An accessible historical survey of the responses of the Christian West to Islam, from the Venerable Bede’s reaction to the Muslim conquests in the 8th century to the Arab-Israeli conflict and the events of 2001.

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        • Bulliet, Richard W. The Case for Islamo-Christian Civilization. New York: Columbia University Press, 2004.

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          Argues in support of the notion of “Islamo-Christian civilization,” the idea that the Christian society of western Europe and the Muslim society of the Middle East and North Africa belong to a single historical civilization and that they should be thought of as two versions of a common socioreligious system.

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        • Cesari, Jocelyne. When Islam and Democracy Meet: Muslims in Europe and in the United States. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006.

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          One of the keenest of observers of the processes at work among Muslims in the West at local, national, and global levels. Cesari’s careful mapping of the social terrain is essential for avoiding essentialist discourses that presume “Islam” is an unchanging entity rather than a network of dynamic discursive practices.

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        • Haddad, Yvonne Yazbeck, ed. Muslims in the West: From Sojourners to Citizens. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002.

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          Offers a variety of studies on the impact of growing Muslim societies in the West and on how Muslims are adapting to life as citizens in substantial numbers in the West.

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        • Jenkins, Philip. God’s Continent: Christianity, Islam, and Europe’s Religious Crisis. New York: Oxford University Press, 2007.

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          This analysis of the future of Christianity and Islam in Europe examines the Continent’s religious trends in light of its secular culture, the decline of conventional Christian churches, and the influx of immigrants from the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and eastern Europe.

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        • Ramadan, Tariq. Western Muslims and the Future of Islam. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004.

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          Ramadan has become a controversial figure, but it is clear that particularly in Europe he has an influential role in the Muslim debate about Islam in the West.

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        The Crusades

        With the rhetorical importance of the Crusades in late-20th and early-21st-century relations between Muslims and Christians, it is essential to have an accurate view of this complex period and the mind-sets it has generated (Daniel 1993). Runciman 1995 maintains its position as a classic; however, the various Western ways of interpreting the Crusades on a large historical scale have multiplied, as will be seen in Riley-Smith 1995. Housley 2006 discusses the state of the field. Hillenbrand 2000 offers more material from a Muslim perspective at the time of the events.

        • Daniel, Norman. Islam and the West: The Making of an Image. Rev. ed. Oxford: Oneworld, 1993.

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          This classic study examines European writing on Islam in the period roughly between 1100 and 1350, a crucial time for the formation of Western Christian attitudes toward Islam. Originally published, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1960.

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        • Hillenbrand, Carole. The Crusades: Islamic Perspectives. New York: Routledge, 2000.

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          A good complement to traditional historical accounts of the Crusades in which the Muslim perspective is often underrepresented.

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        • Housley, Norman. Contesting the Crusades. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2006.

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          Probably the best introduction to the modern historiography of the Crusades, a field that has changed enormously and, as the title suggests, become much more complex since the magisterial work of Steven Runciman in the 1950s.

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        • Riley-Smith, Jonathan, ed. The Oxford Illustrated History of the Crusades. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995.

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          This collection of fifteen essays written by leading historians and specialists of the period provides an excellent summary of scholarship on crusading—understood not only as the expeditions of the 11th–13th centuries, but also as other aspects of expansionism into Islamic and pagan lands up to 1700.

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        • Runciman, Steven. A History of the Crusades. 3 vols. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1995.

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          Volume 1, The First Crusade and the Foundation of the Kingdom of Jerusalem; Volume 2, The Kingdom of Jerusalem; Volume 3, The Kingdom of Acre and the Later Crusades. Originally published 1951–1954. Although in some respects outdated, this account of the Crusades is still considered a classic. Runciman believed that the Crusades should be understood less as an attempt to reconquer the Christian heartlands lost to Islam than as the last of the barbarian invasions.

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        Christian Perceptions of Islam

        There has been an extraordinary range of interpretations of Islam on the part of Christians. It has been seen as a divine scourge sent to punish a Church that had been in various ways unfaithful, as a diabolical hoax, as a heterodox Christian sect, as a reform movement, or as merely an Arab variant on a shared monotheism. The works of Kenneth Cragg, only two of which are listed here (Cragg 2000 and Cragg 1999), offer the most serious and sustained theological engagement with Islam in English, though his elegant prose is notoriously difficult for nonnative speakers of English. Hoyland 1997 and Sahas 1972 provide material for the earliest history (see also Christians Living under Islam), while Michel 2010, Moltmann and Küng 1994, and O’Mahony and Loosley 2008 offer more contemporary engagements.

        • Cragg, Kenneth. Muhammad and the Christian: A Question of Response. Oxford: Oneworld, 1999.

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          First published in 1984 (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis). One of the most vexed questions in this area is the Christian assessment of Muhammad, for recognition of his prophethood has greater significance than simply as a polite reciprocation of the Islamic recognition of Jesus.

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        • Cragg, Kenneth. The Call of the Minaret. 3d ed. Oxford: Oneworld, 2000.

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          Cragg has been the most prolific and insightful interpreter of Islam to an English-speaking readership. Although he has sometimes been accused of Christianizing Islam in his reading of it, he shows a profound sensibility for the particularity of each tradition, which nonetheless does not preclude dialogue. Originally published, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1956.

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        • Hoyland, Robert G. Seeing Islam as Others Saw It: A Survey and Evaluation of Christian, Jewish, and Zoroastrian Writings on Early Islam. Princeton, NJ: Darwin, 1997.

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          Much of the contemporary Christian perception of Islam is based on presumptions about the earliest history of the Muslim-Christian interactions. This detailed presentation and analysis of non-Muslim references to and writings about Islam in the early centuries depicts a situation much more varied and often much less conflictual than generally presumed.

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        • Michel, Thomas F. A Christian View of Islam: Essays on Dialogue. Edited by Irfan A. Omar. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 2010.

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          This compendium is organized into three parts: (1) various approaches to interreligious dialogue, (2) five comparative studies, and (3) one in which Michel addresses a number of issues, including Islam as the “Other,” Islamic nonviolence, holiness and ethics in Islam, and a Qur’anic approach to ecology.

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        • Moltmann, Jürgen, and Hans Küng, eds. Islam: A Challenge for Christianity. London: SCM, 1994.

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          A collection of essays by both Muslim and Christian scholars, most with a theological or ethical emphasis, others with a geographical focus.

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        • O’Mahony, Anthony, and Emma Loosley, eds. Christian Responses to Islam: Muslim-Christian Relations in the Modern World. Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press, 2008.

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          This collection is broad in both an ecumenical and a geographical sense, covering various Christian traditions and all the continents except the Americas.

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        • Sahas, Daniel J. John of Damascus on Islam: The “Heresy of the Ishmaelites.” Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 1972.

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          A description and discussion of perhaps the best-known early Christian theological estimation of Islam.

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        The French–North African Connection

        Some very positive, seminal work in this area (for example, Caspar 2006) owes much, perhaps ironically, to the French colonial involvement in North Africa. Louis Massignon (b. 1883–d. 1962) was one of the West’s most renowned scholars of Islam in the 20th century and certainly one of the most influential thinkers in the Roman Catholic community before the Second Vatican Council on the relationship between Christians and Muslims (O’Mahony 2007). His religious views on Islam, Muhammad, and the Qur’an were largely responsible for the Roman Catholic Church’s positive approach to dialogue with the Islamic world, as expressed in the documents of Vatican II. Robinson 1991 and Griffith 1997 offer very good introductions to Massignon’s thought in this area, only some of which has been published in English (Massignon 1989). Borrmans 2009 introduces some of the main figures influenced by Massignon and responsible for considerable theological development in the Roman Catholic tradition, which has then had its effect on other Christian traditions. This strand of engagement with Muslims includes the monks of Tibherine, who remained in Algeria in spite of threats and were then executed by militants (Salenson 2009).

        • Borrmans, Maurice. Prophètes du dialogue islamo-chrétien: Louis Massignon, Jean-Mohammed Abd-el-Jalil, Louis Gardet et Georges C. Anawati. Paris: Cerf, 2009.

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          Treats each of these key figures in turn, tracing their scholarly and spiritual journeys and their engagement in the task of fostering mutual knowledge and recognition between the members of the two traditions. The second part of the book gives a complete bibliography for each one.

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        • Caspar, Robert. Pour un regard chrétien sur l’islam. Paris: Bayard, 2006.

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          First published in 1990 (Paris: Centurion). The author, one of the experts who participated in the writing of Vatican II’s statement on Islam, offers a sympathetic yet objective presentation of Islam as a true prophetically inspired religion.

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        • Griffith, Sidney H. “Sharing the Faith of Abraham: The ‘Credo’ of Louis Massignon.” Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations 8.2 (1997): 193–210.

          DOI: 10.1080/09596419708721120Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

          Massignon believed that Muslims and Christians both worship the God of Abraham, that Muhammad was a sincere spokesman of God, that the Qur’an is in some sense inspired, that Islam has a positive mission in the history of salvation, and that Arabic is a language of divine revelation.

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        • Massignon, Louis. Testimonies and Reflections: Essays of Louis Massignon. Selected and introduced by Herbert Mason. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1989.

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          A collection of Massignon’s essays translated by the man more responsible than anyone else for making his work, particularly on Sufism, available to an English-speaking readership.

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        • O’Mahony, Anthony. “Catholic Theological Perspectives on Islam at the Second Vatican Council.” New Blackfriars 88.1016 (2007): 385–398.

          DOI: 10.1111/j.1741-2005.2006.00132.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

          Sums up Vatican II’s position toward Islam as well as some influential currents in Catholic thought in the decades before the council that attempted to reconcile Islam and Abraham in Christian theology.

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        • Robinson, Neal. “Massignon, Vatican II and Islam as an Abrahamic Religion.” Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations 2.2 (1991): 182–205.

          DOI: 10.1080/09596419108720957Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

          Surveys the largely negative responses of Byzantine polemicists, medieval Western authors, and later Orientalists to Islam’s avowedly Abrahamic pedigree. It then examines the work of Massignon and his circle and discusses the extent to which his conviction that Islam was an Abrahamic religion, like Judaism and Christianity, influenced Vatican II.

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        • Salenson, Christian. Christian de Chergé: Une théologie de l’espérance. Paris: Bayard, 2009.

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          Presents the rich theological thought and spirituality of Dom Christian de Chergé, the prior of Our Lady of Atlas Monastery in Tibherine, Algeria, who with six other Trappist monks was slain by terrorists in 1996. Focuses on the place of Islam in the totality of God’s plan of salvation.

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        Muslim Perceptions of Christianity

        In the modern period Christianity and Islam seem to regard one another from a distance, if not geographical, at least mental. Yet from the beginning of Islam, these perceptions were part of the very formation of an Islamic identity. The question for the contemporary period is whether it is possible to regain that early sense of engagement at the theological level and take it in more fruitful directions.

        The Classical Period

        Griffith 2001 provides an essential introduction. Ridgeon 2000 provides introductions to the perceptions of Christians in the early formative period. Though not solely about Christianity, Waardenburg 1999 offers useful summaries of historical periods. The most detailed engagement of Muslim scholars with Christian doctrine takes place before the 10th century. Thomas 2008 and Thomas 2002 document this engagement in the introductions to each volume. Thomas 2008 notes that, by the time of Abd al-Jabbār, Muslim scholars were more dismissive of Christian positions, no longer seeing them as a threat. Ibn Taymiyya 1984 was written in a period of great turmoil in the Islamic world, and it was part of the author’s project to reestablish what he saw as Islamic orthodoxy. Still, the engagement with Christianity did not end with theology; the person of Jesus becomes a significant figure particularly but not exclusively in spiritual and ascetic literature (Khalidi 2001). Qur’an commentators’ readings of verses about Christians (McAuliffe 1991) tend to reflect over the centuries a fairly consistent image, apparently not much affected by historical circumstances.

        • Abd al-Jabbār b. Ahmad al-Asadābādī. Critique of Christian Origins: A Parallel English-Arabic Text. Edited, translated, and annotated by Gabriel Said Reynolds and Samir Khalil Samir. Brigham Young University Islamic Translation Series. Provo, UT: Brigham Young University Press, 2010.

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          Abd al-Jabbār, a leading Mu’tazili scholar of the 10th century, criticized Christianity not only theologically but also on historical grounds. He argued that the schemes of secular and religious leaders led to the suppression of the Islamic religion of Jesus and the creation of Christianity in its place.

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        • Griffith, Sidney H. “Christians and Christianity.” In Encyclopaedia of the Qurān. Vol. 1. Edited by Jane Dammen McAuliffe, 307–314. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2001.

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          An indispensible introduction to the question of the relationship of Christians and Christianity to early Islam; their presence in Arabia; and direct and indirect references in the Qur’an, hadith and the biography of the Prophet. Other articles can also be of use, including “Jesus,” “Mary,” “Monasticism and Monks,” “People of the Book,” and “Trinity.”

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        • Ibn Taymiyya, Taqi al-Din. A Muslim Theologian’s Response to Christianity. Translated by T. F. Michel. Delmar, NY: Caravan, 1984.

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          Ibn Taymiyya (b. 1263–d. 1328) is enjoying a resurgence of popularity. This is an abridged translation of his Al-Jawāb al-saḥīḥ li-man baddala din al-masīḥ (The correct answer to the one who changed the religion of the Messiah) with an excellent introduction to Ibn Taymiyya’s polemics against various groups and an extensive bibliography.

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        • Khalidi, Tarif. The Muslim Jesus: Sayings and Stories in Islamic Literature. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2001.

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          Largest collection (three hundred) ever assembled in English translation of the sayings and stories attributed to Jesus in Arabic Islamic literature. Khalidi’s introduction and commentaries place them in their historical context, showing the function this “gospel” served within Muslim devotion.

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        • McAuliffe, Jane Dammen. Qur’anic Christians: An Analysis of Classical and Modern Exegesis. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1991.

          DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511598203Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

          Examines the Muslim understanding of Christians as expressed in ten centuries of interpretation of certain key Qur’anic verses about Christians in order to trace the persistent images and abiding concerns with which this exegetical literature evaluates the Qur’anic view of Christians.

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        • Ridgeon, Lloyd V. J., ed. Islamic Interpretations of Christianity. New York: St. Martin’s, 2000.

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          A valuable collection of essays. Part 1 deals, in six chapters, with the classical period: Qur’an, hadith, law, theology, and Sufism.

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        • Thomas, David. Christian Doctrines in Islamic Theology. The History of Christian-Muslim Relations 10. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2008.

          DOI: 10.1163/ej.9789004169357.i-392Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

          Through excerpts from key works of 10th-century theologians, this book shows how Muslims in this period used Christian doctrines as examples of misguided thinking to help confirm the correctness of their own theology and how among them Christianity had ceased to be considered a serious rival to Islam.

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        • Thomas, David, ed. and trans. Early Muslim Polemic against Christianity: Abū ‛Īsā al-Warrāq’s “Against the Incarnation.” Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2002.

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          This volume, together with Thomas’s earlier translation of Abū ‛Īsā al-Warrāq’s Against the Trinity (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1992), provides the Arabic text with facing English translation of perhaps the most sustained classical critique of the central tenets of Christian belief. The introductions are extremely valuable treatments of Muslim and Christian doctrinal positions during the period.

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        • Waardenburg, Jacques, ed. Muslim Perceptions of Other Religions: A Historical Survey. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999.

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          Four chapters by the editor survey Muslim studies of other religions in the early, medieval, modern, and contemporary periods. The other two sections—“Medieval Times” and “Modern Times”—cover a number of issues in several geographical areas and regarding a number of religions.

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        Modern and Contemporary

        In more recent times no less than in classical ones the mutual theological perceptions of Islam and Christianity are based on more than theology. Goddard 1996 and Ridgeon 2000 contain some important regional treatments, while Waardenburg 1999 examines the relations according to historical periods. For them, and for Ryad 2009, the role of Egypt is significant both because of its strong and substantial Christian minority and also because of its engagement with the West and the importance of some of its key thinkers (see Rida 2008). McAuliffe 1991 covers commentators right up into the modern period. Ayoub 2007 and al-Faruqi 1998 are by important figures in 20th-century engagement, and others are treated in Sachedina 1997. See also Siddiqui 1997 in Muslim Reflections on dialogue.

        • Ayoub, Mahmoud. A Muslim View of Christianity: Essays on Dialogue. Edited by Irfan A. Omar. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 2007.

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          A valuable collection of the essays of Ayoub, a Muslim scholar who has distinguished himself by the sophistication of his grasp of historical Christian theology. The third part of the collection is devoted to Muslim perspectives on Christological issues.

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        • al-Faruqi, Isma’il R. Islam and Other Faiths. Edited by Ataullah Siddiqui. Leicester, UK: Islamic Foundation and International Institute for Islamic Thought, 1998.

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          A collection of Ismail al-Faruqi’s articles written over a span of two decades that deal directly with Islam and other faiths, Christianity and Judaism in particular.

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        • Goddard, Hugh. Muslim Perceptions of Christianity. London: Grey Seal, 1996.

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          After shorter chapters on the classical and early modern periods, this work focuses substantially on Egypt.

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        • McAuliffe, Jane Dammen. Qur’anic Christians: An Analysis of Classical and Modern Exegesis. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1991.

          DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511598203Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

          An examination of the persistent images and abiding concerns about Christians that emerge across ten centuries of interpretation of certain key Qur’anic verses about them. Commentators included from the modern period are the 19th-century Sunni Rashid Rida, and the 20th-century Shi’ite Muhammad Husayn Tabataba’i.

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        • Rida, Muhammad Rashid. Christian Criticisms, Islamic Proofs: Rashid Rida’s Modernist Defense of Islam. Translated and commentary by Simon A. Wood. Oxford: Oneworld, 2008.

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          This influential early 20th-century Egyptian thinker wrote a number of essays in response to Christian missionary polemics against Islam. He later published them as a collection. Wood contextualizes the essays historically and thematically and then provides a translation that deliberately aims for accuracy rather than smooth English.

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        • Ridgeon, Lloyd V. J., ed. Islamic Interpretations of Christianity. New York: St. Martin’s, 2000.

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          A valuable collection of essays. Part 1 deals in six chapters with the classical period: Qur’an, hadith, law, theology, Sufism. Part 2 contains four essays on the modern period: on Qutb’s view of Christianity; on Muslim views of Christianity and the West; and regional treatments covering Britain, Nigeria, and Malaysia.

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        • Ryad, Umar. Islamic Reformism and Christianity: A Critical Reading of the Works of Muhammad Rashid Rida and His Associates (1898–1935). The History of Christian-Muslim Relations 12. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2009.

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          Focuses on the dynamics of the Muslim understanding of Christianity during the late 19th and the early 20th centuries and its answers to the social, political, and theological aspects of Christian missionary movements in the Muslim world of Rashid Rida’s age.

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        • Sachedina, Abdulaziz. “Islamic Theology of Christian-Muslim Relations.” Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations 8.1 (1997): 27–38.

          DOI: 10.1080/09596419708721104Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

          The conclusion of the paper is that unless Muslim thinkers are willing to recognize the necessity to go beyond the epistemes provided in the classical sources, Islam will continue to remain unresponsive to the emerging pluralism in the global community.

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        • Waardenburg, Jacques, ed. Muslim Perceptions of Other Religions: A Historical Survey. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999.

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          Waardenburg includes two survey chapters covering the modern and contemporary periods. The other sections of the book cover not only Muslim perceptions of Christianity but also of other religions, and they have a broad geographical and chronological spread.

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        Reading One Another’s Scriptures

        The Qur’an itself could be said to offer a reading of the biblical and postbiblical tradition. Though in later periods much of the mutual reading has been undertaken for apologetic or polemical purposes, in various ways the two texts have continued to engage each other.

        Historical Studies

        Burman 2007; McAuliffe, et al. 2003; and Lazarus-Yafeh 1992 explore the perhaps unexpectedly interactive worlds of medieval Christian, Jewish, and Muslim engagement with scriptures. The pluralist situation (Griffith 2006) affected not only the way people read others’ scriptures (Rippin 1993, Saleh 2008) but also their own. This interactive engagement is in evidence not only in exegesis but also at the level of the text itself. Reynolds 2010 examines the way the Qur’an is in constant conversation with the biblical tradition.

        • Burman, Thomas E. Reading the Qur’an in Latin Christendom, 1140–1560. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2007.

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          Detailed historical study of the early centuries of Western engagement with the Qur’an and its exegesis.

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        • Griffith, Sidney H. “Arguing from Scripture: The Bible in the Christian/Muslim Encounter in the Middle Ages.” In Scripture and Pluralism: Reading the Bible in the Religiously Plural Worlds of the Middle Ages and Renaissance. Edited by Thomas J. Heffernan and Thomas E. Burman, 29–58. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2006.

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          This article, in a useful book of essays exploring what happened when Christians reading the Bible faced the challenges posed by premodern religious pluralism, deals with Arab-Christian biblical study within the Islamic world.

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        • Lazarus-Yafeh, Hava. Intertwined Worlds: Medieval Islam and Bible Criticism. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1992.

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          Exploring the lively polemics among Jews, Christians, and Muslims during the Middle Ages, Lazarus-Yafeh analyzes Muslim critical attitudes toward the Bible, some of which share common features with both pre-Islamic and early modern European Bible criticism.

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        • McAuliffe, Jane Dammen, Barry D. Walfish, and Joseph W. Goering, eds. With Reverence for the Word: Medieval Scriptural Exegesis in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003.

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          A particularly important point of commonality among these traditions is the emphasis that each places upon the notion of divine revelation, especially as codified in text. During the medieval period the three exegetical traditions produced a vast literature, one of great diversity but also one of numerous cross-cultural similarities.

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        • Reynolds, Gabriel Said. The Qur’ān and Its Biblical Subtext. Routledge Studies in the Qur’an. London: Routledge, 2010.

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          Christian and Jewish commentators have often perceived the Qur’an as merely a collection of borrowings from the biblical tradition, whereas Muslims have preferred to see it as a completely original text. Reynolds proposes to see it as neither, but rather as text that takes the biblical tradition (broadly understood) for granted.

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        • Rippin, Andrew. “Interpreting the Bible through the Qur’an.” In Approaches to the Qur’an. Edited by Gerald R. Hawting and Abdul-Kader A. Shareef, 249–259. New York: Routledge, 1993.

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          Puts in historical perspective and sketches the ramifications of the Muslim preference for interpreting the biblical text in the light of the Qur’an. Considers three areas: the Qur’an’s use of biblical material, commentators’ approaches, and polemics.

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        • Saleh, Walid A. In Defense of the Bible: A Critical Edition and an Introduction to al-Biqā’ī’s Bible Treatise. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2008.

          DOI: 10.1163/ej.9789004168572.i-224Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

          Al-Biqā’ī’s treatise argues for the permissibility of the use of the Bible by Muslims for religious purposes. The author wrote a huge Qur’an commentary that used the Hebrew Bible and the Gospels to interpret parts of the Qur’an. The document preserves for us a fundamental argument inside Islam about the value of the scriptures of other religions.

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        Contemporary Approaches

        Though Griffith 2006 is at least in part a historical treatment, the concern of the article is the contemporary relationship among People of the Book. Cuypers 2009 is a vast and sensitive contemporary Christian reading of a Qur’anic sura. Jomier 2002 as it is presented in this edition of the translation is seeking to draw as clear a distinction as possible between biblical and Qur’anic faiths. The Groupe de Recherche Islamo-Chrétienne (Muslim-Christian Research Group 1989) and the Scriptural Reasoning movement (Koshul and Kepnes 2007) have helped substantially to reestablish the idea that the Qur’an belongs fundamentally to the same “conversation” as the biblical tradition, an idea taken forward more technically in Reeves 2004 and (Klauck 2008–). Madigan 2007 offers an example of reading key texts together. The complexity of the Muslim relationship to the biblical text is brought out in McAuliffe 1996.

        • Cuypers, Michel. The Banquet: A Reading of the Fifth Sura of the Qur’an. Miami, FL: Convivium, 2009.

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          Translation of Le festin: Une lecture de la sourate al-Mā’ida (Paris: Lethielleux, 2007). Some Muslim scholars have long been interested in the work of Christian scholars who identify common structures of what they call Semitic rhetoric running through the biblical texts. Cuyper’s warmly received work applies rhetorical analysis to al-Ma’ida, a sura that has long resisted attempts to discern its structure.

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        • Griffith, Sidney H. “The Bible and the ‘People of the Book’.” Bulletin Dei Verbum 79–80 (2006): 22–30.

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          A valuable introduction to the various questions connected with Muslim-Christian relations by a master in the field. Though the article is introductory, it is sophisticated and rich in insights.

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        • Jomier, Jacques. The Bible and the Qur’an. Translated by Edward P. Arbez. San Francisco: Ignatius, 2002.

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          Originally published as Bible et Coran (Paris: Cerf, 1959). A scholarly yet readable work that details the substantial differences between Christian scripture and the Islamic sacred texts. The apologetic tone of the original book is made to cross the line into polemic by Steven K. Ray in his foreword to the translation.

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        • Klauck, Hans-Josef, ed. Encyclopedia of the Bible and Its Reception. Berlin: de Gruyter, 2008–.

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          Two of a projected thirty volumes have already been published. The encyclopedia also documents the history of the Bible’s reception in Islam with, for example, examinations of biblical figures and themes in the Qur’an and Islamic literature and art. Also to be available online.

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        • Koshul, Basit Bilal, and Steven Kepnes, eds. Scripture, Reason, and the Contemporary Islam-West Encounter: Studying the “Other,” Understanding the “Self”. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007.

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          Almost all of the contributors to this volume are regular participants in the practice of scriptural reasoning (Scriptural Reasoning). They seek to overcome the contemporary binary oppositions of Self and Other, Islam and West, principally through the attentive reading together of each other’s scriptures.

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        • Madigan, Daniel A. “People of the Word: Reading John’s Prologue with a Muslim.” Review and Expositor 104.1 (2007): 81–95.

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          New research on the Jewish nature of the prologue of John’s Gospel opens the way for a reading of that text that highlights the similarities of Muslim and Christian theologies of the divine word and also shows the particularities of each tradition.

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        • McAuliffe, Jane Dammen. “The Qur’anic Context of Muslim Biblical Scholarship.” Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations 7 (1996): 141–158.

          DOI: 10.1080/09596419608721076Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

          Muslim biblical scholarship is shaped by two potentially contradictory attitudes: the biblical texts are seen as fundamentally unreliable because perhaps corrupted and yet as having value as predictors of the coming prophet. This tension constitutes a central element among those intellectual strategies that secure Qur’anic authority.

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        • Muslim-Christian Research Group. The Challenge of the Scriptures: The Bible and the Qur’an. Translated by Stuart E. Brown. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 1989.

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          The work of a French and North African group. Reassessing the Qur’an in terms of Christian faith and the Bible in light of Islamic faith, it suggests that Christians can recognize the Qur’an as a scripture that expresses the word of God not only for Muslims but also for Christians.

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        • Reeves, John C., ed. Bible and Qur’an: Essays in Scriptural Intertextuality. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2004.

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          Nine essays explore various aspects of the textual and behavioral connections discernible among Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The first three essays (by Reuven Firestone, Vernon K. Robbins and Gordon D. Newby, and Reeves) deal with the question in analytical terms. These are followed by case studies. Paperback edition, Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2003.

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        Comparative Studies

        There is an increasing body of literature in this area, though new ground is not always broken. See also the section The Building Bridges Seminars for comparative textual studies on themes such as scripture, revelation, justice and the common good, science and religion, tradition and modernity.

        Theology

        The most sustained Christian treatments of Islamic theology from a comparative perspective are still Gardet and Anawati 1981 and Sweetman 2002. Obviously the difference in the understanding of monotheism (Geffré 2001, Kanzian and Legenhausen 2007, Köchler 1982), of the nature of prophecy (Cragg 1999), and of the person of Christ (Robinson 1991) are key foci of comparative theological efforts.

        • Cragg, Kenneth. The Weight in the Word: Prophethood, Biblical and Quranic. Brighton, UK: Sussex Academic, 1999.

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          Compares the Islamic notion of prophethood with the prophetic tradition of the Hebrew Bible, developing further Cragg’s thought elaborated in Craig 1999 (cited under Christian Perceptions of Islam.

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        • Gardet, Louis, and Georges C. Anawati. Introduction à la théologie musulmane: Essai de théologie comparée. 3d ed. Paris: Vrin, 1981.

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          First published in 1948 (Paris: Vrin). This classic study investigates the origin and development of Islamic theology (kalām) and Christian theology and their encounter during the Patristic and scholastic eras. It also compares Islamic and Christian notions of theology, theological method, the relationship between philosophy and theology, and faith and reason.

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        • Geffré, Claude. “The One God of Islam and Trinitarian Monotheism.” In God: Experience and Mystery. Edited by Werner Jeanrond and Christoph Theobald with Seán Freyne and Giuseppe Ruggieri, 85–93. London: SCM, 2001.

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          A well-known French Dominican theologian compares the Islamic and Christian notions of monotheism.

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        • Kanzian, Christian, and Muhammad Legenhausen, eds. Substance and Attribute: Western and Islamic Traditions in Dialogue. Frankfurt: Ontos, 2007.

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          Fifteen essays on the topic of substance and attribute and the influence of Aristotelianism in the Islamic and Western philosophical traditions.

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        • Köchler, Hans, ed. The Concept of Monotheism in Islam and Christianity. Vienna: Braumüller, 1982.

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          Collects several papers dealing with the concept of monotheism in Islam and Christianity from a variety of angles: historical background, interpretations, social manifestations, relations between God and creation, and mutual perceptions.

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        • Robinson, Neal. Christ in Islam and Christianity. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1991.

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          A thorough study of the Qur’anic representation of Jesus as expounded in standard classical commentaries from the Sunni and Shi‛i traditions. The author, who also presents the Christian responses to the Qur’anic depiction of Jesus, concentrates on four topics: Jesus’ return, the Crucifixion, the miracles, and the virginal conception.

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        • Sweetman, James Windrow. Islam and Christian Theology: A Study of the Interpretation of Theological Ideas in the Two Religions. Cambridge, UK: James Clarke, 2002.

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          First published, London: Lutterworth, 1945–1967. A pioneering work that seeks to study Islamic and Christian theologies in comparison with one another until the medieval scholastic period. There is an abridged version prepared by James S. Moon and published in 1984 by the Centre for the Study of Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations in Selly Oak, Birmingham, United Kingdom.

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        Mysticism and Religious Experience

        It is often presumed that it will be at the level of mysticism or at least religious experience that the differences among religions will be resolved (Schimmel and Falatūri 1979). Cutsinger 2002 represents the hope that the Orthodox tradition of Christianity in particular might find an elusive bond with Islam through their spiritual traditions. There is an increasing interest in studies of pairs of figures—Ibn Arabi and Meister Eckhart are favorites (Dobie 2010)—of mystical language, or perhaps better “un-language” (Sells 1994); and of notions of union (Idel and McGinn 1996). Valkenberg 2006 would maintain a link among theology, dialogue, and spiritual experience.

        • Cutsinger, James S., ed. Paths to the Heart: Sufism and the Christian East. Bloomington, IN: World Wisdom, 2002.

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          Asks what the mystical traditions of the Christian East and Sufism have in common and whether there might be a dialogue that can promote a lasting bond between Christianity and Islam. Contributors include Kallistos Ware, Seyyed Hossein Nasr, William Chittick, and Huston Smith.

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        • Dobie, Robert J. Logos and Revelation: Ibn ‛Arabi, Meister Eckhart, and Mystical Hermeneutics. Washington, DC: Catholic University of America Press, 2010.

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          What emerges from a careful examination of the writings of these two medieval mystics is a theology of the Word in which the task of the mystical exegete is to appropriate inwardly the divine Word that speaks in and through both the sacred text and all creation.

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        • Idel, Moshe, and Bernard McGinn, eds. Mystical Union in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam: An Ecumenical Dialogue. New York: Continuum, 1996.

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          Five internationally renowned scholars discuss the notion of “mystical union” with God, one of the most fundamental yet contested experiences in the mystical traditions of the three great monotheistic world religions.

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        • Schimmel, Annemarie, and Abdoldjavad Falatūri, eds. We Believe in One God: The Experience of God in Christianity and Islam. Translated by Gerald Blaczszak and Annemarie Schimmel. New York: Seabury, 1979.

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          This collection of papers presented originally in German seeks to reveal the common basis of religious experience underlying the diversity that characterizes Christianity and Islam.

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        • Sells, Michael A. Mystical Languages of Unsaying. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1994.

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          This book examines five mystical writers from separate religious traditions (Plotinus, John the Scot Eriugena, Ibn ‛Arabi, Marguerite Porete, and Meister Eckhart) who are representatives of what have been called “negative theology” or apophasis, that is, the denial that the transcendent can be named or given attributes.

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        • Valkenberg, Pim. Sharing Lights on the Way to God: Muslim-Christian Dialogue and Theology in the Context of Abrahamic Partnership. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2006.

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          Develops a model in which comparative theology and interreligious dialogue are connected by studying—as a Christian theologian—the theological and spiritual sources of his Muslim partners. These exercises in comparative Muslim-Christian theology comprise both the medieval (Thomas Aquinas, al-Ghazālī, Jalāl ad-Dīn ar-Rūmī) and the modern periods (Said Nursi, Fethullah Gulen, Tariq Ramadan).

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        War and Martyrdom

        Whatever we may say of actual practice, both traditions have a history of reflection on questions of war (Johnson 1997 and Kelsay 2007) and martyrdom (Wicker 2006), two issues of contemporary urgency. Sizgorich 2009 examines the tradition of militant zeal leading to martyrdom in both the Christian and the Muslim traditions.

        • Johnson, James Turner. The Holy War Idea in Western and Islamic Traditions. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1997.

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          An engaging reflection on the notion of holy war in Western Christianity and Islam from the perspective of political science and ethics by one of the leading specialists in the field.

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        • Kelsay, John. Arguing the Just War in Islam. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2007.

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          The Islamic community continues to debate the issue of war and jihad. Kelsay shows how the terms of contemporary debate between militants and democrats are set by the early experience of the Muslim community and the history and methods of Sharia argumentation.

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        • Sizgorich, Thomas. Violence and Belief in Late Antiquity: Militant Devotion in Christianity and Islam. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2009.

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          Focusing on the vocabulary of images and ideas shared with Christians at the time of Islam’s emergence, the author argues that martyrdom as a path to holiness was not a novelty particular to Islam but rather that it emerged from a strand of the piety of some Christians in late Antiquity.

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        • Wicker, Brian, ed. Witnesses to Faith? Martyrdom in Christianity and Islam. Aldershot, UK: Ashgate, 2006.

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          A collection of essays by scholars from both traditions looking in the post–September 11 context at the question of martyrdom in the two traditions. Approaches are both historical and contemporary.

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        Contemporary Issues

        Among the more vexed questions that arise between Muslims and Christians are proselytism and conversion, human rights—particularly minority rights—and the relationship of faith and modernity.

        Mission and Conversion

        Conversion is an area of substantial polemic, fear, and wild claims, since both traditions see themselves as potentially universal (Kerr 2000). Conversion to Christianity is less studied because it is more contentious. The sensitive treatment in Gaudeul 1999 is exemplary. Poston 1992 and Kidd 2009 explore the missionary strategies, both Muslim and Christian, employed principally in North America or by North Americans. Conversion to Islam in the West, particularly in the decade in which Muslims have become more suspect, is a fascinating phenomenon (Zebiri 2008). This is particularly so in the case of women (Mansson McGinty 2006).

        • Gaudeul, Jean-Marie. Called from Islam to Christ: Why Muslims Become Christians. Crowborough, UK: Monarch, 1999.

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          Translation of Appelés par le Christ, ils viennent de l’islam (Paris: Cerf, 1991). This volume, with its testimonies by and descriptions of many Muslims who have become Christians, avoids apologetics or triumphalism, giving an insight into sense of call experienced by converts as well as into the difficulties they face in having their choice respected.

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        • Kerr, David. “Islamic Da’wa and Christian Mission: Towards a Comparative Analysis.” International Review of Mission 89.353 (2000): 150–171.

          DOI: 10.1111/j.1758-6631.2000.tb00190.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

          The author offers a summary of various studies of mission and da’wa (invitation, call) during three decades of the 20th century and reflects comparatively on Christian and Islamic missionary efforts.

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        • Kidd, Thomas S. American Christians and Islam: Evangelical Culture and Muslims from the Colonial Period to the Age of Terrorism. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2009.

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          Shows that since the nation’s founding American evangelicals have constructed Islam as a threat and made it an essential part of their “end times” narratives. Describes the evolution of American missions to Muslim lands and local efforts at conversion.

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        • Mansson McGinty, Anna. Becoming Muslim: Western Women’s Conversions to Islam. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006.

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          An ethnographic study based on in-depth interviews with Swedish and American women who have converted to Islam. Proceeding from the women’s life stories, the author explores the appeal of Islam to some Western women and the personal meaning assigned to the religion.

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        • Poston, Larry. Islamic Da’wah in the West: Muslim Missionary Activity and the Dynamics of Conversion to Islam. New York: Oxford University Press, 1992.

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          Concentrating principally on North America, Poston examines the way new strategies of mission suited to the Western milieu were developed following from the thought of Hasan al-Banna, Abul A’la Mawdudi, and Khurram Murad.

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        • Zebiri, Kate. British Muslim Converts: Choosing Alternative Lives. Oxford: Oneworld, 2008.

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          Concerned with two main themes: the changes that take place in the identity of the converts and their attitudes to and assessments of the Western way of life and culture. Investigates the contribution that Western converts to Islam are making to Islamic thought.

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        Ethics and Human Rights

        This area too has become a major topic of polemics. For a comparative view of ethical discourse in the two traditions, see Schweiker 2005. There is a stereotypical presumption in the West that Islam has no place for human rights and no ethics that might shape the interpretation of scripture (Schweiker 2006). The parallel presumption among many Muslims is that the discourse of human rights is merely the assertion of humanity against God, though Sachedina 2009 offers a more sophisticated view. For Christians, human rights are a complex matter (Shepherd 2009), and a particular focus of their rights talk in relationship to Muslims has been the freedom to preach one’s religion and to change it (Little, et al. 1988; Mitri 1995). Jayyusi 2009 gives insight into human rights discourse in the Arab world. See also al-Jabri 2009 in Modernity and Democracy.

        • Jayyusi, Salma K., ed. Human Rights in Arab Thought: A Reader. New York: Tauris, 2009.

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          Translation of an Arabic original, Huqūq al-insān fī al-fikr al-ʻArabī: dirāsāt fī al-nuṣūṣ (Beirut, 2002). Gives readers an insight into the human rights positions of a number of important thinkers in the Arab Islamic world.

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        • Little, David, John Kelsay, and Abdulaziz A. Sachedina. Human Rights and the Conflict of Cultures: Western and Islamic Perspectives on Religious Liberty. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1988.

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          Contains very helpful analyses of the complexity of the question of religious freedom in the Christian and Islamic traditions.

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        • Mitri, Tarek, ed. Religion, Law, and Society: A Christian-Muslim Discussion. Kampen, The Netherlands: Kok Pharos, 1995.

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          A compilation of papers presented at two conferences sponsored by the World Council of Churches to address concerns about Christians living as minority populations in Muslim majority countries and the implications of the enforcement of Sharia laws for their civil and political rights as religious minorities.

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        • Sachedina, Abdulaziz. Islam and the Challenge of Human Rights. New York: Oxford University Press, 2009.

          DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195388428.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

          Argues that God-given reason enables Muslims to recognize the language of human rights and the practice of democratic pluralism as fundamentally Islamic even while not limited to Muslims. Proposes that there is a correspondence between Islamic and secular notions of human rights.

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        • Schweiker, William, ed. Blackwell Companion to Religious Ethics. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2005.

          DOI: 10.1002/9780470997031Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

          Part 2 of this collection has several valuable chapters on Christian ethics (pp. 197–236) and Muslim ethics (pp. 237–277).

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        • Schweiker, William, Michael A. Johnson, and Kevin Jung, eds. Humanity before God: Contemporary Faces of Jewish, Christian, and Islamic Ethics. Minneapolis: Fortress, 2006.

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          Each scholar was asked to correlate his or her religious community’s sacred texts and traditions with the contemporary world’s pluralism and claims about the inalienable sanctity and dignity of human life. The result is that the reader sees “human life before God” in new and profound ways.

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        • Shepherd, Frederick M., ed. Christianity and Human Rights: Christians and the Struggle for Global Justice. Lanham, MD: Lexington, 2009.

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          Essays by leading Christian thinkers explore the complex relationship, often thought to be straightforward, between Christianity and human rights.

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        Modernity and Democracy

        Though Christians have historically had, and still do have, an ambiguous relationship with modernity and democracy, stereotypes take it for granted that modernity and democracy are Christian values and that Muslims are unlikely to adopt them. Asad 2003 problematizes such a reading of religions, modernity, and secularity. Cesari 2006 observes the processes at work among Muslims in the West. Few recall that for the majority of Muslims the encounter with modernity was an encounter with an often brutal colonialism. They are therefore wary of simply adopting Western discourses of democracy and seek to develop their own (Sachedina 2001, al-Jabri 2009). Heck 2009 and Jenkins 2007 offer somewhat more sanguine views of the possibility of a less polarized, still religious West.

        • Asad, Talal. Formations of the Secular: Christianity, Islam, Modernity. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2003.

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          Explores the concepts, practices, and political formations of secularism with emphasis on the historical shifts that have shaped secular sensibilities and attitudes in the modern West and the Middle East. The secular is a category with a multilayered history related to major premises of modernity, democracy, and the concept of human rights.

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        • Cesari, Jocelyne. When Islam and Democracy Meet: Muslims in Europe and in the United States. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006.

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          Cesari maps the various processes at work among Muslims in the West, keeping always in focus the elements that distinguish these processes on either side of the Atlantic. In her examination of the changing shape of Muslim practice and thinking in the West she wishes to avoid essentialist discourses that presume “Islam” is an unchanging reality wherever it is lived.

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        • Heck, Paul L. Common Ground: Islam, Christianity, and Religious Pluralism. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press, 2009.

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          Heck asks whether, if these two religions cannot be easily reconciled, we can perhaps view them through a single albeit refractive lens. His analysis of how Islam and Christianity understand theology, ethics, and politics—specifically democracy and human rights—offers a way for that discussion to move forward.

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        • al-Jabri, Mohammed Abed. Democracy, Human Rights, and Law in Islamic Thought. London: Tauris, 2009.

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          Argues that in order to develop democratic societies in which human rights are respected, the Arab world cannot simply rely on old texts and traditions nor import models from the West. A new tradition must be forged by Arabs on their own terms.

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        • Jenkins, Philip. God’s Continent: Christianity, Islam, and Europe’s Religious Crisis. New York: Oxford University Press, 2007.

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          The evident decline of Christianity in Europe and the increasing presence there of Muslims is not the simple scenario it is often thought to be. This social historian of religion draws on substantial sociological data to argue that the reality is much more complex.

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        • Sachedina, Abdulaziz. The Islamic Roots of Democratic Pluralism. New York: Oxford University Press, 2001.

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          Critically analyzes Muslim teachings on such issues as pluralism, civil society, war and peace, and violence and self-sacrifice.

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        Muslim-Christian Dialogue

        Most dialogue between Muslims and Christians is not formal, theological, or official. However, the formal relationships tend to be documented and analyzed. The following sections deal with Christian initiatives in dialogue, with Muslim initiatives, and with reflections on dialogue from both groups.

        Official Christian Activities

        Particularly since the Roman Catholic Church’s Second Vatican Council published the declaration Nostra Aetate, which enunciated a new approach to other religions, various Christian churches, both Orthodox and Protestant, and organizations like the World Council of Churches have officially committed themselves to dialogue with Muslims. Perhaps because of its historical connection with areas under British colonial rule, the Anglican Communion continues to give attention to dialogue, particularly through the annual Building Bridges Seminars.

        Roman Catholic

        In 1964 the Vatican set up a Secretariat for Non-Christians, later renamed the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue. Guidelines were developed by the council particularly for Muslim-Christian dialogue (Borrmans 1990). Fitzgerald and Borelli 2006 reflects on forty years of experience of dialogue. Gioia 2006 documents all official Vatican statements relating to dialogue, even short passages from papal speeches. This output is analyzed in Jukko 2007. See also The French–North African Connection, Pratt 2010 in Orthodox and World Council of Churches, and the documentation of activities collected in Islamochristiana: Dirāsāt Islāmiyya Masīḥiyya in Periodicals.

        • Borrmans, Maurice. Guidelines for Dialogue between Christians and Muslims. Prepared by Maurice Borrmans. Translated by R. Marston Speight. Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue. New York: Paulist, 1990.

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          Originally published as Orientations pour un dialogue entre chrétiens et musulmans (Paris: Cerf, 1981). Still the standard official guidelines for dialogue in the Roman Catholic Church, though rather in need of updating, given the changed world situation.

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        • Fitzgerald, Michael L., and John Borelli. Interfaith Dialogue: A Catholic View. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 2006.

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          Reflections by two longtime officials of the Vatican (Fitzgerald) and the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (Borelli) on the experience of some decades of work in formal dialogues. Much of the material is on Muslim-Christian dialogue.

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        • Gioia, Francesco, ed. Interreligious Dialogue: The Official Teaching of the Catholic Church from the Second Vatican Council. 2d ed. Boston: Pauline, 2006.

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          An essential reference work for official statements of the Roman Catholic Church on questions of dialogue. This second edition updates the material from the popes up to the end of the pontificate of John Paul II in 2005. Material from other sources, such as Vatican departments, was not brought up to date after the first edition of 1997.

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        • Jukko, Risto. Trinity in Unity in Christian-Muslim Relations: The Work of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue. The History of Christian-Muslim Relations 7. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2007.

          DOI: 10.1163/ej.9789004158627.i-368Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

          An examination of the philosophical and theological underpinnings of the dialogue work and the publications of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, formerly known as the Secretariate for Non-Christians. The author covers the years 1966 to 2005.

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        • Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue.

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          The tasks of the council are to be a resource for the Vatican in this field, to engage in (normally) bilateral dialogues with people of other faiths, and to encourage similar dialogue at the local level throughout the world. The site provides documentation of some of its activities and statements.

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        Orthodox and World Council of Churches

        There are various reasons why dialogue activities of the Orthodox churches and the World Council of Churches (WCC) might have been less focused than in the Roman Catholic case: a more diffuse—one might say democratic—authority structure; theological hesitations; and in the case of the Orthodox, longer and much closer experience of Islam. Some of those issues for the Orthodox are discussed in Papademetriou 2004 and Vaporis 1986. Pratt 2010 and Sperber 2000 analyze the work of the World Council of Churches in this area (to which the Orthodox also contribute).

        • Papademetriou, George C. “Two Traditions, One Space: Orthodox Christians and Muslims in Dialogue.” Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations 15.1 (2004): 55–64.

          DOI: 10.1080/09596410310001631812Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

          Presents the issues discussed in the contemporary academic dialogues between Orthodox Christianity and Islam that began in the spring of 1985 at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in Brookline, Massachusetts. Further meetings were held in Chambeacutesy, Constantinople (Istanbul), Athens, and Amman.

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        • Pratt, Douglas. The Church and Other Faiths: The World Council of Churches, the Vatican, and Interreligious Dialogue. Bern, Switzerland: Peter Lang, 2010.

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          Investigates the coming-to-be, principal features, and theological outcomes of interreligious dialogue as an activity of the WCC and the Roman Catholic Church. A close analysis and assessment of policy and practice together with theological reflection and critique.

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        • Sperber, Jutta. Christians and Muslims: The Dialogue Activities of the World Council of Churches and Their Theological Foundation. Berlin: de Gruyter, 2000.

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          Provides an overview and assessment of the previous twenty-five years of Christian-Muslim dialogue involving the WCC. Thematic sections outline the recurrent difficulties that arose—for example, the relation of mission, dialogue and service; theologies of religions; and more practical issues, such as common prayer and mixed marriages.

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        • Vaporis, Nomikos Michael, ed. Orthodox Christians and Muslims. Brookline, MA: Holy Cross Orthodox Press, 1986.

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          Records of the symposium held at Hellenic College/Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology (Brookline, Massachusetts) in March 1985. Twelve essays by reputed scholars trace the historical relations between Eastern Orthodoxy and Islam and contrast the views of these two traditions on different theological, philosophical, ethical, and spiritual questions.

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        The Building Bridges Seminars

        Since 2002 the archbishop of Canterbury has convened a seminar of Muslim and Christian scholars to study together their religious texts with regard to particularly pressing issues. The resulting books (Ipgrave 2002, Ipgrave 2004, Ipgrave 2005, Ipgrave 2008, Ipgrave 2009, Ipgrave and Marshall 2011) bring together the texts studied, papers on the issues by members of both traditions, and accounts of the discussions that emerged in the small groups of scholars. They can be used to repeat the experience in other study groups. Forthcoming books will cover the seminars on humanity, revelation, science and religion, and tradition and modernity. For records of the seminars and participants, see Building Bridges.

        • Building Bridges.

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          Descriptions and records of the series of nine seminars and the participants, including some videos of the public lectures.

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        • Ipgrave, Michael, ed. The Road Ahead: A Christian-Muslim Dialogue: A Record of the Seminar “Building Bridges” Held at Lambeth Palace, 17–18 January 2002. London: Church House, 2002.

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          Convened in the wake of the events of September 11, 2001, the first seminar drew on the insights and expertise of Christians and Muslims from a wide variety of nations and cultures to offer a message of hope to all those who seek to build bridges between the followers of the world’s two largest religions.

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        • Ipgrave, Michael, ed. Scriptures in Dialogue: Christians and Muslims Studying the Bible and the Qur’an Together: A Record of the Seminar “Building Bridges” Held at Doha, Qatar, 7–9 April 2003. London: Church House, 2004.

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          Explores vital questions, such as discernment of the Word of God, the place of women in faith communities, and how to make space for the religious Other.

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        • Ipgrave, Michael, ed. Bearing the Word: Prophecy in Biblical and Qur’anic Perspective; A Record of the Third “Building Bridges” Seminar Held at Georgetown University, Washington, DC, 30 March–1 April 2004. London: Church House, 2005.

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          A group of thirty Muslim and Christian scholars discuss several key issues related to the notion of prophecy in their respective traditions.

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        • Ipgrave, Michael, ed. Building a Better Bridge: Muslims, Christians, and the Common Good; A Record of the Fourth “Building Bridges” Seminar Held in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, May 15–18, 2005. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press, 2008.

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          Presents the texts of the public lectures with regional presentations on issues of citizenship, religious believing and belonging, and the relationship between government and religion both from the immediate situation in Bosnia-Herzegovina and from three contexts further afield: Britain, Malaysia, and West Africa.

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        • Ipgrave, Michael, ed. Justice and Rights: Christian and Muslim Perspectives; A Record of the Fifth “Building Bridges” Seminar Held in Washington, D.C., March 27–30, 2006. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press, 2009.

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          Scholars examine three topics: scriptural foundations, featuring analyses of Christian and Muslim sacred texts; evolving traditions, exploring historical issues in both faiths with an emphasis on religious and political authority; and the modern world, analyzing contributions from Christianity and Islam in the area of freedom and human rights.

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        • Ipgrave, Michael, and David Marshall, eds. Humanity: Texts and Contexts; Christian and Muslim Perspectives, A Record of the Sixth “Building Bridges” Seminar Held in Singapore, December 4–7, 2007. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press, 2011.

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          Muslim and Christian scholars considered how the two traditions understand what it is to be human, addressing the themes of human dignity, human alienation, and human destiny as well as the diversity within the human race and the relationship of humans to the wider environment.

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        Institutional Muslim Activities

        Though Islam does not have structures of authority and representation similar to those of the Christian churches, a number of initiatives that might be better called institutional rather than official have taken place. The best-publicized and the most engaged has been the initiative A Common Word, which grows at least in part out of a longer-term commitment by Jordan’s Royal Institute for Interfaith Studies. Following the Jordanian lead, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia initiated a dialogue process with the Makkah Appeal and the Madrid Declaration.

        The Common Word Initiative

        In A Common Word between Us and You, 138 Muslim scholars, clerics, and intellectuals came together to declare the common ground between Christianity and Islam. This 2007 declaration addressed to Christian leaders has become the basis for a number of formal, academic dialogues and the publication of their act. The official website of A Common Word contains a great deal of documentation, as does the Sophia 2009 special issue. Haddad and Smith 2009 analyzes initial responses, while Volf and Ghazi bin Muhammad 2010 and Borelli 2010 contain papers associated with some of the academic conferences that have been part of the initiative.

        • el-Ansary, Walid, and David K. Linnan, eds. Muslim and Christian Understanding: Theory and Application of “A Common Word.” Rudolph C. Barnes Symposium at the University of South Carolina 2009. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010.

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          Documents the 2009 Rudolph C. Barnes Symposium at the University of South Carolina. Video available online. It distinguishes between theory and application to capture issues in comparative theology and mysticism as well as different views on common global challenges like the environment, development, and human rights.

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        • Borelli, John, ed. “A Common Word and the Future of Muslim-Christian Relations.” Paper presented at a conference held in Washington, DC, in March 2009. ACMCU Occasional Papers 20. Washington, DC: Al-Walid Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, 2010.

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          Selected papers from a conference on A Common Word held at Georgetown University in March 2009.

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        • A Common Word.

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          Documents the initiative, its Muslim supporters, and the responses to it by Christians and Jews. Links to all the materials from conferences associated with A Common Word. Recently added recommended reading lists by Muslim and Christian scholars for understanding their respective religions.

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        • Haddad, Yvonne Yazbeck, and Jane I. Smith. “The Quest for ‘A Common Word’: Initial Christian Responses to a Muslim Initiative.” Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations 20.4 (2009): 369–388.

          DOI: 10.1080/09596410903194852Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

          Examines some of the reasons for the call made by 138 Muslim scholars, the content of the invitation, and the kinds of responses given by Christian individuals, denominations, and communities.

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        • Special Issue: A Common Word between Us and You. Sophia: The Journal of Traditional Studies 15.1 (June 2009).

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          Makes available several documents that have become part of the A Common Word initiative, among them Pope Benedict XVI’s address to the Vatican Conference, the archbishop of Canterbury’s response to the A Common Word Letter, and Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad’s essay on the theological motives and expectations behind the initiative.

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        • Volf, Miroslav, and Ghazi bin Muhammad, eds. A Common Word: Muslims and Christians on Loving God and Neighbor. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2010.

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          Papers from the Yale University conference on A Common Word in July 2008 as well as the text of the Open Letter and what has come to be known as the Yale Response to it, with commentary by some of the authors.

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        Makkah Appeal and Madrid Declaration

        In 2008 King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia launched two dialogue initiatives: a meeting of Muslim scholars in Mecca to discuss the legitimacy and necessity of interreligious dialogue and, soon after, a World Conference on Dialogue in Madrid organized by the World Muslim League. The first meeting issued the Makkah Appeal for Interfaith Dialogue and the second the Madrid Declaration.

        Christian Reflections

        It is principally since the mid-1960s that dialogue with Muslims has become an official priority for most Christians. Mohammed 1999 and Waardenburg 2000 give an idea of the breadth of these activities historically, geographically, and thematically. Some approaches have favored a dialogue of spirituality, particularly in the context of monastic or clerical life (van Nispen tot Sevenaer 2004, O’Mahony and Bowe 2006). It becomes clear that even for those regularly involved in and long committed to dialogue, there are still many elements to be clarified and much to be learned (Smith 2007, Thomas 2007, Troll 2009). Dialogue takes place not only face-to-face physically but also in the way we construct the Other in writing about him or her (Zebiri 1997).

        • Mohammed, Ovey N. Muslim-Christian Relations: Past, Present, Future. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 1999.

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          This book is an excellent nontechnical resource aimed at opening up areas for mutual study and dialogue between Muslims and Christians. It has unfortunately not been updated to reflect the realities of the decade since 2001. Republished, Wipf and Stock, 2008.

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        • O’Mahony, Anthony, and Peter Bowe. Catholics in Interreligious Dialogue: Studies in Monasticism, Theology, and Spirituality. Leominster, UK: Gracewing, 2006.

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          A result of the Monastic Interreligious Dialogue. Five chapters in the second part are devoted to Charles de Foucauld, Christian de Chergé and the Atlas Cistercians in Algeria, Thomas Merton, Francis of Assisi, and Louis Massignon.

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        • Smith, Jane Idleman. Muslims, Christians, and the Challenge of Interfaith Dialogue. New York: Oxford University Press, 2007.

          DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195307313.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

          Throughout the analysis and discussion, Smith draws on the lived experience of people engaged in dialogical activities; her analytical reflection is premised on the realities of prior praxis, principally in a US context.

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        • Thomas, David. “The Past and the Future in Christian-Muslim Relations.” Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations 18.1 (2007): 33–42.

          DOI: 10.1080/09596410601071071Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

          Rather than seeking to discover what the others actually believe, Christians and Muslims have usually projected upon the other perceptions derived from their own teachings. The way forward lies rather in learning about the other in a spirit of respectful, agnostic inquisitiveness, open to the possibility that the other may be true.

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        • Troll, Christian W. Dialogue and Difference: Clarity in Christian-Muslim Relations. Translated by David Marshall. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 2009.

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          A harmonized collection of essays written over several years by a scholar with decades of experience in the field. The topics treated reflect in part European concerns over immigration and perennial issues in Muslim-Christian relations. Originally published as Unterscheiden um zu klären: Orientierung im christlich-islamischen Dialog (Freiburg, Germany: Herder, 2008).

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        • van Nispen tot Sevenaer, Christian. Chrétiens et musulmans, frères devant dieu? Paris: Editions de l’Atelier, 2004.

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          The fruit of years of spiritual friendship with Muslims in Egypt, this book by a Dutch Jesuit is planned to appear in English translation.

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        • Waardenburg, J. Jacques, ed. Muslim-Christian Perceptions of Dialogue Today: Experiences and Expectations. Louvain, Belgium: Peeters, 2000.

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          A stocktaking of experiences and expectations of mutual dialogue by intellectuals of both traditions. The main part of the book discusses dialogue efforts made in Indonesia and Egypt, initiatives taken in Morocco and Tunisia, and integration of Muslim immigrants into British and Dutch societies. The opening and concluding chapters treat broader questions.

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        • Zebiri, Kate. Muslims and Christians Face to Face. Oxford: Oneworld, 1997.

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          Analyzes modern Muslim writings on Christianity and Christian writings on Islam to explore the issues central to Muslim-Christian relations. The literature surveyed is diverse: both popular and scholarly and varying in function, authorship, and intended audience.

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        Muslim Reflections

        Although there have been substantial institutional initiatives taken by Muslims, a small group of very committed figures (described by and Siddiqui 1997 and including that author) have sought to develop a Muslim discourse in dialogue with the substantially Christian societies in which they live (Anees, et al. 1991). Muslim intellectuals working in the West are in a privileged position to analyze the larger-scale Muslim-Christian interactions from a unique vantage point (al-Faruqi 1998, Sachedina 1997, Taji-Farouki 2000). Ayoub 2007 and Nayed 2010 are up-to-date Muslim reflections on the dialogue, though see also Prince Ghazi’s contribution to Volf and Ghazi bin Muhammad 2010 (cited under The Common Word Initiative).

        • Anees, Munawar Ahmad, Syed Z. Abedin, and Ziauddin Sardar. Christian-Muslim Relations: Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow. London: Grey Seal, 1991.

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          Three Muslim scholars discuss Christian-Muslim relations from historical, theological, and ethical perspectives. Obstacles are identified and solutions offered where possible. Slightly outdated in some points but worth reading.

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        • Ayoub, Mahmoud. A Muslim View of Christianity: Essays on Dialogue. Edited by Irfan A. Omar. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 2007.

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          A valuable collection of the essays of Ayoub, a Muslim scholar who has distinguished himself by the sophistication of his grasp of historical Christian theology.

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        • al-Faruqi, Isma’il R. Islam and Other Faiths. Edited by Ataullah Siddiqui. Leicester, UK: Islamic Foundation and International Institute for Islamic Thought, 1998.

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          An anthology of al-Faruqi’s thought on the relations between Islam and other religions, in particular Christianity and Judaism. This Palestinian-born, Egyptian-trained philosopher taught in North America and approaches the questions of interfaith relations from within that context.

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        • Nayed, Aref Ali. “Growing Ecologies of Peace, Compassion, and Blessing.” Dubai: Kalam Research and Media, 2010.

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          A Muslim scholar with long experience of Roman Catholic institutions and the Cambridge Interfaith Project reflects on the theological task facing both Muslims and Christians.

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        • Sachedina, Abdulaziz. “Islamic Theology of Christian-Muslim Relations.” Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations 8.1 (1997): 27–38.

          DOI: 10.1080/09596419708721104Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

          Undertakes a dialogue with the normative Islamic tradition to evaluate the concepts and ideas available within it that might become substantial resources for developing a pluralist approach to Christian-Muslim relations in the 21st century.

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        • Siddiqui, Ataullah. Christian-Muslim Dialogue in the Twentieth Century. New York: St. Martin’s, 1997.

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          Siddiqui’s treatment of the subject is not so much a history of the dialogue as an exploration of how history—of colonialism, of missions, and so on—affects Muslims coming to dialogue. He studies six important Muslim figures in 20th-century dialogue, both Sunni and Shiʿa and from different regions.

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        • Taji-Farouki, Suha. “Muslim-Christian Cooperation in the Twenty-first Century: Some Global Challenges and Strategic Responses.” Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations 11.2 (2000): 167–193.

          DOI: 10.1080/09596410050024159Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

          Explores possible areas for Muslim-Christian cooperation in response to threats and challenges posed by the changing global context in the light of calls to develop a new world ethic and the recognition of an ongoing and multilayered global crisis. Although written before 2001, its proposals are even more urgent.

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        LAST MODIFIED: 05/25/2011

        DOI: 10.1093/OBO/9780195390155-0114

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