In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Islam and Christianity

  • Introduction
  • Bibliographies
  • Journals

Islamic Studies Islam and Christianity
Daniel A. Madigan, Diego R. Sarrio
  • LAST REVIEWED: 25 May 2011
  • LAST MODIFIED: 25 May 2011
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780195390155-0114


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.


The various partial bibliographies available may eventually be superseded by the monumental project of Thomas, et al. 2009, which intends to cover all historical periods and geographical areas.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.

    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.

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

    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.

  • Centre for Muslim-Christian Studies, Oxford.

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

  • Common Word.

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

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

    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.

  • North American Society for Christian Arabic Studies.

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

  • 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.57.1.2003120

    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.

  • 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-960

    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.

  • 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.

    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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