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Islam and Christianity


Subject Religion

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631198963.2005.x


Until the midtwentieth century confrontational, rather than mediating, patterns of thought characterized the Christian theological reckoning with Islam. The reasons were not far to seek. A certain anti-Christian animus is built into the fabric of the Qur’ān and is thereby given the sanction of inviolable truth. A measure of incrimination of Christian faith thus belongs, as Muslims see it, with divine revelation itself, disavowing the Christian understanding of Jesus as the Christ and, thus, of ‘God in Christ’. This makes the Christian/Islamic scene quite distinctive from all other inter-faith issues. When Alice muses in Wonderland about emerging in ‘the antipodes’, a slip of the tongue produces ‘the people of the antipathies’. The phrase fits much of the theology between these, two monotheisms. To be sure, antipathies are by no means the whole story. There are moods in which the Qur'ān itself is benign to Christian monks and Christian faithful at prayer, and there is much common territory to house what divides. Nevertheless, the contrarieties persist, have long dominated the mutual history and live in the psyche as well as in the mind. Thus the will to appreciate Islamic meanings, vital as it must be to Christian integrity, has to engage with that reluctance to look beyond domestic concerns which has so long attended Christian doctrine in both Christology and the cross. Antipathies ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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