The present volume describes the various phases of the inner-Islamic ecumenical dialogue in the 20th century between Sunnis and Shiites, the short-lived periods of success it achieved, but also the fierce mutual polemics it inevitably engendered.
The examination focuses on the role of the Cairene Azhar University as the most important representative of Sunni Islam and its relations with Shiite scholars. Particular importance is attached to the interdependency of theological arguments and the political motivations of the interlocutors, and especially to the significance of Islamic ecumenism for Egyptian foreign policy in the 1950s.
Although the main part of the study is confined to the time before 1979, in an epilogue the course of events is followed until most recent developments.
Rainer Brunner, Ph.D. (1996) in Islamic Studies, University of Freiburg, is Assistant Professor there. He has worked extensively on the history and doctrine of Twelver Shiism and on Sunni-Shiite relations. His publications include The Twelver Shia in Modern Times (ed. with Werner Ende; Brill, 2001).
Translated from the German by Joseph Greenman
revised and updated by the author
All those interested in Islamic intellectual history in modern times, Islamic theology and the political history in the modern Middle East.