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Christian Apocalyptic Texts in Islamic Messianic Discourse

The ‘Christian Chapter’ of the Jāvidān-nāma-yi kabīr by Faḍl Allāh Astarābādī (d. 796/1394)

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Orkhan Mir-Kasimov

In Christian Apocalyptic Texts in Islamic Messianic Discourse Orkhan Mir-Kasimov offers an account of the interpretation of these Christian texts by Faḍl Allāh Astarābādī (d. 796/1394), the founder of a mystical and messianic movement which was influential in medieval Iran and Anatolia. This interpretation can be situated within the tradition of ‘positive’ Muslim hermeneutics of the Christian and Jewish scriptures which was particularly developed in Shıīʿī and especially Ismaīʿlī circles. Faḍl Allāh incorporates the Christian apocalyptic texts into an Islamic eschatological context, combining them with Qurʾān and ḥadīth material. In addition to an introductory study, the book contains a critical edition and an English translation of the relevant passages from Faḍl Allāh’s magnum opus, the Jāvidān-nāma-yi kabīr.

The Contested Origins of the 1865 Arabic Bible

Contributions to the Nineteenth Century Nahḍa

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David D. Grafton

This study examines the history of an Arabic Bible translation of American missionaries in late Ottoman Syria. Comparing the history of this project as recorded by the American missionaries with private correspondence and the manuscripts of the translation, The Contested Origins of the 1865 Arabic Bible provides new evidence for the Bible’s compilation, including the seminal role of Syrian Christians and Muslims. This research also places the project within the wider social-political framework of a transforming Ottoman Empire, where the rise of a literate class in Beirut served as a catalyst for the Arabic literary renaissance (Nahḍa), and within the international field of New Testament textual studies.

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Edited by Ari Mermelstein and Shalom E, Holtz

Contributors to The Divine Courtroom in Comparative Perspective treat one of the most pervasive religious metaphors, that of the divine courtroom, in both its historical and thematic senses. In order to shed light on the various manifestations of the divine courtroom, this volume consists of essays by scholars of the ancient Near East, Hebrew Bible, Second Temple Judaism, early Christianity, Talmud, Islam, medieval Judaism, and classical Greek literature. Contributions to the volume primarily center upon three related facets of the divine courtroom: the role of the divine courtroom in the earthly legal system; the divine courtroom as the site of historical justice; and the divine courtroom as the venue in which God is called to answer for his own unjust acts.

The Character of Christian-Muslim Encounter

Essays in Honour of David Thomas

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Edited by Douglas Pratt, Jon Hoover, John Davies and John A. Chesworth

The Character of Christian-Muslim Encounter is a Festschrift in honour of David Thomas, Professor of Christianity and Islam, and Nadir Dinshaw Professor of Inter Religious Relations, at the University of Birmingham, UK. The Editors have put together a collection of over 30 contributions from colleagues of Professor Thomas that commences with a biographical sketch and representative tribute provided by a former doctoral student, and comprises a series of wide-ranging academic papers arranged to broadly reflect three dimensions of David Thomas’ academic and professional work – studies in and of Islam; Christian-Muslim relations; the Church and interreligious engagement. These are set in the context of a focussed theme – the character of Christian-Muslim encounters – and cast within a broad chronological framework.

Contributors, excluding the editors, are: Clare Amos, John Azumah, Mark Beaumont, David Cheetham, Rifaat Ebied, Stanisław Grodź SVD, Alan Guenther, Damian Howard SJ, Michael Ipgrave, Muammer İskenderoğlu, Risto Jukko, Alex Mallett, Juan Pedro Monferrer-Sala, Lucinda Mosher, Gordon Nickel, Jørgen Nielsen, Claire Norton, Emilio Platti, Luis Bernabé Pons, Peniel Rajkumar, Peter Riddell, Umar Ryad, Andrew Sharp, Sigvard von Sicard, Richard Sudworth, Mark Swanson, Charles Tieszen, John Tolan, Davide Tacchini, Herman Teule, Albert Walters.

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David C. Bellusci

Amor Dei, “love of God” raises three questions: How do we know God is love? How do we experience love of God? How free are we to love God? This book presents three kinds of love, worldly, spiritual, and divine to understand God’s love. The work begins with Augustine’s Confessions highlighting his Manichean and Neoplatonic periods before his conversion to Christianity. Augustine’s confrontation with Pelagius anticipates the unresolved disputes concerning God’s love and free will. In the sixteenth-century the Italian humanist, Gasparo Contarini introduces the notion of “divine amplitude” to demonstrate how God’s goodness is manifested in the human agent. Pierre de Bérulle, Guillaume Gibieuf, and Nicolas Malebranche show connections with Contarini in the seventeenth-century controversies relating free will and divine love. In response to the free will dispute, the Scottish philosopher, William Chalmers, offers his solution. Cornelius Jansen relentlessly asserts his anti-Pelagian interpretation of Augustine stirring up more controversy. John Norris, Malebranche’s English disciple, exchanges his views with Mary Astell and Damaris Masham. In the tradition of Cambridge Platonism, Ralph Cudworth conveys a God who “sweetly governs.” The organization of sections represents the love of God in ascending-descending movements demonstrating that, “human love is inseparable from divine love.”

Reaching for the Sky

Religious Education from Christian and Islamic Perspectives

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Edited by Stella El Bouayadi-van de Wetering and Siebren Miedema

Young people have to make their own way in the world; they have to give meaning to and find meaning in their lives. This is the field of religious education, which is provided by parents, religious leaders, or teachers of religion and worldviews. One of the most important challenges is to educate children in their own religion, emphasizing that religion’s tolerant and peaceful side and to teach children about the beliefs of other traditions. An even more important challenge is to teach them to live together in peace and justice. This volume deals with religious education in Christianity and Islam in specific countries. Scholars in religious education need to know more about the ways in which Muslims and Christians perceive and practice their respective forms of religious education and explore methods that help young people develop their religious identity in accordance with their tradition—and also meet with comrades from other traditions, as the two young Gambian and Dutch women shown on the cover do.
This volume explores the field of Christian and Islamic education. Muslim and Christian scholars from Egypt, Lebanon, Turkey, Indonesia, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands describe various aspects of religious education at school, at home, in the mosque and church, via the media and in peer groups. The papers were presented and discussed at an authors’ conference at VU University Amsterdam, organized in close collaboration between the staff of its Centre of Islamic Theology and other scholars in religious education, and the Islamic Universities League in Cairo. The authors describe actual processes of education, reflect on religious identity formation and respect for other people and the influences from home, school, mosque, and church, the media and “the street.”

Love, Freedom, and Evil

Does Authentic Love Require Free Will?

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Thaddeus J. Williams

The defining premise of the Relational Free Will Defense is the claim that authentic love requires free will. Many scholars, including Gregory Boyd and Vincent Brümmer, champion this claim. Best-selling books, such as Rob Bell’s Love Wins, echo that love “cannot be forced, manipulated, or coerced. It always leaves room for the other to decide.” The claim that love requires free will has even found expression in mainstream Hollywood films, including Frailty, Bruce Almighty, and The Adjustment Bureau.
The analysis shows convincingly that the claim that authentic love requires free will, does not meet the criteria of consistency, compatibility with Scriptural sources, and the demands of concrete encounter with problems of moral evil.

Indigenous Apostles

Maya Catholic Catechists Working the Word in Highland Chiapas

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Ruth J. Chojnacki

Indigenous Apostles tells the story of conversion to Catholicism and birth of new ecclesial community with the arrival of Vatican II mission in Santa Maria Magdalenas, a Tzotzil-speaking village in Mexico’s Maya highlands. In the state of Chiapas, the nation’s erratic advance into the global market beginning in the 1970s drove landless young Magdaleneros to search for alternatives to peasant peonage. A few became catechists in the Diocese of San Cristóbal de Las Casas. Cognitive entailments of newly-acquired biblical literacy warranted the subsequent critique of local Tzotzil tradition – costumbre – through which they reclaimed their ancestral land. This ethnographic account of their dialectical passage from the way of the ancestors to communion with the world Catholic Church demonstrates local constraints on liberation mission strategy and the power of indigenous agency in their own evangelization. It also points to the salience of place and everyday productive practice for native construction of local theology in the context of the new globalization.

What the God-seekers found in Nietzsche

The Reception of Nietzsche’s Übermensch by the Philosophers of the Russian Religious Renaissance

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Nel Grillaert

At the end of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth century, a large and varied group of the Russian intelligentsia became fascinated by Friedrich Nietzsche, whose provocative ideas inspired many of them to overcome obsolete traditions and to create new values. Paradoxically, the German philosopher, who vigorously challenged the established Christian worldview, invigorated the rich ferment of religious philosophy in the Russian Silver Age: his ideas served as a fruitful source of inspiration for the philosophers of the Russian religious renaissance, the so-called God-seekers, in their quest for a new religious consciousness. Especially Nietzsche’s anthropology of the Übermensch was instrumental in their reformulation of Christianity. This book explores how three pivotal figures in the Russian religious reception of Nietzsche, i.e. Vladimir Solov’ëv, Dmitrii Merezhkovskii and Nikolai Berdiaev, engaged in a vacillating yet highly prolific debate with Nietzsche and how each of them appropriated his anthropology of the Übermensch in their religious philosophy. In order to explain Merezhkovskii’s and Berdiaev’s assessment of Nietzsche, the author highlights the significance of Dostoevskii: only by reading Nietzsche through the prism of Dostoevskii could both God-seekers pin down the religious ramifications of Nietzsche’s thought.
This book will be of interest to anyone fascinated by Nietzsche, Dostoevskii, Russian religious philosophy, Russian history of ideas and reception studies.

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Edited by Nelly van Doorn-Harder and Lourens Minnema

The various Christian, Muslim, traditional (African), and secular (Western) ways of imagining and coping with evil collected in this volume have several things in common. The most crucial perhaps and certainly the most striking aspect is the problem of defining the nature or characteristics of evil as such. Some argue that evil has an essence that remains constant, whereas others say its interpretation depends on time and place.
However much religious and secular interpretations of evil may have changed, the human search for sense and meaning never ends. Questions of whom to blame and whom to address—God, the devil, fate, bad luck, or humans—remain at the center of our explanations and our strategies to comprehend, define, counter, or process the evil we do and the evil done to us by people, God, nature, or accident. Using approaches from cultural anthropology, religious studies, theology, philosophy, psychology, and history, the contributors to this volume analyze how several religious and secular traditions imagine and cope with evil.