Preparing for encounter: Helping a congregation grow in faith via the exploration of Islam and the study of Abraham in the Bible and Qur’an as a step toward interfaith dialogue
Author: Solomon-Timothy-Michael Date: 1999 Institution: Hartford-Seminary (0083) Subject:History Language: English
Abstract: This dissertation examines the effects a study of Islam brought to bear on the beliefs and attitudes of one group of church members. Was it detrimental to their Christian faith to engage in such a study? Can examining another religion provide more than just information about that faith? Can this type of study be undertaken in a way that not only avoids the pitfalls of exclusivist, inclusivist and pluralist approaches to interfaith interaction, but also allows each faith to bear witness to their core monotheistic concepts?
On the way to answering these questions, this paper analyzes the dynamics of historic Christian/Muslim relations, aware of the antagonisms present when Christians and Muslims approach one another in today's world. The figure of Abraham/Ibrahim is held up as an illustrative point illumining each faith's self-understanding: to Christians a patriarch whose flaws are overcome by the quality of his faith in God, to Muslims a prophet who presents a pattern of obedience for all to follow. While a more central figure for Islam than for Christianity (he is credited with establishing, along with his son Ishmael/Isma'il) the ritual of worship at the pilgrimage point of Makkah), Abraham is significant to Christians, yet not so central that his mention is contentious as an interfaith meeting ground. SO: VOLUME 61-02A OF DISSERTATION ABSTRACTS INTERNATIONAL. PAGE 643 NO: AAI9961722