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A History of Christian-Muslim Relations Paperback – September 5, 2000

4.5 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


Appropriately designed to give an introductory overview of the encounter of Christianity and Islam...He approaches the subject as a historian of religion with sensitivity to the civilizational character of the Christian-Muslim encounter―i.e. an encounter in which 'religious' aspects must be set in a wider discussion of social, economic, political, and religious factors. (David Kerr, University of Edinburgh)

This overview…for general readers succeeds admirably. … Goddard's book is an excellent introduction to Christian-Muslim relations. (Thomas Burman Journal of Religion)

Excellent summaries of contemporary interreligious dialogue and of thinkers from both religions who have demonstrated an interest in the other. (Gregory J. Miller Religious Studies Review)

About the Author

Hugh Goddard is reader in Islamic theology at the University of Nottingham and author of Christians and Muslims: From Double Standards to Mutual Understanding and Muslim Perceptions of Christianity.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: New Amsterdam Books (September 5, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1566633400
  • ISBN-13: 978-1566633406
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.6 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #812,216 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
It is an obvious challenge condensing the relations of two world religions considering their vast history, geography and cultural perspectives. While each historical section left me wanting more of the specifics, that is not a fault of the research but more-so a credit to Goddard's writing; his ability to spark greater interest.

The dominant message of Goddard's research is that there was no one main reaction or set of rules that Islam maintained in how it treated Christian groups. In the time of Mohammad, there were early examples of fair coexistence in the "constitution" of Medina. Yet, as Mohammad solidified his political power it appeared Islam was less inclined to put up with dissenting Jews or Christians. On another note important to Mohammad's time, Goddard states that the Christianity mentioned in the Qur'an is not that of global Christianity. The Qur'an with its praise and distaste for certain Christian doctrines was influenced by the 'Arabian Christianity' in the area. This is often a point of modern dialogue between Muslims and misunderstood Christians.

Islam's political influence, however, spread in areas where non-Muslims were the majority. Goddard mentions the 'ijaza' tax that non-Muslims paid as subjects along with other regulations: no construction of new churches, no outward symbols of faith, no open worship and certainly no proselytizing. As scholars in Islam are quick to point out, Islam treated its subjects very well considering the examples of the times. But according to today's human rights standards the 8th century regulations should have been long amended. If there has been a single mainstay within Islam's inter-religious interaction it has been the strict banning of conversion from Islam to any other religion.
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Goddard's book is a fair, constructive, and irenic history of these two religions that, unfortunately, have battled one another for centuries. I am using it as the first text in a college course on Christianity and Islam. It journeys through the historical terrain of Christian-Muslim relations as deftly as any book out there. In comparison to other books that attempt to do the same thing, Goddard's account is reader-friendly and shot through with interesting stories that cause students to reflect on what went wrong at critical moments between Muslims and Christians, what we can learn from these situations, and what we can do now to engage in constructive dialogue. The book's eight chapters tell the story of how Christianity and Islam emerged from Middle Eastern soil, Muhammad's interactions with Christians, then considers the various periods of Christian-Muslim interaction: the first age, the medieval period, the era of mission and imperialism, and the 19th-20th centuries (13th-14th centuries for Muslims). The final chapter challenges readers to move beyond confrontation to dialogue, to draw on the best of each of their traditions, and to view Christians and Muslims as fellow travelers on the road toward truth. Therefore, if you are looking for a resource that tells the all too often heartbreaking story of Christian-Muslim relations, then points to the possibilities for mutual understanding and peaceful coexistence, this is the book for you.
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By C. H. on January 27, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is a veritable goldmine of information concerning the Muslim-Christian encounter throughout the mutual history of these faiths. While it is concise and moves quickly, it has concentrated a great deal of information into a relatively short work. The topic of this book is one which is not often written about but is extremely applicable to understanding today's world both politically, culturally, and religiously.
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