Reading the Rival’s Scripture in Open Societies: Christians Encountering the Qur’an

In Mohammed Hashas (ed.), Pluralism in Islamic Contexts - Ethics, Politics and Modern Challenges. Springer Verlag. pp. 129-146 (2021)
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Given the civic needs of open Western societies which respect pluralism, democracy and human rights, how should Christians read the Qur’an? I examine four major methods or ways on how Christians do read the Qur’an, and demonstrate that all are inappropriate to the needs of our modern secular democracies. These are often allied to approaches that use the mask of revisionist scholarship to conceal malice and irrational hatred of Islamic values. First, major Christian methods that approach Islam, the Qur’an, and the Prophet Muhammad could be entitled as follows, successively in this chapter: the non/reception method, the externalization method, the rejection method, and the paternalist method. Examples of such methods will be referred to. Second, a further examination of revisionist scholarship and literature shows other methods of approaching Islam and its sacred text and prophet; here, five other methods are outlined, which intertwine with the first four methods; these five are as follows: the Qur’an’s alleged misunderstanding of Christian dogmas method, the radical skepticism of the origins of Islam method, the Qur’an’s half-way to truth method, the Qur’an’s unoriginality method, and Muhammad as a messenger for the Arabs only method. Critical comments follow each of these methods, as a way of overcoming biases and prejudices that nurture Islamophobia and right-wing parties and populist movements.



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