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Christian Theologians And New Questions

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Chapter Summary

The Christians who came under Muslim rule in the seventh and eighth centuries A.D. encountered monotheists of a kind entirely different from themselves. In order to demonstrate the huge gap between Muslims and Christians in their mutual understanding in the early Islamic period, and also the Muslim attitude towards and treatment of Christian beliefs, this chapter examines two of the earliest surviving treatises written by Muslim thinkers against Christian doctrines. These are the relatively brief Radd ʿalā al-Naṣārā of the Zaydī Imām al-Qāsim b. Ibrāhīm al-Rassī and the extremely long Radd ʿalā al-thalāth firaq min al- Naṣārā of the independent Shī‘ī theologian Abū ʿῙsā Muḥammad b. Hārūn al-Warrāq. These two Muslim responses to Christianity can be set in an interreligious intellectual context by a brief consideration of the major work of John of Damascus, The Fount of Knowledge, the most comprehensive treatise of Christian theology from the late Patristic period.

Keywords: Christian theology; Muslim rule; Patristic period; Radd ʿalā al-Naṣārā; Radd ʿalā al-thalāth firaq min al- Naṣārā; The Fount of Knowledge



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