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6 Christian Theologians Employing Muslim Theology

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Chapter Summary

The relationship between Christian and Islamic theological thinking, and the development of both traditions within in the context of the Islamic Empire, is a complex subject. Theodore Abū Qurra, Abū Rāʾiṭa and ʿAmmār al-Baṣrī composed their works at a sensitive point in Islamic theological development. This early and formative period of Islamic thought, and indeed Islamic rule, created a unique dynamic for the interaction of Christian and Muslim theologians. The result was an intricate intellectual fabric in which Christian theologians sought to explain the true understanding of God's nature in the context of the dominant strand of Islamic thinking at that time, using the various tools at their disposal. This chapter seeks to better understand how and why Christian scholars took on this task and what their contribution reflects, both in terms of the context in which they wrote and their own religious tradition.

Keywords: ʿAmmār al-Baṣrī; Abū Qurra; Abū Rāʾiṭa; Christian theologians; God's nature; Islamic Empire; Muslim theologians



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