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Open Access A methodological opportunity: Christians in the United States interpreting the qur’ān

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A methodological opportunity: Christians in the United States interpreting the qur’ān

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image of Al-Bayan: Journal of Qur'an and Hadith Studies

The Qur’ān is Islam’s Holy Book and has been available to non-Muslim interpreters since the 8th century. Three negative interpretative paradigms derived from John of Damascus (676- 749), Nicholas of Cusa (1401-1464) and Martin Luther (1483-1546) continue to inform many Christians about the Qur’ān and shape many Western views of Islam and attitudes toward Muslims. Other Christians have offered some basic insights about the Qur’ān through too brief comments prefacing translations of the Qur’ān or explicating Qur’anic themes. Others have written about the Qur’ān yet introduced questionable judgments about it and Islam generally. Today, it is essential for Christians to interpret the Qur’ān to non-Muslims without Orientalist biases. Efforts such as those by Miroslav Volf (Allah: A Christian Response, 2011) and my Opening the Qur’an (2008) point toward developing a comprehensive hermeneutical perspective. In the paper I propose a methodological approach derived from my teaching experience with largely Christian and secularized undergraduate and graduate school students in the United States of America. Part One sets the interpretative contexts in the United States. A proposed methodology in four steps constitutes Part Two. I adapt insights from Muslim scholars such as Farid Esack, Fazlur Rahman, Ingrid Mattson, and Mahmoud Ayub. Part III proposes that Muslim and non- Muslim scholars may employ cyberspace technology to continue fruitful discussions about our respective scriptures.


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