1st Edition

The Beginnings of Christian Theology in Arabic Muslim-Christian Encounters in the Early Islamic Period

By Sidney H. Griffith Copyright 2002
    345 Pages
    by Routledge

    The articles in this collection complement those in Professor Griffith's previous volume, Arabic Christianity in the Monasteries of 9th-Century Palestine, studying the first efforts of Christians living in the early Islamic world to respond to the religious challenges of Islam. In particular, the author shows how Christian apologists who wrote in Arabic adopted in defense of Christian doctrines the modes of discourse (kalam) then employed by Muslim controversialists (mutakallimun) to advance the claims of Islam. The writers whose works are studied here developed a truly Christian 'ilm al-kalam, that is to say a science of defending Christianity in an Arabic idiom borrowed largely from Muslims.

    Contents: Preface; Comparative religion in the apologetics of the first Christian Arabic theologians; Habib ibn Abu Rat’itah, a Christian mutakallim of the first Abbasid century; ’Ammar al-Basri’s Kitab al-Burhan: Christian Kalam in the first Abbasid century; The apologetic treatise of Nonnus of Nisibis; Disputes with Muslims in Syriac Christian texts: from Patriarch John (d. 648) to Bar Hebraeus (d. 1286); Muslims and Church councils; The apology of Theodore Abu Qurrah; Muhammad and the monk Bahîrâ: reflections on a Syriac and Arabic text from early Abbasid times; The Kitab Misbah al-’Aql of Severus ibn al-Muqaffa’: a profile of the Christian creed in Arabic in 10th-century Egypt; The Muslim philosopher al-Kindi and his Christian readers: three Arab Christian texts on ’The dissipation of sorrows’; From Aramaic to Arabic: the languages of the monasteries of Palestine in the Byzantine and early Islamic periods; Bashir/Besér: boon companion of the Byzantine emperor Leo III: the Islamic recension of his story in Leiden Oriental MS 951 (2); Index.


    Sidney H. Griffith