The Beginnings of Christian Theology in Arabic: Muslim-Christian Encounters in the Early Islamic Period, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

The Beginnings of Christian Theology in Arabic

Muslim-Christian Encounters in the Early Islamic Period, 1st Edition

By Sidney H. Griffith


345 pages

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Hardback: 9780860788898
pub: 2002-11-04
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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.

Table of Contents

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.

About the Series

Variorum Collected Studies

The first title in the Variorum Collected Studies series was published in 1970. Since then well over 1000 titles have appeared in the series, and it has established a well-earned international reputation for the publication of key research across a whole range of subjects within the fields of history.

The history of the medieval world remains central to the series, with Byzantine studies a particular speciality, but the range of titles extends from Hellenistic philosophy and the history of the Roman empire and early Christianity, through the Renaissance and Reformation, up to the 20th century. Islamic Studies forms another major strand as do the histories of science, technology and medicine.

Each title in the Variorum Collected Studies series brings together for the first time a selection of articles by a leading authority on a particular subject. These studies are reprinted from a vast range of learned journals, Festschrifts and conference proceedings. They make available research that is scattered, even inaccessible in all but the largest and most specialized libraries. With a new introduction and index, and often with new notes and previously unpublished material, they constitute an essential resource. 

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General