Roman Catholics and Shr'i Muslims: Prayer, Passion, and Politics

Article excerpt

Roman Catholics and Shr'i Muslims: Prayer, Passion, and Politics.

By James A. Bill and John Alden Williams. Chapel Hill: Univ. of North Carolina Press, 2002. Pp. x, 194. $24.95; paperback $17.95.

In Roman Catholics and Sh'i Muslims, which provides a comprehensive review of the similarities between Catholicism and Shi'ite Islam, James Bill and John Williams explore a domain that has often suggested itself to Christian students of Islam but has lacked specific study until now. Moreover, the list of topics suggests how comprehensive a treatment it is: "We seek to wrestle with issues such as the relationship between God and humanity; the continuum between life and death; the dialectic between war and peace; the gap between rich and poor; the significance of religious ceremony and drama; the place of saints, martyrs, and confessors; the role of the inner [batin] as opposed to the outer [zahir] reality of humankind; the role of redemptive suffering; the relationship between religion, and politics; and the similarities and differences in legal systems" (p. 4). The book not only accomplishes all these things but does so with grace and dispatch. …