Contemporary Muslim and Christian Responses to Religious Plurality: Wolfhart Pannenberg in Dialogue with Abdulaziz Sachedina

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Contemporary Muslim and Christian Responses to Religious Plurality: Wolfhart Pannenberg in Dialogue with Abdulaziz Sachedina. By Lewis E. Winkler. Eugene, Ore.: Wipf & Stock, Pickwick Publications, 2011. Pp. xi, 338. Paperback $39.

Here is a book that stands out among the growing literature on Muslim-Christian dialogue. Singapore-based Lewis E. Winkler tackles an urgent issue that both communities have yet to seriously face: devising a theology of religion in a world in which religious plurality is almost everywhere the norm.

In this felicitous reworking of his dissertation, Winkler does honor to his mentor, the prolific Finnish theologian and ecumenicist Veli-Matti Karkkainen, a leading "theologian of religions" in the Protestant world today. This he accomplishes through a side-by-side analysis of the views of two thinkers on the issue--Wolfhart Pannenberg, a prominent German systematic theologian, and Abdulaziz Sachedina, a scholar of Islamic law and ethics at the University of Virginia. Winkler's first chapter aptly sets the stage by teasing out the various taxonomies of responses, both Muslim and Christian, to religious plurality. To Karkkainen's trilogy of ecclesiocentrism, christocentrism, and theocentrism, Winkler adds ethicocentrism (building a more just and peaceful global society--Sachedina's main concern) and eschatocentrism (Pannenberg's view that people of different faiths, by respectfully listening to one other and working through their differences, will grasp more of the truth that will finally be revealed at the eschaton). …