Islam: A Short Guide to the Faith

Islam: A Short Guide to the Faith

Islam: A Short Guide to the Faith

Islam: A Short Guide to the Faith


Douglas Moo's work on the Epistle to the Romans is part of The New International Commentary on the New Testament. Prepared by some of the world's leading scholars, the series provides an exposition of the New Testament books that is thorough and fully abreast of modern scholarship yet faithful to the Scriptures as the infallible Word of God.


Religion, according to most authorities, escapes definition, yet each religion has defining elements. They are: discourse, practices, community, and institution. No religion can be understood apart from a discourse that merges mundane facts, and human needs, with transcendent aims and celestial hopes. the discourse cannot succeed without practices that aim to engage the believer, and reinforce good behavior, with results in this world that are matched by rewards in the next. Yet no believer operates in isolation, and it is the ethos of a collective cohort, a group or community, that provides options, and also reinforces discipline, for each individual bounded within its arc of influence and marked by its public identity. Institutions, in turn, attend to all the defining elements of religion: they regulate discourse, they enforce practices, and they project community, not without human error or self-correction but always with a commitment to continuity and self-perpetuation beyond the lifetime of individuals or movements or nations.*

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In this perceptive yet compressed set of essays, the general reader is introduced to all four constitutive elements of religion as they have found ex-

*I have adopted the categories of Bruce Lincoln (Holy Terrors: Thinking about Religion after September 11 [Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2003], pp. 5-7), but modified them to reflect my own sense of how these four defining elements of religion relate to one another, and to society as a whole.

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