The Torah, the Gospel, and the Qur'an: Three Books, Two Cities, One Tale

The Torah, the Gospel, and the Qur'an: Three Books, Two Cities, One Tale

The Torah, the Gospel, and the Qur'an: Three Books, Two Cities, One Tale

The Torah, the Gospel, and the Qur'an: Three Books, Two Cities, One Tale

Synopsis

Discussing the Bible and the Qur'an in one breath will surprise some Jews, Christians, and Muslims. But Anton Wessels argues that all three traditions must read the Scriptures together and not against each other. As his book title suggests, the three books, in the end, are actually one tale.

Wessels accepts Muhammad as a prophet and takes the Qur'an seriously as Holy Scripture along with the Old and New Testaments -- without giving up his own Christian convictions. Respectfully reading the Torah, the Gospel, and the Qur'an together, he argues, is of crucial importance: our world often sees these religious books as the cause of conflicts rather than the solution to them.

Excerpt

Jews on occasion talk about the New Testament and the Qurʾan, often from a standpoint shaped and informed by their own sacred scripture, the Hebrew Bible. So too Christians talk about the Hebrew Bible and the Qurʾan, often from a standpoint shaped and informed by their sacred scripture; and Muslims talk similarly about the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament.

Sometimes a member of one of these parties discusses the sacred scriptures of the other parties in order to draw contrasts: contrasts in how God is understood, contrasts in how human beings are understood, contrasts in how God’s actions in history are understood, contrasts in how the life of true devotion is understood. Often the person drawing these contrasts will implicitly or explicitly find fault with the understandings of these matters in the sacred texts of the other parties; he will implicitly or explicitly indicate that, on these matters, he finds those other texts defective.

Anton Wessels’s The Torah, the Gospel, and the Qurʾan is strikingly different from such discussions. Wessels is himself a Christian missiologist. But his project here is not to talk about the Hebrew Bible and the Qurʾan from the standpoint of someone shaped and informed by the Christian Bible. His project is to read these three sacred texts together — to discuss and explain them in relation to each other.

Each of these texts is exceedingly rich and complex; if one is going to read them together one has to single out some theme as one’s focus. It will, of course, have to be a theme on which all three have something to say; but that still leaves a large number of different possibilities. Obvious candidates would be the theology of these three sacred scriptures, the anthropology, or the ethics.

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