Academic journal article Journal of Ecumenical Studies

Comparative Study of the Bible and the Qur'an since 9/11: A Review Article

Academic journal article Journal of Ecumenical Studies

Comparative Study of the Bible and the Qur'an since 9/11: A Review Article

Article excerpt

Kenneth Cragg, A Certain Sympathy of Scriptures: Biblical and Quranic. Brighton, U.K.: Sussex Academic Press, 2004. Pp. 144. $22.50.

Kenneth Cragg, The Qur'an and the West. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press, 2006. Pp. 235. $34.95.

George Dardess, Do We Worship the Same God? Comparing the Bible and the Qur'an. Cincinnati, OH: St. Anthony Messenger Press, 2006. Pp. 166. $12.95.

Mateen Elass, Understanding the Koran: A Quick Christian Guide to the Muslim Holy Book. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2004. Pp. 192. $12.99.

Mohamed Ghounem, 200+ Ways the Quran Corrects the Bible: How Islam Unites Judaism and Christianity. Newtown, CT: Multi-National Muslim Committee, 2004. Pp. 214. $13.45.

Bearing the Word: Prophecy m Biblical and Qur'anic Perspective. Edited by Michael Ipgrave. New York: Church House Publishing, 2005. Pp. 155. $19.00.

Scriptures in Dialogue: Christians and Muslims Studying the Bible and the Qur'an Together. Edited by Michael Ipgrave. London: Church House Publishing, 2004. Pp. 154. $20.00.

Bible and Qur'an: Essays in Scriptural Intertextuality. Edited by John C. Reeves. SBL Symposium Series 24. Atlanta, GA: Society of Biblical Literature, 2003. Pp. 245. $31.95.

Don Richardson, Secrets of the Koran: Revealing Insights into Islam's Holy Book. Ventura, CA: Regal Books, 2003. Pp. 260. $16.99.

Charles S. Ruark, Jr., The Koran Unveiled: A Comparison of the Qur'an and the Bible. Cleveland, TN: Derek Press, 2006. Pp. 528. $24.99.

Ben J. Smith, Differences: The Bible and the Koran. Nashville, TN: Cumberland House Publishing, 2002. Pp. 158. $9.95.

Anees Zaka and Diane Coleman, The Truth about Islam: The Noble Qur'an's Teachings in Light of the Holy Bible. Phillipsburg, NJ: P & R Publishing, 2004. Pp. 194. $11.99.

Watershed moments are those rare occasions that have such a profound effect on the soul and psyche of an individual or society that things are never the same again. The difference between before and after, pre- and post-, is obvious and undeniable. We all recognize these moments, and we always remember exactly where we were when they occurred or when we learned of them.

Nothing in recent history better qualifies as a watershed moment than the events that took place on September 11, 2001. On that Tuesday morning our collective and individual lives were permanently altered, and we entered a new era. Many of the changes we have experienced since that day have been practical and tangible, while others are beneath the surface and more subtle. Among the latter changes has been a growing interest in and curiosity about Islam on the part of non-Muslims, as many have sought to become better informed about the religion and its followers.

Here I explore one aspect of this growing interest in Islam by examining the resources available for those wanting to learn about the Qur'an. What kind of information is out there for a non-Muslim who wishes to become familiar with Islam's sacred text? In particular, how do these works present and understand the relationship between the Qur'an and the Bible? We were reminded of the potentially contentious nature of that relationship in the tall of 2006, after the election of the first Muslim to the U.S. Congress. Representative Keith Ellison of Minnesota created a controversy in some circles when he announced that he would use a copy of the Qur'an, rather than the Bible, at his private swearing-in ceremony. The negative outcry against that decision by some indicates that the place of Islam and the Qur'an in American society remains a debated issue in many quarters.

The works discussed here help to frame the parameters of that debate. Since 9/11, many books have been published in English that somehow address the relationship between the Qur'an and the Bible, a dozen of which are considered here. Three distinct categories can be identified within this corpus, each with its own ideology, methodology, and implications for interfaith relations. …

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