Academic journal article Theological Studies

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

Academic journal article Theological Studies

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

Article excerpt

The Torah, the Gospel, and the Qur'an: Three Books, Two Cities, One Tale. By Anton Wessels. Translated from the Dutch by Henry Janson. Grand Rapids, Ml: Eerdmans, 2013. Pp. xxi + 312. $28.

Wessels attempts a noble task, reading the three monotheistic scriptures (the Hebrew Bible, the Christian Bible, the Qur'an) as a single, harmonious narrative, to model how these religions might get along. In doing so, however, he loses the sense of the individual scriptures. To bring these disparate texts into a single, coherent narrative, he imposes an external structure. W.'s own structure is Christian--he is a Presbyterian minister. Because he reads the texts harmoniously, he explains away, minimizes, or ignores their disparities. Muslims will find the book unsatisfactory because of its christological leanings and occasional sermonizing. Jews will be unsatisfied because W. minimizes the importance of Jewish identity and the Jewish connection to the land. In sum, his narrative focuses on "universal salvation."

W. treats the Qur'an as a source of divine wisdom. Although apparently not a reader of Arabic, he has made careful study of the Qur'an in his native Dutch. He claims his book as a tale of two cities (good and evil) but tries to hold together too many different kinds of comparisons for this to be a useful structure. …

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