Campion Hall Seminar Papers on "Christian Theological Engagement with Islam"

Author: David Marshall

July 26, 2012

In 2010 and 2011 a series of seminars on “Christian Theological Engagement with Islam” was held at Campion Hall, the Jesuit community in Oxford, to enable a group of Roman Catholic and Anglican scholars active in such dialogue to reflect together on some of the questions which it poses. In order to deepen their capacity – and that of Christians more widely – to engage effectively and with Christian authenticity in further dialogue with Muslims, participants considered questions of Christian response to four key aspects of the faith and practice of Islam: Muhammad; the Qur’ān; prayer and devotional life; law and society. Below are revised versions of the papers given on each of these four topics, together with questions for further reflection. The inclusion of these questions underlines the provisional and incomplete nature of this project, and also the hope that these essays may serve the purpose of stimulating and resourcing further work in this field. One further paper addresses the question of whether Christians and Muslims believe in the same God.

It was in the nature of the exercise that the seminars were attended just by Christians as their focus was the question of how to interpret Islam within a Christian frame of reference. Christians concerned with this question are thus likely to be the primary readers of these papers. Concurrently, participants were encouraged to share their essays with Muslim colleagues and received helpful feedback. These essays will also be of interest to them and to other Muslims committed to dialogue with Christians. 

Christian theological engagement with Islam is a huge field and there are naturally limitations to this particular project. In relation to engagement with Islam, for example, there is no systematic attempt here to articulate Christian reflection specifically on the Shiʿa tradition. Although participants came from a range of theological positions within Roman Catholicism and Anglicanism, they were conscious both of their distinctly Western context and also of the various Christian traditions and perspectives which were not represented among them. 

These seminars were supported by the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs, Georgetown University, Washington DC, and organized by David Marshall, a Research Fellow of the Berkley Center.

>>David Marshall, “Muhammad in Contemporary Christian Theological Reflection”
>>Daniel A. Madigan, SJ, “Revisionist Historiography and Christian Attitudes towards Muhammad”
>>Muhammad Section: For Further Reflection

The Qur’ān
>>David Marshall, Roman Catholic Approaches to the Qur’ān since Vatican II
>>Martin Whittingham, “‘Deciding by the Gospel’: Some Protestant Christian Responses to the Qur’ān since the Nineteenth Century”
>>Qur’ān Section: For Further Reflection

Prayer and Devotional Life
>>Michael Ipgrave, “Provocation and Resonance: Sacramental Spirituality in the Context of Islam”
>>Catriona Laing, “Constance Padwick’s Study of Muslim Devotion: A Provocation to Christian Mission”
>>Gavin D’Costa, "Interreligious Prayer between Christians and Muslims"
>>Prayer and Devotion Section: For Further Reflection

Law and Society
>>Richard Sudworth, “Christian Responses to the Political Challenge of Islam”
>>Damian Howard, SJ, “Islam and Christianity: on ‘Religions of Law’”
>>Law and Society Section: For Further Reflection

Christians, Muslims and the One God
>>Gavin D’Costa, “Do Christians and Muslims Believe in the Same God? Reflections on Miroslav Volf’s Allah: A Christian Response

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