Nostra Aetate Fifty Years On

It was, on the face of it, a minor theological gesture, yet it brought about one of the greatest revolutions in religious history. Nostra Aetate, the Catholic Church’s 1965 statement of relationships with non-Christian faiths, declared that “the Jews should not be spoken of as rejected or . . . . Continue Reading »

Holy Warriors

In God’s Path: The Arab Conquests and the Creation of an Islamic Empire by robert g. hoyland oxford, 320 pages, $29.95 Amedieval Islamic tradition recounts that the Prophet Muhammad once told his companions after they returned from a battle: “You have come from the Lesser Jihad to the Greater . . . . Continue Reading »

Did Muhammad Perform Miracles?

On Thursday, August 27, 2015, the first part of Iran’s most expensive movie trilogy, “Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah,” opened nationwide in Iran. It took more than eighty months for this movie to be completed. Its primary goal, according to its director Majid Majidi, “is to reclaim the . . . . Continue Reading »

The Most Objectionable Part of the Bible

We all hear about the supposed “God of Wrath” in the Hebrew Bible, and the supposed “God of Love” of the New Testament. Those who draw that distinction don’t know their Bibles very well. For the Hebrew Bible celebrates human sexual love, underwritten by the Hebrew Bible’s God, in its . . . . Continue Reading »

Evangelicals in the World of Islam

The author of this book, a professor of history at the University of Delaware, is an academic of diverse interests, having published volumes on the maritime communities of colonial Massachusetts and the origins of fervent Protestantism in the American South. She is also married to a retired Pentagon official who survived the terrorist atrocities of September 11, 2001.

Who Was Ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab?

ISIS is only the latest (and certainly most barbaric) interpretation of a current in Islamic thought known as Salafism—an originalist approach to Islamic law and creed that relies exclusively on a narrow reading of the Qur’an and the hadith. In Saudi Arabia, these ideas were first introduced by a man living at the end of the eighteenth century: Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab.

What Can an Old Quranic Parchment Really Show?

Birmingham University has announced that it possesses what could be the world’s oldest fragments of the Muslim Holy Quran. We cannot be certain yet whether it is the oldest, as we have other sets of old Qur’anic manuscripts, such as those investigated by IRCICA in Turkey and the palimpsest ones found in the Great Mosque of Sana’a, Yemen, in 1972. But using radiocarbon dating, the Birmingham researchers suggest that this parchment fragment, written on sheep or goat skin, may date to sometime between 568 and 645. This could place this parchment within the first three decades of Islam, taking us back to the days of Muhammad or his immediate followers. Continue Reading »