With creation of the universe as its focus and a deeper understanding of human freedom as its goal, Freedom and Creation in Three Traditions is a work of philosophical theology that brings together Jewish, Christian, and Muslim perspectives on the complex questions surrounding divine and human freedom. Burrell shows how the three traditions (each avowing the free creation of the universe by God) have developed a view of free human actors in relation to their initial affirmations that the universe is freely created by God. The concept of a free creation of the universe forms a motif for all three traditions, and their respective encounters with divine relation—in the Torah, Jesus Christ, and the Qur’an—offer distinctive ways of articulating and assimilating the original faith in a free creator. Burrell emphasizes the common ground among the traditions, but does not limit his discourse to a search for a common denominator among them. Instead, he traces the interactions among the traditions, employing an explicitly interfaith perspective that offers new ways to probe the vexing question of the relations between a free creator and free creatures. The results of this comparative method of reflection produce fresh insights into perennial human questions about creation and freedom—questions that have constituted a major body of theological reflection over the centuries.
Aimed at graduates and advanced undergraduates as well as laypersons interested in interfaith dialogue and reflection, Freedom and Creation in Three Traditions illustrates the value of tradition-directed inquiry and clearly demonstrates the fruitfulness of comparative inquiries in philosophical theology.
"Philosophical theology is not an easy subject, but in this book Burrell manages to make it as accessible as it will ever be. He himself controls the literature and language of all three traditions—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam—and he appends an index of key Arabic terms used." —Journal of Ecumenical Studies
"In his philosophically acute analyses, Burrell moves smoothly from tradition to tradition ... in order to show how in all three traditions one can discuss creation and freedom and why this discussion will be mutually enlightening and corrective." —The Journal of Religion
"Among the most gratifying of Burrell's contributions here is his continuing insistence that we in our century take the relevant Jewish and Islamic sources and themes at least as seriously as Aquinas did in his." —Theological Studies