A Christian Perspective on Islamic Prophecy
- Catholic Media Association Book Award: Ecumenism or Interfaith Relations, Third Place
Muhammad Reconsidered rectifies the failures of scholarly attempts to understand Islam in the West and to take Islamic theology seriously. Engaging Islam from deep within the Christian tradition by addressing the question of the prophethood of Muhammad, Anna Bonta Moreland calls for a retrieval of Thomistic thought on prophecy. Without either appropriating the prophet as an unwitting Christian or reducing both Christianity and Islam to a common denominator, Moreland studies Muhammad within a Christian theology of revelation. This lens leads to a more sophisticated understanding of Islam, one that honors the integrity of the Catholic tradition and argues for the possibility in principle of Muhammad as a religious prophet.
Moreland sets the stage for this inquiry through an intertextual reading of the key Vatican II documents on Islam and on Christian revelation. She then uses Aquinas's treatment of prophecy to address the case of whether Muhammad is a prophet in Christian terms. Muhammad Reconsidered examines the work of several Christian theologians, including W. Montgomery Watt, Hans Küng, Kenneth Cragg, David Kerr, and Jacques Jomier, O.P., and then draws upon the practice of analogical reasoning in the theology of religious pluralism to show that a term in one religion—in this case “prophecy”—can have purchase in another religious tradition. Muhammad Reconsidered not only is a constructive contribution to Catholic theology but also has enormous potential to help scholars reframe and comprehend Christian-Muslim relations.
“Due to its focus both on issues directly related to dialogue as it has developed over the last quarter century or so and on the historiography of Christian engagement with Islamic theology, Anna Bonta Moreland's Muhammad Reconsidered can be one of the foundational texts in the discipline.” —Zeki Saritoprak, author of Islam's Jesus
"Anna Bonta Moreland's Muhammad Reconsidered makes a significant contribution to Catholic theology of Islam and interreligious dialogue between Muslims and Christians. Her style is lucid, learned, and accessible. She opens new doors. This book will be of interest to Christian and Muslim scholars and the lay public." —Gavin D'Costa, University of Bristol
"Anna Moreland's illuminating and powerfully argued book is essential reading for anyone concerned about how Catholic Christians should engage with their Muslim neighbors. It provides an insightful and badly needed account of how, according to Aquinas, God communicates through prophetic utterances and acts. This is theology at its best." —Alasdair MacIntyre, author of After Virtue and Dependent Rational Animals
"Moreland begins this book by taking issue with Samuel Huntington's well-known essay/book The Clash of Civilizations (1993/1996). Huntington argued that there was a fundamental incompatibility between Islamic cultures and Western cultures influenced by Christianity. Moreland argues, contra Huntington, that Christians and Muslims can dialogue about Mohammed from a Christian perspective on Islamic prophecy." —Choice