- Edited by Roger Boase, Queen Mary College, University of London, UK Foreword by HRH Prince Hassan bin Talal
At a time when the world is becoming increasingly interdependent, multi-cultural and multi-religious, the concept of religious pluralism is under assault as a result of hatred, prejudice and misunderstanding from both religious exclusivists and dogmatic secularists.
In this important and timely book, twenty internationally acclaimed scholars and leading religious thinkers respond to contemporary challenges in different ways. Some discuss the idea of a dialogue of civilisations; others explore the interfaith principles and ethical resources of their own spiritual traditions. All of them reject the notion that any single religion can claim a monopoly of wisdom; all are committed to the ideal of a just and peaceful society in which people of different religions and cultures can happily coexist. More space is here given to Islam than to Judaism and Christianity because, as a result of negative stereotypes, it is the most misunderstood of the major world religions. HRH Prince Hassan bin Talal of Jordan contributes the Foreword.
Contents: Foreword, HRH Prince Hassan bin Talal; Preface; Introduction. Part 1 Defining the Issue: Religious pluralism and the heritage of the enlightenment, John Bowden; Is our God listening? Exclusivism, inclusivism, and pluralism, Diana L. Eck; A Muslim's non-reductive religious pluralism, Muhammad Legenhausen. Part 2 Islam and the West: Clash or Dialogue?: Islam and the West: clash of civilisations?, Francis Robinson; Of Saints and Sufis in the Near East: past and present?, William Dalrymple; Islam and the West: clash or dialogue of civilisations?, Akbar S. Ahmed; The 'clash of civilisations'?: sense and nonsense, Fred Halliday; The dignity of difference: avoiding the clash of civilisations, Jonathan Sacks; Conservative ecumenism: politically incorrect meditations on Islam and the West, Antony T. Sullivan; From clashing civilisations to a common vision, Robert Dickson Crane; The orphans of modernity and the clash of civilisations, Khaled Abou El Fadl. Part 3 Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Responses to Religious Diversity: September 11: the case against us all, Tony Bayfield; Towards a Jewish theology of trilateral dialogue, Norman Solomon; Christians and people of other faiths, Marcus Braybrooke; Mystery and plural faiths: religious diversity as expression of the quest for a Deus Absconditus, Frank Julian Gelli; Religious pluralism and Islam in a polarised world, Murad Wilfried Hofmann; Ecumenical Islam: a Muslim response to religious pluralism, Roger Boase; The challenge of pluralism and the middle way of Islam, Jeremy Henzell-Thomas; The Qur'an and religious pluralism, Mahmoud M. Ayoub. Postscript: The failure of war, Wendell Berry. Bibliography; Index.
About the Editor: Roger Boase is an Honorary Research Fellow at Queen Mary College, University of London, and was a Professor at the University of Fez. He has been involved in interfaith discussions for many years. His publications include The Origin and Meaning of Courtly Love (1977), The Troubadour Revival (1978), 'The Muslim Expulsion from Spain', History Today (April 2002), and, with Aisha Ahmad, Pashtun Tales from the Pakistan-Afghan Frontier (2003).
Reviews: If there were ever a time that a book on religious pluralism and peace ought to be required reading for politicians, public intellectuals, policymakers, and the media, as well as a general audience, that time is now. Conceived as a response to the excoriation of Islam after 9/11, Roger Boase has put together a remarkable book on the need for interreligous dialogue as the only way to “lay the foundations for a more peaceful world.” This need reverberates through each chapter, be it written by a Jewish, Christian, or Muslim scholar. This means that, as in a symphony, even though each scholar writes grounded in his/her own faith tradition (instrument), their collective voices chorus the same song. It makes for very powerful reading. Dealing with religious pluralism, a topic that touches the most important facets of life, the book has a depth to it that is profound and moving.
Katherine Bullock in The American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences
Today, the World's religions are challenged by factions that preach religious exclusivism and theologies of hate. As 9/11 tragically demonstrated, Islam has been hijacked and used by extremists and global terrorists. Islam and Global Dialogue is a major contribution toward the promotion of mutual understanding, religious pluralism, and tolerance and thus in the reassertion of religion's role in promoting global peace rather than conflict.'
John L. Esposito, University Professor of Religion and International Affairs and Islamic Studies, Georgetown University, USA
'In a period of bloody confrontations and religious radicalisms that nourish the self-styled clash of civilisations, it is necessary to read these pluralistic reflections on the matter by a brilliant group of Jewish, Christian and Muslim intellectuals and scholars. The book is a meritorious effort to promote dialogue and peace.'
Juan Goytisolo, Marrakesh
'This essential book conclusively disposes of the vicious mythology that the religious faiths are doomed to fight each other.'
Dan Plesch, Birkbeck College and the United Services Institute, UK
‘This compilation of articles by twenty renowned authors aims to avoid dogmatic secular paradigms while explaining Islamic discourse on war and peace…Highly recommended.’ Choice
'Collections of essays seldom maintain consistently high quality throughout, but this book escapes that charge. Anyone who wants to know what serious Islamic voices are saying about global religious pluralism and the prospects for peacemaking and dialogue between religious cultures should read it.' Church Times
'Roger Boase is to be congratulated for bringing together this impressive collection of articles.' Interreligious Insight
'Boase has taken the laudable initiative of compiling, in a highly readable book, 21 meticulously researched and compelling essays, from some of the most recognised, and respected, contemporary scholars and researchers on revealed religions of the world. The names of contributors to Boase's book read like the modern Who's Who on the esoteric world of religious scholarship.' The Dawn, Karachi
'The chapters of Islam and Global Dialogue offer a series of bridges across the chasms that divide, and provide inspiration, as well as plentiful information, for the building of that common ground.' European Judaism
'If there were ever a time that a book on religious pluralism and peace ought to be required reading for politicians, public intellectuals, policymakers, and the media, as well as a general audience, that time is now... Roger Boase has put together a remarkable book on the need for interreligious dialogue as the only way to 'lay the foundations for a more peaceful world.' This need reverberates through each chapter, be it written by a Jewish, Christian, or Muslim scholar. This means that, as in a symphony, even though each scholar writes grounded in his/her faith tradition (instrument), their collective voices chorus the same song. It makes for very powerful reading... As I read each chapter, I thought to myself that 'this is the best chapter of the book.' Dealing with religious pluralism [...] the book has a depth to it that is profound and moving. And given that Islam has become widely perceived as a religion of hate and intolerance, a volume such as this one, which highlights Islam's positive contribution to interfaith dialogue, is exceedingly important.' The American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences
‘All of the papers are of high intellectual voltage, both thought-provoking and stretching.’ Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society
‘The collection is well edited and presented. Part One would be useful in any critical discussion of interfaith dialogue, and the essays in Part Two, on the Clash of Civilizations, are substantive yet accessible to the undergraduate reader.’ Religious Studies Review
'… interest in dialogue and acknowledgement of pluralism has been finding expression at both intellectual and political discourses, and the title under review is a good illustration of this. Besides, this work is doubtless remarkable for the dynamism of subject matter it explores, and indeed for the kind of reaction it has been able to generate and sustain since its appearance.' Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs
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