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A Certain Sympathy of Scriptures
A Certain Sympathy of Scriptures

A Certain Sympathy of Scriptures

Biblical and Quranic


144 Pages, 6 x 9

Formats: Trade Paper

Trade Paper, $22.95 (US $22.95) (CA $28.95)

Publication Date: June 2004

ISBN 9781845190125

Rights: US & CA

Sussex Academic Press (Jun 2004)

Price: $22.95


How can there be any "sympathy" between the Bible and the Qur'an? Have not their communities been at odds over their "Books" for centuries, disputing their contents and despising their credentials? Despite such antagonisms, it is still possible to have amicable comparison, for example, over the narratives about Abraham or Joseph or Moses, as an exercise in literary criticism. And indeed scholars from both faiths have done so. A Certain Sympathy of Scriptures attempts something more venturesome - far more central to both Scriptures and more cogent in the 21st Western century and 15th Muslim century. The crucial sequence of the Scriptures - alike in the Bible and the Qur'an - is through a cosmos created, for a creaturehood entrusted, by virtue of revelatory direction, mediated by prophet-hoods. These three "directions" are the supreme theme of both Scriptures: they affirm, in the idiom their reading faithful have discerned, a sure divine Lordship via human delegacy. This "dominion" or "caliphate" of humankind is shared territory in a now global scene as the abiding reality of Semitic humanism. We are not "on our own" but rather trustees in a sacramental order. To this end we are informed and enabled by what God's other envoys mediated in their coming which - as communal Books hold - was His divine sending. To venture into print at a time of extraordinary inter-religious complexity is to invite skepticism, but despite the deep issues that persist the mutual grounding - a certain sympathy - provides a measure of hope toward better understanding and recognition of divine purpose.


“Cragg patiently explores the similarities and differences between Christianity and Islam. . . . Crucially, he finds a key difference to be in the relation to political power of the later suras of the Qur’an, at least, and the life and teaching of Jesus. . . . In another life, Kenneth Cragg would be a poet, and the text is dense with poetic allusion . . . it [has] a meditative quality that only enhances its call to re-engagement with contemporary Islam.”  —Reverend Dr. Timothy Gorringe, professor of theological studies, University of Exeter

“Kenneth Cragg in this fine study pushes a stage further in his lifelong project of developing a Christian reading of Islam—more specifically, of the Qur’an. As always, his writing uniquely combines a density of allusion with a precision of meaning. . . . [He has] a detailed mastery of facts and extraordinarily broad scholarship. . . . Cragg’s purpose is to propose to Muslims a fresh understanding of their own faith which could be appropriated for the 21st century.”  —Islam and Christian–Muslim Relations

“By endeavouring to trace some form of sympathy—rather than pursue an analytical comparison as such—between the Bible and the Qur’an, Cragg offers both a model as well as a resource for the further pursuit of a Christian–Muslim theological dialogue that centers on that point of contact with the divine which both unites and divides Christians and Muslims: revelation, mediated through scriptural text. Such engagement is of vital importance today, and not just in terms of academic interaction.”  —Reviews in Religion and Theology