The Monotheists: Jews, Christians, and Muslims in Conflict and Competition, Volume II: The Words and Will of God / Edition 1

The Monotheists: Jews, Christians, and Muslims in Conflict and Competition, Volume II: The Words and Will of God / Edition 1

by F. E. Peters

ISBN-10: 069112373X

ISBN-13: 9780691123738

Pub. Date: 07/25/2005

Publisher: Princeton University Press

The world's three great monotheistic religions have spent most of their historical careers in conflict or competition with each other. And yet in fact they sprung from the same spiritual roots and have been nurtured in the same historical soil. This book—an extraordinarily comprehensive and approachable comparative introduction to these religions—seeks

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The world's three great monotheistic religions have spent most of their historical careers in conflict or competition with each other. And yet in fact they sprung from the same spiritual roots and have been nurtured in the same historical soil. This book—an extraordinarily comprehensive and approachable comparative introduction to these religions—seeks not so much to demonstrate the truth of this thesis as to illustrate it. Frank Peters, one of the world's foremost experts on the monotheistic faiths, takes Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, and after briefly tracing the roots of each, places them side by side to show both their similarities and their differences.

Volume I, The Peoples of God, tells the story of the foundation and formation of the three monotheistic communities, of their visible, historical presence. Volume II, The Words and Will of God, is devoted to their inner life, the spirit that animates and regulates them.

Peters takes us to where these religions live: their scriptures, laws, institutions, and intentions; how each seeks to worship God and achieve salvation; and how they deal with their own (orthodox and heterodox) and with others (the goyim, the pagans, the infidels). Throughout, he measures—but never judges—one religion against the other. The prose is supple, the method rigorous. This is a remarkably cohesive, informative, and accessible narrative reflecting a lifetime of study by a single recognized authority in all three fields.

The Monotheists is a magisterial comparison, for students and general readers as well as scholars, of the parties to one of the most troubling issues of today—the fierce, sometimes productive and often destructive, competition among the world's monotheists, the siblings called Jews, Christians, and Muslims.

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Princeton University Press
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Edition description:
New Edition
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Table of Contents

Preface xvii

Introduction xxi


Three Sacred Books 2

People of the Book 3

The Bible 4

Sacred Tongues 5

On Translations 7

Scriptural Criticism 8

Who Wrote the Bible? 10

Explaining Revelation 11

High Prophetology 14

Heavenly Books 15

The New Testament: Notion, Text, and Canon 16

The Biblical Canon 18

The Inspiration of Scripture 20

Contingency and the Constraints of History 21

Humanist Critics of Scripture 23

The Old Testament and the New 24

The Arrangement of the Quran 25

The Composition of the Quran 27

The Editing of the Quran 29

The Collection of the Quran 30

Qere and Ketib 32

Interpolation and Abrogation 33

Closure 34


The Seal and the Silence 35

Biblical Exegesis 36

Midrash 37

An Unfolding Tradition 38

Philo Rereads Scripture 40

Evangelical Exegesis 41

The Senses of Scripture 42

Marcion Reads the Scripture 43

Why Don't We Understand? 44

Fathers and Other Authorities 45

The Glossa Ordinaria, Christian and Jewish 46

The Quran Reads the Bible 46

Quranic Ambiguities 48

The "Occasions of Revelation" 49

Tabari Enthroned 50

Plain and Allegorical Exegesis in Islam 51

The Muslims Struggle with Revelation and Reason 52

Shiite Tafsir 54

Learning from the Muslims 55

Two Medieval Jewish Commentators: Ibn Ezra and Rashi 56

The Great Debates 57

The Reform of Christian Exegesis 60

Control of the Book 61

A Closer, and Different, Look at Scripture 62

Exegesis and Hermeneutics 63


The Great Tradition 65

Rabbinic Judaism 66

"How Many Torahs Do You Have?" 68

Making the Mishnah 69

Mishnah and Gemara 70

Validating the Rabbis 71

Attacking the Tradition: Sadducees and Karaites 71

Jewish Reform 73

The Beginnings of a Christian Tradition 74

The Deposit of Faith 74

Apostolic Tradition and Apostolic Succession 75

Sola Scriptura 76

The Tradition Debate 78

The War of the Historians 79

The Sunna of the Prophet 80

Hadith Criticism 82

The Canonical Collections 83

Quran and Sunna 84

The Shiite Hadith 85


Purity and Defilement 87

Biblical Law 88

The Lesson of Qumran 89

The Tradition from the Fathers 90

The Mishnah and the Two Talmuds 91

Two Jewish Codes: Mishneh Torah and Shulkhan Aruk 92

The Purpose of the Law 94

The Administration of Jewish Law 94

The Rabbis 95

The Instruments of God's Justice 96

Jesus and the Law 96

Christians and the Law 97

A Law for Christians 98

The Sources of Christian Law 99

The Codification of Church Law 101

The Beginnings of Western Canon Law 101

Gratian 102

Catechesis and Catechism 103

An Islamic Catechism: The Pillars of Islam 105

Sharia, the Muslim Way 106

From Prophetic Tradition to Law 108

The Administration of Justice in Islam 109

The Qadi 110

The Qadi's Justice 111

Responsa and Fatwas: The Mufti 112

The Qadi and the Mufti 113

The Schools 114

Shiite Law 115

Ijtihad 116

The Closing of the Gate 117

The Hierarchization of the Ulama 118

Ijtihad Unchained 120

Customary Law and Governance in Islam 121

Qanun: The Sultan's Law 122

Jewish Rabbis and Islamic Ulama 123


Values and Value Systems 127

Whence Evil? 129

The Diabolic, the Demonic 130

The Jinn, Shaytan, and Iblis 132

Sin and Atonement in Israel 133

Acquittal 134

Jesus' Moral Teaching 135

Pauline Morality 136

Original Sin 137

Manichaeism 138

Augustine as Moralist 139

Augustine and Pelagius 140

Penance and the Sacramental System 141

Purgatory and Indulgences 143

Who Will Be Saved? 145

The Absolute Will of God 146

The Disputed Question of Nature and Grace 147

Justification 148

Doubly Saved and Doubly Damned 149

The Council of Trent on Justification 150

The Magisterium Restored 151

A Conference on "Aids" 152

The Crisis in Catholic Morality 153

Jansenism 155

From Pascal to Alfonso di Ligouri 157

Muhammad as Moral Exemplar 158

Islamic Morality 160

Free Will and Predestination in Islam 162

A Rationalist Solution 163

Acquiring Responsibility 164

Consensus on Matters Moral 165


Shekinah/Sakina 168

Sacrifice 169

The Jesus Sacrifice 170

The Jewish Priesthood 171

The Synagogue 172

The Eucharist 174

Liturgies Eastern and Western 175

Eucharistic Issues: Who, When, and How? 177

The Reform Liturgy 178

Christmas 178

Muslim Prayer 179

Friday Prayer and the Mosque 180

The Hajj 180

Intercalation Prohibited 183

The Enshrinement of Jerusalem 184

Christian Pilgrimage 185

The Western Wall 187

Popular Devotions in Christianity 188

The Cult of Mary 189

From Piety to Dogma: An Immaculate Conception and Prophetic Impeccability 190

The Veneration of the Saints 192

Canonization 193

Eucharistic Devotions 194

Popular Devotions in Islam 195

The Friends of God 197

Three Dramatic Narratives: Passover, Passion, and the Death of Husayn 198

Idols and Images 200

Emperor Portrayal, Christian Style 202

Christian Images 203

Christian Iconoclasm 204

Stripping the Altars: Images and the Reform 206

Islam and the Graven Image 207

The Word as Decoration 208


Mythos and Logos 211

The Theology of Philo of Alexandria 213

Athens and Jerusalem 215

Theology and Creeds: Nicaea to Chalcedon 217

The Muslims Encounter Aristotle 219

Falsafa 220

Talking about God: The Muslim Beginnings 222

Learning to Speak Dialectically 223

An Islamic Inquisition 225

Kalam Matured 226

Muslim Creeds 228

Reason and Revelation in Islam 230

God Supreme: Islamic Occasionalism 232

Ibn Rushd 233

The Voice of Conservative Islamic Orthodoxy 235

Jewish Kalam 236

A Guide for the Perplexed 237

Falsafa and Kalam 238

Received Wisdom 238

Sacred Theology, Western Style 240

Thomas Aquinas 241

Scholasticism 242

Latin Averroism 244

The Two Faces of Truth 244

The Reformation and Christian Systematic Theology 246

The Wisdom of Illumination 247

The School of Isfahan 249


The Way of the World 251

The Issue of Jewish Asceticism 252

The Desert a City 254

Obedience of the Spirit 255

The Saints in the City 256

The Rule of St. Basil 257

Benedict and the Benedictines 258

Benedictine Experiments: Carthusians and Cistercians 260

Canons Regular and Other 261

The Mendicant Friars: Franciscans and Dominicans 262

Is Perfection Possible? The Franciscan Controversy 265

Military Orders, Christian and Muslim 267

The Rise and Fall of the Society of Jesus 270

The Holy Mountain 273

The Personal Life of Muhammad 274

This World and the Next 275

The Beginnings of Muslim Asceticism 276

Sufi Convents: Khanqah, Ribat, Zawiya 278

The Sufi Orders 279

Sufis in the Service of Islam: Chishtis and Bektashis 282

The Chinese Rites 284

Christian and Muslim Religious Orders 285

Suppression 286

Jewish Brotherhoods in Galilee 287

Saints without Rules: The Hasidim 288

The Apostolic Succession in Eastern Europe 290

The Habad 291


Face to Face with God 293

The Beginnings 294

The Adepts of Qumran 295

The Celestial Chariot 295

"Four Who Attempted to Enter Paradise" 296

God's Love, God's Body 297

The Palaces 297

The Book of Creation 298

From Christian Asceticism to Mysticism 299

Approaching the Unknowable 301

The Jesus Prayer 302

Hesychasm 303

God's Energies and God's Essence 305

Spirituality, Eastern and Western 306

The Spiritual Exercises 306

Muhammad Cleansed, and Rapt 308

Did Muhammad See God? 309

The Sufi as Mystic 310

The Growth of Sufi Theory 311

Sufism and Gnosticism 313

Sufis and Shiites 314

Al-Hallaj 315

The Sufi Way 317

Practical Sufism 318

Spiritual Hierarchies 320

The Apotheosis of Ali: The Alawis 320

The Fathers of Islamic Theosophy: Ibn Sina and Suhrawardi 321

Defender of the Faith 324

Making Sufism Safe for Islam 326

Spiritual Resurrection 327

On the Edge: Ibn Arabi 327

The Seal of the Saints 329

The Teaching and Its Opponents 330

The Beginnings of Kabbalah 333

The Zohar 334

The World of the Sefiroth 335

Isaac Luria 336

Kabbalah for Everyone: Hasidism 337


End Time Scenarios 339

After Death, What? 341

Death and Judgment 342

The Particular Judgment 343

The Resurrection of the Body 343

The Seed, the Statue, and the Conjunction of Materia and Forma 345

In the Meantime . . . 346

The Cosmology of the Other World 347

Mapping Paradise and Hell 349

A Heavenly Journey 350

Living High: The Angels 351

Angels in Arabia 353

The Vision of God 354

With a Little Help from the Creator 355

Paradise Lost: Maimonides (and Others) on the World to Come 356

Salvation 358

Religious Zionism: Hurrying the End 359

Political Zionism and Eretz Israel 360

The Birth Pangs of the Messiah 362

Realized and Futurist Eschatology in Christianity 363

A Christian Apocalypse 364

Millennialism/Chilianism 365

The Reign of the Spirit: Joachim de Fiore 366

Abraham the Intercessor 368

The Muslim Dead 369

The Quranic Eschaton 371

Intercession in Islam 371

A Savior Returns 372

The Mahdi 375


People of the Book, and of the Covenant 377

Odium Theologicum 377

The Religion of Abraham 378

Who Is the Heir? 379

The True Israel 380

A Fractious Family 381

The Rivals' Charms 383

Faith and History 384

Index 387

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