God Is One: A Christian Defence of Divine Unity in the Muslim Golden Age

God Is One: A Christian Defence of Divine Unity in the Muslim Golden Age

by Michael F. Kuhn

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Since the first interactions between Christians and Muslims, a central point of contention has been the nature of God in relation to the doctrine of the trinity and divine oneness. Yet the belief that God is one is vociferously upheld by Christians, Jews and Muslims alike. In this detailed historical study and subsequent analysis, Dr Michael F. Kuhn explores the teaching of two Arab Christian theologians from the Abbasid Era (750–1250), ‘Abd Allāh Ibn al-Ṭayyib and Iliyyā of Nisibis, and how they defended the Christian view of God as three-in-one in the Muslim milieu and in reference to the Islamic concept of tawḥīd, God’s absolute unity. The intellectual contribution of these two Christian thinkers can be seen in fact that the concepts they articulated continue to feature in Muslim–Christian dialogue to this day. Dr Kuhn shows the great lengths that Middle Eastern Christians went to explain their view of God’s oneness in the Trinity and the divinity of Christ to their fellow Christians and to commend it to their Muslim counterparts. There is much to learn from the historical debates investigated in this book to help Christians today to uphold the truth of the Christian scriptures, both in the Muslim context and beyond. Readers will appreciate the review of Nestorian Christology in light of recent studies and the important theological background to contemporary Muslim–Christian engagement that is provided. This book also makes a significant addition to the Christian understanding of the Trinity by linking the eternal attributes of God, a common theme in Islamic thought, to the three persons of the God-head deepening our understanding of the inter-relations of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Anyone engaging intellectually or academically with Muslims with hopes to dialogue thoughtfully in the area of theology, spirituality and ethics will find this book acutely helpful.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781783685776
Publisher: Langham Creative Projects
Publication date: 05/31/2019
Series: Global Perspectives Series
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 304
File size: 4 MB

About the Author

MICHAEL F. KUHN and his family were privileged to call Morocco, Egypt and Lebanon "home" for nearly thirty years. Most recently he taught Biblical Theology and Discipleship at Arab Baptist Theological Seminary, Beirut, Lebanon. He has a PhD in Muslim-Christian Relations from the Oxford Centre for Mission Studies, UK, and master's degrees in Theology and Arabic Language and Literature (AUC).

Table of Contents



1 – Charting the Course

  1. Introduction
  2. Research Questions
  3. Significance: To What End?
  4. Methodology: Integrated Textual Analysis
  5. Limitations
  6. Interaction with Literature
  7. Defending Divine Unity in the Muslim Milieu: Structure of This Work

2 – Theologians in the Muslim Milieu: Ibn al-Ṭayyib and Iliyyā of Nisibis

  1. Introduction
  2. The Theologians
  3. Buyid Ascendancy in the Abbasid Realm
  4. The Marwanids
  5. Islamic Voices of the Abbasid Era
  6. Christian Voices of the Abbasid Era
  7. Conclusion

3 – Defining Trinitarian Unity: The Trinitarian Formulation of Abū al-Faraj ʽAbd Allāh Ibn al-Ṭayyib

  1. Introduction
  2. The Documents
  3. Ibn al-Ṭayyib and Christian Trinitarian Discourse
  4. Ibn al-Ṭayyib’s Trinity at the Muslim–Christian Interface
  5. Conclusion: Ibn al-Ṭayyib’s Value to the Muslim–Christian Interface

4 – Transcending Polemic: Iliyyā of Nisibis and Abū al-Qāsim on Trinitarian Monotheism

  1. Introduction
  2. The Documents
  3. Description and Interpretation
  4. Analysis
  5. Conclusion: Transcending Polemic

5 – Christological Reverberations in the Muslim Milieu: The Union of Human and Divine in Ibn al-Ṭayyib’s Christology

  1. Introduction
  2. Controversy over Christ
  3. Christological Formulation of Ibn al-Ṭayyib
  4. Conclusion: Ibn al-Ṭayyib: A Responsive Theologian in the Islamic Milieu

6 – Unblemished Deity Incarnate: The Christological Formulation of Iliyyā of Nisibis

  1. Introduction
  2. Session 1
  3. Session 2
  4. Additional Documents
  5. Iliyyā’s Christology in the Islamic Milieu: Adherence to Tawḥīd
  6. Conclusion

7 – Defending Divine Unity: From Medieval to Postmodern

  1. Introduction
  2. Concluding Findings of this Research
  3. Impact on the Field of Muslim–Christian Discourse
  4. Divine Unity and Incarnation in Today’s Muslim Milieu

Appendix 1: Glossary of Theological Terms

Appendix 2: A Treatise on the Divine Attributes



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