Tradition and Modernity

Christian and Muslim Perspectives

David Marshall, Editor
Afterword by Rowan Williams

"Indispensable reading for all those with an interest in contemporary Christianity and Islam."
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Tradition and Modernity focuses on how Christians and Muslims connect their traditions to modernity, looking especially at understandings of history, changing patterns of authority, and approaches to freedom. The volume includes a selection of relevant texts from 19th- and 20th-century thinkers, from John Henry Newman to Tariq Ramadan, accompanied by illuminating commentaries.

Table of Contents

David Marshall

Part I: Surveys
1. Tradition and History in Islam: Primitivism in Islamic Thought and Scripture
Vincent J. Cornell
2. Tradition
Janet Soskice
3. Religious Authority and the Challenges of Modernity
Philip Jenkins
4. Between Traditional and New Forms of Authority in Modern Islam
Recep Şentürk
5. Freedoms of Speech and Religion in the Islamic Context
Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na'im
6. Christianity, Modernity, and Freedom
David Bentley Hart

Part II: Christian and Muslim Thinkers on Tradition and Modernity
7. John Henry Newman (1801—90)
Newman on Revelation, Hermeneutics, and Conscience
Stephen M. Fields
8. Muhammad 'Abduh (1849—1905)
Muhammad 'Abduh: A Sufi-Inspired Modernist?
Vincent J. Cornell
9. Sayyid Abu l-A'la' Mawdudi (1903—79)
Mawdudi and the Challenges of Modernity
Abdullah Saeed
10. Lesslie Newbigin (1909—98)
Newbigin and the Critique of Modernity
Paul Weston
11. Alasdair MacIntyre (1929— )
MacIntyre on Tradition
John Milbank
12. Seyyed Hossein Nasr (1933— )
Seyyed Hossein Nasr on Tradition and Modernity
Joseph E. B. Lumbard
13. Elizabeth Schüssler Fiorenza (1938— )
Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza: A Christian Feminist Responds to Betrayals of the Tradition
Lucy Gardner
14. Tariq Ramadan (1962— )
Tariq Ramadan's Tryst with Modernity: Toward a European Muslim Tradition
Sajjad Rizvi

Rowan Williams



"This book engages not only scholars, but also all believers who care about the future of humanity and the role religion has in contributing to a better coexistence and cooperation between different cultures and ideologies."—Islamochristiana

"Indispensable reading for all those with an interest in contemporary Christianity and Islam."—Church Times

"A sublime record . . . as well as a potent resource that both traverses the subject matter addressed by the seminar and provides a consise introduction to a significant group of Muslim and Christian thinkers whose work and ideas are of exemplary relevance today."—Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations

"The relation of ancient sacred traditions to modernity has been central and sometimes deeply troubling for all religions. These timely and searching essays reflect on that relationship with learning, imagination, and openness. It is indispensable reading for all those concerned with contemporary Christianity and Islam."—Gavin D'Costa, professor of Catholic theology, University of Bristol

"Any serious discussion of the relations between tradition and modernity, and of the many ways in which these may be construed and pursued within faiths which between them comprise half of humanity, is genuinely important. But more than that, this book is an education in modes of thinking outside the individualistic positivist paradigm and an introduction to the special character of the dialogue between theology and historical sociology as disciplines sharing similar hermeneutic problems."—David Martin, Fellow of the British Academy and Emeritus Professor of Sociology, London School of Economics


Abdullahi Ahmed An-Naʿim Vincent J. Cornell Stephen M. Fields SJ Lucy Gardner David Bentley Hart Philip Jenkins Joseph E. B. Lumbard David Marshall John Milbank Sajjad Rizvi Abdullah Saeed Recep Şentürk Janet Soskice Paul Weston Rowan Williams

Supplemental Materials


About the Author

The Reverend Dr. David Marshall is the academic director of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Building Bridges seminar and a research fellow at the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs at Georgetown University.

248 pp., 6 x 9

May 2013

248 pp., 6 x 9

ISBN: 978-1-58901-949-2
May 2013

248 pp.

ISBN: 978-1-58901-982-9
May 2013

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