Understanding Christian-Muslim relations: Past and present [Book review]
Pratt, D. (2009). Understanding Christian-Muslim relations: Past and present [Book review]. Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations, 20(2), 197-207.
Permanent Research Commons link: http://hdl.handle.net/10289/2750
Clinton Bennett’s overview analysis of the history of relations between Islam and Christianity has been attempted with a view to shedding light on contemporary interfaith issues and the prospects for ongoing interreligious dialogue. After some 1,400 years of encounter and engagement, has there been any real progress? For that matter, as the introduction notes, ‘How is progress judged?’ (p. 1). The author is of the view that ‘the most meaningful dialogue . . . takes place when individuals or groups of Christians and Muslims meet face to face and discuss their faith, hopes and dreams, problems and successes’ (p. 8). At the same time, he acknowledges the rightful role of discursive dialogue where, in effect, the interlocutors are the abstract systems of ‘Islam’ and ‘Christianity’. Dialogue is as much inter-systemic as it is interpersonal; a view with which I fully concur. Taking a broad, chronological approach, Bennett visits significant contributions and contributors from both faith traditions. He shows how ‘arguments and counter-arguments used centuries ago remain popular today, on both sides’ (p. 8) and structures his work through the lens of a dual category analysis of conciliation and confrontation that he developed in an earlier work (Bennett, 1992).