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.