Islam and the Bible
Why Two Faiths Collide
I find it difficult to assess this book. It's helpful in places, especially in the sections that deal with possible problems when talking with Muslims. But there lies part of my problem: although the book starts out comparing what the Bible says with what Islam believes, that's only half the book. In the second part there's a chapter on 'Living out one's faith' and another on 'Human reasoning in Islam' and a rather brief chapter on the beliefs and practises of Muslims. The title is misleading.
There are some unfortunate mistakes: the compiler of the most important collection of Traditions (p.24) is Bukhari, not Sahih-al-Bukhari (the collection is of 'sahih', trustworthy, traditions), Nöldeke's important book is A History of the Qur'an (p.19), the Codex Sinaiticus (not 'Sinacticus') does not contain the whole of the Old Testament (p.69), a raka is a single cycle of Muslim prayer (Goldmann refers to rak'at, p.163). I find it surprising that the date of the birth of Moses is given with such precision (1526BC, p.26).
Sometimes Goldmann is less than fair to Islam; it is true that Islam believes that Allah is responsible for everything, good and evil (p.31), but then Isaiah 45:7 has Yahweh proclaiming that He creates 'evil'. Goldmann implies that Islam does not believe in a God of love (pp.30-31), and yet every sura of the Qur'an except one begins with the ascription, 'God the Compassionate, the Merciful'. It is true that the Christian scriptures have 'remained constant' over the centuries, but then so has the text of the Qur'an, and if Islam is to be criticised for its divisions (p.103) what must one say about the multiply-divided Christian church?
So I think that I am saying that I can't recommend this book, despite its commendation by Warren Wiersbe and Greg Livingstone.
Peter Cotterell, July 2004
Peter Cotterell is a former Principal of London Bible College (now London School of Theology) and is currently Associate Senior Lecturer at the London School of Theology Centre for Islamic Studies. He is co-author with Peter Riddell of Islam in Conflict: Past, Present and Future (IVP, 2003).
|Reviews Index | EU Bookshops | UK Bookshops|