Law and the Rule of God
A Christian Engagement with Shari'a
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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Number of Pages: 350
Width: 23 cm
Height: 15 cm
Shari'a is one of the most hotly contested and misunderstood concepts and practices in the world today. Debates about Islamic law and its relationship to secularism and Christianity have dominated political and theological discourse for centuries. Unfortunately, Western Christian theologians have failed to engage sufficiently with the challenges and questions raised by Islamic political theology, preferring instead to essentialize or dismiss it. In Law and the Rule of God, Joshua Ralston presents an innovative approach to Christian-Muslim dialogue. Eschewing both polemics and apologetics, he proposes a comparative framework for Christian engagement with Islamic debates on shari'a. Ralston draws on a diverse range of thinkers from both traditions including Karl Barth, Ibn Taymiyya, Thomas Aquinas, and Mohammad al-Jabri. He offers an account of public law as a provisional and indirect witness to the divine rule of justice. He also demonstrates how this theology of public law deeply resonates with the Christian tradition and is also open to learning from and dialoguing with Islamic and secular conceptions of law, sovereignty, and justice.
The book develops the idea that we can learn as Christians and Westerners from the idea of law in Islam. And at the same time when we start to learn from Islam, this way of learning can invite Muslims to rethink their own attitude towards modernity and secularism. This move is really brilliant and of highest originality. I am not aware of any work which follows this path for the subject of law, especially not in this depth and with this scrutiny. Klaus von Stosch, Head of the Centre of Comparative Theology and Cultural Studies at the university of Paderborn, Germany '... represents an invitation to several potential audiences. Ralston urges Christian theologians to rise to the challenge of a 'theo-political engagement' with shari-'a ... the book appeals to Muslims to imagine a postcolonial future for Islamic law.' Stanley H. Skreslet, Journal of Bible and Theology