Cover

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Title Page, Other Works in the Series, Copyright

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Contents

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pp. v-vi

Participants

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pp. vii-x

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Introduction

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pp. xi-xiv

This book presents the proceedings of the twelfth Building Bridges Seminar—an annual gathering of Christian and Muslim scholars founded by the Archbishop of Canterbury in January 2002. In anticipation of his retirement as Archbishop of Canterbury at the end of 2012, Rowan Williams arranged for this project, which he had chaired since 2003, to be taken under the...

Part I: The Nature and Purpose of the Community

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The Nature and Purpose of the Christian Community (the Church)

Gavin D’Costa

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pp. 3-14

To answer the question of the nature and purpose of the Church would require an extensive historical and chronological examination to look at how different groups of Christians have answered it. The significant differences between these answers are addressed at this seminar by my colleague Lucy Gardner.1 The differences are often seen as operating between denominational...

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The Nature and Purpose of the Community (Ummah) in the Qur'ān

Abdullah Saeed

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pp. 15-28

In this essay I will explore the meaning of ummah (community). I will use two key Qur'ānic texts to examine its nature and purpose. I will also draw from the Qur'ānic texts that make reference to the concept of ummah, and from some Qur'ānic commentaries that address interpretation of these Qur'ānic texts. Together these sources will give a sense of how the concept of...

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Scripture Dialogue I: God's People Israel and the Church: Exodus 19:1–6; 1 Peter 2:9–10; Romans 11:28–32

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pp. 29-32

The passages from Exodus and 1 Peter have been placed together here because the account of Israel given in the former (especially at v. 6) is quoted at 1 Peter 2:9 (‘‘a royal priesthood, a holy nation’’).

Exodus 19:1–6
Commentary
This passage occurs at an important moment in the story of the people of Israel. God has recently brought them out of slavery in Egypt, and, led by Moses, they...

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Scripture Dialogue II: The Umma and Earlier Religious Communities: Qur'ān 2:120–45; 3:113–15; 5:65–66

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pp. 33-38

This key passage, by far the longest selection from the Qur'ān to have been discussed at the 2013 Building Bridges seminar, is relevant not just for Scripture Dialogue II but also for other sessions. It is given here in its entirety in the expectation that we will return to it at various points.
This passage is understood as belonging to the earliest Medinan period, not...

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Scripture Dialogue III: The Nature and Purpose of the Church: Ephesians 4:1–16; Matthew 28:16–20

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pp. 39-40

Ephesians 4:1 marks a turning point in this letter. In chapters 1–3 Paul has expounded the redemptive action of God through Jesus Christ. Now he turns to how believers should live in the light of this good news, and his essential point is that they are called to live as ‘‘the body of Christ.’’ This image of the Church as Christ’s body, which occurs only in Paul’s writings, is also elaborated...

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Scripture Dialogue IV: The Nature and Purpose of the Umma: Qur'ān 2:143; 3:110; 5:48

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pp. 41-42

See Scripture Dialogue I commentary on 2:120–45 for the general context of this verse. The first part of 2:143 is of particular interest for this session on the nature and purpose of the umma. The believing community has been appointed ‘‘a middle nation’’ (ummatan wasaṭan), to be ‘‘witnesses against mankind.’’ (Other translations prefer ‘‘over,’’ ‘‘before,’’ or ‘‘to’’ rather than...

Part II: Unity and Disunity in the Life of the Community

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Perspectives on Christian Desires for Communion and Experiences of Division (or, The History of the Church in Half a Chapter!)

Lucy Gardner

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pp. 45-64

The topic for this lecture is daunting: the attempt to present a simple account of human lives over a significant amount of time seems worryingly hubristic and will inevitably do violence to their complexity, particularity, and pain. There will be other Christians who would want and need to tell this brief account of Christian history very differently; moreover, this account also...

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Unity and Disunity in the Life of the Muslim Community

Feras Hamza

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pp. 65-78

Unity of community for the earliest Muslims must have meant unifying leadership. Even when that unity would come to take on an increasingly outward form, that is when it became a ‘‘living tradition’’ principally through the performance of acts of communal worship; it was only under a unifying political leadership that the defining boundaries of the community could be...

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Scripture Dialogue V: Unity and Disunity in the Church: John 17:20–24; 1 Corinthians 1:10–17

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pp. 79-80

These verses come from the ‘‘High Priestly Prayer’’ of Jesus, immediately before his betrayal and crucifixion. Much of the prayer is intercession for the disciples and those who will believe in Jesus through their testimony. As in the passage from Ephesians in chapter 5, so also here the community of the believers is linked to the unity of God. What is more explicit here is the relational...

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Scripture Dialogue VI: Unity and Disunity in the Umma: Qur'ān 3:102–5; Qur'ān 4:59; Qur'ān 23:52–53; Qur'ān 49:9–13; Ḥadīths

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pp. 81-84

This is another short passage from a section of a Medinan sūra (already cited twice in this selection of texts) particularly concerned with the life of the umma. By God’s grace, the believers have not only come to a true faith in God, saving them from the fire of punishment in the Hereafter, but have also been reconciled to each other, having previously been in a state of enmity. Such...

Part III: Continuity and Change in the Life of the Community

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Continuity and Change in the Life of the Community: Muslims' Changing Attitudes to Change

Ahmet Alibašić

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pp. 87-96

Today many people in the world keep asking whether Islam and Muslims are capable of change. Is Islam’s inability to change the main source of Muslims’ frustration? What this question presupposes is that both Islam and Muslims are impervious to change. However, the statement that the only constant in history is change is true for the Muslim community as much as it is for...

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The Christian Church Facing Itself and Facing the World: An Ecumenical Overview of Modern Christian Ecclesiology

Brandon Gallaher

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pp. 97-146

Perhaps the major ecclesial, theological, and, indeed, ecumenical event of the twentieth century was Vatican II (1962–1965).1 It provides a good starting point for any discussion of modern ecclesiology in all Christian churches because, as a council, it consulted widely with other Christian churches in the formulation of its ecclesiological statements as well as in some...

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Scripture Dialogue VII: Continuity and Change in the Church: Acts 15:1–29

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pp. 147-150

Acts (‘‘The Acts of the Apostles’’) was written by Luke as the sequel to his gospel. Starting from the ascension of Jesus, Acts tells of the growth and spread of the early Church, with particular emphasis, in its second half, on the missionary work of Paul, largely among Gentiles. The following passage, from the middle of Acts, refers to the ‘‘Council of Jerusalem,’’ at which a momentous...

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Scripture Dialogue VIII: Continuity and Change in the Umma: Qur'ān 2:142–44; Hadith

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pp. 151-152

See the comments on the change of qibla in Scripture Dialogue II. It is apparent from this passage that the change of qibla provoked significant public comment, some of it critical. The Qur'ānic response addresses these comments and affirms the divine purpose in the change. Here, as elsewhere in the Qur'ān, change in the life of the community is mandated by the authority...

Part IV: Reflection

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Conversations in Doha

Lucinda Mosher

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pp. 155-164

While Building Bridges seminars always include a series of fine lectures, at their core is the lively and frank conversation encouraged by the intentional use of small-group discussion of a collection of preassigned texts. This essay offers a brief description of the small-group process, then shares some of the highlights of Building Bridges 2013’s conversations organized...

Index

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pp. 165-171