New Book Provides Introduction to the Qur'an for Non-Muslims
Life News (Arts and Humanities) Keywords
QUR’AN, ISLAM, MUSLIM, NON-MUSLIM, PROPHET MUHAMMAD, MORAVIAN THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY
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“Opening the Qur’an: Introducing Islam's Holy Book” (
Newswise — Walter H. Wagner, adjunct professor at Moravian
Theological Seminary, recently authored “Opening the Qur’an: Introducing
Islam's Holy Book” (
Wagner’s background provides him a great sensitivity toward the risks and opportunities for non-Muslims who attempt to interpret the Qur’an, and a sympathy for the long struggle to build bridges of mutual trust and honest appreciation between Muslims and non-Muslims.
According to Wagner, an ordained Lutheran pastor who has taught graduate and continuing education courses at Moravian since 1993, “this book would not have been possible had it not been for my teaching at Moravian Seminary.” He cites his long history of preparation for classes such as Christianity and Islam, Qur’an and the Bible, Opening the Qur’an as having broadened his own knowledge base and heightened his awareness of the thirst among non-Muslim’s to better understand the Qur’an.
In addition to his teaching at Moravian, his relationships with leaders of the Lehigh Valley Sunni and Shi’a communities and his work with the Lehigh Interfaith Dialogue Center in Bethlehem, Pa. has richly informed his appreciation of Islam and the Qur’an. These relationships have also helped to focus his energies on ways to engender greater understanding among the members of the major faith traditions of our community. Wagner often shares the stage with Muslim and Jewish leaders at Interfaith Dialogue events, where he most commonly serves as the expert on Christianity.
His publisher, Notre Dame Press, commends Wagner for Opening the Qur’an, which first places the Prophet Muhammad, the Qur’an, and the early Muslim community in their historical, geographical, and theological contexts. This background is a basis for interpreting the Qur’an and understanding its role in later Muslim developments as well as for relationships between Muslims, Jews, and Christians. Wagner then looks in detail at specific passages, moving from cherished devotional texts to increasingly difficult and provocative subjects. The selected bibliography serves as a resource for further reading and study. Woven into the discussion are references to Islamic beliefs and practices.
Among the experts who reviewed Opening the Qur’an was
interfaith pioneer, Harold Vogelaar director of the Center of Christian-Muslim
Engagement for Peace and Justice at the Lutheran School of Theology in
Retired in 2001 from full-time parish ministry in the ELCA
after 41 years, Wagner continues to serve as interim pastor for congregations
in pastoral transition. Dr. Wagner has also served as adjunct faculty member at
Lutheran Theological Seminary in
Moravian Theological Seminary, located in
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