Development and Spread

John Renard

in Islam and Christianity

Published by University of California Press

Published in print March 2011 | ISBN: 9780520255081
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520948334 | DOI:
Development and Spread

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This chapter focuses on internal differentiation and external expansion that have made Islam and Christianity truly global faith communities. Questions of authentic membership in their respective communities of faith have been important concerns for both Christian and Muslim sources since very early in their histories. Mission to the Gentiles, non-Jews, with all the attendant challenges of introducing unusual concepts to a public unfamiliar with biblical traditions, became the larger purpose of the early Christian leadership. A faction called the Judaizers played a formative role in the definition of the early Christian community. Muslim tradition developed distinctive ways of understanding the meaning of a community of belief. One could argue that the Qur'ān is marginally more concerned with making distinctions between authentic belief and various forms of unbelief than the New Testament. Attempts to characterize the spread of the two most truly global of the world's faith traditions are fraught with difficulty, perhaps the greatest of which is the sheer expanse of the subject both chronologically and geographically.

Keywords: Islam; Christianity; global faith communities; Qur'ān; New Testament

Chapter.  7957 words. 

Subjects: East Asian Religions

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