Christian scriptures in Muslim culture in the work of Kenneth Cragg

Tebbe, James Allen (1998). Christian scriptures in Muslim culture in the work of Kenneth Cragg. PhD thesis The Open University.



Much of Kenneth Cragg's writing is devoted to finding common ground between Christianity and Islam. A conservative Christian upbringing and a liberalising education based on the Enlightenment's values have contributed to this approach. Although Cragg often quotes the Bible, he has not written on Christian Scriptures to the same extent that he has on the Qur'an. His theology of Christian Scriptures has been affected by his engagement with the Qur'an. Cragg's traditional approach to the Bible has been reinforced by Muslims' view of their Scripture. To handle problems his traditional approach creates, Cragg filters Scriptures through a single model of revelation. Thus Scriptures are valued only for their contribution to this revelation. The result is that he unconsciously develops a canon within the canon. He solves problems with the Old Testament by handling it in a way similar to the Qur'an: both become a type of old testament to the New. In connection with the New Testament, 'hospitality' is key to Cragg's interpretation. Those parts which communicate his understanding of hospitality are one major, though often unarticulated, criterion for his canon within the canon. Cragg was one of the earliest to propose comparing Christ rather than the Bible to the Qur'an. His understanding of different scriptural issues between the Bible and the Qur'än has led him to see the comparison as one of revelation to revelation rather than Scripture to Scripture. Some of the difficulties that Cragg has had with the Bible as Scripture could be helped within the framework of his theology if he were to consider a variety of models, rather than a single one, for understanding Scriptures. His exegesis tends to be intuitive and at crucial points vulnerable to a more historical approach which is concerned to work with the meaning the author would have had for the text.

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