As the only book that regularly makes it into the news, the Qur’an really is the book we must engage with in our day. But for Westerners, it is a deeply foreign book, with accents and forms that defy our expectations. Mark Robert Anderson’s new book The Qur’an in Context: A Christian Exploration is intended to help Christians and other non-Muslims understand this book, which Muslims all over the world revere as God’s Word.
Historically, Christians have taken three basic approaches to the Qur’an. It’s been attacked, ignored and more recently even Christianized—that is, made to agree with the Bible on points where it actually doesn’t. What if we understood the Qur’an on its own terms instead?
To do so and grasp its meaning as its first hearers did, we need to know who they were and what their situation was. In the Qur’an, Jesus is an important prophet. But to understand how he is presented, we must appreciate the worldview that frames him. Because the Qur’an claims to be the Bible’s sequel, we must also compare the two scriptures’ teachings.
Does the Qur’an say basically the same thing as the Bible, only in different words? Or is the opposite true—does it say very different things from the Bible, using very similar words? This is the big question The Qur’an in Context attempts to answer.
What others say
David Marshall: “As well as providing a well-informed and nuanced introduction to the current scholarly debate over Islamic origins, The Qur’an in Context offers a substantial, theologically serious and at points provocative discussion on the Qur’an in its interface with the Bible and the core themes of the Christian faith. This lucid and thought-provoking study makes a significant contribution from an Evangelical and Reformed perspective to the wider field of Christian engagement with the scripture at the heart of Islam.”
Phil Parshall: “Mark Anderson has produced an excellent, incisive, well-researched book highlighting similarities and distinctives between the Qur’an and the Bible. His research is impeccable and his conclusions will stand the test of scholarly investigation. Anderson avoids the pitfalls of inflammatory us-them polemics. He enters into the realities of the Muslim worldview by exploring the seventh-century context of the Qur’an, on which Muslim belief and behavior is built. Without reservation, I commend Anderson’s work to all who desire to move beyond ‘breaking news’ and sensationalism and come to grips with the inside story of who Muslims really are.”