Earth, Empire and Sacred Text - Muslims and Christians as Trustees of Creation - David L. Johnston

Earth, Empire and Sacred Text - Muslims and Christians as Trustees of Creation - David L. Johnston

Chapter 4 QUR’AN, BIBLE, HERMENEUTICS AND THEOLOGY

Earth, Empire and Sacred Text - Muslims and Christians as Trustees of Creation - David L. Johnston

David L. Johnston [+-]
Saint Joseph’s University
David L. Johnston is Visiting Scholar at the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at the University of Pennsylvania and an adjunct lecturer at the Saint Joseph’s University, Philadelphia. He lived for fifteen years in Algeria, Egypt and the West Bank, where he served as a pastor and teacher. He then completed his PhD work at Fuller Theological Seminary (Pasadena, California) in theology and Islamic Studies; continued his research and taught part-time at the Religious Studies Department at Yale University. His published articles and essays have mostly focused on the intersection of theology and law in contemporary Islam (Islamochristiana, Islamic Law and Society, The Maghreb Review, Die Welt des Islams and Journal of the American Academy of Religion). His blogs can be found on his website, www.humantrustees.org

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The last two chapters began with Martin Luther King Jr and Malcolm X as examples of Muslims and Christians who used the theological notion of inherent human dignity in order to broaden their appeal from civil to human rights. In some ways, King was the pioneer of a genre that came to be known as “liberation theology.” By way of reminder, this theologi- cal movement grew out of the mostly Marxist-inspired post-colonial ferment in Latin America, in which ethics and development theory met in creative ways. Though some Catholic priests, including Camilo Torres, ended up opting for violence, most Latin American theologians did not. But for all these thinkers, the key concept was not economics but power—based on the tragic realization that a handful of elites monopo- lized power while oppressing society’s majorities.   The discourse of liberation was initiated in the Catholic Church, yet by the early 1970s it had been co-opted by Latin American social scientists, planners, and even some political leaders. It was a call to set aside the theories of the elite “and replace them with a deliberate stress on self- development as opposed to aid, foreign investment, and technical assistance.”   This perspective of sociopolitical liberation in theological circles spread to Africa and Asia as well. Particularly interesting were the theological storms swirling around the issue of apartheid in South Africa,  where some Muslims began to join the mostly black Christians in liberation circles. I begin this chapter, therefore, with this intriguing case study of theological cross-pollenization and then continue with some broader remarks about theological currents among Muslims. 

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Citation

Johnston, David L.. Chapter 4 QUR’AN, BIBLE, HERMENEUTICS AND THEOLOGY. Earth, Empire and Sacred Text - Muslims and Christians as Trustees of Creation. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. p. 161 - 207 Apr 2010. ISBN 9781781790359. https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/view-chapter/?id=19279. Date accessed: 21 Nov 2017 doi: 10.1558/equinox.19279. Apr 2010

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