Islamic Theological Themes
A Primary Source Reader
University of California Press 2014
Islamic theology is generally understood or approached in terms of its systematic or speculative forms. In Islamic Theological Themes: A Primary Source Reader (University of California Press, 2014), John Renard, Professor of Theological Studies at Saint Louis University, has produced a collection of primary sources that thinks through theological deliberation far beyond the narrow strictures of kalam. This inclusive model is both chronologically expansive and geographically diverse. Renard offers relevant passages from the Qur’an and hadith, the tafsir tradition, narrative histories, manuals of moral direction, texts from spiritual guidance, creedal statements, and political theology. All of these sources are artfully introduced leading the reader through the diversity of the Islamic tradition. In our conversation we discussed human responsibility, the nature of God, the evaluation of non-Muslim beliefs, what merits community membership, the spiritual journey, functions of poems, stories, and letters, Iblis, mercy and justice, political succession, governance, and questions of leadership, and the social consequences of theological thinking.