Date of Award

1-1-2012

Document Type

Campus Access Thesis

Department

Religious Studies

First Advisor

James Cutsinger

Abstract

In response to the invitation extended by the Common Word initiative, this paper examines the thought of Martin Luther and Abu'l-Hasan al-Ash'ari for commonalities. Specifically under examination are Luther's doctrine of the Eucharist and al-Ash'ari's doctrine of the Quran. The texts used for this comparison are Luther's Confession Concerning Christ's Supper and al-Ash'ari's Kitab al-Luma' Fi'l-Radd 'ala Ahl al-Zaigh wa'l-Bida and Al-Ibanah 'an Usul Ad-Diyanah. Upon an examination of each theologian's writings it is found that there are some structural similarities between Luther's understanding of the Eucharist and al-Ash'ari's understanding of the Quran. Namely, both Luther and al-Ash'ari, in the doctrines examined here, envision a particular point in the created world where God is concretely present and available to human beings. Further, it is the contention of this paper that the similarities found between these two doctrines can be accounted for by the fact that Luther and al-Ash'ari had similar understandings of the nature of God's transcendence and the authority of scripture. In conclusion this paper contends that there are a few definite implications this study has for Christian-Muslim interfaith dialogue. First of all the faith communities that follow the traditions established by Luther and al-Ash'ari can affirm together that God is transcendent and yet also concretely available to human beings at particular places in the created world.

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