Christian Encounters with Iran: Engaging Muslim Thinkers by Sasan Tavassoli

By Sasan Tavassoli

The interface among the present Shi‘ite panorama and Christian considering is of the best value for the transferring political and spiritual dynamics of the center East. Sasan Tavassoli right here examines Iranian Shi‘ite thinkers’ encounters with Christian concept because the Islamic revolution of 1979, and offers perception into the cultural and highbrow weather surrounding Christian-Muslim discussion in modern Iran. The literature on Christianity in Iran unearths a variety of ways and attitudes, and Tavassoli demonstrates that conventional polemics are giving approach to a extra descriptive and subjective figuring out of Christian proposal. He additionally reports Muslim-Christian discussion and study carried out and supported through governmental in addition to non-governmental enterprises, and gives a detailed exam, with interviews, of the paintings of 3 famous liberal spiritual intellectuals--Abdol Karim Soroush, Mostafa Malekian and Mojtahed Shabestari. putting modern Shi‘ite idea within the large ancient context of pre- and post-revolution Iran, Tavassoli relates concrete non secular, cultural and socio-political realities to the subjects and orientations within the most recent section of the Shi‘i Islam-Christianity stumble upon, and provides clean perception into the dynamism of up to date Islam and the spiritual complexities of the Muslim global.

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There are also many positive references to the uniqueness of Jesus and his relationship with God. These positive attitudes toward Christian faith in Sufism can and do impact Iranian Shi’i thought even to this very day. The overall influence of Sufism goes far beyond the limits of poetry. Sufism or Islamic mysticism has had and continues to have greater openness and appreciation toward other faiths and especially Christianity. indd 32 3/22/2011 12:48:14 PM Muslim–Christian Encounters and Dialogue 33 The downside of the above factors is that in spite of the long history of Christianity in Iran, Christian communities in Iran have often been assigned a marginal role in society and out of contact with the intellectual climate of the country as a whole.

107 Furthermore, the persecution and the oppression that Christian communities have experienced in post-revolutionary Iran have also become significant factors in inhibiting Iranians, both Muslims and Christians, from encountering each other in a genuine spirit of dialogue. 108 Historical Influences In addition to the positive heritage in the religious and cultural traditions of Iran, there are powerful historical forces that have made a profound impact on shaping the Iranian encounter with Christianity.

We both have a great reverence and love for Mary and her son, Jesus, upon them be peace. We believe in his virgin birth and await his second coming. indd 25 3/22/2011 12:48:12 PM 26 Christian Encounters with Iran We both share great concerns about the challenges of living a life of faith today, caused by the contemporary culture of materialism and secularism. I believe in a complete harmony between all divine revelations and prophecies. . As a Muslim I have no need to deny Jesus or his mission.

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