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The Reformers’ Views on Islam

  • Muslim-Christian Encounter
  • Abbr : MCE
  • 2017, 10(1), pp.99-132
  • DOI : 10.30532/mce.2017.03.10.1.99
  • Publisher : Torch Trinity Center for Islamic Studies
  • Research Area : Humanities > Christian Theology > Mission Theology
  • Received : January 27, 2017
  • Accepted : March 7, 2017
  • Published : March 31, 2017

Byun,Chang Uk 1

1장로회신학대학교

ABSTRACT

This article examines from a historical perspective the changing views of Islam and Islam’s relation to Christianity particularly according to the Reformers Martin Luther and John Calvin. For this purpose, the author examines several pre-Reformation theologians’views on Islam by analyzing the writings of Anastasios of Sinai, Theodore bar Koni, John of Damascus, and Raymond Lull, and notes that their views had a significant influence on both Martin Luther and John Calvin’s understanding of Islam. Between 7th-16th centuries Christianity made frequent contacts with Islam, and Christian perception of Islam underwent significant changes. In the early period of the Byzantine Empire (4th-15th centuries) Christians of the Eastern Church regarded the rising of Islam in the 6th Century Arabian Peninsula as either a Christian schism or a heresy. But with the Siege of Jerusalem by Muslims in the 7th century and the subsequent start of the First Crusades in the 11th century, the Church started to see Islam as an enemy to the Christian Church. By the time of the Fourth Crusade in the 13th century, a small number of positive views about Islam emerged among Christians; but by and large, the Church’s general view of Islam was negative until the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century. Martin Luther and John Calvin, who lived during Ottoman Turks’further expansion into Central Europe, were quite familiar with the Islamic literature and understood Islam as God"s chastening rod or whip.

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