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Title: Medieval and modern concepts of creation in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam with reference to the Tenets of Faith
Author: Shaikh, Abdul Bashid
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2011
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It should be noted that comparative religion to a large extent still remains an under developed field in Western academia even to this day. We find that today there are a great number of works and esteemed writers who have written a great deal on the respective faiths in quite detail. However, by the same virtue, we find that works, journals and indeed articles on the facets of comparative religion are in short supply and it can be said that demand for such treatises/discussions exceeds supply in the world of academia. My reasons for conducting a study of the main facets of the Abrahamic faiths stems from a desire to encourage and bring advances in the field of comparative religion. I believe studies in comparative religion have the ability to stimulate discussion and advance research with the main aim of fostering dialogue and mutual respect between the faiths. It is essential that the children of tomorrow see a bright future where mutual respect, tolerance and understanding is the order of the day rather than witnessing an environment dominated by suspicion, conflict and contempt based on misunderstandings. This thesis is unique in many ways more than one that will come apparent in due course. Firstly, this work marks a first from the point of view in which the main tenets of faith found in the Old, New Testament and the Qur'an are explored in extensive detail with the aim of highlighting similarities and indeed differences that in the main centre upon doctrinal issues. Recent modern scholarship has tended to discuss and criticise doctrinal points with little emphasis being placed on comparative elements. Secondly, if one conducts a literature review of works on the Abrahamic faiths, it is not surprising to find writers and commentators have solely concentrated on doctrines pertaining on solely one faith. It seems many in the academic world have shied away from conducting a comparative study of the doctrines found in the Abrahamic faiths. At this point, I shall make it clear that I have deliberately chosen to ignore faiths, such as Hinduism and Sikh ism not through ignorance, but primarily due to constraints placed by the thesis, as well as the fact that these great faiths do not share a common denominator witnessed in the form of Abraham, who undoubtedly is the father of the three monotheistic faiths namely, Judaism, Christianity, and last but not least Islam. One might at this point be inclined to ask why conduct such a study involving medieval and modern concepts of creation within a scriptural context. I am of the view that such a study was required for a number of reasons that I shall outline in due course. Recent modern scholarship in the last fifty years has tended to focus upon the medieval concepts of creation and emanation in Judeo-Christian and Islamic philosophy and theology and as a result we find a plethora of treatises and works devoted to the above subjects. For example, writers such as Herbert Davison and Harry Austyn Wolfson as well as other academics devoted a great deal of time and energy in giving us access to knowledge about theology and philosophy that was previously only available to those who had a mastery of the Greek and Arabic language. Despite this significant contribution made by the aforementioned scholars, we find that the heirs to Wolfson and Davison have not emerged in the world of Western academia that are prepared to explore the new relationship between religion and modern science in the 21st century. As a consequence, a research gap has emerged that is crying out to be filled and currently we have a situation where little attention and focus has been placed on the works of modern scholars exploring the relationship between modern science and the theological interpretations concerning the existence of God and humankind for that matter. Part one of the thesis compares the main tenets of faith found in the three scriptures mentioned earlier. The scriptures repeatedly refer to the themes of monotheism, stories of the prophets and eschatology, as well as the purpose and significance of creation. The Qur'anic scripture discusses the above themes throughout the 114 chapters. The Old Testament and New Testament also refer to the above themes. Part two of the thesis takes a detailed look at the concept of creation in the Abrahamic faiths with particular emphasis being placed on its evolution from the medieval period to the present day. It should be noted that the Old Testament devotes a single chapter to the subject of creation widely known as the Book of Genesis, but the Qur'an does not do so with the exception that there are several references in various verses throughout the scripture that pay attention to this subject. The New Testament again like the Qur'an does not provide a detailed discussion concerning the merits of creation.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available