Triune Relationality: A Trinitarian Response to Islamic Monotheism, By Sherene Nicholas Khouri
Triune Relationality
  • Length: 224 pages
  • Dimensions: 6 × 9 in
  • Published: November 19, 2024
  • Imprint: IVP Academic
  • Item Code: A0884
  • ISBN: 9781514008843

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For centuries, Christians and Muslims have engaged each other in debate and critique. A key area of disagreement is the nature of God: Is God a Trinity or absolutely one? To promote interfaith dialogue, Christians must understand the history of the conversation and also articulate the doctrine of the Trinity in reasonable, compelling ways.

In this New Explorations in Theology volume, Sherene Nicholas Khouri offers both historical and constructive responses to Islamic objections to the doctrine of the Trinity. Khouri considers arguments from Arabic Christian theologians and philosophers in the eighth to tenth centuries, primarily John of Damascus, Theodore Abū Qurrah, and Yaḥyā Ibn cAdī. When Muslims expanded beyond the Arabic peninsula, Christians in occupied regions were spurred to defend the Trinity against the Islamic understanding of tawḥid, the absolute oneness of Allah, and against misconceptions of Christian belief.

Khouri then applies the insights of these little-known thinkers to current theology and apologetics conversations. She makes the case for appealing to the common ground of God as the greatest conceived being, then arguing that such a being must be relational in nature. While Christians today debate models of the Trinity with each other and with Muslims, they can be confident that Christians throughout history have believed in triune relationality and found in the doctrine of the Trinity an invitation to personal relationship with the divine.

Featuring new monographs with cutting-edge research, New Explorations in Theology provides a platform for constructive, creative work in the areas of systematic, historical, philosophical, biblical, and practical theology.

"Since the medieval period, Christians and Muslims have been dialoguing about the nature of God. Carefully working through the thought of medieval Arab Christians, Sherene Khouri shows how they articulated and defended the Trinity in their contexts. This study offers wisdom for Christians today discussing God's relationality with Muslim friends."

Edward Smither, dean of the College of Intercultural Studies, Columbia International University

"Most Western Christians are unaware that Christianity predates Islam on the Arabian peninsula, that Christians interacted intellectually with Arabs in the centuries after the rise of Islam, that much of this interaction consisted of discussions about the Trinity, and that Christians in the region even adopted Arabic as their spoken and written language. For modern Christians interacting with Muslims today, the history of the early interchanges between the two faiths is crucially important. Furthermore, modern Christians who seek to articulate the doctrine of the Trinity in a world that regards it as nonsense would do well to draw on the riches of early Arab Christian writing on this most central doctrine of our faith, in response to their neighbors who also thought this doctrine was illogical. For both sets of modern readers, this book provides a great service as it describes the Christian understanding of God, who is intrinsically and eternally relational, in contrast to the Muslim conception of Allah as merely contingently relational. "

Donald Fairbairn, Robert E. Cooley Professor of Early Christianity at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and author of Life in the Trinity

"Sherene's insights on the Trinity were gained through a combination of God's providential hand in her life and her personal thirst for the truth of God. We are all privileged to have the result of God's grace and Sherene's diligence as expressed in this fine work. I share with Sherene in prayer and in hope that this work will accelerate the necessary dialogue between Christians, Muslims, and all who seek to know God better."

Gaylen P. Leverett, professor and faculty chaplain at Liberty University

"Triune Relationality shares with readers the riches of Eastern Christian theological tradition. As Christians today reflect on dialogue with Islam, they will benefit immensely from Khouri's thoughtful presentation of three Christian theological masters who lived under early Muslim rule and defended not only the coherence but also the beauty of Christian doctrine on the Trinity and the incarnation."

Gabriel Said Reynolds, Crowley Professor of Islamic Studies and Theology at the University of Notre Dame

"This book on the oneness of God links the past and the present. It adds to the recent trend of drawing attention to Eastern writers of the past who can speak to Western and other readers in the present. Khouri introduces us to sometimes complex terrain, yet we emerge not only with ideas clarified but with a renewed sense of the importance of the topic."

Martin Whittingham, academic dean at the Centre for Muslim-Christian Studies Oxford


Foreword by Gary R. Habermas

1. The Rise of the Abbasids and the Golden Age of Islam
2. The Iconoclastic Effect on the Qur'anic Perception of the Trinity
3. The Christian Explanation of the Trinity in the Eighth, Ninth, and Tenth Centuries
4. Western Contemporary Explanation of the Trinity
5. A Contemporary Christian Answer to Islamic Objections Against the Trinity



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Sherene Nicholas Khouri

Sherene Nicholas Khouri (PhD, Liberty University) is assistant professor of Arabic at Liberty University and also teaches courses on theology, apologetics, Arabic Christianity, and Islam in the John W. Rawlings School of Divinity. Born in Damascus, Syria, she served the Arabic church in the Middle East for thirteen years.