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  • Print publication year: 2020
  • Online publication date: October 2020

1 - Christian Political Theology as Comparative Theology

Summary

Debates about sharī‘a and its relationship to public law, political pluralism, and Christianity have been a dominant feature of recent political discourse. Unfortunately, Christian political theologians have failed to engage with the challenges raised by Islamic political theology, instead either essentializing Islam or focusing on broad questions of social diversity. To remedy this, the chapter develops a comparative political theological method for engaging debates over the law. By adopting a comparative approach, two routes that dominate discussions of political theology in Christian-Muslim exchange are avoided. One leans strongly on secularism and too quickly silences religious imaginaries and their critiques of modernity. The other reasserts the ultimacy of religious community against the secular, largely through reinscribing battle lines between Christendom and the dār al-Islām. The chapter concludes that debates regarding sharī‘a, secularism, and law can be productively reframed by attending to the history of debate over the law in Christian-Muslim encounter and the nuanced theological perspectives on law and sovereignty within both traditions.

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