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Early Christian explanations of the Trinity in Arabic in the context of Muslim Theology

Husseini, Sara Leila (2011)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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Abstract

This doctoral thesis examines the works of Theodore Abū Qurra (d.c.829), Abū Rā’iṭa (d. c.835), and ‘Ammār al-Baṣrī (d.c.850); three of the earliest known Christian theologians to explain and defend their beliefs in Arabic, under Islamic rule. In particular, it focuses on their respective explanations of the doctrine of the Trinity: assessing each individual author’s writings; investigating the tools and arguments they employ; and considering the extent to which they engaged with Islamic theological thought (kalām), primarily through their borrowing of concepts and structures from an internal Islamic debate concerning the divine attributes of God. This study asks to what extent these Christians were essentially translating their traditional doctrine into Arabic, and to what extent they developed a new expression of the Trinity, conceptually influenced by Islamic thinking.

The key conclusion of this thesis is that Christian explanations of the Trinity in Arabic, whilst they show a deep awareness of Islamic thought and make use of contemporary Muslim debates surrounding the nature and unity of God, cannot be said to represent a development in Christian theology. Rather, such works should be viewed as an informed and creative response to the pressures and challenges of their Islamic surroundings.

Type of Work:Ph.D. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Thomas, David
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
Department:Department of Theology and Religion
Subjects:BP Islam. Bahaism. Theosophy, etc
Institution:University of Birmingham
ID Code:2799
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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