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Islam's Jesus with Zeki Saritoprak

I am confident that focusing on Jesus as a major figure in Islamic theology will be of interest to contemporary Christians, Muslims, and all people interested in Interfaith endeavors.
— Professor Zeki Saritoprak

To mark the World Interfaith Harmony Week, Shepherd of the Hills and SEMA Foundation are proud to welcome Professor Zeki Saritoprak and extend a Straightforward Invitation to Dialogue and Islamic Art, Science and Culture in the Southwest.

At the core of all the faith systems and traditions, is the recognition that we are all in this together, and that we need to love and support one another to live in harmony and peace.

With that principle in mind, one Muslim scholar wants to talk about what we all have in common; Jesus.

Islam, like Christianity, Judaism and other world religions, varies in its interpretations, rituals and practices. It is true that Muslims share certain fundamental beliefs, such as those expressed in the Quran. However, few Christians are aware that Islam, though denying the divinity of Jesus Christ, affords him a religious importance among human beings second only to that of Muhammad. Traditional Muslims believe that Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary and that he will come again at the end of time to judge the living and the dead.

The topic is interesting both as a discrete topic of Islamic theology and also as a point of inter-religious dialogue between Muslims and Christians. While Muslims do not believe that Jesus was killed or resurrected, they do believe in his ascension and second coming. And it is precisely on these points of Muslim-Christian divergence and convergence that Professor Saritoprak dwells.

These and other, less familiar Muslim beliefs about Jesus are the subject of Professor Saritoprak’s book, Islam’s Jesus, and we invite you to join the discussion with us Saturday, February 2nd at 3:00 p.m. at Shepherd of the Hills United Church of Christ.

This important event is free to attend and all are welcome, but we do ask that you register.

Jesus is pivotal to both Muslims and Christians, [and] the discussion of Jesus’s descent necessitates discussion of the future of interfaith cooperation, particularly between Christians and Muslims, who together constitute more than half of humanity.
— Professor Zeki Saritoprak
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Few people realize that Jesus was a prominent messenger of God in Islam and that Muslims believe in the return of Jesus. Even among Muslims, it is not well known that there are diverse interpretations of references to Jesus in the Qur’an and the Hadith. Aiming to remedy this, we will welcome the author of Islam’s Jesus who takes a bold yet candid look at the highly charged topic of Jesus’s place in Islam, exploring some of the religion’s least understood aspects.

Examining multiple intellectual traditions, Zeki Saritoprak makes clear the reality of pluralism in the history of Islamic religious scholarship. Actively engaged in efforts to promote interfaith dialogue and harmony, Saritoprak thoughtfully argues that the shared belief in Jesus presents an excellent opportunity for understanding between Muslims and Christians. Together, they constitute more than half of the world’s population, and such understanding may be a foundation for peace.

Zeki Saritoprak is associate professor in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies and the Beddiüzaman Said Nursi Chair in Islamic Studies at John Carroll University. He is the author of numerous works on Islamic theology in English, Turkish, and Arabic.

Earlier Event: January 27
Shepherd of the Hills Budget Meeting
Later Event: February 3
Annual Meeting