Can there be genuine 'sympathy' between the Bible and the Qur'an? Their 'peoples' have been at odds so long, disputing their texts and discounting their credentials. Scholars from both faiths have contrived intriguing comparison of narratives about Abraham, Joseph or Moses but with little relevance to the contemporary scene and its demand for religious converse and sanity. "A Certain Sympathy of Scriptures" attempts something more central to the essential 'interest' of both Scriptures, more cogent in this 21st century (the 15th Islam). It is a concern with three shared dimension: The divine will for this cosmos of created order; its entrustment into human hands as creaturely heirs to its order and responsive 'sciences'; and the discipline of their tenancy and privilege by 'messengers' and prophethoods disclosing the intention of divine Lordship in the fact of human vocation. These three dimensions are the supreme theme of both Scriptures. This 'caliphate' of humankind belongs in a now global situation as the abiding reality of Semitic humanism.
We are not 'on our own', but trustees in a sacramental order, neither playthings nor puppets of a bland omnipotence but 'associates' of the God who willed to create and cared to inform, inspire and invite as such to be. Deep disparities remain between our Scriptures. They have to do with what goes beyond our 'education', as more than prophethood. They enlarge into all that Jesus fulfilled in Christhood. They involve a truer measure of human perversity and, in turn, a larger expectation concerning the 'greatness' of God. Yet what divides need not alienate. The mutual ground - this certain sympathy - gives hope of wiser recognition of the divine stake in our humanity.
Kenneth Cragg was first in Jerusalem in 1939, and subsequently became deeply involved in areas of faith between Semitic religions under the stress of current politics. He later pursued doctoral studies in Oxford where he first graduated and became 'Prizeman' in Theology and Moral Philosophy, and where he is now an Honorary Fellow of Jesus College. He was a Bishop in the Anglican Jurisdiction in Jerusalem and elsewhere in the Middle East, and played ecclesiastical roles in Africa and India. A Certain Sympathy of Scriptures is a companion book to his Readings in the Qur'an (1988; 1999), and more broadly to his Faiths in Their Pronouns: Websites of Identity (2002). Other works by Bishop Cragg, and published by Sussex Academic Press, include: With God in Human Trust -- Christian Faith and Contemporary Humanism; The Weight in the Word -- Prophethood, Biblical and Quranic; and The Education of Christian Faith.