Jesus as God's Word
A Comparative Study in Islamic and Christian Theologies
Both the Christian New Testament and the Qur’ān obscurely identify the figure of Jesus with the ‘Word’. While the term’s Biblical use is well-treated by, and indeed central to, Christological theology, modern treatments of the Islamic model are often reductive, refracted through Christian understandings. This article seeks to provide a more holistic account of Jesus’ title in Islam, highlighting the nuances in the term’s usage through a comparative framework. It considers the title’s connotations in Christianity and Islam, and how each conceptualised and developed them separately. This article concludes that, in both traditions, the term links Jesus to God’s revelation, and to His creative capacity; however, the religions’ distinct theological axioms differentiate the term’s true signification. Christianity considers these elements of divinity directly incarnated in Jesus, through hypostasis, whereas Islamic theology regards the title as a connotative appellation, applying these attributes of God to the Prophet Jesus only descriptively and contingently. This disparity demonstrates the distinct theological approaches taken in Christianity and Islam – obtaining different results, although applied to a notionally similar problem – as well as the importance of considering their intellectual traditions independently.
Copyright (c) 2018 Grant Kynaston
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