While scholars and pundits debate whether in fact we are facing a “Clash of Civilizations” (in Samuel Huntington’s words) between the West and Islam, there is a different kind of encounter that is possible in universities in many parts of the world. Christians and Muslims attend classes together, form friendships, compete on intramural teams, and stay up late together sometimes, talking about the deepest questions. While such conversations can’t resolve the violent clashes occurring elsewhere, no one knows what might happen where conversations of respect and mutual understanding across religious differences occur.
Barbara Hampton has given us a wonderful resource to foster such conversations in her study guide,Â Reading Scripture Together: A Comparative Bible and Qurâ€™an Study Guide. . . .Â â€”Â From Review: Reading Scripture Together: A Comparative Bible and Qurâ€™an StudyÂ GuideÂ by Bob Trube (Bob on Books, 2/18/2014).
Inspired by Bob’s review I contacted Barbara J. Hampton to learn more about the story behind and the content in her new publication.Â What a privilege to share this interview with the Emerging Scholars Network.
Tom: Why did you writeÂ Reading Scripture Together: A Comparative Qur’an and Bible Study Guide? What is the story behind its publication?
Barbara:Â In 2000, as an adjunct at the College of Wooster (Ohio) where my husband was in the math department and we were faculty advisors to Wooster Christian Fellowship, I was teaching a First Year Seminar (FYS) with the theme of â€œVoices of Conscience in the 20th Century.â€ One of the speakers at our public lecture series connected to FYS was the president of Planned Parenthood. I couldnâ€™t teach that topic without voicing my own conscience and so planned a silent prayer vigil of protest. This generated a lot of anxiety and discussion on campus (a story in its own right), but an unexpected outcome of that was a Pakistani alumna reading about it in the student newspaper. She emailed me and suggested that I would make a good Muslim since I was pro-life and would I like to convert! I answered that I would be delighted to learn about Islam if I could share about Christianity. And so began our email â€œdialogue.â€ From there, with much study along the way, I designed a set of lessons for my churchâ€™s adult Sunday school focusing in on several primary doctrines of Christianity and Islam. [Read more…] about Interview: Barbara J. Hampton on “Reading Scripture Together: A Comparative Qur’an and Bible Study Guide”