The interface between the current Shi'ite landscape and Christian thinking is of the greatest significance for the shifting political and religious dynamics of the Middle East. Sasan Tavassoli here examines Iranian Shi'ite thinkers' encounters with Christian thought since the Islamic revolution of 1979, and provides insight into the cultural and intellectual climate surrounding Christian-Muslim dialogue in contemporary Iran. The literature on Christianity in Iran reveals a wide range of approaches and attitudes, and Tavassoli demonstrates that traditional polemics are giving way to a more descriptive and subjective understanding of Christian thought. He also studies Muslim-Christian dialogue and research conducted and supported by governmental as well as non-governmental organizations, and offers a close examination, with interviews, of the work of three prominent liberal religious intellectuals - Abdol Karim Soroush, Mostafa Malekian and Mojtahed Shabestari.
Placing contemporary Shi'ite thought in the broad historical context of pre- and post-revolution Iran, Tavassoli relates concrete religious, cultural and socio-political realities to the themes and orientations in the latest phase of the Shi'i Islam-Christianity encounter, and offers fresh insight into the dynamism of contemporary Islam and the religious complexities of the Muslim world.
Sasan Tavassoli received his PhD in Islamic Studies from the University of Birmingham. He was born and raised in a Shi'i Sufi home in Iran and is now a minister in the Presbyterian Church of Iran living in the United States.
Acknowledgements; A Note on Translation, Romanization and Dates; Chapter 1: Iranian Shi'ite Thinkers and the Christian Faith: A Theological Perspective; Chapter 2: Factors in Muslim-Christian Intellectual Encounters and Dialogue in Contemporary Iranian Society; Chapter 3: Iranian Shi'ites and the Christian Faith: A Survey of Iranian Publications on Christianity; Chapter 4: Muslim-Christian Dialogue: Some Organizational Encounters; Chapter 5: Iranian Shi'ites and Christian Thought: A Look at Three Liberal Religious Intellectuals; Chapter 6: Iranian Shi'ites and the Christian Faith: Where Have They Come From and Where are They Heading?; Bibliography of Works in English; Bibliography of Works in Farsi