Earth, Empire and Sacred Text
PAPERBACK PUBLISHED SEPTEMBER 2013
Earth, Empire and Sacred Text seeks to construct a Muslim-Christian theological discourse on creation and humanity that could help adherents of both faiths work together to preserve our planet, bring justice to its most needy inhabitants and contribute to peacebuilding in areas of conflict. Drawing on theology, philosophy, ethics, hermeneutics, critical theory and the social sciences, its premise is that theology is always developed in particular situations. The book explores the global context of postmodernity (the post-Cold War world dominated by a neoliberal capitalist system) and the influential turn away from the modern Cartesian view of the autonomous, disembodied self, to a self defined in discourse, community and culture (postmodernism). It traces the “career” of Q. 2:30 (Adam’s God-mandated trusteeship), first in Islamic commentaries in the classical period and then in the writings of Muslim scholars in the modern and postmodern periods. The concept of human trusteeship under God is also studied over time in Christian and Jewish writers. Building on this data, the author draws together the essential elements for a Muslim-Christian theology of human trusteeship.
Published: Apr 1, 2010
"The breadth of Johnston’s reading and research on display here is simply staggering. In addition to his deep familiarity with over a millennium of Islamic commentary on the Qur’an, he also brings to this project a range of insights drawn from the disciplines of sociology, economics, politics, and philosophy, as well as from hermeneutics and from both Muslim and Christian theology."
Stephen J. Davis, Yale University, USA
"Johnston offers a possible rapprochement between Christians, Muslims, Jews, and indeed, the whole human family, based on insightful Christian and Islamic readings of sacred texts conveying God's original creational commission."
David Naugle, Dallas Baptist University, USA
"A brilliant example of profound scholarship that connects with social and political realities. Trusteeship is not just a concept that will enhance Christian-Muslim relations. It offers a sound and solid foundation for the articulation of our common humanity. Johnston has brought all these elements together in this magnificent work."
Chandra Muzaffar, Nordin Sopiee Professor of Global Studies, Universiti Sains Malaysia
“This book, extraordinary by any standard, sets out to establish a common discourse and a common ground between Muslims and Christians in relation to the human responsibility which they, along with Jews and other people of faith, share towards the world and the management of its resources.”
Muslim Education Quarterly
“Johnston’s evaluation of the destructive culture of postmodernity, his call to find meaning in the world by struggling to change it, his attempt to develop a systematic model for textual interpretation, and his vision to develop a common theological framework for Christians and Muslims are admirable. I see glimpses of a prophetic soul at work through Johnston’s hand.”
The American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences
“Johnston does not shy away from showing how intractable problems such as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can benefit from such cooperation and dialogue. Similarly, he unflinchingly addresses larger difficulties of eco-justice and planetary sustainability.”
International Bulletin of Missionary Research
“A generous attempt to find a common ground for an active commitment in order to improve the human condition, in its largest meaning, in this world. The author tries to go into a lot of issues pertaining to different fields: politics, sociology, economy, environmental questions, hermeneutics, philosophy... maybe a very big enterprise for a single study or a single author! Nevertheless, the effort is definitely appreciable.”