Scholars You Should Know: Máire Byrne

Máire Byrne has written one of the most important books of the last decade in her The Names of God in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam: A Basis for Interfaith Dialogue. I say that because, alongside the developing importance of the methodological tool of reception history, interfaith dialogue is the next ‘big thing’ in terms of biblical studies. And her study is on the cutting edge.

This book offers a welcome solution to the growing need for a common language in interfaith dialogue; particularly between the three Abrahamic faiths in our modern pluralistic society. The book suggests that the names given to God in the Hebrew Bible, the New Testament and the Qur’an, could be the very foundations and building blocks for a common language between the Jewish, Christian and Islamic faiths. On both a formal interfaith level, as well as between everyday followers of each doctrine, this book facilitates a more fruitful and universal understanding and respect of each sacred text; exploring both the commonalities and differences between each theology and their individual receptions.

In a practical application of the methodologies of comparative theology, Maire Byrne shows that the titles, names and epithets given to God in the sacred texts of Judaism, Christianity and Islam contribute towards similar images of God in each case, and elucidates the importance of this for providing a viable starting point for interfaith dialogue.

Maire is also a blogger (though to my discomfort she has allowed her good blog to lie fallow for far too long) and a member of SOTS (one of those learned societies one must be elected to, not one where if a person simply pays dues, they can attach themselves to it whether they know anything about the field or not).

There’s more on her on Academia.edu. She’s a scholar you should know.

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