Islam in Context: Past, Present, and Future

Baker Academic, 2003
ISBN: 9781441249289


Drawing from sources such as the Qur’an, Ibn Ishaq’s biography of Muhammad, early Christian chronicles of the Crusades, and contemporary Muslim and non-Muslim writings, Peter Riddell and Peter Cotterell approach modern Islam with academic rigor. They move beyond the positive and negative stereotypes of Muhammad to argue against the myth that relatively recent events in the Middle East are the only cause for the clash between Islam and the West.

Riddell and Cotterell ask the non-Muslim world to attempt to understand Islam from the perspective of Muslims and to acknowledge past mistakes. At the same time, they challenge the Muslim world by suggesting that today Islam stands at a vital crossroads. The way forward is for them to decide.

Islam in Context is an ideal text for courses on Islam or world religions. Additionally, it will appeal to those interested in an alternative to the easily packaged descriptions of the relationship between Islam and the West.

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Key Features

  • Enhances understanding of contemporary Islam in its various forms
  • Offers a scholarly overview of the history of Islam and its current manifestations
  • Addresses Islam from historical, theological, and sociopolitical perspectives


  • Looking Back
    • Beginnings
    • Caliphs and Confusion
    • Beliefs and Practices
    • Qu’ran and Christianity
  • In between: The Ebb and Flow of Empire
    • The Age of Muslim Empire
    • Empires Crumble
    • From Medieval to Modern
    • The Missionaries
    • Conflict in the Middle East
  • Looking Around
    • The Muslim Masses and Westophobia
    • The Radical Islamist Worldview
    • The Moderate Worldview
    • Responses to Terrorism Conclusions

Praise for the Print Edition

Islam in Context is a must for anyone who wants to better understand contemporary Islam in its various forms and especially the role jihad has taken in today’s world. Incorporating historical, theological, and modern reflection, the authors offer an invaluable service to those of us who struggle to grasp the ideology and theology behind such horrible events as the September 11 attacks.

A. Scott Moreau, professor of intercultural studies, Wheaton College

This fair, balanced, and lucid book is good for the general reader and fills an important gap in the literature.

—Paul Marshall, senior fellow at Freedom House’s Center for Religious Freedom

This book is a must for anyone looking for a highly readable, balanced, scholarly overview of the history of Islam and its current manifestations. The authors address complex, sensitive, and controversial issues with integrity, providing an immensely valuable analysis of the role of Islam in today’s world and of the challenges within Islam that Muslims themselves need to address.

—The Baroness Cox, House of Lords, London

In my opinion, Riddell and Cotterell have produced the most helpful book on Islam thus far appearing under the imprimatur of an evangelical publishing house, elucidating those key cultural and religious dimensions of Islam that have given rise to the present uneasy interface between that religion and the secularized West . . . If I were back in the classroom teaching world religions, this would be required reading.

—Jonathan J. Bonk, executive director, Overseas Ministries Study Center

Many books have been written on Islam, but this book surpasses all of them in its well-balanced treatment of Islam from historical, theological, and sociopolitical perspectives . . . The authors have faithfully and candidly delivered the most comprehensive book on Islam, flavored with up-to-date information that makes it exciting, educational, and informative and reflects a sincere concern for peaceful coexistence between Muslims and non-Muslims.

—Debela Birri, director, Ethiopian Graduate School of Theology

Islam in Context is a timely book addressing a crucial issue. It is very well written by those who know the Islamic context as well as Islam as a religion. The treatment clearly deals with historical development as well as theological distinctives. Written in an easy-to-read style, and with academic documentation, the book is one that will appeal to many. I appreciate the fairness with which they treat a rather heated issue.

Ken Gnanakan, president, Internation Council for Higher Education, India

Product Details

About the Authors

Peter G. Riddell earned his PhD from Australian National University and is the director of the Center for Islamic Studies and Muslim-Christian Relations at London Bible College. He is an author and editor.

Peter Cotterell earned his PhD from London University and is an associate senior lecturer at the Center for Islamic Studies. He has lectured for 19 years at London Bible College, where he also served as the principle.


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