The History of Islamic Theology

The book presents Muslim beliefs about God’s relationship to humans by drawing on relevant Islamic sources from Muhammad to modern times. In connection with the social and political history of Islam, the reader is introduced to the central ideas and concepts of Islamic theologians.

Nagel observes how, in the course of time, the universal messages in the Koran have become clearer through a dual process of analysis and application to a range of human experience. The outcome of this conflict-ridden process is the conviction that God endowed Abraham, the first prophet, with all knowledge man can achieve, and that complete comprehension of this store of knowledge is the deepest, but ultimately unattainable purpose of Islam and the culmination of the history of mankind.

Included are chapters on the Koran; the foundations of Islamic theology, faith and Islam; the two types of Islam; theological literature; early Rationalism, Rationalism and tradition; theology and philosophy; Islam and Gnosis; Islamic orthodoxy; and Islam as ideology.


Tilman Nagel¬†(University of G√∂ttingen) is the author of numerous books including The Koran and Timor the Conqueror. He is recognized as one of the world’s leading experts on Islamic theology and history.