Postgraduate Scholarship Holders 2018-19
Wen Pin Leow
Ertegun Graduate Scholar, University of Oxford, studying for an MSt in Theology (New Testament)
I arrived in Oxford for postgraduate training knowing that I would one day return to Singapore to serve the Church by teaching in a Christian seminary. Hence, one question at the top of my mind when I began my studies was how I could equip myself to serve my students more effectively, most of whom come from churches across Asia. In their countries, the question of how Christians should relate to Muslims is not an academic question but rather one that challenges them on a daily basis. The issue for them is not just to learn about Islam, but to learn how to learn about Islam. How can we do so without ending up in shallow caricature? How can we do so through authentic relationships? How can we do so without papering over our differences, but exhibiting generosity amid our differences? Having now convened and facilitated a few Qur’an and Bible study sessions with warm-hearted Muslims and Christians at CMCS, I can now say that CMCS is indeed the ideal place to learn all of that. The sessions have been theologically stimulating, kind in spirit, and a lot of fun. These experiences will transform the way I teach in seminary.
DPhil Scholar, Oriental Studies, University of Oxford M. Phil. Islamic Studies (Oxford)
My own interest in Biblical studies and Christian-Muslim relations was a direct result of my Qur’anic studies. As my own understanding of what the Qur’an has to say about and what it says in light of the earlier Biblical tradition has developed, I have become ever more convinced that the Qur’an is encouraging believers to see themselves as part of a single, larger Abrahamic scriptural community. There are of course differences between the Abrahamic faiths, but then there are differences within each Abrahamic faith too. Nonetheless, it is perfectly natural and productive for Sunnis and Shias to sit together, or Protestants and Catholics, or Orthodox and Reform Jews, to discuss and try to get to the core of what our respective religions want from us. So I believe it is equally desirable and productive for Muslims, Christians, and Jews to break bread together and jointly consider what God wants from us all, the spiritual heirs of Abraham.
CMCS Research Associates
Dr John Chesworth
B.Ed. (Durham), B.A. (Trinity College, Bristol/CNAA), M.A., Ph.D. (Birmingham)
John is Research Officer for the Christian-Muslim Relations: A Bibliographical History 1500-1900 (CMR1914), and a member of the School of Philosophy, Theology and Religion, at the University of Birmingham. He is also a member of the Faculty of Theology and Religion at the University of Oxford and an Honorary Research Fellow at St Stephen’s House, Oxford. His research interests include Islam and Christianity in Africa and Muslims in Europe.
Dr Shabbir Akthar
B.A., M.A. (Cantab), Ph.D. (Calgary, Alberta)
Shabbir is a Muslim scholar who holds a doctorate in the Philosophy of Religion and was a Fellow at CMCS from 2013 to 2018. After working in British race relations, he taught philosophy of religion and comparative religions in an Islamic university in Malaysia for four years, and for a decade in Old Dominion University in Virginia, USA. Currently he is an associate member of the Faculty of Theology and Religion at the University of Oxford. He has published widely on Islam and Christianity. His articles have appeared both in academic journals and in the national press. Several of his books have been translated into the major Islamic languages.