Pope Benedict XVI made an uncomfortable claim in his 2006 Regensburg address: contemporary Muslim terrorism may owe something to Islam’s conception of God.
A year later, Father James V. Schall SJ wrote a book about the address which, as Acton Director of Research Samuel Gregg says, placed it in the wider context of a set of religious and philosophical challenges that many Westerners still can’t bring themselves to address:
Over the past sixteen years, Schall has written numerous articles on this more general topic, the most important of which have been gathered together in his latest book, On Islam: A Chronological Record, 2002-2018. In one sense, the title is somewhat misleading. For this is really a book about the West and how its inability to think (let alone speak) clearly about the primary causes of Muslim terrorism reflects some significant intellectual pathologies presently plaguing Western intellectual life.
As the text’s subtitle indicates, these essays proceed chronologically. They begin with a 2003 article about Hilaire Belloc’s views about Islam, and end with a 2018 piece in which Schall presents some reflections about the Koran itself. Between these two essays are sandwiched 24 articles in which Schall explores questions ranging from how the physicist-priest, the late Stanley Jaki, regarded the natural sciences’ place in Islam, to how the secular mind grapples with Muslim terrorism.