One of the first publications to tackle this subject, this book was widely read and used as a reference. The lectures cover the influence of Christianity on Islam, the relation of Christianity to Islamic theology, the expansion of Islam, the downfall of Christianity, and a look towards the future.
6 x 9
William Shedd's Islam and the Oriental Churches: Their Historical Relations, was one of the first publications to tackle this subject extensively and his book was widely read and used in later discussions.
In the academic year 1902/3, when the Middle East was still comparatively quiet, Shedd gave a series of lectures for the students of his alma mater, Princeton Theological Seminary. The lectures met with general enthusiasm (as they did at the other colleges where he was invited) and the series was published in the next year. Although the title perhaps indicates otherwise, the contents of the lectures fit in well with the program, "Students' Lectures on Missions". Via the study of the history of Muslim-Christian relations, Shedd introduced the students to the problem of missions aimed at converting Muslims.
Not surprisingly for a man of his education and background, but perhaps not quite as readers in his day expected, Shedd's views on the history of Islam and Christianity are rather balanced. Islam is praised for its relative tolerant treatment of the Christian communities through the ages, and existing ideas among his readers on the early violent spread of Islam, including forced conversions of Christians, are dismissed.
Although even today Shedd's book on the history of the relationships between Islam and Christianity surpasses a good many popular introductions to the subject, his book first and foremost provides an excellent introduction into early twentieth-century Protestant debates on missions in the Middle East - debates that were cut short by the First World War, which not only put an end to Protestant optimism about missions and modernity, but also added another tragic episode to the history of Muslim-Christian relations in the Middle East