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Two authors take up topics not as frequently addressed. Some readers may see a synopsis of her own work, having to do with dialogical scripture-study among Norwegian Christian and Muslim women on the theme of gender justice, a project that could indeed be replicated elsewhere.

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Contextual studies also include reflections by Ray Gaston chapter 9 and Clinton Bennett chapter 10 that provide insight into practical responses—in the UK and US respectively—to anti-Muslim behavior and well-funded anti-Muslim initiatives. Looking at the topic of peacebuilding from a more global vantage-point, Shirin Shafaie chapter 11 surveys the diversity and effectiveness of faith-based initiatives—Muslim and Christian—towards nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament.

Not surprisingly for an edited volume of this sort, there is some overlap of topics covered and examples cited from one essay to the next. We read, for example of A Common Word in chapters 1, 2, 4, 8, 10, and Instructors will turn this to an advantage, asking their students to take note of the ways in which recurring themes and examples are handled.

Activists and others may not notice such overlaps at all, if their purpose in reading this book is to glean from it what applies most directly to their own situation. If this volume has a serious weakness, it is that only three of twelve chapters have been authored by Muslims. Perhaps this is mitigated somewhat by the inclusion of an essay by a Jewish scholar—unusual for collections of essays on Muslim-Christian concerns.

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Skip to main content. Search Term. The professor asked me if I knew how Princeton professor S. Goitein was doing. It appeared that Cachia and Goitein had been in contact with one another over the years, but had not spoken to each other in a long time. As it turned out, Goitein died a few years earlier and I had the task of passing this news on to his old friend.

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Goitein was a German-Jewish scholar whose primary achievement was the extraordinary research he did on the Cairo Geniza. A Geniza is the storage area for many scraps of paper with Hebrew writing that, according to Jewish law, must not be thrown away but formally buried in hallowed ground. The Cairo Geniza is a well-known repository of historical documents that Goitein used for his epic multi-volume work A Mediterranean Society. Cachia is best known as one of the foremost scholars of modern Arabic literature and language.

The two men were able to connect with each other on the basis of a shared commitment to the culture of the Middle East and its rich legacy. As I write this article, the hullabaloo over the so-called "Ground Zero mosque" continues to percolate and threatens to engulf us.

The center was designed as a Muslim version of the 92nd Street Y to serve its members as a multi-use facility which would include a prayer room, but also sports facilities and classrooms for adult education, just like Jewish community centers all over the US. In assessing the controversy we should take note that over the course of many years, there has been a dual movement in regard to Arabic culture and the three monotheistic faiths. On the one hand, knowledge of the vast culture of the Middle East -- from the Arabian Nights to the Maqamat of Al-Hariri to the philosophy of the Cordoban Ibn Rushd to the contemporary novels of Naguib Mahfouz -- has appreciably declined.

As the late scholar Edward Said noted, Arabic has become a controversial language and all things related to it have fallen into contentiousness. But along with the elision of Arabic culture and civilization, there has been a renewed interest in bringing together the three monotheistic religions in some form of mutual dialogue.

Controversies in Interreligious Dialogue and the Theology of Religions - Paul Hedges - Google книги

The interfaith dialogue movement has had a number of different manifestations. Most prominent was the opening of discussion in the early s between Catholic and Jewish groups in the wake of Vatican II. This opening did not come from the Jewish community but from the Church itself, which finally chose to cease its demonization of the Jewish people and attempt to begin the process of normalization and reconciliation.

In the aftermath of many decades of Western imperialism and the seemingly endless Arab-Israeli conflict, the world of Middle Eastern dialogue has been covered by a grimy film of mutual distrust and ethno-religious hatred. At the beginning of the twentieth century, it looked as if the centuries of minority discrimination in the Arab world was to come to an end. The liberalizing movement known in Arabic as the "Nahda" captured the minds of many of the great intellectuals and politicians of the emerging nations of the region.

But as World War I came to its ignominious conclusion and European nations decided to double down on their control of the region, the liberal trend was countered by nationalist militancy and religious fundamentalism and has struggled to survive. With the emergence of Israel and oil politics by mid-century, the alienation of Jews, Muslims and Christians became a central part of the Middle Eastern question.

'Ground Zero Mosque' Controversy and the Pitfalls of the Interfaith Dialogue Movement

We can look at the situation as it applies to the Israel-Arab conflagration which serves as a larger paradigm for this state of incoherence. Over the years since the Camp David Accords and the Oslo Agreement, many Jewish and Muslim groups have sprung up to promote reconciliation and a peaceful end to the conflict. Groups like Seeds of Peace and Children of Abraham bring Jewish and Arab children together to speak and share human experiences. And yet with all that the institutional world, especially the Jewish institutional world, has done to establish this interfaith dialogue, the problems we face in the Middle East remain intractable as shown to us by the current "Ground Zero mosque" flap.

The failure of this well-funded institutional system lies at the very center of the battle that continues to be waged. One of the false assumptions of interfaith dialogue is that Jews and Arabs are separate and mutually hostile peoples. For the majority of the world's Jews who come from Europe, perhaps this is true. But for many centuries there were in fact Jews who lived in the Middle East and developed a resilient and vibrant culture that was very much a product of its Arabic surroundings.