Academic Programs 
      

Dialogue in a World of Difference   (MA-530)
Fall 2008


A required course for all students enrolled in the Master of Arts degree program. Students and faculty in a collegial setting will explore in depth the principles and the practice of dialogue in a pluralistic world through dialogical listening and cross-cultural conversations in a context of diversity. Goals of the course include the development of listening and communication skills in multi-cultural contexts; fostering an understanding of one another through information sharing and community building action; and learning how to discuss potentially divisive issues constructively and without animosity. This course is graded on a Pass/Fail basis.

Meeting Day, Time and Dates: 
Monday’s 6:00 – 9:00pm

Heidi Hadsell
Professor of Social Ethics


Contact Information:

phone: 
(860) 509-9502

email: hadsell@hartsem.edu

 

David Roozen
Professor of Religion and Society


Contact Information:

phone: (860)509-9546
email: roozen@hartsem.edu

 

Ingrid Mattson
Professor of Islamic Studies and Christian-Muslim Relations


Contact Information:

phone
 (860) 509-9531
email: mattson@hartsem.edu

 



Primary course readings will consist of papers, book chapters and excerpts assigned by guest faculty for their respective sessions. These will either be handed out at the previous class, be available online or be made available to be copied in the library reserve section. Additionally, student’s should purchase Not Without My Neighbor: Issues in Interfaith Relations ( S. Wesley Ariarajah, Geneva: WCC Publications, 1999). We will read it in its entirety, with specific chapters assigned to different class sessions as we move through the course. We will be reading chapters from the following two books, which students may purchase if they prefer having a book to an online copy of selective material: Robert Wuthnow, America and the Challenges of Religious Diversity (Princeton Univ Press; 2005, paperback 2007); Jane Smith, Muslims, Christians, and the Challenge of Interfaith Dialogue (Oxford Univ Press, 2007).

Assigned reading should be read prior to and in preparation for the class session for which it is assigned

WRITTEN ASSIGNMENTS

Students will complete four, brief reflection papers during the course. Topics and guidelines for each will be handed out in class. Due dates are:

  • Sept 29: How do I make sense of a diversity of faith traditions, and how does this relate to my engagement of the religious other?
  • Oct 13: What does my faith say about communitarian and universalist approaches to ethics, and what implications does this have for interfaith dialogue?
  • Nov 3: What would I counsel a friend or child about interfaith marriage?
  • Nov 13: Reflection on your worship observation

SESSION OUTLINE

THE READINGS FOR THIS COURSE CAN BE FOUND HERE

Session One: September 15 – Why Dialogue? Why Me?
Heidi Hadsell – Introduction to Interfaith Dialogue
Ingrid Mattson – The ground rules of Interfaith Dialogue
David Roozen – The practice of appreciative engagement

Reading:
Not Without My Neighbor, Chapters 1 & 2 (Purchase)
Ground Rules for Interfaith Dialogue (Online)
Chapters 1, 2 & 5 in Jane Smith’s, Muslims, Christians and the Challenge of Interfaith Dialogue: (Online)
1. Encountering Each Other
2. The Legacy of Engagement
5. When Dialogue Goes Wrong

Session Two: September 22 – Religious Typologies and Theologies
David Roozen – Theologies of Other Religions

Reading: (All Online)
Other Religions Are False Paths That Mislead Their Followers, Ajith Fernando
Other Religions Are Implicit forms of our Own Religion, Karl Rahner
Other Religions Are Equally Valid Ways to the Same Truth, John Hick
Other Religions Speak of Different but Equally Valid Truths, John b. Cobb Jr
Is the Pluralist Model a Western Imposition? Paul F. Knitter
Islam and Pluralism, Ashgar Ali Engineer

Session Three: September 29 – Worship and Dialogue
Heidi Hadsell Convener: Guest Faculty: James Nieman

Reading:
Mapping the Field of Ritual, Ronald L Grimes (Online)
Not Without My Neighbor, Chapters 3 & 7

Reflection Paper Due: How do I make sense of a diversity of faith traditions, and how does this relate to my engagement of the religious other?

Session Four: October 6 – Scripture and Dialogue
Ingrid Mattson Convener: Guest Faculty: Uriah Kim

Reading:
Genesis 37-50; Surah XII (Surat Yusuf) of the Qur’an
Entire issue (only 35 pages long) of The Student Journal of Scriptural
Reasoning (Vol. 1, No. 1, October 2006): Online at -- http://etext.virginia.edu/journals/abraham/sjsr/issues/volume1/number1/index.html

Session Five: October 13 – Communitarian and Universalist Ethics. Heidi Hadsell

Reading: To Be Announced

Reflection Paper Due: What does my faith say about communitarian and universalist approaches to ethics, and what implications does this have for interfaith dialogue?

Session Six: October 20 – Theology, David Roozen Convener
6:00 – 7:00 Prelude with Kelton Cobb

Reading: To Be Announced
7:00 – 9:00 An Evening with New Macdonald Center Faculty -- two lectures
1) Yahya Michot: An Islamic “theology”? Why?
2) Mahmoud Ayoub: Towards a Framework for Interfaith Dialogue:
Globalism or Pluralism

Session Seven: October 27 – Congregational and Personal Strategies for Approaching
Interfaith Relations. David Roozen

Reading:

Chapters 1, 8 & 10 in Robert Wuthnow’s, America and the Challenges of Religious

Diversity: (Online)
1. A Special People in a Diverse World
8. How Congregations Manage Diversity
10. How Pluralistic Should We Be?

Session Eight: November 3 – Personal and Pastoral Issues in Interfaith Encounter
Ingrid Mattson Convener

Reading: To Be Announced

Reflection Paper Due: What would I counsel a friend or child about interfaith marriage?

Session Nine: November 10 – Dialogue and Peacekeeping
Heidi Hadsell Convener; Guest Faculty: Yehezhel Landau

Reading: To Be Announced
Not Without My Neighbor, Chapters 5

Session Ten: November 13 – Reports From the Front Lines
Ingrid Mattson: “A Common Word” Reflections on a Major Contemporary Dialogue
Initiative.
David Roozen: Debriefing of Worship Experiences
Heidi Hadsell: Dialogue and Learning at Hartford Seminary

Reading: As many documents as possible from: http://acommonword.com

Reflection Paper Due: Reflection on your worship observation


Hartford Seminary  77 Sherman Street  Hartford, CT  06105   860-509-9500  info@hartsem.edu