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Building Abrahamic Partnerships
This eight-day intensive training program offers a practical foundation for mutual understanding and cooperation among Jews, Christians, and Muslims. Participants learn about the tenets and practices of the three faiths, study texts from their respective scriptures together, attend worship at a mosque, synagogue, and church, and acquire pastoral skills useful in interfaith ministry. Combining the academic and the experiential, the course includes ample time for socializing over meals and during breaks. Building on Hartford Seminary’s strengths as an interfaith, dialogical school of practical theology, this team-taught program is a resource for religious leaders who are grounded in their own traditions while open to the faith orientations of other communities. Due to the interfaith nature of this course, we aim for equal representation among each of the three Abrahamic traditions in admitting students to this course.
Sunday, June 24 – Sunday, July 1 (intensive schedule, includes all days and some evenings)
Prof. Yehezkel Landau, Prof. Ingrid Mattson, Prof. James Nieman, Prof. David Roozen, Imam Sohaib Sultan, Rev. Dr. Karen Nell Smith, and Rabbi Dr. Donna Berman
Course Overview: Hartford Seminary, building on its strengths as an interfaith, dialogical school of practical theology, has designed this innovative program to be a practical resource for Jews, Christians, and Muslims who seek a solid foundation in interfaith ministry. The format is an 8-day intensive training program, beginning with an informal dinner on June 24 and concluding with a dinner on July 1.
Course Rationale and Objectives: Our society needs a new kind of religious leadership, grounded in a particular tradition and, at the same time, able to interact effectively with other faith communities. This is especially true given the prevalence of fear and mutual suspicion, exacerbated by violence committed by religious extremists.
We need to develop educational strategies to overcome the ignorance that leads to prejudice, which in turn leads to dehumanizing contempt, which in turn breeds violence.
The goals of the course are fourfold:
- Educating participants about the beliefs and practices of the three Abrahamic traditions
- Creating a supportive learning community in which clergy, lay ministers, religious educators, and chaplains can forge mutually beneficial relationships across communal boundaries
- Helping participants acquire pastoral skills useful in interfaith ministry
- Developing leadership strategies for promoting interfaith relations in our pluralistic society
Course Content: Topics for discussion and shared experiences will include:
- Presentations clarifying the tenets and practices of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam
- Historical overviews of the three traditions and how they have interacted in history
- Shared text study using source material from all three traditions
- Visits to a mosque, a synagogue, and a church for worship and subsequent discussion of those liturgical experiences
- Demographic and sociological data on Jewish, Christian, and Muslim communities in America
- Skills and sensitivities needed to establish and sustain effective interfaith partnerships
- The role of the media in creating images of one another, and strategies to counter negative media stereotypes
- Developing ideas for joint interfaith projects in local communities
Methods of Delivery: Lectures, panel discussions, small-group text study, artistic exercises, sacred music, videotapes, facilitated discussions, interpersonal exchanges in small groups, extended exercise (over several days) in deep listening and honest dialogue, visits to houses of worship, shared meals
Attendance Policy: Participants are expected to attend all course sessions, unless other arrangements have been made with the BAP Program Director.
Methods of Assessment: For those taking the course for credit, class participation will count for 20% of the course grade; a daily journal of one’s reflections on the experience will count for an additional 30% of the grade; and a final paper approximating 15 double-spaced pages will count for 50% of the grade. The paper and the journal reflections are due by August 15, 2012. The final paper should relate to one or both of the two themes addressed by the course: (1) theoretical approaches to improving interfaith relations, and (2) practical strategies or initiatives aimed at promoting Abrahamic partnerships. It is recommended that a student consult with one or more of the course faculty before writing the final paper, to get input on how to approach the intended topic and what resources to use in researching it.
Course Schedule and Readings
(Note: there are five assigned books, which are required of credit-seeking students, by Firestone, Woodhead, Ward, Mattson, and Nasr; the “Suggested Readings” are optional and are meant primarily for those seeking additional resources for course papers).
Sunday, June 24: Informal opening dinner, 6:30 p.m., in the Budd Interfaith Building meeting room at 60 Lorraine Street, where all course sessions will be held. Preliminary introductions and general overview of the course program; an interfaith exercise as a way of engaging one another; distribution of course materials. “Before” questionnaires will be handed out for completion that evening and/or sent via e-mail in advance.
Monday, June 25:
Morning session, 9 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.
Welcome by course faculty; explanation of course objectives and requirements; ground rules for interreligious conversation for adoption by the group
SUGGESTED READINGS: “The Dialogue Decalogue: Ground Rules for Interreligious, Interideological Dialogue” by Leonard Swidler, Journal of Ecumenical Studies, 20:1, Winter 1983 (September, 1984, revision); NOT WITHOUT MY NEIGHBOUR: ISSUES IN INTERFAITH RELATIONS by S. Wesley Ariarajah, Geneva: WCC Publications, 1999, chapters 1, 2, and 3
An introduction to Jewish identity, beliefs and practices; Written and Oral Torahs; history and geography; contemporary Judaism in its different forms; Jewish ethics/tikkun olam (healing/mending society) (Prof. Yehezkel Landau and Rabbi Dr. Donna Berman)
ASSIGNED READING: CHILDREN OF ABRAHAM: AN INTRODUCTION TO JUDAISM FOR MUSLIMS by Reuven Firestone, New York: Ktav Publishing House/American Jewish Committee, 2001, ISBN 0-88125-724-9.
SUGGESTED READINGS: JEWISH LITERACY by Joseph Telushkin, New York: William Morrow and Company, 2001; JUDAISM: REVELATION AND TRADITIONS by Michael A. Fishbane, New York: HaperCollins Publishers, 1987; SACRED FRAGMENTS: RECOVERING THEOLOGY FOR THE MODERN JEW by Neil Gillman, Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society, 1990; A JEWISH THEOLOGY by Louis Jacobs, New York: Behrman House, Inc., 1973; THE SEVENTY FACES OF TORAH: THE JEWISH WAY OF READING THE SACRED SCRIPTURES by Stephen M. Wylen, New York/Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press, 2005; THE JEWISH WAY: LIVING THE HOLIDAYS by Rabbi Irving Greenberg, New York: Simon & Schuster, 1988; STANDING AGAIN AT SINAI: JUDAISM FROM A FEMINIST PERSPECTIVE by Judith Plaskow, New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1991; ON WOMEN AND JUDAISM: A VIEW FROM TRADITION by Blu Greenberg, Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society, 1981; LIVING JUDAISM by Rabbi Wayne Dosick, New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1998; FINDING OUR WAY: JEWISH TEXTS AND THE LIVES WE LEAD TODAY by Barry W. Holtz, New York: Schocken Books, 1990; THE JEWISH APPROACH TO GOD: A BRIEF INTRODUCTION FOR CHRISTIANS by Rabbi Neil Gillman, Woodstock, VT: Jewish Lights Publishing, 2003; ONE PEOPLE, TWO WORLDS: A REFORM RABBI AND AN ORTHODOX RABBI EXPLORE THE ISSUES THAT DIVIDE THEM by Ammiel Hirsch and Yosef Reinman, New York: Schocken Books, 2002; TALKING TO THE OTHER: JEWISH INTERFAITH DIALOGUE WITH CHRISTIANS AND MUSLIMS by Rabbi Jonathan Magonet, London/New York: I. B. Taurus, 2003.
Afternoon session, 1:45 to 4:45 p.m.
Introduction to Jewish tradition, continued; artistic exercise; Talmudic text study; Jewish feminist theology (Prof. Yehezkel Landau and Rabbi Dr. Donna Berman)
First of three “fishbowls,” with Jewish participants speaking and Christian and Muslim participants listening deeply without interruption or comment.
SUGGESTED READINGS: ISRAEL: AN ECHO OF ETERNITY by Abraham Joshua Heschel, New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1969; A LAND OF TWO PEOPLES: MARTIN BUBER ON JEWS AND ARABS, edited with commentary and new preface by Paul Mendes-Flohr, Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2005; IN THE LAND OF ISRAEL by Amos Oz, London: Flamingo/Fontana Paperbacks, 1983; VOICES FROM JERUSALEM: JEWS AND CHRISTIANS REFLECT ON THE HOLY LAND, edited by David Burrell and Yehezkel Landau, New York/Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press, 1992; AT THE ENTRANCE TO THE GARDEN OF EDEN: A JEW’S SEARCH FOR HOPE WITH CHRISTIANS AND MUSLIMS IN THE HOLY LAND by Yossi Klein Halevi, New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2002; THE END OF DAYS: FUNDAMENTALISM AND THE STRUGGLE FOR THE TEMPLE MOUNT by Gershom Gorenberg, New York: The Free Press, 2000; HOLY WAR, HOLY PEACE: HOW RELIGION CAN BRING PEACE TO THE MIDDLE EAST by Rabbi Dr. Marc Gopin, New York: Oxford University Press, 2002; HEALING THE HOLY LAND: INTERRELIGIOUS PEACE-BUILDING IN ISRAEL/PALESTINE by Yehezkel Landau, PEACEWORKS No. 51, Washington, D.C.: United States Institute of Peace, September, 2003; “Jews, Muslims, and Peace,” by Yehezkel Landau and Yahya Hendi, CURRENT DIALOGUE, No. 41, June-July, 2003, Geneva: World Council of Churches, pp. 12-13; THE TESTING OF HEARTS: A PILGRIM’S JOURNAL by Donald Nicholl, London: Darton, Longman and Todd, Ltd., 1998; HEALING ISRAEL/PALESTINE by Rabbi Michael Lerner, San Francisco: Tikkun Books, 2003; THE LEMON TREE: AN ARAB, A JEW, AND THE HEART OF THE MIDDLE EAST by Sandy Tolan, New York: Bloomsbury Publishing, 2006.
Evening session, 7 to 9 p.m.
Small-group sharing of encounters with the sacred or transcendent, followed by a panel discussion on “What Do We Mean by Spirituality?” co-led by Prof. Yehezkel Landau, Rev. Dr. Karen Nell Smith, and Imam Sohaib Sultan. Relevant topics include: comparative mysticism; language as a medium of spiritual devotion, including gender-specific references to the Divine; silence, meditation, chanting, and body movement as alternative modes; liturgical commonalities and differences in styles of prayer; how prayers in one tradition are heard/experienced by adherents of another, especially prayers that refer to the Other.
SUGGESTED READINGS: JEWISH SPIRITUALITY: A BRIEF INTRODUCTION FOR CHRISTIANS by Rabbi Lawrence Kushner, Woodstock, VT: Jewish Lights Publishing, 2001; A GUIDE TO JEWISH PRAYER by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz, New York: Schocken Books, 2000; MAN’S QUEST FOR GOD by Abraham Joshua Heschel, New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1954; ENGENDERING JUDAISM by Rachel Adler, Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society, 1998; SHE WHO DWELLS WITHIN: A FEMINIST VISION OF A RENEWED JUDAISM by Lynn Gottlieb, New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1995; JEWISH PRAYER: THE ORIGINS OF THE CHRISTIAN LITURGY by Carmine Di Sante, Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press, 1991; PRAYING THE PSALMS by Walter Brueggemann, Winona, MN: Saint Mary’s Press, 1986; EXPLORING CHRISTIAN SPIRITUALITY ed. by Bruce H. Lescher and Elizabeth Liebert, SNJM, New York/Mahwah: Paulist Press, 2006; THE ESSENTIAL WRITINGS OF CHRISTIAN MYSTICISM, ed. with introduction by Bernard McGinn, New York: The Modern Library/Random House, 2006; THE INTERIOR CASTLE or THE MANSIONS by St. Teresa of Avila, Rockford, Illinois: TAN Books and Publishers, 1997; FRANCIS OF ASSISI’S CANTICLE OF THE CREATURES: A MODERN SPIRITUAL PATH by Paul M. Allen and Joan deRis Allen, New York: Continuum, 2000; THE SINGER AND THE SONG: AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF THE SPIRIT by Miriam Therese Winter, Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1999; SON OF MAN: THE MYSTICAL PATH TO CHRIST by Andrew Harvey, New York: Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam, 1999; PRAYING WITH ICONS by Jim Forest, Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1997; MUSLIM DEVOTIONS by Constance E. Padwick, Oxford: Oneworld Publications, 1996; THE BOOK OF ASSISTANCE by Imam Abdallah Ibn Alawi Al-Haddad, Louisville, KY: Fons Vitae, 2003; THE SOUL OF RUMI: A NEW COLLECTION OF ECSTATIC POEMS, translations, introductions, and notes by Coleman Barks, New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2001; THE WAY OF PASSION: A CELEBRATION OF RUMI by Andrew Harvey, New York: Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam, 1994; MY SOUL IS A WOMAN: THE FEMININE IN ISLAM by Annemarie Schimmel, Cairo: The American University in Cairo Press, 1998; MUSLIM PREACHER IN THE MODERN WORLD by Richard T. Antoun, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1989; THE EARLY MUSLIM TRADITION OF DREAM INTERPRETATION by John C. Lamoreaux, Albany: State University of New York Press, 2002.
Tuesday, June 26:
Morning session, 9 a.m. to 12 noon
An overview of the origins and history of Christianity, including denominational patterns, and an exploration of Christian theological constructs, including Incarnation, Atonement, and the Trinity (Prof. James Nieman and Rev. Dr. Karen Nell Smith)
CHRISTIANITY: A VERY SHORT INTRODUCTION by Linda Woodhead, Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2004, ISBN 978-0-19-280322-1.
CHRISTIANITY: A SHORT INTRODUCTION by Keith Ward, Oxford: Oneworld Publications, 2000, ISBN 1-85168-229-5.
SUGGESTED READINGS: THE DEPTH OF RICHES: A TRINITARIAN THEOLOGY OF RELIGIOUS ENDS by S. Mark Heim, Sacra Doctrina, Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans Co., 2001; SALVATIONS: TRUTH AND DIFFERENCE IN RELIGION by S. Mark Heim, Faith Meets Faith, Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1995; “The Pluralism of Religious Ends: Dreams Fulfilled” by S. Mark Heim, in THE CHRISTIAN CENTURY, January 17, 2001, pp. 14-19; “A Trinitarian View of Religious Pluralism” by S. Mark Heim, in THE CHRISTIAN CENTURY, January 24, 2001, pp. 14-18 (the last two citations are accessible at http://www.religion-online.org); CHRISTIANITY: A VERY SHORT INTRODUCTION by Linda Woodhead, New York: Oxford University Press, 2004; CHRISTIANITY 101: TRACING BASIC BELIEFS by James W. White, Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2006; INTRODUCING CHRISTIANITY by Michael Keene, Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1998; TO BEGIN AT THE BEGINNING: AN INTRODUCTION TO THE CHRISTIAN FAITH by Martin B. Copenhaver, Cleveland: United Church Press, 1994; “Dietrich Bonhoeffer,” and “Psalm Eight” from THE DEATH OF ADAM: ESSAYS ON MODERN THOUGHT by Marilynne Robinson, Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1998, pp. 108-125 and 227-244; CREDO by William Sloane Coffin, Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2004; MY STRUGGLE FOR FREEDOM: MEMOIRS by Hans Kung, Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2003; PRACTICING OUR FAITH: A WAY OF LIFE FOR A SEARCHING PEOPLE, edited by Dorothy C. Bass, San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers, 1997; MANY MANSIONS: A CHRISTIAN’S ENCOUNTER WITH OTHER FAITHS by Harvey Cox, London: William Collins Sons & Co., 1988; COMMON PRAYERS: FAITH, FAMILY, AND A CHRISTIAN’S JOURNEY THROUGH THE JEWISH YEAR by Harvey Cox, Boston/New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2001; MUHAMMAD AND THE CHRISTIAN: A QUESTION OF RESPONSE by Kenneth Cragg, London: Darton, Longman and Todd, 1984; THE MONKS OF TIBHIRINE: FAITH, LOVE, AND TERROR IN ALGERIA by John W. Kiser, New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2002; JOHN PAUL II IN THE HOLY LAND: IN HIS OWN WORDS, with Christian and Jewish Perspectives by Yehezkel Landau and Michael McGarry, CSP, edited by Lawrence Boadt, CSP, and Kevin di Camillo, New York and Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press, 2005.
Afternoon session, 1:45 to 4:45 p.m.
A discussion of the Christian practices related to worship and the daily walk of faith, including Word and Sacrament, hymnody, and prayer (Prof. James Nieman and Rev. Dr. Karen Nell Smith)
Second of three “fishbowls,” with Christian participants speaking and Jewish and Muslim participants listening deeply without interruption or comment.
SUGGESTED READINGS: THE MEANING OF JESUS: TWO VISIONS by Marcus J. Borg and N. T. Wright, New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1999; PAIN AND POLEMIC: ANTI-JUDAISM IN THE GOSPELS by George M. Smiga, New York/Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press, 1992; PREACHING WITHOUT CONTEMPT: OVERCOMING UNINTENDED ANTI-JUDAISM by Marilyn J. Salmon, Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2006; CHRIST KILLERS: THE JEWS AND THE PASSION FROM THE BIBLE TO THE BIG SCREEN by Jeremy Cohen, New York: Oxford University Press, 2007; PONDERING THE PASSION: WHAT’S AT STAKE FOR CHRISTIANS AND JEWS? edited by Philip A. Cunningham, Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2004.
Tuesday evening: OFF, OPPORTUNITY FOR SOCIALIZING OR REST
Wednesday, June 27:
Morning session, 9 a.m. to 12 noon
An introduction to Muslim beliefs and practices, with attention given to cultural variety within the Islamic umma/global community (Imam Sohaib Sultan)
THE STORY OF THE QUR’AN: ITS HISTORY AND PLACE IN MUSLIM LIFE by Ingrid Mattson, Malden, MA/Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2008, ISBN 978-1-4051-2258-0.
THE HEART OF ISLAM: ENDURING VALUES FOR HUMANITY by Seyyed Hossein Nasr, New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2002, ISBN 0-06-009924-0.
SUGGESTED READINGS: THE KORAN FOR DUMMIES by Sohaib Sultan, Indianapolis: Wiley Publishers, 2004; THE QUR’AN AND SAYINGS OF PROPHET MUHAMMAD, annotations by Sohaib N. Sultan, Woodstock, VT: Skylight Paths Publishing, 2007; ISLAM: RELIGION, HISTORY, AND CIVILIZATION by Seyyed Hossein Nasr, New York: HarperOne, 2001; ISLAM AND THE MUSLIM COMMUNITY by Frederick M. Denny, Long Grove, IL: Waveland Press, 1998; WHAT EVERYONE SHOULD KNOW ABOUT ISLAM AND MUSLIMS by Suzanne Haneef, Chicago: Kazi Publications/Library of Islam, 1996; READING THE MUSLIM MIND by Hassan Hathout, Burr Ridge, IL: American Trust Publications, 1995; THE COMPLETE IDIOT’S GUIDE TO UNDERSTANDING ISLAM by Yahiya Emerick, Indiana: Alpha Books, 2002; UNDERSTANDING ISLAM: A GUIDE FOR THE JUDAEO-CHRISTIAN READER by Jerald Dirks, Maryland: Amana Publications, 2003; THE FAITH AND PRACTICE OF AL-GHAZALI by W. Montgomery Watt, Chicago: Kazi Publications, 1982; THE STORY OF A MOSQUE IN AMERICA by Dr. Faroque Khan, Westbury, NY: Islamic Center of Long Island, 2001; DAUGHTERS OF ANOTHER PATH: EXPERIENCES OF AMERICAN WOMEN CHOOSING ISLAM, by Carol L. Anway, Lee’s Summit, MO: Yawna Publications, 1996; TO BE A EUROPEAN MUSLIM by Tariq Ramadan, Leicester, UK: The Islamic Foundation, 1999; MUSLIMS AND JEWS: BUILDING A HOPEFUL FUTURE, edited by Norman Hosansky and Mazhar Jalil, Columbus, OH: The Islamic Foundation of Central Ohio, 2003; A MUSLIM VIEW OF CHRISTIANITY: ESSAYS ON DIALOGUE by Mahmoud Ayoub, edited by Irfan A. Omar, Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2007; THE CRISIS OF MUSLIM HISTORY: RELIGION AND POLITICS IN EARLY ISLAM by Mahmoud M. Ayoub, Oxford: Oneworld Publications, 2005; SHI’ISM, Second Edition, by Heinz Halm, translated by Janet Watson and Marian Hill, New York: Columbia University Press, 2004; A SHI’ITE ANTHOLOGY, Selected and with a Foreword by ‘Allamah Sayyid Muhammad Husayn Tabataba’i, translated with explanatory notes by William C. Chittick, Albany: State University of New York Press, 1981; THE SHIA REVIVAL: HOW CONFLICTS WITHIN ISLAM WILL SHAPE THE FUTURE by Vali Nasr, New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2006.
Learning lunch, 12 noon to 1:30 p.m.
Presentation and discussion facilitated by Prof. David Roozen on three topics:
“Motivations for Participating in Interfaith Dialogue,”
“The Nature and Sources of Prejudice” and
“Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Congregations in America: Current Trends”
ASSIGNED READING: “Meet Your Neighbors: Interfaith Facts” booklet, Faith Communities Today/Hartford Institute for Religion Research, 2011 (distributed Sunday evening)
SUGGESTED READING: THEY AND WE: RACIAL AND ETHNIC RELATIONS IN THE UNITED STATES (5th Edition) by Peter I. Rose, New York: McGraw-Hill, 1997.
Afternoon session, 1:30 to 4:30 p.m.
Presentation and discussion on stereotypes and misunderstood aspects of Islam, including rights and opportunities for women, Greater and Lesser Jihad, attitudes towards non-Muslims, and concepts of the afterlife (Prof. Ingrid Mattson)
Third of three “fishbowl” exercises, with Muslim participants speaking and Jews and Christians listening deeply without interruption or comment.
SUGGESTED READINGS: QUR’AN AND WOMAN: REREADING THE SACRED TEXT FROM A WOMAN’S PERSPECTIVE by Amina Wadud, New York/Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999; “BELIEVING WOMEN” IN ISLAM: UNREADING PATRIARCHAL INTERPRETATIONS OF THE QUR’AN by Asma Barlas, Austin: University of Texas Press, 2002; MUSLIM WOMEN IN AMERICA: THE CHALLENGE OF ISLAMIC IDENTITY TODAY, by Yvonne Yazbeck Haddad, Jane I. Smith, and Kathleen M. Moore, New York: Oxford University Press, 2006; WINDOWS OF FAITH: MUSLIM WOMEN SCHOLAR-ACTIVISTS IN NORTH AMERICA edited by Gisela Webb, Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 2000; “Islamic Ethics of Killing and Saving Life,” special issue of THE MUSLIM WORLD, guest editor Jonathan E. Brockopp, Vol. LXXXIX, No. 2, April 1999; REBELLION AND VIOLENCE IN ISLAMIC LAW by Khaled Abou El Fadl, Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press; NONVIOLENCE AND PEACE BUILDING IN ISLAM: THEORY AND PRACTICE by Mohammed Abu-Nimer, Gainesville, FL: University Press of Florida, 2003; “Stopping Oppression: An Islamic Obligation,” by Ingrid Mattson, in SEPTEMBER 11: RELIGIOUS PERSPECTIVES ON THE CAUSES AND CONSEQUENCES, edited by Ian Markham and Ibrahim M. Abu-Rabi’, Oxford: Oneworld Publications, 2002, pp. 101-110; QUR’AN, LIBERATION & PLURALISM by Farid Esack, Oxford: Oneworld Publications, 1997; COMMANDER OF THE FAITHFUL: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF EMIR ABD EL-KADR by John W. Kiser, Rhinebeck, NY: Monkfish Book Publishing, 2008.
Wednesday evening: OFF, OPPORTUNITY FOR SOCIALIZING OR REST
Thursday, June 28:
Morning session, 9 a.m. to 12 noon
Interfaith text study: understanding the ambivalence of sacred texts—the exclusive as well as inclusive dimensions, the messages that seem peaceful and those that seem intolerant or violent—using selected passages from the Hebrew Scriptures, New Testament, and Qur’an. Morning session devoted to Jewish texts, led by Prof. Yehezkel Landau
SUGGESTED READINGS: THE AMBIVALENCE OF THE SACRED: RELIGION, VIOLENCE, AND RECONCILIATION by R. Scott Appleby, Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers; “Violent Faith,” by Kelton Cobb, in SEPTEMBER 11: RELIGIOUS PERSPECTIVES ON THE CAUSES AND CONSEQUENCES, edited by Ian Markham and Ibrahim M. Abu-Rabi’, Oxford: Oneworld Publications, 2002, pp.136-163; VIOLENCE IN GOD’S NAME: RELIGION IN AN AGE OF CONFLICT by Oliver McTernan, Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2003; WHEN RELIGION BECOMES EVIL by Charles Kimball, New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2002; THE DEATH AND RESURRECTION OF THE BELOVED SON: THE TRANSFORMATION OF CHILD SACRIFICE IN JUDAISM AND CHRISTIANITY by Jon D. Levenson, New Haven: Yale University Press, 1993; VIOLENCE AND THE SACRED by Rene Girard, Baltimore/London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1979; THE BIBLE, VIOLENCE, AND THE SACRED: LIBERATION FROM THE MYTH OF SANCTIONED VIOLENCE by James G. Williams, New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1991; CONSTANTINE’S SWORD: THE CHURCH AND THE JEWS by James Carroll, Boston/New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2001; THE ART OF FORGIVENESS: THEOLOGICAL REFLECTIONS ON HEALING AND RECONCILIATION by Geiko Muller-Fahrenholz, Geneva: WCC Publications, 1997.
Afternoon session, 1:45 to 4:45
Continuation of interfaith text study: inclusive and exclusive passages from the Christian tradition, led by Prof. James Nieman and Rev. Dr. Karen Nell Smith
Evening session, 7 to 9:30 p.m.: Sensitivities and Skills for Interfaith Partnerships
Processing the three “fishbowl” exercises and people’s reactions, leading to a general discussion: What kinds of communication skills are required for establishing and sustaining interfaith relationships? How can we listen more compassionately and speak with sensitivity to the Other’s situation? To what should we give attention in reaching out to or hosting someone from another faith community?—e.g., language that honors the Other, sacred calendars, prayer times, dietary restrictions, etc. (discussion facilitated by Imam Sohaib Sultan, Prof. Yehezkel Landau, and Rev. Dr. Karen Nell Smith)
Friday, June 29:
Morning session, 9 a.m. to 12 noon
Continuation of interfaith text study: inclusive and exclusive passages from the Islamic tradition, examining the principles and methodologies for Qur’anic exegesis (tafsir), led by Imam Sohaib Sultan.
Mid-day: Visit to one of two local mosques in Hartford, followed by lunch and discussion at the Seminary.
Evening: Optional Shabbat evening prayers, followed by refreshments
Saturday, June 30:
Visit to one of three synagogues for Shabbat morning prayers, followed by lunch and discussion at the Seminary.
Remainder of Saturday: OFF, OPPORTUNITY FOR SOCIALIZING OR REST
Sunday, July 1:
Visit to one of three churches for Sunday worship, followed by lunch and discussion at the Seminary.
Late afternoon, 3:30 to 5:30 p.m.: Artistic exercise and closure on the week’s experiences; “After” questionnaires distributed for completion. Closing dinner.
CHILDREN OF ABRAHAM: AN INTRODUCTION TO JUDAISM FOR MUSLIMS by Reuven Firestone, New York: Ktav Publishing House/American Jewish Committee, 2001. Buy now
CHRISTIANITY: A VERY SHORT INTRODUCTION by Linda Woodhead, Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2004. Buy now
CHRISTIANITY: A SHORT INTRODUCTION by Keith Ward, Oxford: Oneworld Publications, 2000. Buy now
THE STORY OF THE QUR’AN: ITS HISTORY AND PLACE IN MUSLIM LIFE by Ingrid Mattson, Malden, MA/Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2008. Buy now
THE HEART OF ISLAM: ENDURING VALUES FOR HUMANITY by Seyyed Hossein Nasr, New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2002. Buy now