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EXPLORING DIFFERENCES, DEEPENING FAITH

Hartford Seminary draws Muslim, Christian, Jewish and other students from around the world. Explore our website to learn more. International Peacemaking students visiting the United Nations

The Leader in Graduate Interfaith Education

With roots that go back to 1834, Hartford Seminary is a non-denominational graduate school for religious and theological studies. What makes us unique is our multi-faith environment and our proven ability to prepare leaders for the complex world that surrounds us.

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Video: President Joel N. Lohr Speaks about 'The Great Mission of Hartford Seminary'
President Joel N. Lohr delivered an illustrated lecture last month at the University of Hartford titled "The Great Mission of Hartford Seminary: Jews, Christians, and Muslims in Dialogue." The lecture was presented during UHart's "Evening of Diversity and Culture," which included musical performances by two alumni of the Hartt School, vocalist Ian Pomerantz and guitarist Aaron Larget-Caplan. The event was hosted by the Maurice Greenberg Center for Judaic Studies, Hartford Seminary, Hillel, Protestant and Catholic Campus Ministries, and the University of Hartford Office of the President. Visit this link to view the video.  
Dr. Jennifer T. Kaalund Delivers Annual Carew-Purdy Lecture
In a presentation that resonated deeply with listeners, Dr. Jennifer T. Kaalund, Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Iona College, spoke on March 21 about the Book of Hebrews and how the development of Christianity as a "new Jewish identity" can be viewed through the lens of the "New Negro," a literary trope created during the Great Migration of the early 20th century. Dr. Kaalund's presentation was the Seminary's annual Carew-Purdy Lecture, an endowed lectureship named after Joseph and Eliza Carew of South Hadley, MA, who made a donation in 1873 for a special lectureship, and Dr. Alexander Purdy, a Hartford Seminary Professor of New Testament from 1923 to 1960 and Dean from 1954 to 1960. It brings a leading scholar to offer Christian perspective on thought and life. The full video of Dr. Kaalund's lecture can be viewed below.
Trustees Launch Strategic Planning Process with Visit from Elon University President Emeritus
Dr. Leo Lambert, President Emeritus of Elon University, joined Hartford Seminary’s Board of Trustees, faculty and staff this month to help launch a new strategic planning process. President Joel N. Lohr has called the process a “deeply collaborative” one, aimed at new horizons for Hartford Seminary as it embarks on a new era. To underscore that point, the retreat was held at the downtown offices of Robinson and Cole on the 28th floor with a beautiful view of downtown Hartford and beyond. Dr. Deena Grant, Associate Professor of Jewish Studies, opened the day with inspiring reflection that included a prayer for wisdom and addressed the recent terrorist attack in New Zealand that left 50 Muslim worshipers dead. “Our work here is not a dry run. It is urgent,” she said. “It is past due.” In preparation for the retreat and as a springboard for discussion, Trustees, faculty, and staff read a book about Elon University’s rise to national prominence, Transforming a College: The Story of a Little-Known College’s Strategic Climb to National Distinction. Dr. Lambert, who served as Elon’s president from 1999 to 2018, used examples from Elon’s focus on mission and programming, as well as staying true to its brand, as part of a discussion about how Hartford Seminary can continue to blaze bold new paths in its next stage of history. The strategic planning process will continue throughout 2019.
Professor Deena Grant to Speak at March 25 Interfaith Event on Immigration
Deena Grant, Associate Professor of Jewish Studies at Hartford Seminary, will speak at 7 p.m., Monday, March 25, at the New Britain Area Interfaith Conference held at First Lutheran Church of Reformation, 77 Franklin Square, New Britain. The event will look at undocumented immigration from an interfaith and a legal rights perspective. Professor Grant will be part of an interfaith panel that includes Laura Westby, Transition Minister at Kensington Congregational Church, and Tark Richard Aouardi, Executive Director of the Council of American-Islamic Relations, Connecticut. Dana Bucin, a partner at Murtha Culina and Chair of the Immigration Practice, will also speak about the legal rights of undocumented immigrants. For more information, visit this link.
Boundless: A Celtic Vision of the Sacred in All Things with John Philip Newell
Please join us for this special opportunity to hear from John Philip Newell, internationally acclaimed Celtic teacher from Edinburgh and the celebrated author of Listening for the Heartbeat of God: A Celtic Spirituality, as well as founder of the School of Celtic Consciousness. Celtic Spirituality celebrates the essential sacredness of all things. It remembers John the Beloved as leaning against Jesus at the Last Supper. It was said of him in the Celtic world that he, therefore, heard the heartbeat of God. He became a symbol of the practice of listening, listening deep within ourselves, deep within one another, and deep within the Earth and every creature and life form. We will explore the implications of listening for the Sacred at the heart of each moment. John Philip Newell is one of the most prominent Christian teachers of spirituality in the Western world and has authored over 15 books, including Christ of the Celts, Praying with the Earth, A New Harmony, and his most recent visionary title The Rebirthing of God: Christianity’s Struggle for New Beginnings.  This free event is co-sponsored by First Church of West Hartford and Saint John's Episcopal Church of West Hartford. Note: Hartford Seminary is committed to providing accessibility for all. Please contact Susan Schoenberger at sschoenberger@hartsem.edu or 860-509-9519 at least 3 days in advance if you have questions about our accessibility or need reasonable accommodations for this event.
Book Talk: 'Umayyad Christianity' with Professor Najib George Awad
Professor Najib George Awad, Associate Professor of Christian Theology at Hartford Seminary and Director of the Ph.D. program, will introduce his new book from Gorgias Press. Umayyad Christianity: John of Damascus as a Contextual Example of Identity Formation in Early Islam is described by the publisher as “a study of the identity-formation process that the Christians of Syria-Palestine experienced during Umayyad Caliphate.” The book, according to Gorgias Press, “approaches this subject by using John of Damascus and his writings on Islam as a case-study. This provides an exhaustive study of the available historical data in order to stimulate some further thought on John of Damascus’s theology and legacy from a contextual and intercultural methodology. Such an examination has not yet been pursued in the scholarship of Byzantine Christianity during that era. Proceeding from a centralizing ‘context’, the monograph revisits John of Damascus’s legacy (and the Umayyad Christians’ identity-formation of that era) from the perspective of his historical, Islamic-Arabic context, and not from any assumed, mita-narrative, common to contemporary pro-Byzantine theology scholars.”     Note: Hartford Seminary is committed to providing accessibility for all. Please contact Susan Schoenberger at sschoenberger@hartsem.edu or 860-509-9519 at least 3 days in advance if you have questions about our accessibility or need reasonable accommodations for this event.  
Divine Words, Female Voices with Dr. Jerusha T. Rhodes
Our biennial Willem A. Bijlefeld Lecture will be given by Dr. Jerusha T. Rhodes, Associate Professor of Islam & Interreligious Engagement at Union Theological Seminary. Dr. Rhodes will discuss her new book – Divine Words, Female Voices: Muslima Explorations in Comparative Feminist Theology (Oxford University Press, 2018) – which argues that interreligious feminist engagement is both a theologically valid endeavor and a vital resource for Muslim women scholars. She will discuss how comparative feminist theology leads to new, constructive Muslima and Islamic feminist positions on topics including revelation, scripture, feminist exemplars, theological anthropology, and ritual practice. The Willem A. Bijlefeld Lecture is named after the first director of the Macdonald Center for the Study of Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations. It brings a distinguished scholar to campus for a public presentation on Islam or Christian-Muslim relations to promote interreligious understanding and mutual respect in the local, national and world communities. Note: Hartford Seminary is committed to providing accessibility for all. Please contact Susan Schoenberger at sschoenberger@hartsem.edu or 860-509-9519 at least 3 days in advance if you have questions about our accessibility or need reasonable accommodations for this event. About the Speaker Jerusha T. Rhodes is Associate Professor of Islam & Interreligious Engagement at Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York. Her research focuses on theologies of religious pluralism, comparative theology, and Muslima theology. She also serves at the Director of Union’s Islam, Social Justice, and Interreligious Engagement (ISJIE) Program. Dr. Rhodes earned a Ph.D. in Theological and Religious Studies with a focus on Religious Pluralism at Georgetown University in 2011. She also received an M.A. in Islamic Sciences at the Graduate School of Islamic and Social Sciences, and an M.A. in Theological and Religious Studies at Georgetown University. Before joining the Union faculty in July of 2012, she was Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Theology at Georgetown University. Dr. Rhodes’ first book, Never Wholly Other: A Muslima Theology of Religious Pluralism (Oxford University Press, March 2014), explores the Qur’anic discourse on religious ‘otherness’. In this book, she draws upon feminist theology and semantic methodology to re-interpret the Qur’anic discourse and challenge notions of clear and static religious boundaries by distinguishing between and illuminating the complexity of multiple forms of religious difference. Her second book, Divine Words, Female Voices: Muslima Explorations in Comparative Feminist Theology (Oxford University Press, 2018), uses the approach of comparative feminist theology to engage diverse Muslim and Christian feminist, womanist, and mujerista voices. It argues for the value of comparative feminist theological engagement and proposes constructive Muslima insights relating to Divine revelation; textual hermeneutics of the hadith and Bible; Prophet Muhammad and Mary as feminist exemplars; theological anthropology; and ritual prayer, tradition, and change.  
President Joel N. Lohr Joins Voices of Peace at Berlin Mosque
Hartford Seminary President Joel N. Lohr joined speakers of different faiths at the Islamic Association of Greater Hartford (Berlin Mosque) on Friday afternoon to express support and solidarity with Muslims after the horrific shootings at two mosques in New Zealand that left at least 49 worshipers dead. "Where can I find words to express how troubling and tragic this is, especially when we know it’s not an isolated incident," President Lohr said. "This is part of a larger problem of hatred at home and worldwide. It is a problem of fear of those who are different. It is something my students, faculty, and staff at the Seminary work hard every day to overcome. Hate cannot win. Peace must prevail." President Lohr then called upon Christians to "live up to our call to love and not hate, to live as Jesus taught us. I encourage you, if you have not already, to find a Muslim friend and not go to grave without having made one. I know from experience that finding Muslim friends will bless your life." Addressing those gathered at the mosque, President Lohr said his Muslim friends and neighbors have taught him what it means to welcome the stranger. "I stand here today — as a Christian, as a servant in God’s Kingdom, as the President of Hartford Seminary, and as a husband and father — to extend my hand to you. I stand in solidarity with you and mourn with you. I want to work with you to bring peace to a world so desperately in need. We, as Christians and Muslims, those of faith and no faith, need to support each other even in our differences — perhaps most importantly because of them." During the Jumma prayer service that preceded the speakers, Imam Refai Arefin spoke about how crises such as the one in New Zealand strengthen the character and resolve of Muslims. "In this conflict of extremists, we can be above the fray." He called upon those present to "not just hate hate, but be part of the solution." After the prayer service, Dr. Reza Mansoor, President of the Islamic Association of Greater Hartford, Founding President of the Muslim Coalition of Connecticut, and a former Hartford Seminary Trustee, welcomed those present, both members of the mosque and those "brothers and sisters" who came to stand with them. Dr. Mansoor said he had been receiving messages all day expressing sorrow about the tragic loss of life and expressing support for Muslim communities. "Know that you are loved," he told those assembled, adding that a majority of Americans do not hate or fear Muslims. State Sen. Saud Anwar, a Hartford Seminary corporator, also announced that the Berlin Mosque would hold a press conference on Sunday at 4 p.m. with public officials who will reiterate that "an attack on one is an attack on all." They will address the issue of making all places of worship safe, he said. Other speakers of different faiths echoed the sentiment that an attack on one is an attack on all. Rabbi Herb Brockman spoke of the 49 killed and said, "Their blood cries out to all of us. God's judgment is upon us all. ... We pray that God will forgive all of us for what we are doing to each other." Fatma Antar, a former Hartford Seminary Trustee, spoke as "a Muslim and as a mother" who was horrified by the "violent, senseless attack. ... We ask God for compassion, understanding and love for each other." [gallery ids="18218,18214,18219,18215,18216"]        
Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Perspectives on the Language of Scripture
Hear from top scholars on the language of Scripture in this special Hartford Seminary symposium. Faith, Belief, and a Compassionate Response: What it Means to be a Neighbor Father Joseph Cheah University of Saint Joseph The word “compassion” comes from the Hebrew word, rehem, which means a mother’s womb. To be compassionate is to have a deep feeling a woman has for the child that comes forth from her womb. In the parable of the Good Samaritan, it was the good Samaritan who exemplified this sort of compassion by offering liberating assistance to the half-dead man on the side of the road. Using Harvey Cox’s thesis of the primacy of faith over belief, Father Cheah will examine what this good Samaritan, a foreigner and a racialized other, teaches us about what it means to be neighbor and exemplifies for us the value of strangers in our midst. Dr. Deena Grant Exploring Jewish and Christian Translations of Scripture: Practical Applications Is translation interpretation? We will explore together ways that translation can influence meaning by discussing a variety of diverse translations of the identical Scripture passages. The Book of Job, Islamic Thought and the Gospels Dr. Steven Blackburn Retired from Hartford Seminary As a rising tide of Islamization began to engulf both Jews and Christians in Mesopotamia by the mid 8th century C.E., interpreters of Jewish scripture presented their writings in ways that were accessible to Muslims through preferences for vocabulary with an Qur’anic cast.  The translation of Pethion ibn Ayyub of the Book of Job betrays not only affinities to Islamic thought but simultaneously attempts to harmonize Job’s teaching with portions of the Gospels. Does Everyone in Heaven Speak Arabic? Dr. Suheil Laher Adjunct Professor at Hartford Seminary 'When God is angry, He sends revelation in Arabic. When He is pleased, He sends revelation in Persian.' What might have led someone to claim the Prophet Muhammad had said these words? The Qur'an is central to Islamic belief and practice, as God's words. But what exactly is meant by the phrase, “God's words.” Is Arabic “the language of God”? And if so, how much leeway is there for prayer and sermons to be in other languages? Will everyone in Heaven speak Arabic? Dr. Laher will discuss these theological and ritual questions, and how they impacted and were impacted by socio-political factors.
President Joel N. Lohr to Speak at Asylum Hill Congregational Church
President Joel N. Lohr will participate in the Lenten Speaker Series at Asylum Hill Congregational Church at 6:45 p.m. on Thursday, March 14. The topic is "Interfaith Dialogue." Also speaking on March 14 are Dr. Reza Mansoor, founding president of the Muslim Coalition of Connecticut and a former Hartford Seminary Trustee, and Rabbi Michael Pincus, senior rabbi of Congregation Beth Israel. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit this link. Asylum Hill Congregational Church is at 814 Asylum Ave. in Hartford.
DID YOU KNOW...
Hartford Seminary became the first seminary in America to open its doors to women, in 1889.
In 1902, Hartford Seminary was a founding member of the American Association of Schools of Religious Education.
The first American center for the study of Islam and Christian-Muslim relations opened at Hartford Seminary in 1973.
In 1990, Hartford Seminary became the first nondenominational theological institution in North America to name a female president.
Naming a Muslim to the core faculty was a first for nondenominational theological institutions in North America in 1991.
Hartford Seminary established the first Islamic Chaplaincy Program in America in 2001.
The first chair of Shi’i Studies in North America launched at Hartford Seminary in 2015.

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