Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Perspectives on the Language of Scripture | Hartford Seminary

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.

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