Monday, June 14, 2010

From World Mission to Interreligious Witness-Visioning Ecumenics in the 21st Century

Now there's a conference title :) And it's the reason I have been so quiet of late-I'm trying to boil down the exciting things I've been working on into a 20 minute paper and trying not to think about how I'm trying to persuade people I know something about interreligious dialogue. If in doubt, talk in Arabic. And I'm not that good at that either :) The conference is in Trinity College, Dublin and starts on Wednesday. My paper is on Thursday afternoon.

Anyways, forgive my lack of blogging, and have a look at my abstract instead :)

Biblical Theology and Interfaith Dialogue-is there a need for a clearer language?
While the three Abrahamic faiths (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) share a wealth of common themes in their respective sacred scripture, there exists a marked difference in the reception of these texts. This is present both in terms of a more critical study of the texts themselves in an academic environment, and in the response to and use of the texts by a modern audience, regardless of a faith based or a secular viewpoint.

In order therefore to facilitate a more fruitful and universal understanding and respect of the sacred texts of the three religions, it is necessary to explore both the commonalities and differences between the three theologies based on the texts. Many adherents of the three religions are not familiar with the thread of commonality that runs through the three sacred texts (Hebrew Bible, New Testament and the Qur'an); particularly in relation to the images of God presented in each and it is my argument that this would provide a viable starting point for interfaith dialogue.

To keep this study at manageable level, I propose that examining the divine designations used to develop an image of God in all three texts makes a worthwhile foundation so that both academics and lay followers of all three religions may develop a deeper understanding of each others faiths. In order to illustrate this argument, this paper shall use the image of God as Creator, and related divine designations (names, titles and epithets) in each of the key texts in the discussion.

My chair for the Parallel Paper Sessions is Gladys Ganiel from TCD. She has a rather cool blog and I'm glad to see she lectures on (and coordinates) the Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation Studies Programme in the ISE. The only handier qualification in a chairperson is a boxing referees certificate :)

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