Learned Ignorance: Intellectual Humility among Jews, Christians and Muslims

Learned Ignorance: Intellectual Humility among Jews, Christians and Muslims

by James L. Heft, Reuven Firestone, Omid Safi
     
 

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Constructive interreligious dialogue is only a recent phenomenon. Until the nineteenth century, most dialogue among believers was carried on as a debate aimed either to disprove the claims of the other, or to convert the other to one's own tradition. At the end of the nineteenth century, Protestant Christian missionaries of different denominations had created such…  See more details below

Overview


Constructive interreligious dialogue is only a recent phenomenon. Until the nineteenth century, most dialogue among believers was carried on as a debate aimed either to disprove the claims of the other, or to convert the other to one's own tradition. At the end of the nineteenth century, Protestant Christian missionaries of different denominations had created such a cacophony amongst themselves in the mission fields that they decided that it would be best if they could begin to overcome their own differences instead of confusing and even scandalizing the people whom they were trying to convert. By the middle of the twentieth century, the horrors of the Holocaust compelled Christians, especially mainline Protestants and Catholics, to enter into a serious dialogue with Jews, one of the consequences of which was the removal of claims by Christians to have replaced Judaism, and revising text books that communicated that message to Christian believers.

Now, at the beginning of the twenty-first century, many branches of Christianity, not least the Catholic Church, are engaged in a world-wide constructive dialogue with Muslims, made all the more necessary by the terrorist attacks of September 11. In these new conversations, Muslim religious leaders took an important initiative when they sent their document,''A Common Word Between Us,'' to all Christians in the West. It is an extraordinary document, for it makes a theological argument (various Christians in the West, including officials at the Vatican, have claimed that a ''theological conversation'' with Muslims is not possible) based on texts drawn from the Hebrew Bible, the New Testament and the Qur'an, that Jewish, Christian, and Muslim believers share the God-given obligation to love God and each other in peace and justice.

The Institute for Advanced Catholic Studies brought together an international group of sixteen Jewish, Catholic, and Muslim scholars to carry on an important theological exploration of the theme of ''learned ignorance.''

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This explicitly theological and exceptionally engaging collection of scholarly essays represents trilateral dialogue in its most refined yet attractively challenging form. Here Jewish, Christian and Muslim authors address core mysteries of their faiths that bear consequentially on the whole 'Abrahamic' monotheistic tradition. Their compelling unity of purpose is to unravel, by thinking pluralistically to the limits of knowledge beyond specific questions, that condition of wonderment and intellectual humility before ineffable truth."—John Borelli, Georgetown University

"The book is an outcome...that brought together an international group of 16 Jewish, Catholic an Muslim scholoars to carry on an important theological exploration of the theme of ''learned ignornace"—Islamic Horizons

"Overall, this is a very valuable addition to the growing body of interreligious literature."—Catholic Library World

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780199769315
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date:
08/01/2011
Pages:
360
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.00(d)

Meet the Author

James L. Heft, S. M., a member of the Society of Mary (Marianists). In 2006, he became the Alton Brooks Profess of Religion and the President of the Institute for Advanced Catholic Studies at the University of Southern California. Along with three other leaders in Catholic higher education, he founded in 1996 Catholic Education: A Journal of Inquiry and Practice. He has published and edited twelve books and written over 160 articles and book chapters.

Reuven Firestone is professor of medieval Judaism and Islam at Hebrew Union College in Los Angeles and founding co-director of the Center for Muslim-Jewish Engagement. His published works include Jihad: The Origin of Holy War in Islam, Children of Abraham: An Introduction to Judaism for Muslims, and Jews, Christians, Muslims in Dialogue: A Practical Handbook.

Omid Safi is the Chair for the Study of Islam at the American Academy of Religion. A leading Muslim public intellectual in America, he is a professor of Religious Studies at University of North Carolina. He is the author of The Politics of Knowledge Premodern Islam and Memories of Muhammad: Why the Prophet Matters.

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