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Cambridge Interfaith Programme

Conference header featuring a piece of cloth worn by time

"Cultures of continuity: Jewish-Muslim conversations on a contested ideal" is the inaugural conference of the Forum for Jewish--Muslim theology and thought.

The three-day conference takes place this October (24-26), at the Humboldt University, Berlin. It opens with a joint introduction from hosts Asher Biemann (University of Virginia) and Ufuk Topkara (Humboldt University, Berlin). The full programme includes keynotes on "Women's Midrash and Tafsir" (Celene Ibrahim, Groton School/Boston Islamic Seminary) and "Interreligious theology and its relevance for Jewish-Muslim relations" (Ephraim Meir, Bar Ilan University). There will be eight panel sessions, plus a text study and presentation. Participants will also hear music from the Nur Ben Shalom Ensemble.

Representing Cambridge, Dr Daniel Weiss (Coexist--Polonsky Senior Lecturer in Jewish Studies in the Faculty of Divinity) will give a paper on 18th-century philosopher-theologian Moses Mendelssohn. He explains:

"My paper will examine Moses Mendelssohn's presentation of commitment to Jewish law vis-à-vis participation in modern culture and society. I highlight the surprising ways in which (in contrast to common portrayals of Mendelssohn) it retains important continuities with previous Jewish tradition. 
"Greater awareness of these continuities can also enable a different understanding of precisely where Mendelssohn is innovative, as well as ways in which his approach to Jewish law in fact constitutes a radical challenge to typical notions of 'integration' into a majority culture, both in the eighteenth-century German context and in the present day." 

Dr Weiss is in Germany throughout autumn 2022, as a Humboldt Fellow at the University of Tübingen.

All conference events will be at the Humboldt University, Berlin. The full programme is available to download in PDF format (via the Berlin Institute for Islamic Theology). Those who would like to attend are asked to register by 21 October. Contact Maeve McGrath (email) for further information and to register.

The Forum for Jewish--Muslim Theology and Thought is a joint initiative hosted by Berlin Institute for Islamic Theology, Humboldt University, Berlin, Virginia Center for the Study of Religion/Forum on Democracy, and the University of Virginia Jewish Studies Program.

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