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RESEARCH: Book now to attend CIP's Webinars in October & November 2020

last modified Sep 15, 2020 08:33 AM
CIP Research Seminars go online with talks by Dr Justin Merritt and Dr Safet HadžiMuhamedović.
RESEARCH: Book now to attend CIP's Webinars in October & November 2020

Detail from Edward Coxere, Narrative of Edward Coxere, 1647-1684, Copyright Library of Congress Manuscript Division Washington, D.C.

CIP Research Seminars normally take place in the Faculty of Divinity on Friday afternoons with tea and cake, but this term we will be going online (so remember to bring your own tea and cake!). 

Chaired by Dr Giles Waller, these 40 minute talks will explore a wide range of interfaith topics from an academic perspective. There will be an opportunity for attendees to ask questions after each talk.

Join us by registering your interest (see Eventbrite links after the descriptions of each talk) and we will send you a Zoom webinar link the day before the event.

Friday, 30 October at 1.30pm: 'Spatio-Temporal Proximities: Bosnian Dinaric Karst after Unhoming Ruptures' by Dr Safet HadziMuhamedovic

As a religiously plural space, Bosnia was particularly vulnerable to the strong thrusts of ethno-religious homogenisation in the twentieth century. In this seminar, Dr HadžiMuhamedović considers the karst Field of Gacko in the south-eastern Bosnian highlands – where he conducted long-term ethnographic research – to raise questions about the spatio-temporal qualities of communal (inter-faith) relations and syncretic rituals. Journeying through conversations with his interlocutors in one of the world’s most politically polarised landscapes, he suggests that the echoes of the Christian-Muslim-Roma alliances in Gacko form a defiant grammar of home in the future tense. This seminar calls for an anthropology of proximity within and beyond the Bosnian Dinarides.

To attend this talk, register here.

Friday, 27 November at 1.30pm: 'Starting from a different place: radical dissent and the reception of Islam among early Quakers' by Dr Justin Meggitt

Radical dissenters in seventeenth-century England produced some of the most striking and unexpected interpretations of Islam and Qur'an in the Anglophone world, from works of Qur'anic textual criticism to claims about the incompatibility of Islam with slavery. In this seminar, Dr Meggitt will scrutinise the contextual and theological foundations of these unusual understandings of Islam.

To attend this talk, register here.

NEWS: Press Release: Scripture and Violence book out today

last modified Sep 01, 2020 03:20 PM
Scripture and Violence, edited by Dr Julia Snyder and Dr Daniel H. Weiss, is now out and available at a bookseller near you.

Scripture and Violence Book Cover

PRESS RELEASE:

Scriptures rarely a significant motivating factor behind violence, say researchers

Active engagement with ‘difficult’ passages in Qur’an and Bible could help generate creative solutions to present-day problems, new book argues

Cambridge, UK, 1 September 2020 Many people misunderstand the relationship between religion, scripture and violence, a new book argues. Some people worry that scriptures such as the Qur’an and the Bible fan the flames of violence in the world today, while others insist that they are inherently peaceful. According to an international team of researchers, the reality may be more complicated than either set of people think.

When acts of violence are reported in London, New York, or the Middle East, people often wonder what role religion might have played. Especially if Muslims are involved, there can also be a tendency to point fingers at the Qur’an. These knee-jerk reactions are not very helpful, the authors of Scripture and Violence suggest, and can lead to increased polarization in society, as well as unwarranted animosity against Muslims and people of other faiths.

Bringing together scholars from the University of Cambridge and other institutions around the world, the contributors to Scripture and Violence set out to clarify the relationship between violent-sounding passages from the Bible and the Qur’an and the actions of Jews, Christians, and Muslims in the real world. They concluded that there is much less cause for alarm than many people think.

Contrary to popular belief, scriptures are rarely a significant motivating factor when acts of violence occur, the researchers found. One researcher interviewed potential and actual ISIS recruits, and discovered that the Qur’an had not played a significant role in motivating them to join. A desire to be involved in “bad-ass-do-goodery” was much more influential.

Another researcher analysed Muslim debates about suicide attacks, and found that while some Islamic scholars had cited verses from the Qur’an to argue that suicide attacks are permissible in certain limited contexts, other Islamic scholars had used the Qur’an to argue that Muslims are prohibited from carrying out such attacks at all. These scholars all treated the Qur’an as sacred, but they disagreed about what actions were permissible. Political arguments were also much more prominent in the debates than discussion of the Qur’an, which played only a marginal role.

The authors of Scripture and Violence also argue that there is no need to be afraid of scary-looking scriptural passages.

“Some people think that the best strategy for preventing violence is to pretend certain scriptural passages don’t exist,” explains co-editor and New Testament scholar Julia Snyder. “But that’s counterproductive. Instead, find out how people within these religious traditions actually understand these scriptures.

“When the Qur’an or the Bible talks about violence, religious people most often understand that as linked to specific historical contexts. Or they say that very specific conditions would have to be met for violent action to be taken. They don’t think these passages call for violence now – even people who view their scriptures as the Word of God.”

Clearing up misunderstandings about these issues will help overcome existing divisions within society, the researchers hope, and enable people of all faiths and none to focus on tackling urgent economic and social issues together.

“As lockdowns end and societies open up again, and as we seek to rebuild our communities together, it’s important not to let unwarranted anxiety about people of other backgrounds or religious faiths get in the way,” emphasizes co-editor Daniel H. Weiss from Cambridge’s Faculty of Divinity. “This is a great time to let go of polarizing and inaccurate ideas about how religion and scripture actually work. In fact, within these religious traditions, active grappling with tough passages can generate creative new solutions for dealing with present-day concerns.”

According to the researchers, addressing fears about scripture and violence can enable people to recognize other prominent aspects of Muslim, Jewish, and Christian scriptures – such as concern for the underprivileged and an emphasis on justice – and use scripture to reflect and debate together about what a good society would look like.  

Scripture and Violence is available from 1 September 2020. Published by Routledge, the book includes contributions from international experts on Jewish, Christian, and Muslim texts and traditions, who discuss key issues in interpretation of the Bible and the Qur’an, and highlight the diverse ways in which Christian, Jewish, and Muslim communities understand scriptural texts. A variety of contexts are visited, from British India to Nazi Germany, from the Jerusalem Pride Parade to American evangelicals and the US military, and from CNN to European university classrooms.

 

 

Publication information – Julia Snyder and Daniel H. Weiss, eds., Scripture and Violence. London: Routledge, 2021. ISBN 9780815362579, £34.99 / $44.95.

Publisher’s website – https://www.routledge.com/Scripture-and-Violence-1st-Edition/Snyder-Weiss/p/book/9780815362579

RESEARCH: Julian Göpffarth and Esra Özyürek on Muslim Public Intellectuals in the German Far Right

last modified Jul 15, 2020 11:19 PM
See the recent article by Julian Göpffarth and Professor Esra Özyürek, 'Spiritualizing Reason, Rationalizing Spirit: Muslim Public Intellectuals in the German Far Right'.

'As these intellectuals combine the tropes of German nationhood and European civilisation, the far right builds connections with the growing Muslim demographic in Germany', note Göpffarth and Özyürek in their recent article published in Ethnicities. Access the full article here.

NEWS: Professor Esra Özyürek Interviewed on Hagia Sophia

last modified Jul 15, 2020 05:43 PM
NEWS: Professor Esra Özyürek Interviewed on Hagia Sophia

Hagia Sophia, image by Arild Vågen, 2013 (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Hagia Sophia, which featured in the cityscape of Istanbul as a church, a mosque and a museum, has been 'reverted' to a mosque by presidential decree on 10 July 2020. Professor Esra Özyürek, in an interview for a Religion Media Centre article, considers the building’s international significance and the timing of the decision.

 

NEWS: Anthropology of Travel, Tourism and Pilgrimage Goes Online with Success

last modified Jul 15, 2020 07:39 PM
CIP Research Associate, Dr Safet HadžiMuhamedović, has convened with his SOAS colleagues the first online summer school in Anthropology of Travel, Tourism and Pilgrimage.
NEWS: Anthropology of Travel, Tourism and Pilgrimage Goes Online with Success

Dr Safet HadžiMuhamedović

The coronavirus lockdown raised various questions for the team organising the 2020 SOAS Summer School in Anthropology of Travel, Tourism and Pilgrimage. Previous courses relied on workshops in the Migration Museum, a trip down the Old Way, a medieval pilgrimage route in Sussex, with the British Pilgrimage Trust, Unseen Tours of London, and various other practical components.

The 2020 course, however, had to be significantly remodelled, not only to adapt to online teaching but also to consider the meaning of (im)mobility, (un)homeliness and religion in the time of coronavirus, as well as the pursuit of justice linked to the Black Lives Matter movement. With participants and guest speakers from sixteen different countries, the course offered lectures, visual, musical and writing workshops, debates and after-hours ‘pub’ socials. For example, through a Karl Popper-style debate, the participants considered whether the public statues of persons associated with slave trade must be removed. The course also reflected on various aspects of inter-faith relations, such as shared pilgrimage sites, post-conflict coexistence and the preservation of religiously plural heritage.

For further information about the course, please contact Dr Safet HadžiMuhamedović at sh639@cam.ac.uk. 

 

RESEARCH: Professor Irit Dekel and Professor Esra Özyürek on Antisemitism in Germany

last modified Jul 13, 2020 10:27 PM
Who is recognised in Germany as entitled to speak publicly about the state's colonial, racist and antisemitic heritage?
RESEARCH: Professor Irit Dekel and Professor Esra Özyürek on Antisemitism in Germany

Professor Esra Özyürek

 

 

Professor Irit Dekel and Professor Esra Özyürek consider the ramifications of the disparagement of Achille Mbembe and other cases. Read their article 'Perfides Ablenkungsmanöver', published in German language in Zeit Online

NEWS: Entangled and Disentangled Otherings project awarded DAAD-Cambridge funding

last modified Jul 13, 2020 09:21 PM
Professor Esra Özyürek has been awarded the DAAD-Cambridge funding for a three-year-long series of workshops titled Entangled and Disentangled Otherings: Critical Perspectives on the Relationship of Antisemitism and Racism.

Three planned workshops will build on a workshop organized by Center for Anti-Semitism Research in Technical University, International Consortium for Research on Antisemitism and Racism, and Martin-Buber Chair for Jewish Thought and Philosophy at the Goethe University Frankfurt am Main, funded by Fritz Thyssen Stiftung and Alfred Toepfer Stiftung F.V.S. The series we will organize at Cambridge will be a collaboration between Cambridge Interfaith Programme at Divinity Faculty, Antisemitism Research Center at Technical University, Berlin, and Pears Institute for the Study of Antisemitism at Birkbeck University, London. It will bring together leading scholars who work on Antisemitism, Islamophobia, and other kinds of racism and discrimination, and especially those who focus on the complicated relationships among them. In our first meeting in Cambridge we will talk about what are the conditions that make alliances between activist groups possible and also difficult. The second meeting will be done with a select number of scholars who took part in the first and second workshops and will focus on a book manuscript and the third workshop will be dedicated to working on a research grant to be submitted to major research funders in the UK and in Germany

 

RESEARCH: Contagious Crowds: Religious Gatherings in the Age of Coronavirus

last modified Jul 13, 2020 09:14 PM
Professor Esra Özyürek and Dr Michal Kravel-Tovi reflect on religious gatherings in the age of coronavirus
RESEARCH: Contagious Crowds: Religious Gatherings in the Age of Coronavirus

Professor Esra Özyürek

"Governments have used considerable power to restrict the freedom of their citizens as they seek to implement successful public health policy in response to the COVID—19 pandemic. One particular area of consequence is the way in which the temporary closures of places of worship and restrictions on social gatherings have imposed secular authority on public, communal religious life. Michal Kravel-Tovi and Esra Özyürek consider the tensions inherent in this collision of the secular and religious realms, from the vilification of religious groups as irresponsible and dangerous to a future digital reordering of religious hierarchy and community."

Read the article here.

 

NEWS: Shared Sacred Landscapes project awarded Public Engagement Starter Fund

last modified Jul 14, 2020 01:53 PM
Public Engagement Starter Fund grant awarded to Dr Safet HadžiMuhamedović and CIP.
NEWS: Shared Sacred Landscapes project awarded Public Engagement Starter Fund

Ajvatovica pilgrimage, Bosnia

Dr Safet HadžiMuhamedović and CIP have been awarded a Public Engagement Starter Fund grant for a project titled Shared Sacred Landscapes: Interfaith Dialogues in Cambridge. 

Safet will develop an exhibition of anthropological photography, a public symposium and an interactive website to further our understanding of sacred environments shared by different religious communities. To be inaugurated during the UN World Interfaith Harmony Week in 2021, the exhibition will showcase diverse examples of co-orchestrated rituals, feasts and shared sacred spaces that speak of rich historical and present-day encounters in the polities increasingly partitioned along the lines of religious identity. Building upon Safet’s ethnographic research of syncretic religion in the Mediterranean, the symposium will consider the importance of shared landscapes and their main obstacles in different contemporary contexts. The project will also establish a partnership and knowledge exchange between the Cambridge Inter-Faith Programme (CIP) and the Cambridge Central Mosque.

For further information about the project, please contact Dr HadžiMuhamedović at sh639@cam.ac.uk.

 

NEWS: Scripture & Violence Project Awarded Impact Grant

last modified Jul 14, 2020 01:53 PM
A grant has been awarded to Dr Julia Snyder, Dr Daniel Weiss, and CIP to equip religious and interfaith leaders to address common concerns about religion, scripture, and violence.

A variety of online and print resources are being developed for leaders of religious and interfaith organizations to use in training their own members to grapple with scriptures that seem to condone violence – from their own tradition or other traditions – and to respond to concerns in wider society about these scriptures and the religious traditions that consider them sacred. The resources are designed to allow group leaders easily, confidently, and effectively to facilitate nuanced discussions about these issues.

A £10,000 grant from the Arts and Humanities Impact Fund at the University of Cambridge will support development of these resources, which focus on scriptures from the Christian, Muslim, and Jewish traditions. 

The project builds on academic research contained in Snyder and Weiss, eds., Scripture and Violence (London: Routledge, 2020), and a series of AHIF-funded impact events organized by Dr Giles Waller and Dr Weiss in 2019. 

The project coordinators are currently seeking religious and interfaith organizations to help pilot test materials, at online or in-person workshops. If your church, mosque, synagogue, interfaith group, or student religious society is interested in holding such a workshop, please contact Dr Snyder at jas249@cam.ac.uk.

Resources will be available at www.scriptureandviolence.org beginning later this year.

 

NEWS: Divinity Dispatches - Launch of Faculty of Divinity Lockdown Website

last modified May 04, 2020 02:12 PM
A new website has been launched to enable the Faculty of Divinity & CIP to keep in touch with colleagues, friends and students during lockdown

'Divinity Dispatches' - a recently launched website from the Faculty of Divinity and CIP offers online access to content that specifically responds to the COVID 19 pandemic and subsequent lock-down.

Developed to informally support and communicate with our many and varied stakeholders during this period of confinement, Divinity Dispatches features online access to public lectures, research seminars, interviews, updates, and other online resources. It includes an 'interfaith cook book' with recipes contributed by colleagues, which we hope will be added to as we use this time to reflect on ritual, seclusion, food and fasting.

Visit the website here, and follow the Twitter account here.

NEWS: CIP welcomes Professor Esra Özyürek

last modified Apr 17, 2020 03:32 PM
Prof Esra Özyürek has been announced as the new Sultan Qaboos Professor of Abrahamic Faiths & Shared Values & CIP Academic Director

Professor Esra Özyürek has accepted election to the Sultan Qaboos Professorship of Abrahamic Faiths and Shared Values from 1 October 2020.  She is joining the Faculty of Divinity from the London School of Economics, where she is currently Professor in European Anthropology and Chair in Contemporary Turkish Studies. Professor Özyürek will also become Academic Director of the Cambridge Inter-Faith Programme.

 

NEWS: Call for papers on 'Responsibility & Scripture' for ASA Conference 2020

last modified Feb 12, 2020 01:01 PM
Invitation to submit a paper abstract for our panel ‘Responsibility and Scripture’ at the forthcoming Conference of the Association of Social Anthropologists of the UK and the Commonwealth (ASA), taking place at the University of St Andrews from 24-27 August 2020.

 

Panel title: Responsibility and Scripture

[Panel no. 16 | Stream: ‘Who speaks, and for whom?’]

Convenors: Dr Safet HadziMuhamedovic (Faculty of Divinity, University of Cambridge), Dr Daniel H. Weiss (Faculty of Divinity, University of Cambridge), Dr Julia Snyder (Centre for Advanced Studies, University of Regensburg)

The call for papers is now open and closes on 15 March 2020. 

Short abstract:

How can we rethink the relationship between scriptures and violence in terms of responsibility? Can scriptures be responsible in and of themselves? Or are they taken as an alibi for the interpretative act? What sorts of agency can we distinguish in the social lives of scriptures? Who (or what) is answerable and when?

Long abstract:

Scriptures are variously put into practice, to sanction morality, justify everyday actions, politics and momentous changes. Other people’s scriptures can be employed to impute violence to them, even distribute blame to entire communities of faith. So, how can we think responsibility through sacred texts and their political articulations? Who is entrusted with responsibility and when? What are the limits of responsibility? Does divine agency ever absolve human actions? And, if so, can the divine (text) ever be held responsible? Does responsibility lie with the author, the text or the reader? And, are communities of faith responsible for how the scriptures they hold sacred are employed by their members? Should they defend them? How is authority of interpretation re-appropriated and challenged? These are pressing questions in a world continuously shaped by acts in reference to divine authority, a world ripe with friction regarding the dispensation of responsibility for assumed scriptural stipulations. Contributions should contextualise the relation of responsibility and scripture, whether in terms of violence, community and interfaith relations, gender and sexuality, nonhumans, environmental degradation, text and embodiment, historical imagination, contemplations on the future and politics of identity, or otherwise. Inspired by the ‘Scripture and Violence’ project of the Cambridge Inter-Faith Programme at the University of Cambridge's Faculty of Divinity, this panel invites anthropological, historical, theological and critical discourse analyses of responsibility as related to scriptures.

For more information on how to submit an abstract, please visit: https://www.theasa.org/conferences/asa2020/cfp.shtml

 

 

 

 

NEWS: CIP welcomes Dr Safet HadziMuhamedovic

last modified Jan 28, 2020 11:22 AM
Dr Safet HadžiMuhamedović has joined the CIP Team as a Research Associate in Inter-Faith Relations
NEWS: CIP welcomes Dr Safet HadziMuhamedovic

Dr HadziMuhamedovic

Dr Safet HadžiMuhamedović is an anthropologist of sacred landscapes, syncretism and inter-faith relations. He earned his PhD in Anthropology from Goldsmiths, an MPhil in Social Anthropology from the University of Cambridge and BA degrees in History of Art and Sociology from the University of Sarajevo and Kenyon College. He has conducted long-term ethnographic fieldwork in Bosnia, as well as stints of research in Palestine, Israel and the Basque Country.

Safet joined the CIP team in 2020, after convening anthropological courses on landscapes, religion, gender, kinship, Islam, social theories, politics, economics and research methods at SOAS University of London, the University of Bristol, Goethe University Frankfurt and Goldsmiths University of London. He continues to co-convene the Anthropology of Travel, Tourism and Pilgrimage Summer School at SOAS. He has also previously worked on a large-scale ERC project into transitional justice in Bosnia and Spain and co-founded the Centre for Interdisciplinary Research of Visual Culture in Sarajevo. Safet has been recipient of a number of prestigious research awards (including OSF, ERC and FCO). Safet has written on syncretic landscapes, temporality and historicity, war crime archives, political agency of ‘nonhuman’ beings and ontological approaches to the question of home. His current major project investigates syncretic cosmologies and subterranean rivers in south Bosnia. Safet is the author of Waiting for Elijah: Time and Encounter in a Bosnian Landscape (2018) and the co-editor (with Marija Grujić) of Post-Home: Dwelling on Loss, Belonging and Movement (2019).

 

 

RESEARCH: CIP Research Seminar, 7 February 2020 - Prof Wendy Pullan

last modified Jan 22, 2020 02:50 PM
Research Seminar in Inter-Religious Relations - Prof Wendy Pullan 'Identity Museums: The Secular-Sacred Institutionalisation of Conflict Memories' Friday, 7 February 2020 1.30-3.30pm in the Lightfoot Room

You are warmly invited to attend an Inter-Religious Relations Research Seminar (preceded by a sandwich lunch in the Selwyn Room at 1pm).

Prof Wendy Pullan has sent the following summary of her talk, which will be responded to by Dr Craig Larkin (King's College London):

It is common for ethno-national and religious conflicts to be commemorated in museums. They may be conceived as part of a post-conflict and/or reconstruction effort to mark past struggles in ways that are material and didactic. In some cases, the museums are designed to present both/all sides of the conflict, but more commonly, they are established by factional groups or partisan governments as a way to justify their own cause by memorialising the suffering of their own people. This seminar will examine these issues through several different museums of national and religious struggle including those in Northern Ireland, Cyprus, Lebanon, Israel and Palestine.

Colleagues, undergraduate, MPhil and PhD students from within and outside the Faculty of Divinity are welcome.

RESEARCH: CIP Research Seminar, 24 January 2020 - Dr Simone Kotva

last modified Jan 20, 2020 11:17 AM
Research Seminar in Inter-Religious Relations - Dr Simone Kotva 'An Enquiry Concerning Non-Human Understanding: Crossing Species by Crossing Disciplines' with Rev Dr Tim Jenkins as Respondent Friday, 24 January 2020 1.30-3.30pm in the Lightfoot Room

You are warmly invited to attend an Inter-Religious Relations Research Seminar (preceded by a sandwich lunch in the Selwyn Room at 1pm).

Dr Simone Kotva has sent the following summary of her talk, which will be responded to by Rev Dr Tim Jenkins:

The 'non-human' eludes our grasp. To speak of it is to invoke all the spirits, ghosts, gods, monsters and other immeasurable, inconceivable agencies that have shaped human ways of earth-living. Theology may have plenty of stories about the non-human, plenty of ways of talking about gods and the nature of gods, but how often does talking about the non-human and writing about the nature of non-humanity becoming thinking non-humanly? How does the story ofthe non-human actually help (if at all) to get results environmentally, ethically and politically? This seminar will explore 'god-talk' as insurgent discourse that crosses species by crossing disciplines, faiths, and practices.

Colleagues, undergraduate, MPhil and PhD students from within and outside the Faculty of Divinity are welcome.

RESEARCH: CIP Research Seminar, 17 January 2020 - Dr Jessica Frazier

last modified Jan 13, 2020 02:13 PM
Research Seminar in Inter-Religious Relations - Dr Jessica Frazier 'Doing Religious Studies with Gadamer: A Journey from Cultural Language, to Spiritual Bildung to Global Destiny' Friday, 17 January 2020 1.30-3.30pm in the Lightfoot Room

You are warmly invited to attend the first seminar of the Inter-Religious Relations Research Seminar Series held during Lent Term 2020. The seminar will be preceded by a sandwich lunch in the Selwyn Room at 1pm.

Dr Jessica Frazier has sent the following summary of her talk:

Hans-Georg Gadamer was a secular man who rarely mentioned religion – yet he worked with religious and/or spiritual traditions for most of his life, and was the author of a theory that placed inter-cultural understanding at the heart of human flourishing and fulfilment. In this seminar we will explore the way his account of inter-cultural understanding stands within broader Bildung-based philosophies of spiritual growth and communal health. We see how his readings of Greek thought took it as a religious worldview, how this was echoed in his treatment of poetic discourse and the arts, and how this informed his late expansion of hermeneutics into philosophies of self, education, art, health, and globalism. In all, we see how a Gadamerian reading of Religious Studies casts it as the creative ‘art’ of understanding, and the process by which the raw material of culture itself comes into being throughout history.

Colleagues, undergraduate, MPhil and PhD students from within and outside the Faculty of Divinity are welcome.

RESEARCH: CIP Seminar - Dr Elizabeth Fowden

last modified Oct 30, 2019 11:34 AM
Research Seminar in Inter-Religious Relations - Dr Elizabeth Fowden 'From Deucalion's Flood to Abrahamic Rain-Prayers: Approaches to Sacred Space in Athens Friday, 8 November 2019 1.30-3.30pm in the Lightfoot Room
RESEARCH: CIP Seminar - Dr Elizabeth Fowden

Le Temple de Jupiter Olympien et l'Acropolis d'Athenes showing the open air mosque in 1819, Louis Dupre 1825. Credit: American School of Classical Studies at Athens, Gennadius Library

Dr Fowden uses the complex pagan, Christian, Muslim and contemporary history of the Olympieion precinct to examine ideological conflicts and contradictory genealogies that co-exist in what the Cambridge urban historian Wendy Pullan calls a 'transitional topography'.

The respondent is Dr Maximilian Sternberg, Department of Architecture.

All colleagues, undergraduate, MPhil and PhD students in the Divinity Faculty or other areas (such as Classics, History, Modern and Medieval Languages, English, Philosophy and FAMES) are warmly welcome to attend this seminar.

Tea will be served at 3.30pm in the Selwyn Room.

RESEARCH: CIP Seminar - Marietta van der Tol

last modified Oct 30, 2019 11:22 AM
Research Seminar in Inter-Religious Relations - Marietta van der Tol 'The Christian Nation in Protestant Thought: Old Wine in New Bottles?' Friday, 25 October 2019 12.30-2pm in the Lightfoot Room
RESEARCH: CIP Seminar - Marietta van der Tol

Ambrogio Lorenzetti 'Allegory of the Good Government' (detail)

This seminar will discuss the kinship between the corpus Christianum and the Christian nation state, compare critical reflections to either from withing continental traditions of Protestant political thought, and reflect on its implications for responses to right-wing populism today.

The respondent is Dr Muthuraj Swamy (Director, Cambridge Centre for Christianity Worldwide, Westminster College).

All colleagues, undergraduate, MPhil and PhD students in the Divinity Faculty or other areas (such as Classics, History, Modern & Medieval Languages, English, Philosophy and FAMES) are warmly welcome to attend this seminar.

NEWS: 'Scripture & Violence' Nominated for Research Impact Award

last modified Oct 30, 2019 10:07 AM
Dr Daniel Weiss & Dr Julia Snyder's research project challenging assumptions about religious texts and acts of violence is recognised at Vice-Chancellor's Research & Impact Engagement Awards 2019
NEWS: 'Scripture & Violence' Nominated for Research Impact Award

Dr Giles Waller, Dr Daniel Weiss & Dr Julia Snyder

Representatives of CIP attended an awards ceremony recognising excellence in research, impact and engagement, hosted by the University of Cambridge's Vice Chancellor. 

'Scripture & Violence' is a two-year collaborative research project focusing on challenging prevalent contemporary assumptions about the relationship between scriptural texts and real-world violence, in relation to Jewish, Christian, and Islamic traditions. Questioning whether, for example, the Qur’an actually does play a major role in inspiring Muslim terrorism. Following two international conferences, 'Scripture & Violence' will culminate in an edited volume with Routledge (to be published in 2020), that is intended to be both academically rigorous and accessible to a non-academic readership.

The project was planned from the start with collaboration in mind – both in terms of the research itself and in relation to impact.  The two main academic collaborators (Dr Daniel Weiss and Dr Julia Snyder) came to the project from different countries, different academic fields, different institutions, and different religious backgrounds.  Other researchers who took part in the project came from Pakistan, Israel, and the US - all nations where religion plays a greater role in public discourse.  

As well as academic researchers, the conferences were attended by representatives of non-academic stakeholder organisations - such as Saleem Seedat (imam at Blackburn College and a member of the Scotland Yard Counter-Terrorism Advisory Board), and Nadiya Takolia (who coordinates public interfaith dialogue sessions involving scriptural texts for the Rose Castle Foundation).   

Partner organisations (Rose Castle Foundation, Coexist House and Faith in Leadership) developed workshops for UK faith leaders and other interested individuals, using the research as a platform for discussing how participants could facilitate discussion of these issues in their own local contexts.  These sessions fed back into the final versions of the research essays in the edited volume, tailoring the writing to appeal to as wide an audience as possible.

The research was also the theme for well-attended and highly praised public events at the LSE Faith Centre and Greenbelt Festival.

 

 

 

 

RESEARCH: CIP Seminar - Dr Ankur Barua

last modified Oct 30, 2019 10:18 AM
A seminar entitled ‘Hindu Visions of Divinity: Doctrinal Vignettes for Christians – Prolegomena to a Monograph’ – Dr Ankur Barua (Lecturer in Hindu Studies, Faculty of Divinity) on 11 October 2019

Friday, 11 October 2019: 1.30 – 3.30pm in the Lightfoot Room, Faculty of Divinity 

‘Hindu Visions of Divinity: Doctrinal Vignettes for Christians – Prolegomena to a Monograph – Dr Ankur Barua (Lecturer in Hindu Studies, Faculty of Divinity) 

Respondent – Dr Ruth Jackson (Sidney Sussex College)

Dr Barua will present 'work-in-progress' for a book he is writing.  He is seeking to systematically explore the validity of some specific translations of Indic terms into English which are offered in lectures to undergraduate students – can brahman, karuṇā, prasāda, and prema be translated as ‘God’, ‘mercy’, ‘grace’, and ‘love’, and if these translations are to be rejected because of their distinctively Christian inflections, examine how might we speak in English at all about Hindu life-worlds?

Second, he will offer the following invitation to those who might be doctrinally more orthodox: "If you wish to draw on your current understanding of Christian theology as a cognitive-experiential bridgehead into Hindu styles of spirituality, you could read these introductory vignettes."

Written from the perspective of a friendly critic, Dr Barua's book is an invitation to Christian theologians to articulate fully incarnationalist visions in which the motif of deep religious diversity is not relegated to parenthetical remarks or passing footnotes or stray appendices but is instituted as a topic that is as vitally integral to doctrinal reflection as the standard loci of creation, atonement and redemption.

 All colleagues, MPhil and PhD students in the Divinity Faculty or other areas (such as Classics, History, Modern and Medieval Languages, English, Philosophy, and FAMES) are warmly welcome to attend this seminar.

 

PUBLIC EVENT: CIP's Festival of Ideas Events 2019

last modified Oct 30, 2019 10:08 AM
Two talks hosted by CIP for the Festival of Ideas 2019 on the theme of 'change'
PUBLIC EVENT: CIP's Festival of Ideas Events 2019

Manual Capellari

CHANGING HEARTS & MINDS - 16 OCTOBER 2019, 7.30-9PM

A talk about the range of ways in which conversion has been experienced & narrated in different religious cultures. 

What does it mean to turn oneself - or be turned to - God? How, historically, have individuals imagined, experienced and narrated their own conversion and that of others? Do they conceive of religious conversion as a single moment or a lengthy – even lifelong – process? How have religious communities ratified or sealed conversions? 

These questions will form the focus for discussion between Sophie Lunn-RockliffeGiles Waller and Daniel Weiss from the Faculty of Divinity, considering the range of ways in which conversion has been narrated in early Christianity, rabbinic Judaism, and the Protestant Reformation.

Places are limited and registration is essential - book your free ticket here


THE END OF THE WORLD AS WE KNOW IT? - 22 OCTOBER 2019, 7.30-9PM 
A talk about how thinkers from antiquity to today have examined the notion of 'the end of the world'.

 

From the flood in the Hebrew Bible to our current climate crisis, the end of the world has repeatedly been nigh.

Hjördis Becker-Lindenthal, Simone Kotva and Sophie Lunn-Rockliffe from the Faculty of Divinity will discuss how different thinkers from antiquity to today have conceptualised the notion of 'the end of the world' in theological terms - from the idea that planetary death is a punishment sent from God for human sins or a self-wrought disaster brought on by heedless consumption. Is the way the current climate debate is being framed anything new? How do we know that the order of change in the natural world is now critical?

Places are limited and registration is essential - book your free ticket here

 

 

PUBLIC EVENT: Scriptural Reasoning at Greenbelt 2019, 26 Aug 2019

last modified Oct 30, 2019 10:09 AM
'Scripture & Violence - Challenging Assumptions': Scriptural Reasoning at Greenbelt Festival 2019 on 26 August at 11am
PUBLIC EVENT: Scriptural Reasoning at Greenbelt 2019, 26 Aug 2019

Scriptural Reasoning

If you are going to Greenbelt Festival this coming Bank Holiday weekend, join us for a 90 minute scriptural reasoning session to explore passages in the Jewish, Christian and Muslim sacred texts that seem to incite violence. 

Greenbelt 2019 is one of the world's largest Christian arts and activism festivals, and we are partnering with Rose Castle Foundation and Coexist House to run this event, with support from the University of Cambridge's Arts & Humanities Impact Fund.

More information is available here.

 

 

NEWS: Church Times coverage of CIP event

last modified Oct 30, 2019 10:09 AM
'Neither inherently violent nor safe' by Michael Wakelin in Church Times, 19 July 2019

Having attended a public event organised by Cambridge Inter-Faith Programme at the London School of Economic’s Faith Centre, Michael Wakelin, former Head of Religion & Ethics at the BBC asked to what extent do scriptural texts inspire terrorist acts in an article in Church Times (dated 19 July 2019). 

As a follow-up to this event, Cambridge Inter-Faith Programme will also be co-hosting (with Rose Castle Foundation) a scriptural reasoning event on the same theme at Greenbelt Festival on 26 August 2019.

 

 

RESEARCH: Mosaic Law Among the Moderns Workshop, 22 July 2019

last modified Oct 30, 2019 10:12 AM
CIP Conference Competition Winner Dr Paul Michael Kurtz organises event for international scholars - 'Mosaic Law Among the Moderns: Constructions of Biblical Law in 19th Century Germany'
RESEARCH: Mosaic Law Among the Moderns Workshop, 22 July 2019

'Marx the Modern Moses' by D. Bernstein c.1905

Through the figure of Moses, this event uncovered the place of biblical law in modern Germany. International and interdisciplinary scholars examined how ancient religious law impacted on discourse about modern legal structures during the consolidation of German states in the 19th century, tracing the transformations of Mosaic law in cultural, intellectual and religious history.

A keynote lecture by Prof Suzanne Marchand framed discussions which took place over three days (22-24 July 2019) in St John’s College between a group of 20 scholars, who looked at questions such as:

  • Did Moses plagiarize from Hammurabi?
  • Does biblical law have any place in a secular state?
  • Are modern Jews bound by ancient law?
  • How radical are the politics of Moses?

Speakers and discussants enjoyed thought-provoking papers and lively conversation, enriched by the group's diversity in career stage – covering professors, postdocs, and PhD students – and in discipline, which ranged from history and classics to religious, German, and Jewish studies. Attendees came from Germany and France, Italy and Israel, the UK and US, the Netherlands and Belgium.

Participants are now planning to publish their research, with some expansion into other fields to help round out the volume. 

Convened by Dr Paul Michael Kurtz, formerly Marie Curie Fellow at the Faculty of Divinity and Post Doctoral Research Associate at Queens' College, with funding from the Cambridge Inter-Faith Programme Conference Competition and DAAD-Cambridge Research Hub, and the European Union's Horizon 2020 programme.

Dr Kurtz is now a Postdoctoral Fellow of the Research Foundation–Flanders, based at Ghent University.

Programme

Day One, 22 July

17.00 -18.00 Session 1: Introduction - Paul Kurtz (Cambridge) & Keynote

Suzanne Marchand (Baton Rouge), 'Greek Freedom and Mosaic Law in 19th-Century Germany'

Day Two, 23 July

9.30–11.00 Session 2: Bible

Ofri Ilany (Jerusalem), 'The Israelites' Nationalgeist: Ethnography and Politics in Johann David Michaelis's Interpretation of Mosaic Law'
Felix Weidemann (Berlin), 'Moses or Hammurabi? The question to the origin of law in German ancient Near Eastern studies at the turn of the 20th century'
Chair: Dan Pioske (Savannah)

11.30–13.00 Session 3: Judaism

Irene Zwiep (Amsterdam), 'Post-constitutionalism? Conceptualizations of law in the nineteenth-century Wissenschaft des Judentums'
Judith Frishman (Leiden), TBC
Chair: TBC


14.30–16.00 Session 4: Comparisons

Cristiana Facchini (Bologna), 'Monitoring German Scholarship on the Bible: Jesuit & Catholic counter-narratives (1850s-1900s)'
Annelies Lannoy (Ghent), 'The Law and the Republic. Maurice Vernes and Aristide Astruc on the history of Mosaic Law and its instruction in the ecole laique'
Chair: TBC

Day Three, 24 July

11.00–12.30 Session 5: Politics

Nico Camilleri (Padua), 'Which law for the colonial empire? Rule of law and (Christian) religion in German colonialism'
Carolin Kosuch (Göttingen), 'Moses and the Left: Traces of the Torah in Modern Jewish Political Thought'
Chair: Emiliano Urciuoli (Erfurt)

12.30–13.00 Session 6: Concluding Remarks

Paul Kurtz (Cambridge)

 

RESEARCH: Scripture & The Enemy SRU Conference 2019

last modified Oct 30, 2019 10:15 AM
Scripture & The Enemy: Scriptural Reasoning in the University Conference 2019, 1-3 July 2019, Faculty of Divinity
RESEARCH: Scripture & The Enemy SRU Conference 2019

Artist Unknown 'Christian & Muslim Playing Chess'

This three-day international conference will explore how emnity and/or enemies are treated in the textual traditions of Judaism, Islam and Christianity.

Academics and researchers will present papers that examine the ways in which engaging with pre-modern texts and traditions can illuminate and challenge contemporary assumptions about emnity/enemies.

Guiding questions include:

  • Do these texts and traditions call for wholesale elimination of enmity, or is an ongoing functional role attributed to it?
  • Do these texts and traditions depict or call for cultivation of ‘good enemies’ without demonisation, polarisation or essentialising?
  • Are the most salient enemies always recognisably ‘other’ (that is, affiliated with a ‘different’ cultural group or religious tradition)?
  • What do these texts and traditions say about ‘enemies’ that are not persons? 

The programme (subject to change):

Monday, 1 July 2019

2.00–3.00: Arrival, Tea/Coffee

3.00–3.30: Welcome and Introductions

(Julia Snyder and Daniel Weiss)

3.30–4.30: Text Study 1 (small groups)

4.30–5.30: Discussion Session 1

Daniel Weiss (UK), Thou shalt have no enemies before me: Hatred, Vengeance, Third Party Evaluation, and the Suspension of Judgment in the Hebrew Bible

Hannah Hashkes (Israel), A Friendly Look at the Notion of EIVA (Animosity) in Rabbinic Law

Tuesday, 2 July 2019

9.00–10.30: Text Study 2 (small groups)

10.30–11.00: Tea/Coffee

11.00–12.30: Discussion Session 2

Faiza Masood (UK), The Role of Satan in Human Relations: A Quranic Examination

Kumar Aniket (UK), Role of External and Internal Enmity in Group Formation

Laurie Zoloth (USA), Bad Guy: Sin and Doubt in Climactic Change

12.30–2.00: Lunch (provided)

2.00–3.30: Text Study 3 (small groups)

3.30–4.00: Tea/Coffee

4.00–5.30: Discussion Session 3

David Barr (Canada), Figuring the Enemy: Christian Interpretations of the Muslim Threat in the Sixteenth Century

Nauman Faizi (Pakistan), Friendship at any cost? Sir Syed contra Mehdi Ali

Julia Snyder (Germany), Scripture and Violence

Wednesday, 3 July 2019

9.00–10.30: Text Study 4 (small groups)

10.30–11.00: Tea/Coffee

11.00–12.30: Discussion Session 4

Jim Fodor (USA), ‘Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you’: What Kind of Moral Psychology?

Jason Fout (USA), Being Loved as an Enemy

Miriam Feldmann Kaye (Israel), ‘Scriptural Reasoning’ in Jerusalem: Theological Discord and Discourses of Diagnosis in Hospitals

12.30–2.00: Lunch (provided)

2.00–3.30: Discussion Session 5

Mark James (USA), Blessed are the Scriptural Peacemakers: Origen, Wisdom, and the Harmonization of Scripture

Peter Kang (USA), Memory, Enmity and Clement of Alexandria’s ‘Unmindfulness of Injury’ 

Hanoch Ben-Pazi (Israel), ‘From Foe to Friend’ (S.Y. Agnon): Models of Brotherliness in the Hebrew Bible. Love and Hatred, Foe and Friend

 

PUBLIC EVENT: Scripture & Violence: Common Assumptions, Impact & Response - 27 June

last modified Oct 30, 2019 10:21 AM
Scripture and Violence: Common Assumptions, Impact and Response - Scriptural Reasoning & Panel Discussion at LSE Faith Centre on 27 June 2019, 7.30 -9.15pm
PUBLIC EVENT: Scripture & Violence: Common Assumptions, Impact & Response - 27 June

Sacred Desert window by Christopher Le Brun at LSE Faith Centre

Scriptural Reasoning & Panel Discussion

 

This event, organised by the Cambridge Inter-Faith Programme at the University of Cambridge's Faculty of Divinity, in partnership with Coexist House, will use scriptural reasoning to examine:

  • The role scriptures play in motivating or justifying violence. 
  • How do the texts of the Hebrew Bible and New Testament relate to violence committed by Jews and Christians?
  • Is there anything in the Qur'an that makes Muslims likely to perform acts of violence?
  • How should one respond when someone expresses concerns about these texts?

It will include presentations of research from the Cambridge Inter-Faith Programme's project on 'Scripture and Violence' and participatory discussion of scriptural texts (scriptural reasoning).

Panelists will include Dr Julia Snyder (Regensburg), Dr Nauman Faizi (Lahore),  Dr Daniel Weiss (Cambridge), and Prof David Ford (Cambridge).

Discussion will draw on a recent case where an asylum seeker asserted that he had converted to Christianity after discovering that it was a 'peaceful' religion, and was rejected for asylum by the Home Office on the grounds that the Bible contains violence. This case illustrates the practical impact that common assumptions about scripture and violence have in contemporary society. More information about this case can be found on the following links:

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/home-office-christian-convert-asylum-refused-bible-not-peaceful-a8832026.html 

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/21/world/europe/britain-asylum-seeker-christianity.html) 

Places are limited, so please book now to avoid disappointment via

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/scripture-and-violence-common-assumptions-impact-and-response-tickets-62973022004

Sandwiches and light refreshments will be provided.

 

RESEARCH: CIP Seminar - Prof John Barclay

last modified Oct 30, 2019 10:20 AM
Prof John Barclay (University of Durham) 'The Support of the Poor in early Judaism and early Christianity: A Comparison' Friday, 31 May 2019, Lightfoot Room, 2-4pm
RESEARCH: CIP Seminar - Prof John Barclay

Seminar poster

Professor John Barclay (University of Durham and CIP Visiting Fellow) will give a talk on 'The Support of the Poor in early Judaism and early Christianity: A Comparison'. Professor William Horbury will be the respondent.

Early Christianity inherited much from its Jewish matrix in concern for the poor, in ethos and theological rationale - but their social networks were different, and differently constituted. Prof Barclay's talk will enquire if this caused differences in the organisation, reach and rationale for their respective support systems for and among the poor. One emergent theme will be the significance of 'weak links'; another, the Christological reconfiguration of Jewish theology. 

Students and colleagues from all disciplines are warmly invited to attend - if you need further information, do contact Dr Giles Waller.  Lunch will be served beforehand.

RESEARCH: CIP Seminar - Prof Robert B Gibbs

last modified Oct 30, 2019 10:21 AM
Research Seminar in Inter-Religious Relations, Professor Robert B. Gibbs (University of Toronto), 'Commentary at the crossroads of the disciplines' Thursday 23 May 2019, Lightfoot Room, 12:00-13:30
RESEARCH: CIP Seminar - Prof Robert B Gibbs

Glossa Ordinaria - image courtesy University of Toronto

Professor Robert B. Gibbs (University of Toronto & CIP Visiting Fellow) will give a talk on 'Commentary at the crossroads of the disciplines'. The respondent is Prof John Barclay (University of Durham & CIP Visiting Fellow).  

Students and colleagues are welcome to attend - if you need further information, do contact Dr Giles Waller.  Lunch will follow the seminar.

 

RESEARCH: CIP Seminar - Professor Paul Shore

last modified Oct 30, 2019 10:44 AM
Research Seminar in Inter-Religious Relations, Professor Paul Shore (University of Regina and Visiting Fellow, Cambridge Inter-faith Programme), ‘The Jesuit Translation of the Qur'an in the Seventeenth Century’, Thursday 4 Oct 2018 12:00-13:30

A seminar presented by Professor Paul Shore, University of Regina and Visiting Fellow, Cambridge Inter-Faith Programme. The paper is titled 'The Spirit of the letter: The Politics of a 1622 Qur'an Translation in the Christian West', and a response will be given by Dr Justin Meggit. It will take place on Thursday 4 October, 12:00 – 13:30  in the Lightfoot Room, Faculty of Divinity. 

The session will be followed by informal refreshments in the Selwyn Room (Divinity).

All welcome. Please email team@interfaith.cam.ac.uk if you would like to attend.

Overview

My paper will have four parts.  First, I'll say a little bit on the early history of Latin translations of the Qur'an in the Christian West.  Then I'll explain the background pf the translation that will be the focus of my work at Cambridge: that of Ignazio Lomellini, a Genoan Jesuit who died in 1645.  I'll talk next about the tension between the desire to produce an accurate translation of the Arabic and the requirement Lomellini faced, given when and where he worked, to prove that Islam and its sacred text are "false," heretical," etc. To conclude I'll say a few words about the two Suras from the Qur'an I have chosen to concentrate on Srua 18 and 53, and what I hope to accomplish during my Fellowship in Cambridge

 

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RESEARCH: Book now to attend CIP's Webinars in October & November 2020

Sep 15, 2020

CIP Research Seminars go online with talks by Dr Justin Merritt and Dr Safet HadžiMuhamedović.

NEWS: Press Release: Scripture and Violence book out today

Sep 01, 2020

Scripture and Violence, edited by Dr Julia Snyder and Dr Daniel H. Weiss, is now out and available at a bookseller near you.

RESEARCH: Julian Göpffarth and Esra Özyürek on Muslim Public Intellectuals in the German Far Right

Jul 15, 2020

See the recent article by Julian Göpffarth and Professor Esra Özyürek, 'Spiritualizing Reason, Rationalizing Spirit: Muslim Public Intellectuals in the German Far Right'.