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New Senior Seminar in Inter-Religious Relations

last modified Oct 14, 2019 10:36 AM
The very first Senior Seminar in Inter-Religious Relations is "Divine Law and Human Intervention: Judaism, Christianity, Islam and the US Constitutional Debate". It will take place on Thursday, 1 February, 11.00 am – 1.00 p.m. in the Lightfoot Room, Faculty of Divinity.

This term the Faculty of Divinity is introducing a new Senior Seminar series in Inter-Religious Relations. Our first session will be on 'Divine Law and Human Intervention: Judaism, Christianity, Islam and the US Constitutional Debate', and will take place on Thursday, 1 February, 11.00 am – 1.00 p.m. in the Lightfoot Room, Faculty of Divinity. 

Speaking: 

- Dr Holger Zellentin, Lecturer in Classical Rabbinic Judaism, Faculty of Divinity, Cambridge

Responding:

- Dr Daniel Weiss, Polonsky Coexist Senior Lecturer in Jewish Studies, University of Cambridge
- Dr Sophie Lunn-Rockliffe, Lecturer in Patristics, University of Cambridge

This paper will contextualize the current debates in US constitutional law within the broad context of the Jewish, Christian and Islamic legal culture. Exploring the tension between human innovation and an ancient code seen as authoritative suggests striking similarities between these traditions and sheds new light on religious and political particularities of past and present.

After our opening seminar on 1 February, we will host Professor Asad Ahmed (University of California, Berkeley, and Visiting Fellow, University of Cambridge) on 1 March.

Senior Seminar: An Overview

Since its founding, the Cambridge Inter-Faith Programme has pursued questions of ‘interactive particularity’ among religious traditions, in terms of both academic research and public engagement.  This intellectual approach seeks to avoid the assumption of universal or ahistorical essences or impulses present in all cultures and individuals, sometimes marked as ‘comparativist’ approaches. Instead, it draws attention to the formation of the identity-bearing particularities of religious traditions, exploring the internal character, the forms of intentionality and the practices associated with these identities. In this respect, we seek to keep in play both theological and religious studies approaches, in the expectation that this mode of enquiry will yield a deeper understanding of the complexities associated with inter-faith relations, and how and where we might begin to analyse them.

In establishing the Seminar, we encourage a broad and inter-disciplinary interpretation of ‘interactive particularity’. The heuristic value of each of these explorations lies in how studying the profound engagements between religious ideas, embodied lives and texts develops a more nuanced understanding of the traditions themselves. Topics include Jewish, Christian, and Muslim engagement with Platonism, the role of religious texts and traditions of interpretation, the use of particular spaces by separate religious traditions, and contemporary engagements with science, ethics, the law, and forms of secularism. We are also interested in analyses of ‘inter-faith’ and related ideas as objects of study, such as evaluations of conceptual and methodological approaches associated with this field.    

 

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