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Interreligious Textbook Research and Development

A Proposal for Standards

Johannes Lähnemann

The proposed Standards for interreligious textbook research and development are the result of an interreligious and international process of consultation. In the tension between a 'clash of civilisations' and the 'dialogue among civilisations', school textbooks have an important task. In many countries they are practically the 'teacher of teachers'. Based on the research project, “the representation of Christianity in textbooks of countries with an Islamic tradition“, discussions between scholars in different countries have taken place. The standards are proposed as possible guidelines for author teams and publishers, for education authorities and curriculum planners. Issues and tasks are envisaged under eight headings: covering the questions of an authentic portrayal of religions, developing a dialogue-orientated interpretation of religion, portraying religions' importance in the life of real people, dealing carefully with religions' history, with their cultural heritage and their context and with the controversial issues of mission, religious freedom and tolerance. Mutual understanding in the field of ethics should also be reflected. Last but not least, the life conditions of the students and their relevance for religious learning are to be taken seriously. Pedagogical and media didactic approaches have to accept the students as independent partners in the learning processes.

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