This short tribute to Rabbi Lionel Blue focuses on his spirituality, his interfaith work and his personal support to the author, Rabbi Michael Hilton. Lionel was quite at home discussing his faults and foibles in public. He was equally at home in churches and synagogues, and back in 1980 he predicted the growth of a militant Islam and realized the importance of dialogue with Muslims. But above all, he taught us that God loves us as we are.
Since the mid-1980s, interfaith issues have been arguably the major theme of European Judaism. Public events reflected in these pages have been commented on from an interfaith perspective. President Ronald Reagan's visit to German war graves in 1985 provoked a bitter Jewish-Christian argument about forgiveness after the Holocaust. The humanitarian crisis in Bosnia in 1993, the massacre in Hebron in 1994, Rabin's assassination in 1996, the millennium and the 9/11 terrorist attacks all provoked much comment. The back issues of this journal must be regarded as a major resource for the modern history of dialogue between Jews, Christians and Muslims. Few of the articles were written specially; nearly all are conference papers, recorded speeches or reprinted from other publications. In spite of that, the editors have managed to capture all the big events and issues.
This article describes some of the formative years of the Standing Conference of Jews, Christians and Muslims in Europe (JCM) and gives an overview of some landmarks in the growth and expansion of interfaith dialogue in the intervening forty years since its creation. What was originally seen as a peripheral religious activity for a few people on the margins of their respective religious communities has become a major area of religious commitment, the subject of academic study and of interest to local government and international politics, with journals devoted to the subject. One consequence is that in the past the different religious traditions might have sought to create their own theology that defines what another faith is or should be; now they need a theology that accepts and finds ways of living with other faiths as they understand and define themselves to be.
Judaism and Political Theology
Alana M. Vincent
The mobilization of theological concepts within the political sphere is increasingly dependent upon the capacity of those concepts to bear the weight of a discourse of universalism; this universalization becomes problematic when such theo-political concepts are then taken up as terms of commonality in interreligious dialogue. This article will focus on one such concept, redemption, as a case study, uncovering the ways that assumptions of universalism might betray the mutual understanding towards which dialogue aims.
Signs of Hope
Guat Kwee See
Over the last fifty years, Muslims and Christians have never talked so much with each other, according to Jean Claude Basset. However, he writes that it is mainly a small elite group of scholars who are doing the talking Ismail Faruqi described Muslim-Christian dialogue as a 'failure, a struggling desperately to survive', and in vain, with no visible results. He argued that Muslim-Christian dialogue has mostly been led by Christians; Muslims as 'invited guests' have thus not been free to speak being obligated to their 'hosts'. Furthermore, participant Muslims are often selected by Church authorities, rather than elected or appointed by their communities. Although a good number of dialogues have been organized at the international level with the support of religious organizations, they claim little impact beyond more local initiatives, have not prevented mistrust and conflicts from occurring, and have offered little help in healing wounds and restoring peace.
Comics in Dialogue with Other Arts
Throughout the history of comics, there has been dialogue between comics and other arts: architecture and literature, caricature and cartoons, painting and music, film and photography, and so on. Some of these, such as architecture, caricature and painting, were present from the very beginnings of comics as a modern art form, in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. For example, the importance of architecture was already apparent in the Northern Looking Glass in a page from 23 January 1826 featuring a cross-section of a building as the framework for a cartoon plate resembling a comics page, though without the sequentiality of the latter.
Exploring China’s State Report
Halme-Tuomisaari and Miia
As states become parties to international human rights treaties, they undertake the obligation to provide periodic state reports to UN human rights treaty bodies. Officially, state reports are paramount vehicles of factual information of a given state’s human rights situation. Unofficially their status may be contested and their data reduced to state propaganda. This article examines this transformation through the submission of China’s first state report to the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. The article shows how human rights documents of diverse genres join together in a continual ceremony of dialogue. It connects minute details of treaty body proceedings to more general developments in the international human rights field, and argues that beneath the veneer of diplomatic conduct accompanying human rights dialogue lays an intense struggle for representation and legitimacy. It further discusses how this struggle reflects the recent rise of Kantian theories of international law. These theories seek to re-evaluate the foundational concept of international law, namely ‘sovereign equality’, and, thus continue the mission civilisatrice that has characterized elements of international collaboration for centuries.
The narrative in BT Kiddushin 81b about R. Hiyya bar Ashi tells of a sage who waged a battle with his Urge after he refrained from engaging in sexual relations with his wife. He, however, did not reveal to her the battle being waged within him, but rather pretended to be an ‘angel’. When his wife incidentally found it, she disguised herself as a harlot and set out to seduce him. After they had engaged in sexual relations, the rabbi wanted to commit suicide. The traditional readings view R. Hiyya as the hero of the tale. This article claims that the aim of the narrative is to present the rabbi as being carried away by dualistic-Christian conceptions. The article further argues that the topic of the narrative is not sexual relations, but dialogue.
Maria-Amelia Viteri and Aaron Tobler
This article illustrates the multiple ways in which anthropology graduate students crossed the boundaries of educational discourses by encouraging themselves, other students, activists and community leaders to speak in dialogical contexts (Giroux 2005: 73). They did this through the organisation of the Interrogating Diversity Conference. The authors organised this conference in March 2007 at the American University, Washington, DC, to expand scholarship on surveillance and policing in an egalitarian forum. We discuss how students can engage their departments and faculty in building the students' knowledge of both anthropological theories and methodology through shared scholarship. We show how students can 'apply' anthropology to audiences, which will in turn influence policy decision making. In addition, the authors explore how academics can transform knowledge sharing into tools that shape broader political and social dialogue.
David Rosen, Richard Marker and Seymour Reich
New York, NY, March 3, 2008 – In an historic first, the International Jewish Committee for Interreligious Consultations (IJCIC), that represents world Jewry to other world religions, has issued a call for dialogue between Muslims and Jews. The statement follows the recent call to peace, dialogue and understanding issued by Muslim scholars on February 25, 2008.