Encountering the Stranger
A Jewish-Christian-Muslim Trialogue
Publication Year: 2012
Published by: University of Washington Press
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Title Page, Copyright Page
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Prologue: Trialogue Is the Way
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Twenty-first-century strife—including but not limited to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and controversy a decade later about an Islamic community center near Ground Zero in New York, war in Iraq and Afghanistan...
I. In the Shadow of the Holocaust: Safeguarding the Stranger
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The title of this book uses a term—encountering—whose meanings can include volatility and even violence. Encountering may involve meeting an enemy or an adversary, perhaps suddenly and unexpectedly...
1. “You Shall Not Murder” : A Foundation for Trialogue?
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No ethical injunction is more important than “You shall not murder.” Human civilization depends on it. So does the value of religion, including Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. In one way or another, all three of those...
2. Whom May I Kill?
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When participants in this trialogue spent time together at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) in Washington, D.C., they obtained horrific reminders of the human capacity for violence against the other, whose allegedly “essential” characteristics often...
3. “Where Is Your Brother?” : Jewish Teachings on the “Stranger”
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Contemporary philosopher Emil L. Fackenheim penetrates the core of the Holocaust when he writes that, in the aftermath of this genocide, “philosophers must face...
4. Canopies of Hospitality: Post-Shoah Christian Faith and Making Room for Others -
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“Look you,” how Hamlet’s commentary unfolds. His world is wounded to the core. Hamlet declares the overarching expanse of creation’s firmament, its “most excellent canopy,” to be nothing more than “a foul and pestilent congregation of vapours.”...
5. The Place of Non-Muslims in the Islamic Concept of the “Other” : The Need for Rethinking Islamic Tradition in the Pursuit of Religious Pluralism
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All religions have problems when they encounter the stranger. As a Muslim scholar, I argue that the ways in which Muslims have traditionally viewed non-Muslims are unacceptable in the twenty-first-century world. My inquiry explores how the concept...
6. The Jewish Roots of Emmanuel Levinas’s Metaphysics of Welcome
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In his essay titled “Religion and Tolerance,” the twentieth-century French philosopher Emmanuel Levinas speaks of Judaism as a “religion of tolerance” at its core. Such tolerance, for Levinas, is not to be understood in its customary sense as open-mindedness before the doctrines...
II . The “Other” in Scripture and Tradition: Valuing the Stranger
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While exploring the permanent exhibition at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) in the autumn of 2007, sixteen of the contributors...
7. Encountering the Stranger in Classic Rabbinic Judaism
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Judaism, the religion of the Jewish people, understands itself to be based on a revelation from heaven. Like the other Abrahamic faiths, it is covenantal, but in distinctive ways. According to both the biblical story and later rabbinic teaching, the Israelites were chosen from among...
8. Encountering the Stranger: Aspects of Medieval Christianity
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Judeo-Christian monotheism teaches radical identification with strangers. Jews are to recall their past exile in Egypt: “I have been a stranger in a strange land” (Exodus 2:22); gentile Christians, although now “of the [Jewish] household of God,” are to recall...
9. Noah and Others: Pluralism in Ancient and Modern Judaism
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In the concrete language characteristic of midrash, the Midrash Rabbah on Genesis struggles with the theological question of why God decided to create a creature as imperfect as the human being. The words of the midrashic text illuminate abstract concepts...
10. Normative Islamic (Qur’anic) Teachings on Pluralism: Reflections on “The People of the Book”
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On September 11, 2001, the United States arguably suffered the most serious foreign attack ever on its soil. American intelligence agencies identified the perpetrators as being of Muslim and Arab origin. The post–September 11 world is radically different...
11. Reflexivity and Tawallî between Jews, Christians, and Muslims
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The twenty-first century is beset by seemingly intractable problems which point to the fact that we are suffering a deep spiritual crisis. Despite positive developments in many spheres of life, scientific breakthroughs among them, humanity still lacks the wisdom...
12. Encountering the Other: Enemy or Stranger?
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Unless one takes a longer view of history and considers the Andalusian period in medieval Spain when Muslims, Christians, and Jews lived side by side and, “despite their intractable differences and enduring hostilities, nourished a complex culture of tolerance...
III. The Hospitality of Pluralism
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The legendary Irish musician Tommy Sands has shown for decades that seemingly fragile and powerless realities—for example, his guitar and voice singing songs that he recalls from the past or writes for the present and future...
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Jerusalem, June 1971. I had not come to the Holy Land as a tourist. Several weeks earlier, I learned that my sister Carol was in an Israeli psychiatric hospital, diagnosed as schizophrenic. My parents told me that her doctors...
14. Bearers of the Rings: Reflections on Christian Spirituality and the Theology of Religions
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The situation could hardly be more complex: a Jew who raises a Christian orphan girl is challenged by a Muslim sultan to respond to the question, “Which religion is the true one?” To make matters even more complicated, the scene takes place in Jerusalem. How will the Jewish...
15. Litarafoo: The Dialogical Method
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So-called newsworthy information concerning “others” and their societies around the world often reveals a lack of dialogical interaction. We often encounter cultural and religious differences without understanding the contexts of these differences and our relation to them...
16. Loving the Stranger: Intimacy between Jews and Non-Jews
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I am a Jew. There is no branch of Judaism that would deny this, despite my maternal grandmother’s marriage to a non-Jew, despite my having celebrated Christmas throughout my childhood, despite my occasional affection for bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwiches...
17. When Certainty Becomes Immaterial
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North America, and in particular the United States, has never allowed me to forget who I am. Long before the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon in 2001, I was made to know that I was the outsider. As a Muslim living on a continent where religion plays a larger...
18. Interreligious Dialogue beyond Absolutism, Relativism, and Particularism: A Catholic Approach to Religious Diversity
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Catholic approaches to interreligious dialogue begin with three models for understanding religious diversity: exclusivism, inclusivism, and pluralism.1 With regard to non-Christian religions, however, this typology has become a stumbling block...
Epilogue: What Should Be Remembered?
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As Encountering the Stranger draws to a close, what is worth remembering about this book? Its readers, of course, will provide the most important responses to that question, but Elie Wiesel’s proposition...
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Editors and Contributors
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Publication Year: 2012
Series Title: Stephen S. Weinstein series in post-Holocaust studies