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EPILOGUE Robert J. Daly, SJ. Boston College April 2002 Iwill arrange my comments under four headings: (1) what we had hoped to accomplish; (2) what we actually did accomplish; (3) what we may have learned from this; (4) what this might now enable us to do in thefuture. This epilogueisbeingwritten in April, 2002,twenty-twomonths after the conference. To draw what good we can from this delay, writing at this distance allows me to summarize and draw conclusions with, perhaps, a bit more balance. On the other hand, my listening again to the audio record in the course ofpreparing this publication has enabled me to relive something of the original experience. (1)As I indicated in the introduction, we had unrealistically hoped that, by the time ofthe conference, the five presenters, and perhaps also the twoprincipals inthe "Girard-Lonergan Conversation," wouldhavealready exchanged with each other not just first drafts, but even second drafts of their papers, and that the conference itself would then be invited to join a conversation that was already well under way. As it turned out, I couldn't muster the organizational skills and resources needed to achieve this. But reflecting after the fact, I can see that so carefully detailed a preparation might have been counterproductive. Carrying out our original plan might have been at the cost ofimposing more ofa Western analytic pattern on our discussion ofother traditions, and of!thus smothering from the outset some of the insight that did occur. We had also hoped that the opening "Girard-Lonergan Conversation" would provide an analytic resource for the rest of the meeting. But that did not happen to any great extent. (2)The proximate preparation for this conference began with a draft version ofmy paper being sent to the other major presenters. I opened with 194Robert J. Daly, SJ. a series of brief sketches of salient points in the often unhappy but also occasionally felicitous history ofChristianity on this theme ofviolence and institution. Then, after emphasizing the importance of distinguishing between the normative and the descriptive, I tried to make some sense, both rational and theological, of all this data, especially by reflecting on the influences and consequences ofthe belief in hell, on the one hand, and the hope of universal salvation, on the other. The next major religious theme was Judaism. Reuven Kimelman provided a detailed—and, for some, overwhelming—glimpse of the way the talmudic traditions deal with the theme of war and its restrictions. This highly text-oriented and interpretation-of-texts driven presentation seemed to many, at first, to be irrelevant to mimetic theory and to the need to be confronting actual violence. But, in the course of Sandor Goodhart's response, and in the course ofthe at times spirited discussion that followed, we began to understand that how one interprets texts and traditions, and how these are played off against each other, is indeed fundamental to the way Jews typically try to deal with the practical challenges of violence. Qamar-ul Huda's presentation on IsIamfocused stronglyonthe way the spiritual teachings of Islam—i.e., islam as a religion rather than Islam as a political or national institution—foster peace. The initial reaction was somewhat similarto the reaction to Kimelman's paper: disappointment that Huda was not talking more directly about contemporary Muslim extremist violence. But here, too, the discussion enabled us to catch a glimpse both of the inner spiritual resources of Islam, and of the limitations ofthe range of concerns that Westerners typically bring to the table. Francis Clooney, in his presentation ofHinduism, strongly emphasized the great variety in Hinduism, stressing that one cannot speak ofHinduism as such. Much of this variety comes from the several millennia of Hindu history, and from the complex relationships to Buddhism and Jainism which, themselves, are important parts of Hindu history, and also from the fact that only recently have Hindus, after centuries of Moslem or Colonial domination, once again returned to positions of political and military power. Finally, Christopher Ives's presentation on Buddhism, in a way similar to my presentation on Christianity, but more extensively or more consequently, pointed out the various ways in which Buddhism has been politically and...


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