Robin Wright, “War, Terrorism, and the Christian Exodus from the Middle East” The New Yorker (14 April 2017)
Pete Williams, “Supreme Court Scheduled to Hear Important Freedom of Religion Dispute” NBC News (16 April 2017)
Stanley Hauerwas, Gilbert T. Rowe Professor Emeritus of Divinity and Law, recently co-wrote an article for ABC Religion and Ethics, “A Sanctuary Politics: Being the Church in the Time of Trump”
In these fear inducing times, Christians can find sanctuary in the body of Christ as the politics through which God gives God’s people everything they need to be faithful. Christians can lean into the church as the impetus for political action, and the church as itself political action, by way of an account of history that inscribes the church as sanctuary for the oppressed wherever and however they are oppressed.
Read the article here.
Assistant Professor of Religious Studies and African and African American Studies, Joseph Winters, was recently interviewed for Princeton Alumni Weekly.
In it, Winters discusses his recent book, Hope Draped in Black:
The American way of thinking can be quite optimistic. We tend to embrace the idea that the future will always be better, and hope is seen as the opposite of the melancholic and the tragic. But it seems to me that the melancholic can actually make us aware of the suffering that has been — and continues to be — part of our world. It ensures that we don’t forget. So our hope for a better world really becomes dependent on the idea that we can continue to acknowledge suffering and violence and tragedy, in our past and in our present.
Read the interview here.
Jason Le Miere, “U.S.: Russia’s Ban of Jehovah’s Witnesses as ‘Extremist’ Shows that Moscow Views All Independent Religions as a Threat,” Newsweek (4 April 2017)
Undergraduate and graduate students invited to apply. Rolling application deadline during Spring 2017.
The Religions and Pubic Life Initiative at the Kenan Institute for Ethics, in collaboration with the Duke Center for Jewish Studies, is pleased to announce a summer short course, July 12-17, on religious exchange and historical collaboration among the three Abrahamic Religions at Bar-Ilan University, Israel. A competitive fellowship to attend is available, funded by the Center for Jewish Studies.
For any questions, contact Amber Díaz Pearson.
In front of a crowd filled with Duke and Durham community members of a variety of faiths, two religious leaders urged about 200 people March 27 to see humanity as the overriding feature that can unite people across beliefs, cultures and geographical boundaries.
In a discussion co-sponsored by Religions and Public Life at the Kenan Institute for Ethics, Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks and Imam Abdullah Antepli spoke about their personal journeys through religion, and how engaging in inter-religious dialogue has made them better people and deepened their appreciation for all religion.
“The true, beating heart of monotheism isn’t ‘one god, one truth, one way,’ but the unity in heaven creates diversity down here on Earth,” said Sacks, a British philosopher, scholar and former Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth. “It is in our particularity that is born our universality.”
The talk, moderated by Ellen Davis, Amos Ragan Kearns Professor of Bible and Practical Theology at the Duke Divinity School, highlighted the experiences of Sacks and Antepli as a way to show the value of civility among differences. Throughout their conversation, both men stressed how interacting with people outside their religions has shaped their life in positive ways.
“When I became an Imam, understanding Judaism and Christianity and Hinduism and Buddhism became an essential part of my intellectual and theological work,” said Antepli, Duke’s Chief Representative of Muslim Affairs and a Senior Fellow for the Duke Office of Civic Engagement. “It also became an essential response for problem solving.”
For example, Antepli said, he may spend just as much time – if not more – with people of other faith systems as he does the Muslim community. Doing so creates a deeper connection to his own religion at the same time he came to learn and appreciate others, he said.
Love, Sacks echoed, is what can be found at the heart of religion and allows inter-faith relationships to develop. He spoke of Mitzvah Day, an annual event for faith-based social action started in 2005, where members of England’s Jewish community volunteered time to offer acts of kindness to people outside their religion. By 2010, British Hindu organizations got involved, which also led to Muslims and Christians joining. Within a decade, each religious community decided to take part as a way to move beyond differences in beliefs to better the lives of others, Sacks said. Instead of face-to-face, they began interacting side-by-side.
“The beauty of side-by-side is it involves no theology, it’s street level and what it does isn’t produce agreement, it produces friendship,” Sacks said. “When you have friendship, you discover the people not ‘like us’ are people like us. When that happens, conversation can begin. It’s not easy, but when it is there, rooted in an existing friendship, it becomes real and it becomes strong.”
Duke and local community members are invited to Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks’ public talk at 5:30 p.m. March 28, “Not in God’s Name: Confronting Religious Violence,” the 2017 Terry Sanford Distinguished Lecture. The event will be held at the Fleishman Commons in the Sanford School of Public Policy. For more information, visit this website.
Please join us for a roundtable discussion of our colleague Mona Hassan’s new book Longing for the Lost Caliphate: A Transregional History (Princeton University Press, December 2016) with Richard Bulliet (Columbia University) and Vincent Cornell (Emory University).
Richard Bulliet and Vincent Cornell will present on the scholarly interventions of Longing for the Lost Caliphate followed by Mona Hassan’s response as the author and an open discussion of the book among those in attendance.
The roundtable is sponsored by the Triangle Seminar on the Histories of Muslim Societies & Communities, the Graduate Program in Religion, and Religions and Public Life at the Kenan Institute for Ethics.
Monday, May 1
11:30 am – 1:30 pm
225 Friedl, East Campus
The Duke Interreligious Scholars Program provides a context for students of multiple religious and nonreligious identities to build relationships, work on social issues of shared concern, connect their (non)religious identities with civic life and their professional goals, and increase their religious and interreligious literacy. The program combines curricular and co-curricular opportunities with intentional living, service, and social action. Visit the website for more information.