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Dabru Emet: 20 Years Later

Call for Online Forum Participants

Dabru Emet resources:
Translations  |  Reception  |  Interreligious Statements  |  Text & Signatories [PDF]

Submission Form (20th Anniversary Online Forum)


Dabru Emet image of New York Times ad

In the late 1990s, the Institute for Christian and Jewish Studies (ICJS – now Institute for Islamic, Christian, and Jewish Studies) hosted the Jewish Scholars Project in Baltimore, Maryland. After several years of meeting, four interdenominational Jewish scholars published Dabru Emet (“Speak Truth”) as a full-page statement in The New York Times, The Baltimore Sun, and other major newspapers and religious internet sites on September 10, 2000. 

Consisting of eight claims, Dabru Emet is a Jewish statement on Christianity. The statement was signed by more than 170 rabbis and Jewish intellectuals (signatories grew to more than 220 over the following months), and generated both praise and criticism. In some ways, Dabru Emet served as a capstone to Jewish-Christian relations in the 20th century, and is a significant, as well as contested, moment in the fields of modern Jewish Thought, Jewish–Christian relations, and Interfaith / Interreligious Studies. 

As an organization devoted to inquiry around religion and religious difference, ICJS welcomed robust debate around Dabru Emet when it was published 20 years ago. In that same spirit, ICJS invites scholars and thinkers from around the world and across disciplines to revisit Dabru Emet in a yearlong, public-facing, online forum.

Call for Submissions

ICJS, in partnership with American Religion, welcomes scholarly essays for the forum that engage in critique as well as commemoration; historical reflection and engaged reframing; rigorous inquiry and creative imaginings. Essays might include, but are not limited to, the topics listed below. We seek the expertise of senior and junior scholars, alike, and are particularly interested in inviting scholars from diverse disciplines and perspectives. We are actively evaluating submissions with religious, racial, and gender equity lenses.

Prospective online forum contributors are asked to submit an abstract (up to 250 words) by September 1, 2020, for consideration. Selected essays (800-1,000 words in length) will be published on American Religion’s online platform.

  • Assessment of the Eight Claims: Scholars are invited to engage and assess any (or all) of the claims in the document.
  • Reception and Impact on Academic Fields: In what ways is Dabru Emet a milestone in Jewish Thought, Christian Thought, Jewish–Christian Relations, and / or Interreligious Studies?
  • Race and Power: Was this document solely written for a dialogue between White Jews and White Christians, or can it be a basis for dialogue between Jews and Christians of color and /or Christians of the Global South, Asia, and elsewhere? Can Dabru Emet address the many nuances in how race and power play a role in Christian and Jewish dialogue?
  • U.S. Religion(s) & Interreligious Engagement: What role do U.S. views on religion and pluralism play in Jewish–Christian and / or interreligious  dialogue? To what extent is Dabru Emet document specific to its U.S. context?
  • Value of Statements: How can we evaluate the efficacy of Dabru Emet? Is it a good teaching tool? Can it be in conversation with Christian statements, most of which have come out of a European Christian context? 
  • Translation & Translatability: Is Dabru Emet  known and engaged by religionists in particular geographic contexts? How have translations of Dabru Emet been rendered and received?

  • Abrahamic Dialogue: What role do Islam and Muslims play in Jewish–Christian  dialogue? Can Dabru Emet be a model for Jewish–Muslim dialogue? Christian–Muslim Dialogue? Is it a useful template or model for other forms of interreligious dialogue?
  • Political Solidarity: Is theological dialogue necessary for political solidarity and/or interreligious action? Can Christians and Jews engage in dialogue or cooperation without examining religious differences and similarities? 
  • Theology & Authority: Who is permitted to do and to authorize Jewish theology? Who gets to speak theologically for the Jewish community in interreligious contexts? Who speaks for the Jewish community that does not identify religiously or theologically? Who is left out of the conversation? Does Dabru Emet speak to Jewish theological concerns in 2020?  
  • Teaching & Pedagogy: How is Dabru Emet used in college, university, seminary, and rabbinical school classrooms? What has been the experience of teaching this document to students?