ICJS hosts scholars, authors, clergy, activists, and educators to bring you information and knowledge on the intersection of religion in the arenas of history, theology, politics, education, or interpersonal relationships. Click below to use the Resource Finder to see all past, current and upcoming events.
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Muslims refer to the One God as Allah. In the popular imagination, the Muslim God is often perceived as alien and other than Christian and Jewish conceptions of God. In this three-week course we will turn to primary sources like the Qur’an and Hadith (Prophetic sayings) and explore what pictures emerge of the Divine. Participants will engage with secondary sources by reading and listening to Muslim voices as they relate to God through prayer, poetry and music. Through study of the Muslim conception of God, we will uncover a Qur’anic posture of interreligious dialogue that affirms sameness and difference alike.
The 2022 Manekin-Clark lecturer Dalia Mogahed of the Institute for Social Policy and Research sketched a portrait of an American Muslim community that is young, well-educated, entrepreneurial and religiously engaged to more than 100 gathered at the Islamic Society of Baltimore and several hundred online. She also reported troubling levels of Islamophobia, particularly among Catholics and white Evangelical Christians, but for Muslims as well. “So why should we care about Islamophobia if we don’t happen to be a Muslim?” she said. “Because according to neuroscience, fear makes us more accepting of authoritarianism, conformity, and prejudice. Fear kills freedom.”
When is a society economically just? Can our religious texts and traditions still offer wisdom and insights for grappling with economic justice today? Can interreligious learning inspire us to improve the economic environment in our communities and bring greater opportunity and dignity for all? This course will draw upon Jewish, Christian, and Muslim traditions to explore how discrepancies in wealth and status affect our religious communities and impact broader society.
Martin Buber is one the most influential thinkers of the 20th century. This course explored his notion of dialogue as expressed in his corpus of writing, ranging from comparative mysticism to biblical commentary, existentialism to poetry, philosophy to cultural Zionism, and psychology to diplomacy. Buber artfully guided his readers beyond the conventional confines of east/west and religious/non-religious through the myriad sources and influences that comprise the experiences, themes, and aspirations of his 1923 magnum opus, I and Thou. In addition to his classic work, the course looked at his works on Hasidism, mysticism, and exegesis, as well as his ruminations on Zionism and the Israeli-Palestinian impasse. Participants were invited to think about how Buber’s views on dialogue can inform not only their own perspective, but also how religious and political leaders can work together toward achieving this complicated, yet also simple dialogical orientation to the “Thou.” The course also raised the question of how the life of dialogue both disorients and enriches our lives.