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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Is the United States a “Christian nation,” a “Judeo-Christian nation,” or a “secular nation?” This has been a much-debated question throughout American history. As religious diversity, congregational membership, and racial demographics have shifted, some American Christians have created a reactionary response, which includes violence, as evident at the Capitol Insurrection. Their goal is to “take back” and “restore” America’s Christian identity. In this 3-week course, ICJS Protestant Scholar Matt Taylor explored the theological and historical ideas that underpin the American Christian nationalist narrative, examining both the deep roots and the present-day realities of this Christian nationalist identity in the U.S. and consider the threat that it poses to American religious pluralism.
Salat, the ritual prayer performed by Muslims five times each day, is the centerpiece of Islamic spiritual practice. What is the significance of prayer in the daily life of Muslims? How does it encapsulate the whole of Islamic tradition? What is its content, structure, and meaning? ICJS Muslim Scholar Zeyneb Sayilgan, Ph.D., led an exploration of these questions through the study of Islamic texts: the Qur’an and Hadith.
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.