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Holy Scriptures in Judaism, Christianity and Islam

Hermeneutics, Values and Society


Edited by Hendrik M. Vroom and Jerald D. Gort

One of the prime issues that needs to be addressed in dialogical encounter between the three monotheistic faiths of the world is that concerning the authority and interpretation of Holy Writ, since Jews, Christians and Muslims alike consider their Scriptures to be divine revelation. It is incumbent upon each of these religions to apprise itself of the hermeneutical approach employed by the others in ascribing current meaning to ancient scriptural texts. This is not only important as a means for the enhancement of inter-religious understanding but is also of great interest to society at large. What role does the Jewish Bible, the Christian Bible, and the Qu'ran play in the thinking and the lives of contemporary Jews, Christians, and Muslims? How are these Holy Scriptures interpreted in terms of present-day circumstances? How much room do the three religions allow for bringing their basic messages and biblical-theological traditions into rapport with constantly changing social, political and economic conditions? Is the concept of hermeneutical space acceptable to these religions? If so, in what sense and at what level? Is it possible to identify the scopus of a text and then reconstitute it textually, as it were, in light of the social and ethical questions thrown up by new contextual developments? Can interpretive adjustments be made without jeopardizing the core message of the text involved? And do the three monotheistic religions stand open to one another for influence in this regard? Has one or another of them taken hermeneutical cues from the others? Is there room for mutual learning within the hermeneutical space mentioned above or is this a sacred space closed to all influence from other traditions? These are among the central questions raised and dealt with in this interreligious collection of essays, perhaps the only dialogical symposium to date to deal exclusively with the doctrine and hermeneutics of Holy Scripture in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.


Nathalie Roelens

Tout le monde en conviendra : lire n'est pas une activité de tout repos. La vue y est certes sollicitée, et même d'emblée, mais c'est pour aussitôt s'éclipser. S'il était purement vu, le texte (dans son sens étendu d'objet de l'interprétation) ne serait pas encore lu. La lecture proprement dite aura lieu dès l'instant où je cesse de voir ce qui m'est donné à voir pour me faufiler au-delà. J'embrasse à présent une réalité tri-dimensionnelle, je deviens le texte et le texte m'épouse, je flaire et je ressens, j'hallucine et je jubile, bref : je lis. La lecture sera synesthésique ou ne sera pas. Mon voyeurisme n'est plus trivial mais absolu. Or ce don de voyance que je m'accorde pour pallier mon aveuglement du départ n'est pas sans risques : je ne suis à l'abri ni de la méprise ni de la foi aveugle. Et c'est là le côté ironique de toute lecture. On a beau s'investir dans l'oeuvre, tôt ou tard l'enchantement sera rompu. Je me vois en train de lire, donc je ne lis plus. Le texte me renvoie soudain à mes propres limites. Il n'empêche que cet ébranlement du sujet soit souvent déclencheur d'une expérience esthétique, expérience qui porte également un enseignement : la lecture aujourd'hui engage quiconque s'y adonne à être prêt à abdiquer à chaque instant ou, du moins, à respecter l'illisible et l'inappropriable.
L'aboutissement de ce travail ce confond avec son présupposé majeur : inutile de vouloir maintenir le clivage entre lecture textuelle et lecture tout court (d'une image, du monde, d'un corps désiré, etc.), ce sont leurs empiètements qui restituent à ce geste ancestral et sans doute universel son souffle et son ampleur. Des scènes de perception entravée, lacunaire ou défectueuse, glanées dans le patrimoine littéraire et plastique contemporain (Proust, Cocteau, Michaux, Calvino, Manganelli, De Chirico, Alechinsky, Fuentes, Biély, Nabokov, Gombrowicz et tant d'autres) et appréhendées comme autant de simulacres de l'expérience de lecture, nous ont permis de cerner l'activité lectorielle au plus proche des textes.


Meyer Birgit

Focusing on images of evil, this paper explores differences between the modes of looking induced by the exposition All About Evil at the Royal Tropical Museum in Amsterdam on the one hand and the Christian setting in which the items on display feature in Ghana on the other. While images of evil are more or less harmless depictions in the context of the exposition, in the Ghanaian setting they may easily slip into evil images that render present the very force that they depict. Tracing the genesis of Christian attitudes towards images of evil in Ghana, the paper focuses on the continued importance of the image of Satan in popular Ghanaian Christianity. It is argued that Christianity propounds a religious aesthetics that induces particular “looking acts” and attitudes towards evil through which images of evil achieve a reality of themselves.

Megan Liu

the memorial affected ongoing discourse and relations? This article not only attempts to shed light on these questions but also, in response, demonstrates that the process of memorialization creates a representation of the past that is, in fact, relevant to the demands of the present through the

Edward L. Shaughnessy

and of the Warring States period [475-221 BCE ], during which, Nivison argues, the Bamboo Annals was undergoing multiple revisions. Perhaps the fairest way to present his argument is simply to quote his own most succinct account of it, which he published in an article titled “Epilogue to The

Uffe Bergeton

, which were presented at the conference “A Habit of the Heart: Confucianism and Contemporary East Asia” convened by the editors in 2011 in honor of Robert Bellah. The book revolves around Robert Bellah’s notion of a “civil religion,” which the editors aptly compare to one of Alexis de Tocqueville

Translator Connie Rosemont

nationalist sentiments and strong notions of “making the past serve the present” lay behind the monograph, an approach that was not a neutral position of scientific inquiry. At the same time, some scholars argued that the standards used by Western scholars to determine the origins of culture—text and smelting

Hong Xu (許宏)

Translator Yin Zhang

Complementing History” to a Linear Evolutionary Account 1.1 From the 1920s to the Present: the Practice of “Confirming the Classics and Complementing History” and Royal Genealogies In the early twentieth century, Wang Guowei 王國維 [1877-1927] deciphered the oracle bone scripts unearthed from the Yinxu 殷墟 [Ruins

Qingwei Sun (孫慶偉)

Translator Ady Van den Stock

by ascertaining the location of the capital of the Xia dynasty. In the process, the main body of Xia culture is identified as the culture of the Xiahou clan. The latter is presented as the main body because the inhabitants of the capital had very diverse origins, and their culture reflected different

Minzhen Chen (陳民鎮)

Translator Carl Gene Fordham

on the Ruins of Xia: Archaeology of Social Memory in Early China .” In Social Theory in Archaeology and Ancient History: the Present and Future Counternarratives , ed. G. Emberling , 291 - 327 . Cambridge : Cambridge University Press , 2016 . Li Min 李旻 . “ Chongfan xiaxu shehui jiyi yu