Learned Ignorance: Intellectual Humility Among Jews, Christians and Muslims

ISBN : 9780199769315

James L. Heft; Reuven Firestone; Omid Safi
360 ページ
166 x 235 mm

Constructive interreligious dialogue is only a recent phenomenon. Until the nineteenth century, most dialogue among believers was carried on as a debate aimed either to disprove the claims of the other, or to convert the other to one's own tradition. At the end of the nineteenth century, Protestant Christian missionaries of different denominations had created such a cacophony amongst themselves in the mission fields that they decided that it would be best if they could begin to overcome their own differences instead of confusing and even scandalizing the people whom they were trying to convert. By the middle of the twentieth century, the horrors of the Holocaust compelled Christians, especially mainline Protestants and Catholics, to enter into a serious dialogue with Jews, one of the consequences of which was the removal of claims by Christians to have replaced Judaism, and revising text books that communicated that message to Christian believers. Now, at the beginning of the twenty-first century, many branches of Christianity, not least the Catholic Church, are engaged in a world-wide constructive dialogue with Muslims, made all the more necessary by the terrorist attacks of September 11. In these new conversations, Muslim religious leaders took an important initiative when they sent their document,"A Common Word Between Us," to all Christians in the West. It is an extraordinary document, for it makes a theological argument (various Christians in the West, including officials at the Vatican, have claimed that a "theological conversation" with Muslims is not possible) based on texts drawn from the Hebrew Bible, the New Testament and the Qur'an, that Jewish, Christian, and Muslim believers share the God-given obligation to love God and each other in peace and justice. The Institute for Advanced Catholic Studies brought together an international group of sixteen Jewish, Catholic, and Muslim scholars to carry on an important theological exploration of the theme of "learned ignorance."


1. Preface James L. Heft
2. Introduction James L. Heft
Part I: Learned Ignorance and Interreligious Dialogue
3. Some Requisites for Interfaith Dialogue David B. Burrell
4. Learned Ignorance and Faithful Interpretation of the Qur'an in Nicholas of Cusa Pim Valkenberg
5. "Seeing the Sounds": Intellectual Humility and the Process of Dialogue Michael Signer
6. Finding Common Ground: "Mutual Knowing," Moderation, and the Fostering of Religious Pluralism Asma Afsaruddin
Part II: Must Particularity Be Exclusive?
7. Humble Infallibility James L. Heft
8. Chosenness and the Exclusivity of Truth: What does it Mean to be "Chosen"? Reuven Firestone
9. The Belief in the Incarnation of God: Source or Religious Humility or Cause of Theological Pride? Oliver-Thomas Venard
10. Supernatural Israel: Obstacles to Theological Humility in Jewish Tradition Shira L. Lander
11. Arrogance and Humility: a Quranic Perspective Afra Jalabi
Part III: Violence, Apologies and Conflict
12. After Augustine: Humility and the Search for God in Historical Memory Elizabeth Groppe
13. Apology, Regret and Intellectual Humility: An Interreligious Consideration Michael B. McGarry
14. Islamic Theological Perspectives on Intellectual Humility and the Conditioning of Interfaith Dialogue Mustafa Abu-sway
Part IV: Religious Pluralism
15. A Meditation on Intellectual Humility: A Fusion of Epistemic Ignorance and Covenantal Certainty Stanislaw Krajewski
16. Saving Dominus Jesus Daniel Madigan
17. Between Tradition and Reform: The Pre-modern Sufism and the Iranian Reform Movement Omid Safi
18. Epilogue: The Purpose of Interreligious Dialogue James L. Heft, Reuven Firestone, and Omid Safi


James L. Heft, S. M., a member of the Society of Mary (Marianists). In 2006, he became the Alton Brooks Profess of Religion and the President of the Institute for Advanced Catholic Studies at the University of Southern California. Along with three other leaders in Catholic higher education, he founded in 1996 Catholic Education: A Journal of Inquiry and Practice. He has published and edited twelve books and written over 160 articles and book chapters. ; Reuven Firestone is professor of medieval Judaism and Islam at Hebrew Union College in Los Angeles and founding co-director of the Center for Muslim-Jewish Engagement. His published works include Jihad: The Origin of Holy War in Islam, Children of Abraham: An Introduction to Judaism for Muslims, and Jews, Christians, Muslims in Dialogue: A Practical Handbook.; Omid Safi is the Chair for the Study of Islam at the American Academy of Religion. A leading Muslim public intellectual in America, he is a professor of Religious Studies at University of North Carolina. He is the author of The Politics of Knowledge Premodern Islam and Memories of Muhammad: Why the Prophet Matters.