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Bronfman Family Annual Lecture:“Who is Good? (Besides Us)?”

The lecture, Monday, Feb. 14 at 8:00 PM, is the one public event during the 24th annual International Theology Conference under way at the Institute Jerusalem campus from Feb. 13-17, 2011
The public is invited to attend The Edward Bronfman Family Foundation Annual Lecture on Religious Pluralism: “Who is Good? (Besides Us),” on Monday, February 14, 2011, at 8:00 PM at Shalom Hartman Institute.
The lecture is the one public event during the 24th annual International Theology Conference under way at the Institute Jerusalem campus from February 13-17, 2011. More than 50 Jewish, Christian, and Muslim theologians and intellectuals from North America, Europe, and Israel will convene for discussion and study groups, on the theme, “The Good Person,” from the perspective that each participant brings, rooted in his or her religious experiences and understandings. For more information on the conference, click here.
The Bronfman Lecture will feature a panel discussion among Jewish, Christian, and Muslim scholars participating in the conference.
Religion hopes, among other things, to affirm and cultivate goodness in people. How does it do so? Furthermore, what do the standards of goodness within a religion imply about those outside it? Can others be good, or as good, as “we” are? Do we expect more or settle for less when we look at those from another community?
As our communities increasingly include more diverse groups living close by one another, people with different standards of goodness encounter one another more frequently. What do Judaism, Islam, and Christianity offer to make the encounters positive and respectful, and perhaps even creative?
Professors Yehuda Gellman (Israeli Jewish), Halima Krausen (German Muslim), and Peter Pettit (American Christian) offer their perspectives and engage these challenging questions. Karla Suomala will moderate as the three panelists discuss the question of who is good according to their understanding of the other religions and as it is manifested in individuals of different faiths.
Lecture Speaker Biographies
Dr. Yehuda Gellman is emeritus professor of philosophy at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. Gellman was a long time fellow at the Hartman Institute and recently a fellow at the Center for Philosophy of Religion at University of Notre Dame, IN. He has lately finished a book on a contemporary concept of the Chosen People.
Shaykha Halima Krausen is the spiritual leader of the German-speaking Muslim community in Hamburg and the president of the Initiative for Islamic Studies. Since receiving her authorization for independent practice of Islamic theology and law (ijtihad) in 1993, she has been teaching Islamic studies at Hamburg University and in Muslim and interfaith study circles in Germany and the U.K. in cooperation with the Muslim College, the Radical Middle Way, the Leo Baeck College, and the An-Nisa Society, focusing on Qur’anic hermeneutics and theology of religions in modern civil society and writes regularly on questions in this context. While studying in Hamburg as well as with scholars from different Muslim schools of thought in the U.K., France, Egypt, Sudan, Pakistan, Iran and Turkey, she was part of a team that produced a German translation of the Qur’an with extensive commentary notes.
Dr. Peter A. Pettit is director of the Institute for Jewish-Christian Understanding and Associate Professor of Religion Studies at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, PA. He is a Lutheran pastor and a theological advisor to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the International Council of Christians and Jews, and the World Council of Churches. From 2002 to 2006, he was the founding chair of the Council of Centers on Jewish-Christian Relations. His doctoral work in the field of Bible and Early Judaism, at Claremont Graduate University, included a year of study and research as a Rotary International Scholar at the Hebrew University, as well as the residential Finkelstein Dissertation Fellowship at American Jewish University. During the summer of 2010 he was in residence at the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies at a National Endowment for the Humanities institute on medieval Christian representations of Jews and Judaism. His research focuses on the hermeneutics of self-understanding in Jewish and Christian communities, particularly as they relate to one another.
Dr. Karla Suomala is an Associate Professor in Religion at Luther College in Decorah, IA. She teaches courses in Bible, Judaism and Interfaith Engagement. Currently she is working on a project that explores ideologies of reform in the Hebrew Bible and developing a series of case studies that explore religious pluralism from the perspective of college and university students.   Recently named the Nena Amundson Distinguished Professor at Luther, Karla has begun a two year project entitled “Crossing Boundaries:  Searching for Wholeness in a Multifaith World.”  Her publications include Moses and God in Dialogue:  Exodus 32-34 in Postbiblical Literature (Peter Lang, 2004) and chapters in Covenantal Conversations: Christians in Dialogue with Jews & Judaism (Fortress Press, 2008).

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