Founded in 2008 with a generous grant from the Henry Luce Foundation, CIRCLE is a joint initiative of Andover Newton Theological School (ANTS) and Hebrew College (HC). CIRCLE’s mission is to help prepare religious and ethical leaders for service in a religiously diverse society. The work of CIRCLE is rooted in the cultivation of authentic relationships across lines of difference. It is our conviction that through study, dialogue, and joint action, we can help to heal and transform the world. CIRCLE engages seminary and graduate students, academics, and communal leaders locally and nationally through our in-person and online initiatives.
In 2001, Hebrew College (HC) moved from Brookline, Massachusetts to a new hilltop campus in Newton it would share with Andover Newton Theological School (ANTS). Two years later, Hebrew College, which began in 1921 as a secular cultural institution, created a rabbinical school. For the last ten years, the staff and students of the newest Jewish seminary and the oldest Protestant seminary in the country—Andover Newton’s roots go back to the founding of Andover Seminary in 1807—have formed a partnership that has changed the way both schools think about their educational goals and the nature of their communities. Newton’s “Institution Hill,” named for the other ancestor of Andover Newton, the Newton Baptist Institute, has become “Faith Hill.”
This week we begin a new book in our annual cycle of public Torah reading in the synagogue. We turn to Leviticus, which begins with words that are at once evocate and ambiguous: “And He called unto Moses...” (Lev. 1:1). I find myself asking familiar questions: Why is God’s name not mentioned immediately? Why is […]
I am not a good debater. It is not because I do not have my own opinions or beliefs about the things that are happening in the world or the way the world ought to be. Rather, my lack of debating skills comes from the fact that I, more often than not, find myself wrapped up in the perspective of the person who sees the world differently than me. In these times of difference, I find that there is a deep part of me that desires to be able to intellectually empathize with this person, whoever they may be. When these moments of potential conflict arise, my initial instinct is not to dig my heels into my own position but to dive deeper into the lived experiences that have shaped the beliefs of the other person. I long to understand their story, but, even more than that, I long to see the ways our separate stories fit together in a larger narrative.
Sometimes people take things for granted. Muslims, for example, have been heedless about their historical heritage of religious tolerance and interfaith dialog until they were hit by the backlashes of 9/11. Suddenly then, most Muslims woke up to the harsh western accusations that claimed all Muslims hated the West and everything about it. Yet, the majority of Muslims practicing mainstream Islam and not its extremist ideologies did not hate the West or its citizens. But what was their proof? The lack of their expressions was further aggravated by the loud voices of the extremists who claimed to be representing the 1.5 billion Muslims in the world. Misrepresentation is a serious crime to the intellect and Muslims today need to fight this crime with every mean they have.
Founded in 2008 by a pioneering group of young scholars, the first issue of the Journal of Inter-Religious Dialogue went online in February of 2008. Since that time the Journal, a peer-reviewed publication, has emerged as a significant forum for the exploration of interreligious engagement in theory and practice. The Journal continues to pursue its […]
Now more than ever interfaith education is a pressing imperative for higher education. As religious tensions rise in the United States and around the world, the need for critical and constructive pedagogies of interfaith education grows. Not only must students increase their own religious literacy to function in an increasingly religiously plural world, but they […]
This paper will contribute to the discourse on terminology connected to interfaith and interreligious studies, dialogues, and relations. At a closer look, the prefix “inter” in “inter-religious” may be problematic if one critically views the activities or situations it intends to describe. Let me elaborate a bit further on this. The prefix “inter-” usually indicates […]