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Current Issue Article Abstracts

Spring 2017 Vol. 52.2

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Special Section: North American Academy of Ecumenists 2016 Conference: Commemorating the Reformation

Remembering Our Divided Past: Looking to Our Ecumenical Future

Thomas F. Best

"Commemorating" the Reformation: Churches Looking Together toward 2017—and Beyond

William G. Rusch

This essay takes up the subject of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. It addresses the need to determine carefully how to note this event and points out the arbitrary choice of 2017. The essay indicates the danger of viewing this event only in a Lutheran-Roman Catholic context. The year 2017 places the Reformation in a new setting: 100 years of the modern ecumenical movement and fifty years of Lutheran-Roman Catholic dialogue. This dialogue has been one of the factors in the production of some significant ecumenical texts, including From Conflict to Communion and Declaration on the Way. The conclusion both stresses the need for reception of ecumenical work and the inadequacy of Declaration on the Way to achieve that goal.

Our Ecumenical Future: Lessons to Be Learned from the Events of 1517

John A. Radano

Speaking of 1517 generically (representing also events that followed after that year), this essay consists of two main parts. Part I, relying on reports from international dialogues between the Catholic Church with Reformation churches, indicates several issues in sixteenth-century conflicts from which lessons can be learned today. Part II, "Shaping Our Ecumenical Future," emphasizes opportunities of the modern ecumenical movement. Dialogue since Vatican II has enabled Lutherans and Catholics to prepare a project for commemorating 2017 together. Continuing dialogues and harvesting their results can lead to further advances. It concludes with a suggestion for furthering Lutheran-Catholic relations.

Re-Membering for a Common Future: Lutherans and Catholics Commemorate the Reformation, 2017

Catherine E. Clifford

This essay examines the significance of the joint commemoration of the Reformation by Lutherans and Catholics in 2017 as an opportunity for a healing of collective memories. It argues that the common re-reading of history proposed by the Lutheran-Catholic International Commission on Unity in From Conflict to Communion provides a corrective vision with consequences for identity-constituting memory and is key to a common future. The reception text of the U.S. Lutheran-Catholic working group, Declaration on the Way, takes stock of the cumulative effects of fifty years of dialogue, rightly arguing for a move toward a more generous mutual ecclesial recognition.

What Is in It for the Rest of Us?: Interconfessional and Global Perspectives on the 2017 Commemoration

Robert K. Welsh

This essay identifies major lessons related to the 500th anniversary of the Reformation from the perspective of the Secretaries of Christian World Communions. Drawing on the invitation to all Christians "to come with us along the way to a deeper communion" (From Conflict to Communion, Lutheran-Catholic Theological Commission, 2013), it highlights several key conversations at annual meetings of the Secretaries. They stressed that this commemoration is not just a Roman Catholic and Lutheran event but also an opportunity for an ecumenical celebration of God's gift of unity to the whole church.

Creative Remembering—and Prudent Forgetting—on Our Way to Christian Unity

Patrick Henry

The distance from Pope Pius XI's Mortalium animos in 1928, forbidding Catholic participation in gatherings of non-Catholics, to the Joint Declaration on Justification signed by the Vatican and the Lutheran World Federation in 1999, beggars measurement. The landscape had to change, and it was a whole range of creative rememberings and prudent forgettings that altered the lay of the theological and ecclesial land. We need to be alert to the way memory works; its shape-shifting is influenced by serendipity, art, academic fashion, the counter-intuitive, chronological snobbery (and regret), and research itself. Denominational bones ache, while ecumenical hearts are strangely warmed.


Hospitality in Islam as Based on Cornille's Conditions for Constructive Interreligious Dialogue

Adis Duderija

This essay employs Catherine Cornille's conditions for a constructive interreligious dialogue theoretical framework with reference to the Islamic tradition as exemplified by the work of Reza Shah-Kazemi, a contemporary proponent of Islamic mysticism and the Islamic branch of religio perennialis. More specifically, it demonstrates how Cornille's "commitment," "interconnection," and "hospitality" conditions for constructive interreligious dialogue are very present in the Islamic tradition.

Book Reviews

Guru Nanak's Vision of God as a Model for Christian Ecumenism

Alonzo L. Gaskill

Reforming the Monastery: Protestant Theologies of the Religious Life by Greg Peters, and: Mysticism and the Spiritual Quest: A Crosscultural Anthology ed. by Phyllis Zagano (review)

minlib dallh

The Emptied Christ of Philippians: Mahayana Meditations by John P. Keenan (review)

Paul Knitter

Pilgrimage of Awakening: The Extraordinary Lives of Murray and Mary Rogers by Mary V. T. Cattan (review)

Bradley Malkovsky

Jewish-Christian Relations: The First Centuries by Abel Mordecai Bibliowicz, and: Jesus Reclaimed: Jewish Perspectives on the Nazarene by Walter Homolka (review)

Eugene J. Fisher

In Our Time: Nostra Aetate—How Catholics and Jews Built a New Relationship by James M. Barrens, and:Post-Holocaust Jewish-Christian Dialogue: After the Flood, before the Rainbow ed. by Alan L. Berger, and: Seeking Shalom: The Journey to Right Relationship between Catholics and Jews by Philip A. Cunningham, and: The Holocaust and Nostra Aetate: Toward a Greater Understanding ed. by Carol Rittner (review)

Eugene J. Fisher