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Current Issue Article Abstracts

Journal of Ecumenical Studies

Volume 53, Number 3, Summer 2018

Jewish-Christian Dialogue from the Underside: Markus Barth's Correspondence with Michael Wyschogrod (1962–84) and Emil Fackenheim (1965–80)
pp. 313 - 347

Markus Barth has long been recognized for his pioneering contribution to the advancement of Jewish-Christian dialogue. Building upon the work of his father Karl, Markus consistently stressed the unity of Jews and Christians as the one People of God. Moreover, his insistence on this theological principle was illustrated not merely through his publications but also by his very close association with leading members of North America's Jewish communities. In this essay, we can see how two of those relationships developed during the 1960's–1980's but then tragically imploded due to Markus's own intransigent commitment to the very principle of unity for which he had been a champion.

On the Borderline between Consensus and Reception: The Spirituality of Openness as a Necessary Criterion for Ecumenical Reception
pp. 348 - 369

Ecumenical dialogues often appear to be stalled by the inability of churches to make necessary transition fr om consensus to reception. This essay delves into the problematics of reception, addresses the key obstacles to ecumenical reception, and identifies openness as a necessary criterion for making the transition to reception. It represents an attempt to deepen the narrow idea of openness toward the ecumenical other by reconceptualizing openness as a form of spirituality, one that is essential for ecumenical fruitfulness.

Genesis Rabbah—An Opportunity for Interfaith Dialogue: Augustine, Milton, and the Rabbis of Genesis Rabbah in Discourse
pp. 371 - 385

When reading biblical texts, there are often what can be termed "gaps" in the narrative, aspects of the story that need more detail or simply do not make obvious sense, leading to more questions. This leads to the need for interpretation. While the term "midrash" refers to a particularly "Jewish" mode of interpretation of the biblical narrative, the method of "the filling in of the gaps" is something done by religious interpreters of all traditions. This essay puts the rabbis of Genesis Rabbah (midrash) in conversation with fourth-century theologian Augustine and fifteenth-century author John Milton regarding their interpretation of Genesis 3, demonstrating how this kind of interaction can foster interfaith dialogue in the modern classroom.


Peaceable Responses to Persecution: The Experience of Eastern Christian Communities in the Middle East
pp. 386 - 406

The experience of Orthodox Christians in the Middle East in responding nonviolently to religious persecution provides a little-known example of peacemaking in situations of conflict between religious communities. Since the rise of Islam, Christians in this region have typically endured a tolerated status that imposes various restrictions on their religious, political, and economic fr eedoms. Practices of interreligious dialogue, nonviolent response to enemies, and philanthropic outreach to the needy are characteristic of communities of Eastern Orthodox, Syriac Orthodox, and Coptic Orthodox Christians throughout the Middle East. Their spokespersons advocate for societies in which all citizens, irrespective of religious identity, have equal status and live together in peace.


Civic Engagement as an Avenue to Interreligious Cooperation in Religiously Diverse Communities
pp. 407 - 420

This essay identifies sociological research in India and in the United States indicating that positive interreligious engagement reduces the risk of violence, increases peaceful civic interaction, and builds civic cooperation in religiously plural environments. The research presented analyzes circumstances and relationships in settings that are characterized by peaceful interreligious interaction. In the essay, warrant is suggested for moving beyond description to prescription. Seeking to create opportunities for interreligious engagement in associational and quotidian civic relationships is one means of fostering interreligious cooperation, even among people who have no expressed interest in religious literacy or formal interreligious dialogue.

"The Righteousness of God Has Been Manifested": The Fifth Centenary of the Protestant Reformation, an Occasion of Grace and Reconciliation for the Whole Church
pp. 423 - 435

To Become Life-Long Friends: A Sermon Delivered at the Marriage of John Thatamanil and Kate Newman at St. Mark's Church-in-the-Bowery, New York City, on June 30, 2018
pp. 436 - 439

Collective Flourishing: A Response to Anantanand Rambachan
pp. 439 - 443

Christian-Muslim Perspectives on God as Love and a Loving Community
pp. 444 - 449

Righting Relations after the Holocaust and Vatican II: Essays in Honor of John T. Pawlikowski, OSM ed. by Elena G. Procario-Foley and Robert A. Cathey (review)

pp. 451 - 452