Since January 2015 students, teachers and interested people regularly meet at the University of Innsbruck to practice “Scriptural Reasoning”. Facilitated by Michaela Neulinger (Institute for Systematic Theology / School of Catholic Theology) and Fatima Cavis (Institute for Islamic Religious Education and Islamic Theology / School of Education) Christians and Muslims discuss verses from the Bible and the Quran and thus get to know each other in a better way. In May 2017 more than 20 Christian and Muslim students were invited for a special SR session introducing students of philosophy, Catholic and Islamic theology to this method of dialogue.
Based on biblical and quranic verses surrounding “ascension” or ”night journey” of Christ and Muhammad, respectively, the participants engaged in a deep conversation on how to properly understand a possible ascension – would it be vertical or horizontal, whether it was “real” journeys or “mystical” journeys etc.
The experiences in Innsbruck show, that SR can be a very helpful tool for developing attitudes for living and discussing (also passionately) in a culturally and religiously plural society. It enables participants to actively deal with differences and similarities, to discuss, reflect and possibly bear tensions and dissent. So far, the meetings dealt with images of being human, sibling rivalries (Cain/Qabīl and Abel/Habīl), but also “holy wars” and gender issues regarding dress codes. SR proves not only to be a theologically interesting method, but a socially and politically essential tool for developing a sincere discussion culture in contrast to polemic, undifferentiated and polarising debates that are too common these days.
The next meeting will take place in Innsbruck on 5 July 2017 and is dedicated to Job/ Ayyūb.
A recent article on our experiences in Innsbruck:
Cavis, Fatima/ Neulinger, Michaela (2017): Scriptural Reasoning als performative Praxis des interreligiösen Dialogs. Innsbrucker Erfahrungen und Reflexionen. In: CIBEDO-Beiträge. Zum Gespräch zwischen Christen und Muslimen 1, 7-13.
- Invitation: https://www.uibk.ac.at/islam-theol/docs/scriptural-reasoning-2017.pdf
- Institute for Systematic Theology: https://www.uibk.ac.at/systheol/index.html.de
- Institute für Islamic Theology and Religious Education: https://www.uibk.ac.at/islam-theol/