Journal of Ecumenical Studies - Volume 52, Number 3 (Summer 2017)
Liter’arafu—Getting to Know Each Other: The Neglect and Necessity of Muslim-Christian Dialogue
James R. Payton, Jr.
For more than 1,300 years, Muslims and Christians have lived together in Europe. For almost the entire period, though, neither has shown any interest in genuinely getting to know the other religion or in dialogue with its adherents, until the last half-century. This essay explores why this neglect transpired, reviewing the military tensions and cultural contrasts that inhibited engagement. That leads into consideration of what the scriptures of both religions nevertheless call their respective adherents to do—namely, to get to know the other. It then points out the necessity for Muslim-Christian dialogue in the present day and indicates some recent international and ecclesiastical initiatives that have taken place and that hold promise for better mutual understanding between Islam and Christianity.
The Mythmaker: Hyam Maccoby and the Invention of Christianity
This essay examines the writings of Hyam Maccoby, a twentieth-century Jewish scholar of rabbinic Judaism and early Christianity. After locating Maccoby in the context of Jewish anti-Christian writings, it presents his critical view of Christian doctrines. This scholar claimed in numerous publications that Christianity was inherently antisemitic due to the teachings of Paul the apostle, especially his doctrine of the vicarious atonement. It is therefore worth presenting, assessing, and challenging Maccoby’s views as a barrier to Jewish and Christian dialogue.
Living Ecumenism: Margaret O’Gara’s Ecumenical Ecclesiology
Margaret O’Gara was a prominent Canadian theologian who taught at the faculty of theology of St. Michael’s College (University of Toronto) for thirty-six years. She was deeply engaged in the ecumenical movement, mainly as a Catholic representative in international and North American ecumenical dialogues: with the Anglican Church, the Disciples of Christ, the Lutheran Church, the Mennonites, and Evangelical communities. This essay is a study of the principal features of her ecumenical theology and her involvement in ecumenical dialogues, focusing on five major themes: the purification of memory, ecumenical gift exchange, primacy in the universal church, friendship in the ecumenical movement, common prayer and intercommunion, and the ecclesiology of communion and the nature of the church. While all of O’Gara’s ecumenical involvement was in bilateral dialogues, she was totally committed to ecumenism as a principle of life—a living and lived ecumenism.
The Oxford Movement and Polish Ultramontanes: An Unusual Example of Nineteenth-Century Interchurch Inspiration
This essay presents an outcome of the Oxford Movement that its founders did not anticipate. In 1838 Jan Koźmian, one of the leaders of spiritual renewal among Poles and a future member of the (Catholic) Resurrectionists Congregation, visited England for a year, looking carefully at its contemporary religious movements. He took much inspiration from the Oxford Movement, which affected his personal religious views and resulted in establishing the Catholic journal Przegląd Poznański, which greatly resembled Tractarian writings. In one of his texts he described the Oxford Movement and possible lessons that Polish society should learn from it. This example of a nineteenth-century Catholic movement that was inspired by a contemporary Anglican movement was not a common phenomenon.
Mary as a Paradigm of Muslim Piety
Discussing the significance of Mary in Islam in one essay is a very difficult assignment. Hence, this essay highlights a few important aspects about Mary, reviews a few qur’ānic verses about her, and briefly discusses her childhood, the miraculous birth of Jesus, her role as a bridge-builder among Christian-Muslim traditions, her image in popular Muslim culture, and the probability of her being a prophetess of God according to Islam.