Modern societies are pluralistic—not only in a religious sense, but in this sense as well. The three great monotheistic religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam in particular often occur within the same countries and live together. In addition, there are differences between groups within the respective religions. Classical ecumenism in the Christian domain is concerned with denominational divisions and seeks to overcome them. But Judaism, Islam, and even Buddhism know internal divisions and conflicts that separate believers from each other. In particular, the internal Islamic conflict between Sunnis and Shiites has been, like in Christianity’s separation between Protestants and Catholics, often bloody.
How can conflicts be overcome in the coexistence of different confessional families within one religion, or between different religions in one area? Is there an inner connection between Christian ecumenical work and interreligious dialogue, like Islam could lead it? Is it possible to learn from the innerreligious work of other religions to help in one’s own? Are the methods of dialogue and models of unity transferable?
The Seminar will seek to pursue these questions and their solutions, as well as attempting to think in new ways. The aim is to make an exciting attempt to bring ecumenism and interfaith dialogue toward that which both are committed to: dialogue. For this purpose, speakers of various religions and confessions will come to Strasbourg to discuss the topic in lectures and discussions.
In addition to the theological discussions, the Seminar fosters opportunity for conversation among the participants, reports of their own ecumenical or confessional experiences, the posing of questions and offering of responses. Since participants come from many different churches and countries, this exchange is always especially exciting and enlightening, both in the plenary sessions and in small group work. The conversation continues over delicious French food at the Stift’s dining hall or a glass of wine in one of the charming restaurants in the old city of Strasbourg.
English and German are the main languages of the Seminar. Simultaneous interpretation of every lecture and discussion is available. In the plenary participants can also offer interventions in French.
The cost of the Seminar, including full pension and a single dormitory room, is € 750,-. Financial support may be granted through the participants’ home churches or other institutions. We encourage participants to contact their church leaders in this regard. As in previous years, a portion of participant fees are used to cover the cost of participants from Eastern Europe and other continents.
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