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SEMINAR RECORDINGS 2014

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When possible and with the permission of the speaker, the audio recordings of CMCS work-in-progress seminars are made available for streaming and download.

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If you download the audio file to your computer, please do not alter, edit or reproduce the recording in any way without getting the expressed prior consent of CMCS.

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DISCLAIMER: Any opinions expressed in these recordings do not necessarily represent those of the Centre for Muslim-Christian Studies.

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CMCS seminars provide a platform for comment and debate on the Muslim-Christian interface
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AUTUMN TERM

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October 21st, 2014
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Current theological streams informing Christian understandings of law and ethics in relation to Islam
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Speaker: Rev. Dr Richard Sudworth, Tutor, The Queen’s Foundation Birmingham & Part-time Parish Priest
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A brief overview of classical Christian understandings of law and ethics will be presented, charting the key biblical texts and trajectories in Augustine, Aquinas, Luther, Calvin and Hooker. These are significant streams of thought which resurface and indicate ongoing emphases within contemporary accounts of law and ethics. I will then offer an account of current Christian visions of law and ethics through analysing the contributions of three Anglican theologians: Rowan Williams, John Milbank, and Oliver O’Donovan. It will be apparent that each of their respective dialogues with Islam replay earlier Christian debates over the nature of government, the law, and metaphysical notions of nature, reason, and the “good”. While all three theologians represent a current in Christian ethics that can broadly be described as an “ecclesial turn”, their differences suggest that the simplistic dichotomy that posits Christianity as a religion of grace, as against Islam as a religion of law is untenable.
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November 18th, 2014
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A reflection on love of neighbour in Islam and Christianity against the background of ‘A Common Word’
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Speaker: Louis Alexander, Multi-faith Chaplaincy Team, Guy’s & St. Thomas’ Hospital Trust, London
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Religious leaders around the world hailed the 2007 publication of A Common Word Between Us and You (ACW) as a groundbreaking contribution towards the achievement of reconciliation and lasting peace between Islam and Christianity.

ACW has prompted scores of learned papers, books and conferences. Yet virtually all the dialogue has been at the academic level. Seven years on ACW has hardly touched the ordinary faithful. Most working ministers and imams are totally unaware of it. Why is that? Is it simply poor marketing, or was the ACW initiative fundamentally flawed from the outset and therefore doomed to failure?

This paper seeks answers to these questions by exploring love of neighbour in the light of Christian responses to ACW. These range from the euphoric to the cautious to the highly critical. Included are the learned theological responses from Yale University, Archbishop Rowan Williams and the linguistic studies of Gordon Nickel and Joseph Nnabugwu which analyse whether what the Muslim authors of ACW are saying is the same as what the Christian readers of ACW understand.

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SUMMER TERM

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6th May, 2014
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Echoes of Inter-religious controversy in John of Dara’s (9th Century Syrian Orthodox Bishop) Homily ‘On the Cross’
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Speaker: Kelli Bryant, DPhil Candidate, University of Oxford
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To what extent can scripture inform bioethical thought? In the case of organ donation, religious communities have approached the Bible and The Feast of the Finding of the Cross, once an occasion of triumphalist imperial and ecclesial boasting, required fresh explanation following the rise of Islam and the loss of the eastern provinces of the Byzantine Empire. The Syrian Orthodox bishop John of Dara strategically exploits the occasion to equip his flock with apologetic arguments for the cross and crucifixion. His sermon On the Cross offers the modern scholar a rare glimpse into the inter-religious contacts and challenges of the ordinary believer in ninth-century Mesopotamia.
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20th May, 2014
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The Ties that Bind: Social Dynamics of conversion in Inter-religious Families, 7th-10th Centuries CE
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Speaker: Anna Chrysostomides, DPhil Candidate, University of Oxford
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Conversion is often conceptualized as a single, conscious, and mono-directional choice to change from one religion to another one time. When speaking of the 8th and 9th century in the Near East, this assumes that the convert was an unmarried, free man with no dependents and power to act autonomously within his social circle. What happened when a contemporary woman ascribed to a different religion to that of her husband? How might the spouses express their religious identity in public and private spheres?
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SPRING TERM

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28th January, 2014
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Biomedical Issues and Scriptural Considerations: Approaching the Bible and the Qur’an on Organ Donation
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Speaker: Nazirudin Mohd Nasir, DPhil Candidate, University of Oxford
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To what extent can scripture inform bioethical thought? In the case of organ donation, religious communities have approached the Bible and the Qur’an to derive general moral principles such as love, compassion, kindness, and healing. It is proposed here that there is wider scope for scripture to guide moral thinking on various other issues such as human stewardship, the concepts of autonomy, consent, and individual interests and the common good. Thinking about these notions from a scriptural perspective would however necessitate a creative reinterpretation that redresses the classical law-ethics-theology dichotomy. 
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The audio is available upon request by emailing info@cmcsoxford.org.uk

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11th February, 2014
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Women in the Qur’an and Bible: Speaking up for Justice

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Mary&BabyJesus

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Speaker: Dr Georgina Jardim, Associate Staff Member, University of Gloucestershire 
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Women of the Abrahamic faiths have often heard that they should be silent. Many publication titles refer to women and silence, or women’s difficulty to have their voices heard. To what extent does the Qur`an and Bible sanction the female voice? Do women speak in the text, and if so, how is the female voice constituted? This seminar will explore female voice in relation to Divine revelation in the Qur`an and then read biblical texts in the light of a Qur`anic characterisation of women speaking. 
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Image by mateus27_24-25 

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4th March, 2014
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Moses in the Bible and in the Qur’an

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Moses

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Speaker: Dr Elena Narinskaya, Research Scholar, Centre for Muslim-Christian Studies 
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 The context of the research is biblical exegesis, and the focus of study is the story of Moses and its appearance in Jewish Rabbinical exegesis, Syriac Christianity and in the specifically selected narratives of the Qur’an, which are explicitly related to the biblical stories about Moses.

In the course of the presentation there will be an introduction to the methodology of the research. This will be followed by the analysis of selected passages from the biblical narrative alongside Rabbinical, Christian and Qur’anic writings.  The focus will be the notion of signs in the story of Moses.

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Image by Roger Ulrich

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