21st Century COE Program Archive


Date: February 25, 2005
Location: Fusokan, Imadegawa Campus,, Doshisha University
Title: Developing an Internet – Based Trialogue on Peace and Reconciliation in Judaic, Christian and Islamic Thought
Speaker: Solomon Schimmel (Hebrew College)
  Dr. Solomon Schimmel, Professor of Jewish Education and Psychology at Hebrew College of Boston, is the author of Wounds Not Healed by Time: The Power of Repentance and Forgiveness (2002), The Seven Deadly Sins: Jewish, Christian and Classical Reflection on Human Psychology (1997) and other publications in Judaic Studies, the psychology of religion and comparative religious ethics. He was invited to be a visiting scholar at Doshisha University for the month of February 2005. He lectured on the 25th February at CISMOR and fruitful discussions were held after that. The following is a brief summary of his lecture.
The lecture was divided into three sections.
1. A proposal for the development of a Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Trialogue on inter religious understanding and reconciliation, that would be conducted over the Internet.
2. Values of repentance-(teshuva / tawba), in Jewish and Muslim religious thought. These concepts are examples of the kind that would be discussed in the Trialogue.
3. Demonstration of one particular educational software program that Dr. Schimmel uses to teach courses over the Internet, at Hebrew College, and which could be adapted to conduct the Trialogue. He illustrated segments from online courses he taught, which dealt with Jewish Ethics.
The Internet provides an opportunity to bring people together from different countries, cultures, and religious communities in joint teaching and learning experiences. The sacred texts and post-scriptural religious literature of the three faiths would be used, as well as audio, graphics, and video files. Participants in the Trialogue would interact with scholars of religion, clergy, and conflict resolution experts from around the world, contributing to a better understanding of the beliefs and values of the three monotheistic faiths. Dr. Schimmel stresses that a central educational goal of the Trialogue is the nurturing of tolerance, compassion and reconciliation through joint study of religious texts, in those who remain faithful to their basic, particularistic religious commitments. He thinks it is enough of an accomplishment to get people to reflect upon their own and other religious traditions with a willingness to acknowledge that there are moral and ethical deficiencies in some teachings and understandings of their own religion that need to be rectified, without challenging the fundamental existential core of their faith. Dr. Schimmel has been successfully teaching courses over the Internet for eight years at Hebrew College, which offers a Masters Degree in Judaic Studies that can be earned by taking online courses.
Emi Mase-Hasegawa (COE Research Instructor, CISMOR, Doshisha University)