Thomas Instituut te Utrecht (Tilburg University)

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On 18 February 2005 the Thomas Instituut te Utrecht held a book-symposium on the occasion of the publication of the eleventh volume of the publication-series of the Thomas Instituut: The Three Rings. Textual Studies in the historical trialogue of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, Editors: Barbara Roggema, Marcel Poorthuis, Pim Valkenberg, Leuven: Peeters 2005
The book The Three Rings contains a collection of texts by Jewish, Christian and Muslim authors of the Middle Ages about the other two religions than their own. Although the discussions can be rather fierce - there is no tolerance in the modern sense of the word - , much respect is shown for other points of view, which relate to common values and a shared orientation.

The question is whether the legacy of an 'Abrahamitical forum' has any meaning to the modern era and to today's society. In the debates of this day and age, public opinion regards it as rather 'soft' if a shared experience is emphasized among Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Political controversies seem to play a part. Tolerance is considered important but has no meaning at the same time: it's all about freedom and self-expression, whereas no attention is paid to a common moral orientation. This 'empty tolerance' is in imminent danger of being turned into intolerance, in the event the other party (in this case Islam) does not want to adjust to Western society.

In the context of the book launch, Prof.dr. Judith Frishman (KTU), prof.dr. Nasr Abu Zayd (UvH) en prof.dr. Peter Nissen (RU) talked about the following questions:
- How do you value in respect of your personal faith the common legacy in the Netherlands summarized by 'the three rings' at this day and age?
- Are there essential viewpoints in your religious tradition against the risk of repeating denunciations of the past?
- Which aspects of your religious tradition refer to a common approach which in our days is not feasible any more but which - as a trestimony of the Abrahamitic forum - would contribute to modern society?

If you wish to order the book, you can do that on-line at the editors website:
Peeters at Louvain (Belgium).