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SBF - Dies Academicus
Auditorium of St. Savior’s Monastery (New Gate), Jerusalem

Moderator: Rev. Frédéric Manns, Professor of Ancient Judaism and New Testament Exegesis at the SBF

The Old City of Jerusalem as seen from St. Savior's bell tower
click to enlarge and scroll to the right to see the entire picture


Welcome by Rev. G. Claudio Bottini, Dean of the SBF

Revelation in Judaism by Rabbi Michael Marmur, Lecturer on Jewish Thought at Hebrew Union College

Revelation in Christianity by Rev. Michael McGarry, Rector of Tantur Ecumenical Institute for Theological Studies

Revelation in Islam by Dr. Mustafa Abu Sway, Director of the Islamic Research Centre at al-Quds University

Panel Discussion with the participation of Rev. David Neuhaus, Rev. Halim Nujaim.

Publication: Liber Annuus 52 (2002). In preparation.

Welcome of the Dean of the Faculty

Good morning, dear friends, and welcome to all of you who have accepted our invitation to participate in this Dies academicus, a day of reflection and sharing on the theme of revelation in the three monotheistic religions organized by the Studium Biblicum Franciscanum in coordination with the Custodia Terrae Sanctae.
I express my sincere gratitude to the three main speakers today, Rabbi Michael Marmur, Dr. Mustafa Abu Sway and Father Michael McGarry. Special thanks are due also to Fathers David Neuhaus and Halim Noujaim for their participation in our Dies academicus. I am also grateful to my confriars, Frédéric Manns the moderator of this session, to Iohannes Sweetser, Darko Tepert and Alviero Niccacci for their help in the Italian translation of the papers. Thanks to Artemio Vítores, Father Guardian of St. Saviour’s Monastery, we have this beatiful auditorium at our disposal.
I am also grateful to the authorities of the Custody of the Holy Land, represented here by Father Castor García Vicar of the Custos, who generously support the Faculty. They accepted favourably the initiative to convene this Dies academicus and inspired us to open it to the general public.
The theme chosen for our reflection and sharing today resumes the initiative taken by the Studium Biblicum Franciscanum and promoted in an extensive manner in past years. I am referring to the symposia conducted on Interpretation of the Sacred Scriptures in the three monotheistic religions. Some of you present here may perhaps remember three symposia dedicated, respectively, to the study of the divine promises to the Patriarchs, to the sacrifice / binding of Isaac / Ishmael, and to Jerusalem, a house of prayer for all peoples in the Sacred Scriptures of the three monotheistic religions. At each of these meetings we had the honour of the presence and collaboration of competent local scholars - Jewish, Christian and Muslim. The Proceedings of each of these three symposia have been published by our publisher, the Franciscan Printing Press.
I need not speak of the theme for our reflection and sharing today. The three speakers will be presenting it from different perspectives at their turn. It is enough for me to recall the goal of this meeting, namely to reflect on the theme of Revelation.
Our Faculty of biblical and theological research in Jerusalem proposes to: (1) make a study of the interpretation of Sacred Texts in each of our religions; (2) continue reflecting together with local scholars. This means that we do not intend to enter into inter-religious dialogue, but remain on the level of study of scriptural interpretation and of the fundamentals of our faith. Besides, this initiative does not involve scholars from abroad, but researchers at work in institutions of a university level in Jerusalem and in the Holy Land.
The basis that inspired us to choose the theme for today is this: Judaism, Christianity and Islam understand themselves as revealed religions. God’s revelation is regarded as a theme at the origin and basis of all the three monotheistic religions.
I remain with the hope that this Dies academicus help us all - students and teachers of our Faculty in the first place - to better recognize and respect each other – Jews, Christians and Muslims – who believe to have received God’s revelation.
I wish you all an active and fruitful participation today.
Thank you.
Fr. G. Claudio Bottini, ofm

Saluto del Decano della Facoltà

Porgo un grato benvenuto a tutti voi che avete accolto il nostro invito a questa giornata di studio sul tema della Rivelazione nelle tre Religioni Monoteistiche. Il mio grazie va anzitutto agli illustri Relatori, Rabbi Michael Marmur, Dr. Mustafa Abu Sway, P. Michael McGarry e ai membri della Tavola rotonda, P. David Neuhaus, P. Halim Noujaim per il loro contributo scientifico al nostro Dies academicus. Al ringraziamento per loro associo quello per i confratelli Frédéric Manns che fungerà da Moderatore della sessione, Iohannes Sweetser, Darko Tepert e Alviero Niccacci per l’aiuto che mi hanno generosamente dato per la traduzione italiana dei testi e infine ad Artemio Vítores, Guardiano di San Salvatore per la cordiale ospitalità in questo Auditorium.
Desidero ringraziare inoltre le autorità della Custodia di Terra Santa, rappresentate da padre Castor García Vicario della Custodia, che sostengono fedelmente la nostra Facoltà e che hanno accolto con favore l’iniziativa di questo Dies academicus incoraggiandoci ad aprirla a un vasto pubblico.
Il tema della nostra giornata di studio si riallaccia a una iniziativa che lo Studium Biblicum Franciscanum ha promossso in anni passati e in forma più estesa. Mi riferisco ai simposi sull’interpretazione delle Sacre Scritture nelle tre Religioni Monoteistiche. Alcuni tra i presenti ricorderanno i tre simposi dedicati rispettivamente allo studio delle promesse divine ai patriarchi, del sacrificio / legatura di Isacco / Ismaele e di Gerusalemme casa di preghiera per tutti i popoli nelle tre Religioni Monoteistiche. In ciascuno di essi avemmo l’onore della presenza e collaborazione di studiosi locali competenti, rispettivamente nel Giudaismo nel Cristianesimo e nell’Islam. Dei tre simposi sono stati pubblicati gli atti dalla nostra tipografia editrice Franciscan Printing Press.
Il tema di studio e i relatori ci verrano opportunamente presentati dal Moderatore. A me è sufficiente richiamare le finalità che ci proponiamo e un dato di fatto che ci ha suggerito di riflettere sul tema della Rivelazione.
Come Facoltà di stubi biblici e teologici a Gerusalemme ci proponiamo due scopi: (1) studiare l’interpretazione dei testi sacri delle nostre rispettive religioni; (2) condurre la riflessione insieme con studiosi locali. Questo significa in primo luogo che non intendiamo fare di per sé dialogo interreligioso ma restare sul piano dello studio dell’interpretazione delle Scritture a fondamento delle nostre fedi. La nostra iniziativa inoltre di proposito non coinvolge studiosi provenienti dall’estero ma ricercatori operanti in istituzioni universitarie di Gerusalemme o comunque della Terra Santa.
Il dato di fatto che ci ha ispirato il tema di questa giornata è questo: Giudaismo, Cristianesimo e Islam sono tre religioni che si auto-comprendono nell’orizzonte della rivelazione di Dio. Si tratta dunque di un tema che sta all’origine e a fondamento delle tre Religioni Monotestiche.
Ci sostiene la speranza che questo Dies academicus ci aiuti tutti – in primo luogo studenti e docenti della nostra Facoltà – a conoscere e rispettare ciò che ciascuno di noi – ebreo cristiano o musulmano – crede di aver ricevuto per rivelazione da Dio.
Fr. G. Claudio Bottini, ofm

Rabbi Michael Marmur

Lecturer on Jewish Thought at Hebrew Union College

Revelation in Judaism

“Jews have been reflecting about revelation for three thousand years, so it should not be surprising that any attempt to synthesize or summa rize is bound to fall short of the task.
The moment of encounter between the human and the Divine has been perceived and described by Isaiah, Ezekiel, the Sages of the Talmud, Maimonides and the philosophers of the Middle Ages, in the pages of the Zohar and the sermons of Hassidic rabbis, and in countless other ways. In modern times the question of revelation has been one of the key theological indicators distinguishing between liberals and traditionalists.
Today I want to approach the theme of revelation with the help of one of the most significant Jewish thinkers of the twentieth century, Abraham Joshua Heschel…” MORE…

Rev. Michael McGarry

Rector of Tantur Ecumenical Institute for Theological Studies

Revelation in Christianity

“It is a pleasure for me to share with you some thoughts about the Christian understanding of revelation – or, to be more precise, some thoughts about Christian understandings of revelation.
As a Roman Catholic Christian (of course, in the Holy Land, we are called “Latin Christians”), I will focus on my own tradition’s emphases on this most important theological category, even as I distinguish it from both Protestant understandings and some emphases in Eastern Christianity. That is, the core of my presentationwill reflect Christianity’s fundamental understanding of Revelation, even as I also outline some of Catholicism’s peculiar emphases. My own academic background is that of systematic theology rather than biblical theology, so my presentation reflects that bias. At the same time, I am keenly aware that I am on a panel with Jewish and Muslim thinkers who will speak of revelation from their respective traditions…” MORE…

Dr. Mustafa Abu Sway

Director of the Islamic Research Centre at al-Quds University

Revelation in Islam

"The Islamic worldview, which is based primarily on the Qur'an and the hadith (i.e. traditions of the Prophet), reflects a compassionate relationship between Allah and His creation.
He provided them with equal opportunity to know Him and to serve Him. This relationship is reflected in a series of revelations that were communicated to humanity throughout its history. In fact, every human being has innate knowledge (fitrah), which is considered a kind of revelation, about Allah's Lordship through a primordial covenant: "When thy Lord drew forth from the children of Adam, from their loins, their progeny and made them bear witness against themselves, saying: 'Am I not your Lord?' They answered: 'Yes, we witness'. [This] lest you should say on the Day of Judgment: "Of this we were never mindful". Qur'an, 7: 172
In a famous hadith, Prophet Muhammad states that human beings are born into this state of fitrah, which is the equivalent of being a Muslim. It is one's parents, the hadith explains, that provide their children with alternative religions." MORE…

Panel Discussion:

A panel discussion was held with the participation of Rev. David Neuhaus and Rev. Halim Nujaim.

Rev. David Neuhaus, sj

Response to Dr. M. Marmur and Rev. M. McGarry

Rev. Halim Nujaim, ofm

Response to Dr. M. Abu Sway

The three presenters attempted to clarify some points and led the discussion further in accordial atmosphere of dialogue. By way of conclusion the moderator of the session, Fr. Frédéric Manns, appreciated the openness of the reflections and sharing and hoped to continue the same on selected issues common to all the three monotheistic religions.



M. Marmur, Alcuni approcci giudaici alla rivelazione (formato pdf: 164 Kb)

M.B. McGarry, Rivelazione: approccio cristiano fondamentale e particolare (formato pdf: 156 Kb)

M. Abu Sway, Revelation in Islam (formato pdf: 120 Kb)

Links to the four symposia previously held:

2002 - Simposio su "Il popolo ebraico e le sue Sacre Scritture nella Bibbia Cristiana"

1997 - Symposium on Jerusalem, House of Prayer for All Peoples

1995 - Symposium on The Sacrifice of Isaac in the Three Monotheistic Religions

1993 - Symposium on the Divine Promises to the Patriarchs

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