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February 17-18, 1997 - Symposium on Jerusalem, House of Prayer for All Peoples

Fr. Frédéric Manns opens the symposium adressing the people assembled in Notre Dame's guest hall.
Prof. Moshe Greenberg and Jean-Marie Sevrin giving their lectures.


The symposium on “Jerusalem – House of Prayer for All Nations” was dedicated to the discussion on the theological significance of Jerusalem as a place of worship for the Three Monotheistic Religions. The speakers came from all three religions; they were all experts in their own fields. They offered a lively presentation which attracted the interest of a selected audience. Each presentation encountered a response made by another speaker, and an open discussion followed.
During the symposium a few polemic remarks were made, always in a calm and responsible mood. Historical wounds, both past and present, are not easily healed.
After an event like this, one may ask what were the results. Of course, nobody was expecting anything spectacular. Still, it is remarkable that the speakers recognized that the symposium was beneficial, first of all, for themselves. It was a challenge to read sacred texts in this special context, with openness to the points of view of other faiths. One would even say that the speakers felt a responsibility toward God, the common author of our revelation.
Among the participants, two bishops of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem are to be mentioned, Monsignor Kamal H. Bathish, Patriarchal Vicar for Jerusalem, and Monsignor Giacinto B. Marcuzzo, Patriarchal Vicar for Israel. Their presence meant for the organizers of the symposium a link with the local Catholic Church, which is celebrating its synod and preparing itself for the next millennium. Monsignor Marcuzzo, in particular, stressed the importance of the study of the Arab-Christian literature for local Christians today. He also stressed the potentialities of this kind of literature for a fruitful interreligious discussion. His comment is included in the present volume.
In his introductory speech, the Director of the SBF, Fr. F. Manns, underlined the universal character of Jerusalem from the very beginning when King David took it from the Jebusites and continued their cult. His son King Solomon consecrated the Temple as a house of prayer not only for the Israelites but also for strangers. Jerusalem is the mother of all of us, Manns said, and with a mother it is possible to discuss common heritage without starting another war. Manns also stressed the complexity of the problem of Jerusalem as the city of the three religions and the importance of memory for today’s life. Memory brings reconciliation if one is ready to listen to the other’s story. Jerusalem, he concluded, is the place where Jewish, Christian and Muslim traditions can have a real encounter in truth and overcome exclusivistic tendencies.

F.Manns, Opening Remarks; E.Cortese, Dialogue In Jerusalem On Jerusalem;

Lectures and responses:
M.Greenberg, A House of Prayer for All Peoples; J.Loza Vera, A Response to Greenberg’s Paper;
J.-M.Sevrin, Mark’s Use of Isaiah 56:7 and the Announcement of the Temple Destruction; T.Masvie, A Response to Sevrin’s Paper;
A.Shinan, “A House of Prayer for all Peoples” (Isaiah 56:7) in Rabbinic Literature - A Textual Study; F.Manns, A Reponse to Shinan’s Paper;
A.R.Abbad, Ethnic and Religious Pluralism in Jerusalem according to Quran and the Islamic Tradition; H. Noujaim, A Response to Dr. Abbad’s Paper;
A. Wadi, The Centrality of Jerusalem in the Arabic-Christian Literature; G. B. Marcuzzo, Comment on Wadi’s Paper;
M. C. Paczkowski, The Centrality of Jerusalem in the Reflections of the Fathers of the Church;
B. Chiesa, Isaiah 56:6-7 According to Some Jewish Exegetes of the 10th Century;
G. Ligato, The Temple Esplanade in Crusader Jerusalem;
A. Niccacci, Jerusalem for the Three Monotheistic Religions. A Theological Synthesis; J.-M. Sevrin, Comment on Niccacci’s Paper;

F. Manns, Conclusion; G. Nazzaro, Final Remarks.

Publication: A.Niccacci, ed., Jerusalem House of Prayer for All Peoples in the Three Monotheistic Religions. Proceedings of a Symposium Held in Jerusalem, February 17-18, 1997. Franciscan Printing Press. Jerusalem 2000. 193 pp.


A.R.Abbad, Ethnic and Religious Pluralism in Jerusalem according to Quran and the Islamic Tradition (pdf format: 64 Kbytes)

A. Niccacci, Jerusalem for the Three Monotheistic Religions. A Theological Synthesis (pdf format: 76 Kbytes)

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