The 2005 Sterling M. McMurrin Lecture on Religion and Culture
All scriptural expressions of monotheism carry a deep sense of 'chosenness.' This includes not only the traditional expressions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, but virtually all groups that have emerged out of the orthodox expressions of these traditions. Although the idea of 'chosenness' exists in all these, it doesn't look the same in all religions. This has an impact on the world we live in. Can we live with 'our' and 'their' being 'chosen' simultaneously?
Reuven Firestone, professor of Medieval Judaism and Islam at Hebrew Union College in Los Angeles, will deliver the 2005 McMurrin Lecture, The Problem of 'Chosenness' in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, on Thursday, Feb. 3 at 7 p.m. in the Salt Lake City Public Library Auditorium located at 210 East 400 South. Firestone directs the Edgar F. Magnin School for Graduate Studies and is the founding director of the Institute for the Study of Jewish-Muslim Interrelations. He will discuss the idea of 'chosenness' and the problems it creates for believers in the religious traditions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
"The notion of 'chosenness' in a religious context suggests that God has chosen one religious community as expressing the true divine will," says Firestone. "If that is the case, then other religious expressions would seem to be false. This is a very serious issue in historical conversation between religions," he says. "We are often given a double message. On the one hand, we are told that we should love the stranger and reach out to him or her. On the other, we are told that the religious stranger is in error about the divine will. Some of us are taught that the errant religious 'other' is destined for damnation! This tension needs to be addressed if we are to learn to live together in a shrinking world," he says.
The McMurrin Lectures were established by the Obert C. and Grace A. Tanner Humanities Center and by friends of Sterling McMurrin. For more information on the lecture, call 581-7127. For more information on Sterling McMurrin, download a PDF about him at https://dialoguejournal.com/wp-content/uploads/sbi/articles/Dialogue_V17N01_20.pdf