News & Events

Scriptural Reasoning: A Path to Seeing Difference as Normal

The world of interfaith efforts has generated some dynamic methods for addressing prejudice and misinformation.  While Tanenbaum focuses on practical interventions that improve how we act with one another in every day environments, other programs focus on building deep sharing across the texts of religious traditions. 

One initiative that I recently got to know a little better is the use of Scriptural Reasoning. Scriptural Reasoning consists of people from different traditions going through guided sessions of reading passages of scripture from their various religious texts, which are linked together by a common issue or theme. The experience affords them the opportunity to interact with their own beliefs and other faiths and their practitioners in a really profound way. From what I can see, participants in these gatherings have a strong interest in their own traditions, expansive curiosity and the courage to listen to how others understand their texts so that they can explore them with greater breath and depth (i.e., facing both the differences and similarities among the traditions and the challenges in and importance of accepting difference.)

Last summer, I was honored to share Tanenbaum’s work and what I call The Tanenbaum Method for two days of instruction to a group of emerging religious leaders from the Jewish, Christian and Muslim communities (from the U.S., the U.K., Oman and Canada), who were attending the Cambridge Inter-faith Programme Summer School and were intensively applying this method.  David Ford, who led the program, is one of the founders of Scriptural Reasoning.  So is Professor Peter Ochs from the University of Virginia Department of Religious Studies, who was another of the leaders at the program. This year, Peter will conduct Scriptural Reasoning sessions here in the U.S. at the University of Virginia and in NYC.  This is an area with which all who care about respecting one another across our different beliefs should be informed.  I’m happy to share with Tanenbaum’s friends this great opportunity.  Additional details about the course can be found on the Scriptural Reasoning website:
Joyce Dubensky