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The Tikvah Summer Institute in Religion and Politics Announces Summer 2011 Programm

What does religion have to do with politics and politics with religion? The question is as old as civilization itself and lies at core of today’s greatest governmental and leadership challenges. For two-weeks in the summer of 2011, an international group of outstanding students will gather at the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies to learn with a cohort of world renowned scholars how the great texts of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam address both the enduring and timely questions of Religion and Politics.

The Tikvah Summer Institute in Religion and Politics aims to bring together students from Israel, Europe, and Russia to study classical texts and discuss contemporary issues with great scholars from around the world. These scholars, led by Academic Dean Suzanne Last Stone (Cardozo School of Law), will be experts in the intellectual traditions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Instruction will be a mixture of seminars on great texts and lectures based on prepared readings in political philosophy, law, history, and theology. Topics will include War and Morality, Dignity and Equality, and Culture, Nation and Democracy. Special events will be held in the evening including lectures, book talks, and debates that feature British, Israeli, and European public figures and writers.

The sorts of questions addressed include the following:
  • Is there a conceptual separation between the sphere of politics and the sphere of religious action in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam? How has the question of separate spheres been addressed in each tradition and how does the question of conceptual separation impact contemporary polities that are, to one degree or another, Jewish, Christian, or Muslim?
  • What tensions exist between religious and state authority over the actions and beliefs of individuals? Does being a good Jew or a good Christian or a good Muslim make it harder or easier to be a good citizen or subject? How does the organization of a polity enable, accommodate or limit the authority that derives from religious commitments?
  • How can people with different fundamental religious commitments live together peacefully while remaining faithful to those commitments? What wisdom from the Jewish, Christian and Islamic traditions can be drawn on to evaluate the current European debate on multiculturalism and Israeli debate on harmonizing Jewish and Democratic founding principles?
  • What role should religious texts and institutions have in sanctioning marriage? In educating the young? In meting out punishments for crimes? In deciding on the justice of a decision to go to war or the morality of the conduct of a war?
The programme will take place at Yarnton Manor, home to the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies, from 14 August – 26 August, 2011.

All instruction will be in English. Housing and meals will be provided during the seminar and all students will receive a $1,000 stipend. Travel scholarships are also available.

The Tikvah Summer Institute in Religion and Politics is a joint programme of  the Tikvah Fund and the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies.

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