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Building Bridges Christian-Muslim Seminar on Tradition and Modernity

The Building Bridges participants, 2010

Tuesday 25th May 2010

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, will chair the 9th Annual Building Bridges Seminar in Washington DC from May 25-27 2010.

Since 2002, the Archbishop of Canterbury has chaired the annual seminar, which brings together leading Muslim and Christian scholars from around the world to explore issues at the heart of the two traditions.

The 9th Annual Building Bridges Seminar is titled 'Christian and Muslim Perspectives on Tradition and Modernity'.  As in previous Building Bridges seminars, a number of texts from the Christian and Islamic traditions will be used as the basis for discussion in a programme that includes public lectures and private sessions.

This year's event has been organised in partnership with Georgetown University, who hosted the Building Bridges Seminar in 2004 and 2006.  Previous seminars have been held in Istanbul, Doha, Sarajevo and Singapore.

Tuesday, May 25: Seminar Opening

9:30am - 11:00am EDT / 2:30pm - 4:00pm BST
"Tradition and History"
Vincent Cornell, Emory University
Janet Soskice, University of Cambridge

Click download on the right to listen to the Archbishop on Tradition and History [4Mb]

11:30am - 1:00pm EDT / 4:30pm - 6:00pm BST
"Religious Authority and the Challenges of Modernity"
Philip Jenkins, Pennsylvania State University
Recep Senturk, Fatih University, Istanbul

2:30pm - 4:00pm EDT /  7:30pm - 9:00pm BST
"Religion, Modernity and Freedom"
Abdullahi An-Na'im, Emory University
David B. Hart, formerly Providence College

Thursday, May 27: Seminar Closing

5:00pm - 6:30pm EDT / 10:00pm - 11:30pm BST
Perspectives on Tradition and Modernity: Seminar reflections
Archbishop Rowan Williams and seminar participants reflect with the audience on dialogue themes.

Click download on the right to listen to the Archbishop's contributions [18Mb]

Conclusion of 9th Building Bridges Seminar, 27th May 2010

The 9th annual Building Bridges Seminar, which was convened by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, and brought together thirty prominent Christian and Muslim scholars, concluded on Thursday 27th May at Georgetown University , Washington DC . The theme of the seminar was 'Tradition and Modernity: Christian and Muslim Perspectives'.

On the first day of the seminar, public lectures addressed topics such as changing patterns in religious authority and different conceptions of freedom emerging in the modern world. On the second and third days the seminar participants engaged in detailed discussion of texts from outstanding modern thinkers in both traditions.

At the closing public session, the Archbishop reviewed the work of the whole seminar, and, together with a panel of participants, responded to questions from the audience on tradition and modernity in Islamic and Christian thought.

Dr Williams spoke of the enriched mutual understanding which those who attended would take away with them. Dr Abdolkarim Soroush, the prominent Iranian theological philosopher, commented that he had attended many inter religious seminars but none with the depth of engagement with the subject, nor the quality of relationships, that had been key features of this seminar.

During the course of the seminar a new website on the Building Bridges Seminar was launched. This covers previous seminars, giving details of participants, seminar themes and materials studied. The website also features a new interview with Dr Williams in which he speaks to Dr John J DeGioia, President of Georgetown University, about why Building Bridges has become such a priority in his work.   

Click links on the right to view the Building Bridges website, and to view a YouTube video about the Building Bridges seminars. 

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