maandag 27 april 2015

Crossing between Abrahamic Traditions

Christian Lange is Professor of Islamic Studies in Utrecht. His main interest is in mystical traditions, texts from the 10th-15th century, analyzed in an atmosphere that puts the intention of the authors central. What did they want to tell us?
He convened an international conference in Utrecht, 19-21 March 2015 under the tile of The aethetics of Crossing. Experiencing the beyond in Abrahamic Traditions.

The venue for the conference was close to the 'old city campus' of Utrecht University, but not in a university building, but in the evangelical church of Booth Straat. A quite solemn building with an old organ, but all modern equipment to make televesion recording of the spirited services with much music.
Martha Frederiks opened the conference.
Due to other obligations I could only attend the first session. It was a rich mixture of topics. Hans Belting (born 1934, worked at various German universities, but also in Vienna and the USA), is specialist in theory of esthetics and intercultural exchange. He held a very broad speech on exchange, especially in geometric figures and designs between Muslims, Indians and Christians.
He was followed by four presentations where the idea of (nearly) physical tasting the divine was central. It was not the critical mood of explaining religion with social-political history, but a very congenial atmosphere where the Christian, Jewish and Muslim texts were taken at face value. Laurens Minnema was sitting besides me. He had come because he likes the idea and practice of cross-cultural interpretations. We were both surprised by the irenic, creative and even sometimes somewhat uncritical atmosphere of the conbference. Until then.

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