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The Gift of Responsibility: The Promise of Dialogue among Christians, Jews, and Muslims

The Gift of Responsibility: The Promise of Dialogue among Christians, Jews, and Muslims
Mudge, Lewis S.
Continuum, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-8264-2839-4

After September 11 2001, new questions about the roles of religion in our culture began to emerge. At the forefront of such discussions were questions related to Islam and various interpretations of that faith. Were all Muslims terrorists? Could a good Muslim be a good American? Such comments about Islam raised even more questions about Judaism and Christianity and their ability to engage fruitfully in conversations with other religions. Could Christians, Jews and Muslims sit down and talk responsibly – without calling each other names – about their respective faiths and their roles in the modern world? What would it take for such a conversation to occur?

In his thoughtful and provocative book, The Gift of Responsibility, Lewis S. Mudge attempts to provide some tentative answers to these and other questions. Mudge urges Christian, Jews and Muslims to join resources to resist the destructive economic and political forces now on the loose across the globe. The distrust among these three faiths has often intensified some of these destructive forces as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan demonstrate. What is now called for, says Mudge, is a mutual dialogue among the three religions fostered and governed by respect and responsibility.

The Gift of Responsibility offers a model for Judaism, Christianity and Islam to imitate as they are called to practice moral hospitality and covenantal humanism in order to foster justice and responsibility in societies around the globe.

Table of Contents:

Introduction: Humanity's Fate and the Abrahamic Faiths
Chapter One: Can Religious Communities Help Modernity Save Itself?
Chapter Two: Learning Interfaith Lessons from Christian Ecumenism
Chapter Three: Toward a Parallel Hermeneutics of the Abrahamic Texts
Chapter Four: Practicing Moral Hospitality: The Givens and the Gift
Chapter Five: Fostering Just Social Contracts
Chapter Six: Covenantal Humanism: Signs of a New Humanity on Earth


Michael T. Shelley, Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, Interpretation, October 2009
"Mudge's Perspectives and convictions are clearly presented. One may not agree with every observation and suggestion he makes, but for people interested in interreligious dialogue that seeks mutual understanding and grounds for collective action, this book is highly recommended."

Akintunde E. Akinade, International Bulletin of Missionary Research
"The Gift of Responsibility is a critical study of the responsibility of people of the Abrahamic faiths to their traditions, to one another, and to the modern world. In this well-written book, Lewis Mudge lays out the essential steps for developing what he calls “the next ecumenism,” which will open new opportunities for Christian theologians in the twenty-first century. Mudge argues that followers of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam must seek to overcome their long history of mistrust and join hands to fight the deleterious economic and political forces that threaten to destroy our new global village. Such a daunting task requires that good relations develop among religions. Mudge advocates moral hospitality and covenantal humanism as practical steps for creating justice, peace, and wholeness in the world."