The International Theology Conference convenes leading Jewish,Christian, and Muslim theologians for a week of interreligious study. Unlike other interfaith encounters, the aim of the conference is not to search for points of commonality among the three religions, but to create a forum where each can learn from the other.
Participants employ the Institute's methodology of the pluralistic Beit Midrash - deep textual examination through havruta (partnership) study to probe religious texts from a multiplicity of perspectives. This exploration leads to new interpretations that can be applied to contemporary issues that exist at the intersection of religion and modernity.
Led by the belief that every religious tradition may be challenged and enriched by the doctrines of another, the annual International Theology Conference brings together leading theologians of these three religions for a week of tripartite dialogue and interreligious joint study. Through an intimate, respectful, and rigorous academic encounter, participants engage in intensive textual study, sharing their beliefs, reflections, and dilemmas.
Each International Theology Conference focuses on one theme, as it is constructed and valued in the three religions. The 2016 International Theology Conference was held in New York City in May. Below are themes of previous Conferences:
2011: The Good Person
2012: Engaging Democracy
2014: The Religious Problem of Environmental Ethics
"The conference is characterized by mutual interfaith study and discussion of texts among Jewish, Christian, and Muslim scholars in the heart of Jerusalem each year. As the violence and tensions between the religious traditions of the world continue to escalate, particularly in the Middle East but also globally, there is no reason whatsoever for this annual gathering to work, and yet, strangely, it continues to do so.… This conference is in my knowledge unique in what it attempts to do and how it attempts to do it. It remains an extraordinary achievement; I see it as a small-scale subversion of apocalypse through the practice of humanity and the extension of self to other.” - Prof. Kimberley Patton, Harvard University
Hartman Institute senior fellow Prof. Menachem Fisch explains the International Theology Conference