Hamline Church United Methodist

Mahle Lecture Series will explore Scriptural Reasoning with practice's co-founders

Hamline University’s Wesley Center for Spirituality, Service and Social Justice announces the 2024 Mahle Lecture Series. On Tuesday, April 16, the latest installment in the popular series will explore the theme of interreligious peacebuilding through a concept known as Scriptural Reasoning. The lecture series starts at 5 p.m. in the Kay Fredericks Room at the Klas Center. It will feature workshops with members of the Scriptural Reasoning Society and a keynote speech by Dr. David Ford, one of the founders of this approach to interreligious dialogue.

Scriptural Reasoning is a practice in which members of different faiths engage in the study of their sacred scriptures together. According to Scriptural Reasoning co-founder Dr. Peter Ochs, this form of communal interpretation promotes understanding and acceptance of the respective religious traditions. This mutual understanding is the basis of interreligious reconciliation, Ochs says.

“Focusing on interreligious dialogue through Scriptural Reasoning brings members of different religious traditions with diverse views together through respectful but stimulating conversations,” said Kelly Figueroa-Ray, university chaplain and Wesley Center director. "Participants are given the opportunity to focus on small excerpts of texts from the religious traditions represented, make observations, ask questions and engage in theological conversation. Through this dialogue, participants think and reason along with members of other religious traditions, which provides an opportunity not just to learn how others reason about their own traditions, but also the chance to explore one’s own tradition more deeply through the eyes of others.”

The event starts with a short gathering, followed by a Scriptural Reasoning workshop led by Dr. Peter Ochs. Dr. Ochs is Edgar Bronfman Professor Emeritus of Modern Judaic Studies at the University of Virginia. He founded the UVA graduate program in Jewish-Christian-Muslim Scripture, Interpretation and Practice, and he co-directed the UVA Research Initiative on Religion, Politics and Conflict. Ochs co-founded the Societies for Textual Reasoning and for Scriptural Reasoning. He also received the 2023 University of Tübingen’s Faculty of Protestant Theology Dr. Leopold Lucas Prize for his work on Scriptural Reasoning.

Co-founder Dr. David Ford’s keynote lecture is titled "The Promise of Scriptural Reasoning.” Dr. Ford is Regius Professor of Divinity Emeritus in the University of Cambridge, a Fellow of Selwyn College and a Reader in the Church of England. He chaired the Theological Reference Group for a Church of England initiative launched in 2016, the Foundation for Educational Leadership, and co-authored the Church of England’s Vision for Education.

Professor Ford was founding Director of the Cambridge Interfaith Programme and was awarded the Sternberg Foundation Gold Medal for Interfaith Relations in 2008, the Coventry International Prize for Peace and Reconciliation in 2012, an OBE (Honorary Officer of the Order of the British Empire) in 2013 for services to theological scholarship and inter-faith relations. He holds honorary doctorates from the Universities of Birmingham, Bolton, Aberdeen, Dublin (Trinity College), and Dev Sanskriti Vishwavidyalaya (Haridwar, India).

Free tickets to the April 16 Mahle Lecture Series can be reserved here. The Klas Center is located at 1537 West Taylor Avenue, Saint Paul, MN 55104. The event is on the third floor.

This series is supported by the Stephen and Kathi Austin Mahle Endowed Fund for Progressive Christian Thought, which was created to support the efforts of Hamline University toward exploring and articulating contemporary forms of Christian theology and providing students opportunities to learn its relevance to personal, social, political and economic life.

For more information, visit the Wesley Center webpage.