Common, Yes, But Also Compelling

Picture 6 Having just come from the annual meeting of the American Academy of Religion, where scholars of religions’ input on the topic of climate change was encouraged, inasmuch as we are presumed to have some special expertise based on what we happen to study — as phrased in a memo sent last year to the chairs of its various program units, written by our then incoming President:

It is our scholarly duty, I would argue, that we bring forward a scholarship from a wide set of traditions that may suggest a meaningful set of actions in response to an unprecedented and shared crisis…

— and at which, in my reply to a session on interreligious dialogue, I once again critiqued a statement from 1997 in which Jacob Neusner argued that the:

special promise of the academic study of religion is to nurture this country‚Äôs resources for tolerance for difference, our capacity to learn from each other, and to respect each other…

I find it interesting to turn attention to the manner in which scholars of religion apply their work to domains outside those of their expertise. Continue reading