Scriptural reasoning as a “classic” : the aesthetics of interreligious politics

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Seeking to find a new way of meeting between Abrahamic traditions, Scriptural Reasoning has established a unique dynamic. This unique dynamic centres on meetings that are based on friendship rather than consensus, wisdom rather than propositional knowledge or binary thinking. Such virtues are not without problems. This article considers one problem: how the results of Scriptural Reasoning, and the insights gleaned from the meetings, can be passed on to the Abrahamic communities and the wider public. Addressing this problematic, the article focuses on the aesthetics of Scriptural Reasoning and its performance. Whereas one method of extending its influence is to widen the practice into the civic sphere and draw more people into the meetings, this article proposes another approach that suggests that the meetings of scholars or “representatives” around their texts constitute a “classic”, which, through vicarious performance can affect the wider public. Further than this, the article outlines a kind of aesthetic politics of religions. Building upon the idea of aesthetic representation proposed in the political sphere by Frank Ankersmit, it is argued that interfaith movements such as Scriptural Reasoning might be presented as a form of political representation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)299-312
JournalIslam and Christian-Muslim Relations
Issue number3
Early online date23 May 2013
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2013


  • Scriptural Reasoning
  • interfaith
  • aesthetics
  • politics
  • representation


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