The First TWW Panel
The first TWW panel was held at the MAR-AAR meeting in March 2014. It was a plenary session serving as a kind of conference key-note right after a buffet dinner. Almost everyone stayed for the panel.
I opened with a presentation of the Questions about TWW posted elsewhere on this site. Jeffery Long spoke about TWW from his Hindu perspective and frequently engaged questioners. Bob Neville laid out a magisterial summary of a lifetime of thinking about these issues theologically and philosophically. Tony Watson presented a series of hard questions the project will need to address. He was worried that it came across as too critical, but I thought it was just a good example of taking the project, which he supports, seriously. Jon Weidenbaum talked about how a secular Jewish kid came to be interested in these issues. Len Swidler, who has been working on interreligious theology longer than just about anyone, spoke eloquently about the advantages of approaching these issues through dialogue, where one encounters, not just disembodied ideas, but whole persons and their faiths.
Rather than the usual Q&A, attendees were asked to become “members of the panel, but with only one minute to speak.” The discussion proceeded spontaneously after that, with a large fraction of the audience able to make comments. The comments were serious, engaged, and full of intellectual energy. The main tone was a mixture of positive and inquisitive, exploring just what TWW would involve. One or two comments were more skeptical than that, which was also useful.
~ Jerry L. Martin
Jerry L. Martin, Ph.D., D.H.L., former Chair, Department of Philosophy, University of Colorado at Boulder, and Acting Chairman, National Endowment for the Humanities
Jeffery D. Long, Ph.D., Professor of Religion and Asian Studies, Elizabethtown College
Robert C. Neville, Ph.D., D.D., Professor of Philosophy, Religion, and Theology, Boston University
Leonard Swidler, Ph.D., Th.D., L.H.D., Professor of Catholic Thought and Interreligious Dialogue, Temple University
Anthony J. Watson, Ph.D., M.Div., Associate Director of Middle East Studies, Watson Institute for International Studies, Brown University
Jonathan Weidenbaum, Ph.D., Faculty (Philosophy), School of Liberal Arts, Berkeley College
AAR 2014 Annual Meeting
There was two sessions for TWW under the category, Additional Meetings. It is likely that both will be on Saturday, Nov. 22, in the late morning or early afternoon. There will be both a discussion panel and a planning meeting for discussing future events and modes of cooperative inquiry. It is a very interesting panel:
Planning Meeting Report
We held both a panel and a planning session. The panel attracted a standing-room-only audience. Jeanine Diller, Mark Heim, Jeffery D. Long, Robert Cummings Neville, and John Thatamanil spoke, with Jerry L. Martin presiding. The presentations were serious, focused, and constructive. Discussion afterwards was lively and forward-looking.
About twenty participants, including almost all panelists, stayed for the planning meeting. We decided to have two panels next year. A number of topics were mentioned, including a look at the forerunners of TWW, such as Wilfrid Cantwell Smith, and a discussion of the “best” in each tradition. This Forum will be a place to discuss future topics and projects.
Jeanine Diller, Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Religion, University of Toledo
Mark Heim, Samuel Abbot Professor of Christian Theology, Andover Newton Theological School
Jeffery D. Long, Professor of Religion and Asian Studies, Elizabethtown College
Robert C. Neville, Professor of Philosophy, Religion, and Theology, Boston University
John Thataminal, Associate Professor of Theology and World Religions, Union Theological Seminary
Jerry L. Martin, former Chair, Department of Philosophy, University of Colorado at Boulder, and Acting Chairman, National Endowment for the Humanities (Chair)