“The discovery of social, cultural, and religious pluralism by ancient empires and modern global conquests helped generate a sense of common humanity, the idea that, despite many differences, others are more like us than not, that we thus owe each other a threshold level of neighborliness. And yet, divisions between "us" and "them"—divisions of faith, geography, and hierarchy—became ever more profound, often cruel and dangerous, precisely as ideas about human fellowship advanced. Propinquity and distance, regard and loathing, have coincided.”
In his paper “On Illuminating Darkness,” #SocResAuthor Ira Katznelson mourns the irony at work in modern times where people, much like us, can slaughter others they know by face and name. He asks, “which circumstances of social geography, material arrangements, and cultural and political patterns raise prospects for toleration rather than persecution?”
Read his ruminations about religious pluralism and toleration in our issue “Political Transition Revisited”: https://muse.jhu.edu/article/726001
soon after the world trade center towers came down, the leaders of the Jewish Theological Seminary sought to offer comfort and consolation. In their statement, they recalled that before the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem by the Romans in AD 70, the high priest would pray on behalf of those a...