Promise, Land and Hope

Partially in response to increased polarization in Christian-Jewish dialogues around the world caused by the ongoing lsraeli-Palestinian conflict, the PROMISE, LAND AND HOPE project will shed light on one of the conflict's specifically religious dimensions: how different disputants draw upon scriptural or other authoritative religious texts to advance their arguments. By becoming aware of how different voices adduce texts, it becomes possible to get beyond their contradictory conclusions to understand why people argue as they do. This kind of awareness enables dialogues to move from endless arguments over policies or actions to constructive engagement with diversity.

Over a period of roughly five years, the Research Council will explore a variety of Jewish and Christian methods of textual interpretation, focusing primarily on two urgent topics that roil contemporary discussions of the lsraeli-Palestinian confllct: perspectives on land and their relationship to understandings of eschatology.

The team will assemble at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in August of 2O12 to begin to develop an analytic tool or template that will be used to review selected written materials that represent a variety of perspectives( e.g., Christian Zionist, Palestinian, the Jewish left- or right-wing, liberal Protestants, etc.). This process will identify the authoritative sources being used, analyze the interpretive suppositions and methods employed (i.e.,hermeneutics) and clarify the bases for the conclusions or arguments advanced.

Among the many issues relevant to thls research are some specific to Jews and others specific to Christians. For Jews a major question is Jewish ideas about the roles of other peoples - both within Israel and in relation to other lands/nations. Christians will need to consider the implications of their general affirmation of God's continuing covenant wlth the Jewish people for specific issues relating to the land- holiness, sovereignty, place/s, covenant, relics, etc.

Expected outcomes include a template or typology of varying approaches to authoritative texts that Influence current conversatios about the lsraeli-Palestinian conflict. By mapping these approaches, participants in dialogues on the topic will more easily understand why different Jews and Christians argue the conclusions they do, thereby helping to counter the tendency toward polarization that the lsraeli-Palestinian conflict generates. The project participants are committed to making the results of their work accessible to as wide a readership as possible.

Promise, Land and Hope:
Jews and Christians Seeking Understanding to Enable Constructive Dialogue
About lsraeli-Palestinian Issues

1. Mary Boys, USA
2. Raymond Cohen, lsrael
3. Phillip Cunningham, USA
4. Adam Gregerman, USA
5. Ari Gordon, USA
6. Hans Hermann Henrix, Germany
7. Ruth Langer, USA
8. Michael McGarry, USA
9. John Pawlikowski, USA
10. Peter Pettit, USA 
11. Didier Pollefeyt, Belgium
12. Joseph Sievers, Germany
13. Jesper Svartvik, Sweden
14. Michael Trainor, Australia
15. J. Cornelius de Vos, Germany
16. Deborah Weissman, lsrael

Guest presenter: Reimund Bieringer, Belgium

April 2012