Lunchtime Seminar at the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities, University of Edinburgh (IASH) 11 March 2012, 12:30-2pm:
Guy Stroumsa: Three Rings or Three Impostors? The study of the Abrahamic Religions in the 19th century.
This seminar will present a major puzzle in the history of modern scholarship. Both the parable of the Three Rings in Lessing’s Nathan the Wise and the anonymous Liber de Tribus Impostoribus, which was a best-seller throughout the eighteenth century, reflect the fact that the obvious family resemblances between Judaism, Christianity and Islam were clearly recognized until the Enlightenment. And yet, the modern scholarly study of these religions has remained to a great extent unable to think and study these three religions together, in comparative fashion. The historical and comparative study of religions, which developed as a discipline in the second half of the nineteenth century, has rarely discussed Judaism, Christianity and Islam in the same framework, and thus has remained to a great extent unable to perceive clearly, from a structural as well as from a genetic perspective, both their close similarities and their deep differences. I shall discuss the reasons for the odd disappearance of the traditional ‘family resemblance’ between the three Abrahamic religions in the nineteenth century.
Interested staff and PG students, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to book a place, stating any dietary requirements, by Friday 1 March 2013 (places are limited to 15).