Graduate Theological Union

Arthur Holder

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Wabash Graduate Programs Teaching Initiative

by Arthur Holder, Academic Dean and Vice President for Academic Affairs (taken from April 2011 Dean's Newsletter)

How well does the GTU prepare doctoral students to teach? And how can we do a better job? Those were the questions that we asked ten alums from five years ago who recently came back to Berkeley for a consultation sponsored by the Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion as part of their Graduate Programs Teaching Initiative.

Who among us is good? … and who is “us”?

Nargis Virani, Naomi Seidman, Arthur Holder, Munir Jiwa at the Western Wall in JerusalemLiterary critics and theologians often talk about "interpretive communities" and "capable readers." Who has the ability--and even the right--to interpret a text, especially a sacred text that bears authority in a particular religious tradition?

Last month I participated in a weeklong interreligious Theology Conference at the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem along with Naomi Seidman (Director, Center for Jewish Studies), Munir Jiwa (Director, Center for Islamic Studies), and Nargis Virani (visiting faculty, Center for Islamic Studies). The theme of the conference was “What makes a good person?” Small groups involving participants from all three traditions studied key sacred texts together, working both in the original languages and in English translation.

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