Voices in Interfaith Studies. An Abrahamic Reflection

Studies in Interfaith Dialogue


Anthology, 2016
68 Pages

Excerpt

Table of Contents

Messianic Eschatologies In The Abrahamic Faiths. The Mission In The Future

A Summary Understanding Of The Spiritualitis Of The Abrahamic Faiths As Presented By Philip Sheldrake

Sabbath In Judaism And Christianity: Exploring The Significance Of Ecumenical Theology For Interreligious Dialogue

Recurrent Themes Within Interfaith Studies: The Christian understanding

Conversing With The Transcendent: Prayer As A Way Of Connecting With The Immanence Of God In Judaism And Islam

Christian And Muslim Responses To Global Injustice: Discipleship And Jihad In A New Light

God’s Name Is Mercy: Mercy In The Bible And Qur’an

Interfaith Opportunity. A Basic Interpretation Of Translations Of The Noble Quran On Relations Between Jews, Christians And Muslims

Abrahamic Hospitality

Comparing Beliefs And Practices About Purity And Impurity In Judaism And Islam

A Report On The Interreligious Situation In Cameroon And How It Relates To The Issue Of Migration

Messianic Eschatologies In The Abrahamic Faiths. The Mission In The Future

Wayi E. Mico (Cameroon)

Introduction

The terminology “Abrahamic faiths” refers to the three biggest religions in the world; Christianity, Islam and Judaism that claim a common origin from the figure of Abraham as a prototype. There are very many common issues between these three faiths and one of them is the fact that they all believe in the coming of a Messiah.[1] The purposes for which these Messiahs are to come may differ according to the different faiths expressions but the common goal in all three faiths is that the Messiahs are to come for a mission. These missions are embedded in the hopes and anticipations of the various faiths and these missions are yet to be fulfilled. Thus we can refer to this situation as the Messianic eschatological missions in the Abrahamic faiths.

In this work, I have tried to depend on existing documents on the Messianic figures in the three faiths. The lectures in the 2015/2016 interfaith course has helped to develop this piece of work and most importantly, my discussion with the course attendants have boosted the confidence with which this paper is presented. Casual question-answer sessions during breaks and out of class gave me the full insight I needed to attempt into this topic. But the limitation of this paper is that it a glance over the issue of Messiahship in interfaith based on the limit I had.

Before we move into the work proper, let us consider the following terms:

Messiah

Summarily and according to Hastings, J. (1916) the term refers to the belief in one who will come as the savior or redeemer or liberator of a group of people in accordance with a standing prophetic utterance. In some cases, the Messiah is expected to be a divine figure or human figure with divine influence. There is also the belief that the coming of the Messiah ushers a new age or world order in which the Messiah will be in charge, (Reventlow, H.G: 1997). The contents of the Messiah in Islam and Judaism are closely related in that they talk of a man in real life but Christianity looks to a super being who is both divine and human at the same time.

Eschatology

Permit me say here that this is not necessarily a general term for all faiths but a Christian term and this paper is written from a Christian background. I also choose to ignore, for the moment, a conflicting word such as “apocalyptic” and to concentrate on eschatology. The Greek eschatos refers to the “what is last in time or the last things”, (Bromiley, W.G: 2001 and Kittel, G: 1964), or the ultimate end, [Online] (2016). It is generally concerned with the goal and fulfillment of creation and history in a time yet ahead (Lacostes, J-Y: vol. 1, 2005). It is the same as to say “finally” (Balz, H. and Schneider, G: 1991). It can be closely related to the Greek elpida which signals hope or expectation yet to come. For Hastings, J. (1916), there is the inclusion of judgment for the evil generation that has lived in and corrupted the world. Eschatology is traditionally a doctrine of the last days or things. In different faiths, the view on how the last days will be, differs (and may have different terminologies) and this paper does not seek to show these various views but rather to indicate that there are evidences of attempts to think of the last days in the three big faiths or the world. Each faith has a distinct answer to the question of what will happen in the last days or what is expected to happen. And like Lacoste, J-Y: vol. 1, (2005) says: “we consider here as eschatological all projections in to the future” which have been necessitated by the fact that after the shattering of the hopes of the Jews on their Temple, the disappointing disappearance of the Mahdi (for Shia Islam) and the shameful death of Christ for the Christians, the center of gravity changed from dependence on history to the hope for the future.

Mission

This is a very complex term to define. Allen, R. (1964) sees mission from the Christian perspective as the “impulse” to obey the command of Christ to the letter with full respect accorded the authority it bears. Bearing in mind the above, a working definition for this work will be that mission then is the obedience of the command of God by the figure designated for it. Figures here refer to whoever God has a command for, be it in Islam or Christianity or Judaism. By this, we will be able to see the various Messianic figures in the Abrahamic faiths as mission bearers. In this case the same person bears the mission and serve as the ‘missionary’[2] while it is God who serve as the mission agency, (Juergensmeyer, M: 2012).

Let us at this point examine the Messianic mission in the various Abrahamic faiths.

Judaism

An understanding of Kohler K, (2016) opines that the Messianic expectation in Judaism is not as it were to be the coming of a savior. They regard the intertwined nature of this term Messiah (anointed one) in its English meaning as not sufficient to describe the Jewish experience. Thus they choose to use the term Mâshîach often associated with the anointed figure of a kingly personality. The expected one will be a physical descendant of David. The Jewish Messiah is not divine even if the name is. This teaching is engulfed in the teachings of the end of age referred to as, aḥarit ha-yamim which can be found in the three main prophets , Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel. This Mâshîach’s mission will be to include and attract all peoples from various cultures and nations (Isaiah 11:10), preach a message of peace and unity and then rebuilt the temple. For the Jews, this task is given by God Himself to the Mâshîach to be, who has not yet come. He will only come to a generation experiencing total righteousness or total wickedness. He will punish the evil doers and restore the Jewish nation to its glory. He has a deadline, 6000 years after creation, i.e. in the seventh Millennium which corresponds to the Seventh day of the Shabbat. By the Jewish calendar, 2009/2010 was equated to 5770 years already spent so far. Thus, they hold to two era which are the ‘now’ full of chaos and the ‘then’ to come ruled by the Mâshîach. This belief is part of the Rambam’s[3] thirteen principles of faith (Novak, D: 2007).

Islam

According to the Encyclopedia of Religions and Ethics, Vols. 8, 9 and11, in Islam, the Messianic expectation presents the belief in the Mahdi (guided by God) also known as the 12th Imam who is the prophesied redeemer in Islam whose rule will usher in the Day of Judgment. This belief is backed up by Surah 3:81 even though the word Mahdi is not mentioned directly. Interestingly, the Mahdi’s tenure of office will coincide with the second coming of Christ also known as the Parousia and they together will fight against the Masih ad-Dajjal (the anti or false Messiah). For the Sunni Muslims, the Mahdi is yet to be born while for the Shia, He will experience a Parousia which means that he had been born, disappeared and will come again to bring justice to earth. Interestingly it is believed that the Mahdi is alive among people but cannot be perceived. He is alive!! For the Sunni, He will be born of the descent of the Prophet Muhammad, from his Ummah, and of Lady Fatima and will be an ordinary man (Hadith, 5792). He is vividly described in human qualities such as he will be having a “black spot on His left cheek” (Al-Qᾱ’im). Significantly, the Mahdi will appear when the Muslim are:

1) Severely oppressed around the world and there will be violent deaths
2) He will fight the oppressors (terrorist) and unite the Muslims
3) He will lead a prayer with Jesus[4]
4) He will come when there is great fear and fighting among humanity
5) There will be earthquakes
6) A tyrant will emerge who will kill and enslave women and children and will try to kill the Mahdi too
7) But he will not be the same individual as the promised Messiah, Jesus but only a contemporary of His.

Ayatullah Ibrahim Amini: (2016)

All the Mahdis before the 12th were killed or martyred[5] but the fate of the 12th for the Sunni Muslim is that man cannot kill Him and for the Shia, He came and disappeared but is alive and preparing to appear again.

Christianity

The Messianic expectation in Christianity is embedded in the Jewish concept of the Messiah, the anointed one and it is rendered in Greek as Christos meaning savior. For the Christians this Messiah had come, ministered among humans, was not understood within His Jewish context, was killed and resurrected and is to come again. He is alive!! and the Parousia comes to light with the expectation of His coming again. He was not perceived as a man but as divine too who was sent from God. His mission is to reclaim the world to God, bring justice to a corrupt world and commence a new order sometime known as the New Jerusalem. Note that it is only by applying the Messianic title to Jesus that there has been the development of eschatology in Christianity (Lacoste, J-Y: vol. 2, 2005). In Christian theology, Messianism may mean the eschatological representation of the coming of the kingdom of God (ibid). The Christians do not expect another birth of the Messiah but a glorious descend from within the clouds ushered by blasts of trumpets. The book of the Revelation bears numerous witnesses to this. There will be signs of His coming such as, eclipse, earthquakes, wars, hostilities etc. (Luke 21:20ff).

Shared Messianic Expectations Between The Abrahamic Faiths.

At this point it would be wonderful to show that the Abrahamic faiths share some common expectations in eschatology.

Firstly, there is the importance of the future in all these faiths. They are not just coming from nowhere to nowhere. There is the hope of a pilgrimage to a new order in which there will be the peace that has been deprived them in this world. There is also the issue of an anticipated judgment during this end time.

Secondly, the three religions all share the fact that there is a coming Messiah to lead the people to this great dream of the future full of peace. This messiah somehow will be in the form of a man even if Christianity believes in the half man, half divine. The fact that there is some humanity in in the Messiah (for Christians) means that He will be part of a community and will share their anxieties. All three religions agree to the fact that the Messiah will be a progeny of one of the important personalities in each faith with Jews and Christians agreeing on David while the Muslims hold too Muhammad. Thus, the Messiah will be born. Islam talks of Lady Fatima as the mother, Christianity talks of the Virgin Mary and Judaism has no specific female name but implied birth when they say He will be of the house of David. Certainly, there will be a woman to fulfil this.

Thirdly, the Messiah will have a mission from God in which the result of the mission will be of great advantage to the steadfast and trouble to the oppressors.

Fourthly, they all agree that something wrong will precede the coming of this new dawn. There will be calamities and problems. There will be natural disasters and people will no longer be comfortable.

Fifthly and very interesting too is the fact that the Messianic figures in all three faiths will be “ecumenical”, intercultural, inter-religious and indiscriminate. In Islam, the Mahdi will worship with Jesus and will even ask Him to lead a prayer. For the Jews, the Mâshîach will attract and include peoples from all cultures and nations and will be a messenger of peace. This sounds especially like the Oikoumene (the inhabited earth) of the WCC in Christianity and for the Christians, the words resound almost thus: “…And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me” (John 12: 32, KJV).

Sixthly, Islam and Christianity seem to agree a lot in certain places. The Mahdi and Christ are both alive somehow in the midst of the people and are both expected at the Parousia. I am not in any way trying to compare the personalities or authorities of these religious figures. Rather we are looking at the circumstances around them in the various faiths they represent. For both, the Messianic figure had come, killed by men (disappeared) or martyred, are alive somehow and will come back to finished the second parts of their various prophecies. Note that Sunni Islam agrees rather with Judaism that the Mahdi and the Mâshîach respectively have yet to come and are expected in the first and not the second.

Seventhly, Islam and Christianity seem to agree that the Mahdi and the Messiah will both fight against the anti-Messiah (false Messiah) known in Islam as the Masih ad-Dajjal and for Christians as the anti-Christ.

Conclusion

After a quick browse over the concept of the Messianic eschatology in the three Abrahamic faiths, I can say without any more fear that the uniting strong points of these faiths are more eloquent than the divides they face. If we may try to put words with the letter ‘M’ together we may say: Mâshîach, Messiah and Mahdi to represent Judaism, Christianity and Islam respectively. It would be proper then to conclude that the faiths are on a journey toward the same directions by different means and on separate but very close lanes. It is not about trying to blend the religions into one but to understand all of them as pursuing the same course differently. I do not thing that a day will come when we shall be trying to have anything such as “Chrislam”, “Chrisjew”, “Jewslam”, Isjews, Ischri etc. as new names from a religious matrimony.

References

BOOKS

Allen, R. (1964). Missionary Principles. USA: Wm. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

Omar, A. R. (nd.) The Holy Qur’an as Explained and Interpreted. USA: Tehama University Press.

Reventlow, H. G. (Ed.) (1997). Eschatology in the Bible and in Jewish and Christian Traditions. England: Sheffield Academic Press.

The Holy Bible. (1611). Quatercentenary Edition King Jams version. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

ENCYCLOPEDIAS AND DICTIONARIES

Bromiley, G. W. (2001). The Encyclopedia of Christianity. Vol. 2, Grand Rapid, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company Brill.

Juergensmeyer, M. and Roof, W.C. (Eds.) (2012). The Encyclopedia of Global Religion. Vol. 2, Los Angeles: SAGE.

Kittel, G. (1964). Theological Dictionary of the New Testament.Vol. 2, Germany: W Kohlhammer Verlag.

Kohler, K. (2016). The Jewish Encyclopedia [Online]. Available from: http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/contribs/563. [Accessed, 30th July 2016]

Lacoste, J-Y. (Ed.) (2005). Encyclopedia of Christian Theology. Vol. 2, Britain: Routledge

Schneider, G. and Balz, H. (1991).The exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament. Vol.2, Grand Rapid, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.

ONLINE SOURCES

https://www.google.ch/eschatology-//

Ibrahim, A. (2016). The Imam Al-Mahdi. [Online]. Available from: http://www.al-islam.org. Ansariyan publications Qum

Novak, D. (2007). The Oxford Handbook of Ecclesiology. [Online]. Available from: www.oxfordhandbooks.com/.../oxfordhb/.../oxfordhb-9780195170498-[Accessed, 30th /07/2016].

Signs of the Mahdi. [Online]. Available from:www.Quran.mu. Al-Qa’im-messiah-like-figure in Shia Islam.

A Summary Understanding Of The Spiritualitis Of The Abrahamic Faiths As Presented By Philip Sheldrake

Wayi E. Mico (Cameroon)

Introduction

Philip Sheldrake presents his work on the spiritualities of the three biggest world’s faith in some sort of a defined outline. In all three chapters, there may be some position change in the way the topics appear but the framework is the same. He seeks to show the origin of a particular spirituality, the teachings, the sources and how the life in each is led. In all, he tries to show some aspects of the ascetic life and mysticism and whether each has got a particular attention to world mission. The conclusion is often the summary of the whole chapter in a nutshell.

Jewish Spirituality

The author begins by presenting Judaism as a religion intended for faith and ethnic identity. This faith can be grouped into two denominations or forms namely: The Sephardic (in the Middle East) and the Ashkenazi found all over Europe. These different groups seek to re-read the Jewish traditions in contemporary understanding. He presents Judaism as the parent of the “Abrahamic Faith” since the other two main religions, Islam and Christianity recognize Abraham as their prototype. This faith can be traced as far back as 3000-4000 years around the Mesopotamia area. The Jews trace their history alongside that of their faith in which God interacted with them as the chosen people.

In this chapter, Sheldrake presents the Jewish spirituality as being active-practical, meaning that it is a daily affair. It is practical, ethical and daily-present and it hardly builds on certain doctrines but rather flowing from the observance of the law. It is more of a communal than an individual affair even though the individual has the right to a personal response to God who guided and protected them from the past to a holy live today. It is the stand on the fact that God relates to human affairs which is contrary to the atheist idea that God is detached from the world. Judaism holds on to monotheism and hopes for the messiah who shall come to restore Israel to its glory.

The source of this spirituality is the Torah, the Talmud and even the Midrash, but there had also been some outside influences. They view life as better if it is lived by getting involved with others outside Judaism. They may view ascetic life as a source of regeneration but they do not hold to monasticism. Daily prayers and weekly Sabbath retreats prepare them for mission to the world considered as the “tikkum olam”. The reading of the scripture is paramount and the Temple is the holy place for worship. There are also Jewish sects and they believe in mysticism. For the Jews, God cannot be known fully but there are forces such as, wisdom, kindness, love etc. by which God connects to the world and these forces must not be regarded as gods. All worship belong to one God the creator.

BIAS

In the author’s presentation of Judaism there seem to be the desire to emphasize positions as to who is first or last or who is parent and who is a child between the three faiths. Seeing Judaism as the parent faith to the two others is slightly an error that may spark up another sentimental discussion between the faiths. If Abraham is the source of all the faiths then none can claim to have been the mother of the other. I personally resent the idea of placing any one faith as the mother or father of the others. Abraham is their one source and it is better left that way.

WHAT’S NEW

From the work of this author, I have been able to learn of the fact that Judaism also has denominations and also the fact that they believe in a mission to the world through the “tikkum olam”. I must also say that it was quite informative to here that there are more Jews outside than they are in Israel. It intrigued me to know that the Jews believe in the “Redeemer” and “Messiah”. I now know that their belief in the Messiah is of one who will come to restore the “glory of Israel” surely as a chosen people, politically. It is also good to know that the Jews are receptive to outsiders since they see it as a divine duty.

Muslim Spirituality

The author presents the Muslim spirituality as a daily affair often done in houses by families. It is grounded on the dictates of the Qur’an and the textual sayings of Muhammad. The Kaaba is their center of worship. Life as a whole is spiritual and not just a simple act or practice of spirituality. There is no different between a spiritual and a secular life. They hold on to monotheism and on the five pillars of Islam as the basic rituals of spirituality. There are also two major denominations of Islam; the Sunni and the Shia which are not separated by belief but by lineage. Islam embraces the outside faiths through the community known as the “ummah”. The teachings of Islam are creedal and are seen as a culmination of the revelation from Abraham, Moses, and Jesus to Muhammad, the last of the prophets.

There is not the belief in priest or pastor to serve as mediators between the people and God. The individual has a certain privilege connection with Allah. Charity and compassion are the components of the journey to heaven. Monasticism is ignored but daily prayers are encouraged.

A BIAS AND WHAT IS LACKING OF CHRISTIANITY

It is not fair for me that the author says Islam seem to view itself as the fulfilment of all past revelation. This means that they see themselves as the correction of all past errors and the fulfilment of all past correctness. It is a claim of superiority which I think is not necessary in matters of faith. Secondly, the author says “Islam is fiercely monotheistic”. Even though the usage of the word ‘fiercely’ may refer to the strong belief in one God, it may be misinterpreted to mean violence. I think the usage of the word is wrong. Thirdly the author present Islam as opposed to the Christian doctrine of the Trinity as polytheistic. I think his work wanted to show more of the similarities than the differences in the spiritualities of the three religions. It is certainly not true that the Trinity is polytheistic in the Christian sense.

WHAT’S NEW

From this work I have learned a new word in Islam. I was told back home that the theologians of Islam were referred to as the “Modibo” but by this I have learnt of the “Ayatollahs” of the Shia Muslims. Again I have learnt that Christianity and Islam are closed to each other in matters of saintship (intercession), the belief in angels, the resurrection, original sin and even miracles. And lastly, that the two forms of Islam are not divided by belief but by lineage.

Christian Spirituality

According to the author, Christianity has four main denominations or forms which came about as a result of schism in theology and institutions. It is born out of Jewish monotheism and the bible is the source of its spirituality especially the New Testament and later doctrines. Also, it takes the concept of discipleship in to account which involves the following of the way of Jesus which is also a radical breaking with one’s past. It teaches about the incarnated Christ and the indwelling of the spirit in the heart of man. The Christian life is communal and not individualistic. Membership is by Baptism and the post resurrection experience holds a great part in this spirituality. Monasticism is found and martyrdom seemed to have accompanied the faith for long. This spirituality has sought to adjust to contemporary events and each context develops its own response by their various social and cultural contexts such as liberation, feminist etc. Today, this spirituality has extended to the rise of the ecumenical movements searching for a peaceful dialogue between Christianity and other religions.

BIAS AND LACK OF INFORMATION IN CHRISTIANITY

I do not think that the search for a peaceful dialogue has been an exclusive activity of Christianity. There are other faiths that have been receptive to this idea and if this can be reckon to Christianity as a form of spirituality, then it must also be reckoned to the other faiths that have embraced the idea. Secondly, the author fails to see that there are other recent forms of Christianity such as the Pentecostal and the African Instituted Churches and the Tele-Evangelical Ministries which are completely different from what he simply calls the Churches of the Reformation. Thirdly, the various recent contextual responses to Christian spirituality have not been fully explored as the author limited himself only to the south of America and Europe. There have been different forms of such struggles in Africa and Asia too. The liberation cry in South America over the issue of poverty is not the same as the cry against colonialism, corruption or Apartheid in Africa.

WHAT’S NEW

I have learned to understand that spirituality goes beyond a simple individual prayer to a general commitment to the faiths of the world. I never could understand that the ecumenical movements were into Christian spirituality. I have often seen these words to mean a private devotion time in a private place like a hill or a monastery etc.

Conclusion

Philip Sheldrake choses to present the various faiths from the point of their spiritualities. In whatever ways he looked at these, I see that the author tries so hard to avoid doctrinal issues which have always been the points of divide between the various faiths. For me, this author has rather presented some commonness within the different faiths by trying to link them to one origin which is Abraham and to a common phenomenon in the practice of the faiths. He seems to show that there are various common themes that run through all the faiths which are mysticism, asceticism and world mission. It means that to a certain extent all these faith have components of mission even if there are not fully shown. It wasn’t possible for me before to know that the “tikkum olam” of the Jews or the “ummah” of the Muslim were almost the same as the ecumenical movements of Christianity. But now there is a different view all together.

Reference

Sheldrake, Philip. Spirituality: A Guide for the Perplexed. London, GBR: Bloomsbury Academic, 2014. ProQuest ebrary. Web. 14 April 2015.

Sabbath In Judaism And Christianity: Exploring The Significance Of Ecumenical Theology For Interreligious Dialogue

Stanislau Paulau (Belarus)

1. Introduction

“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy“ (Exodus 20:8) – being an integral part of the Decalogue, the commandment to observe Sabbath can be seen as one of the most important religious practices in Judaism, an expression of the „everlasting covenant“ (Exodus 31:16). Christianity in its turn, have placed the main focus on the „Lord’s Day“, i.e. the day of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, what resulted in a widely spread among numerous Christian traditions consideration, that the „Lord’s Day“ understood as Sunday, is a replacement of the Sabbath. Evidently, such a theological position has its considerable and rather problematic implications for the Jewish-Christian dialogue. And also within the Christianity itself this position led to divisions and creation of Churches stressing the observance of Sabbath instead of Sunday (cf. Seventh-Day Adventist Church).

At the same time, a closer look at the practice of the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Churches reveals a Christian theology, which tries to reconcile the observance of both Sabbath and Sunday. This Sabbath theology, hardly known in the Western Christianity, might give a helpful insight for the Jewish-Christian dialogue on the larger scale, if the process of its reception would be promoted through the ecumenical theology and ecumenical education. Although the Sabbath theology can be found in many Orthodox contexts, in the given paper, do its limited length, I would like to focus on the case of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church.

2. The Sabbath: Theology, Practice And Its Place In The Canonical Corpus Of The Ethiopian Orthodox Church

According to the number of scholars the keeping of the Sabbath along with the Sunday was commonly enjoined in Christianity till at least the fourth century. Proof for that could be seen also the words of Gregory of Nyssa (335–395): “With what eyes do you regard the Lord’s Day, you who have desecrated the Sabbath? Do you know that these two days are related, that if you wrong one of them, you will stumble against the other?”[6] The tradition of observing these two days has, however, been kept in the Orthodox Churches, and prominently so in Ethiopia.[7]

Among the scholars the debate on the possible Jewish influences on the Ethiopian Orthodox Church has been commented on many times. It is not clear if the Judaic elements in the Church are a result of the influence of this original Judaism on a Gentile Christianity, or the result of the preaching of Jewish Christians in the country, or a product of the hermeneutical approach of the Church to the Hebrew Bible. Whichever is true, Ethiopian Christianity is, as John Pawlikowski states, “an excellent example of a Semitic-based Christianity […] the interpenetration of Judaism and Christianity”[8].

The argument of the Ethiopian Church regarding the observance of the Sabbath is that both the Old and New Testaments honour the it and that there are no explicit commands in the New Testament to abolish the Sabbath. It is therefore, a matter of the obedience to Jesus Christ, who himself is being referred to as „the Lord of the Sabbath“.[9] Thus it is still binding and the Eucharist is celebrated both on Saturday and Sunday and the faithful are supposed to keep both. Hard work is not permitted but the restrictions are not as severe as in the Mishna or the Talmud, for the Ethiopian principle is that the day is a feast day and thus any work needed to keep the festal character is permitted.[10]

The Sabbath plays an important role in the Ethiopian Church also due to fact that its observance is explicitly confirmed in the wider canon of the Ethiopian New Testament, particularly in the Didascalia and in the Synodicon. Synodicon orders the Christians to observe both Saturday and Sunday as Sabbath: the First (part of the) Sabbath, Qadam Sanbat, or Sanbata Ayhud, Saturday; and the Latter (part of the) Sabbath, Daharit Sanbat, or Ehud Sanbat, Sunday:

„Let the faithful, male as well as female, rest (on) all (Saturday) Sabbath and Sunday. Let them treat [lit. turn to] their servants in meekness, as we have taught earlier and have so ordered in our epistle. You, as well as your servants and attendants, do your work five days; on (Saturday) Sabbath and on Sunday do not work any work, but make yourself free for church for instruction in the worship of God and the teaching of the Holy Spirit, which makes one inherit the kingdom of God in the coming world, and, in this world, which keeps, whit great honour and blessings, those who fear God and honour his Sabbaths and rest on them. [...] Listen, and you will know the honour of (Saturday) Sabbath: it was not from people that honouring Sabbath started; rather, it is honoured by God, its maker and creator. He honoured it and blessed it.“[11]

In the Didascalia we also find clear rules how to follow the Sabbath:

[...]


[1] The title may have other names according to different faiths. Writing from a Christian perspective, I desire to use the term to mean the same for all three Abrahamic faiths.

[2] Not in the common sense of the word as it applies to human missionaries going out to different places. Missionary is used here just to signal the Messiah to whom the assignment is given

[3] This are the minimum spiritual requirements for the devout Jews.

[4] Even though it is said that Jesus will refuse the offer to lead a prayer because He will consider the Mahdi as worthy enough to do it without His help.

[5] Lectures understanding by Dr Shomali at the interfaith programme of the Ecumenical Institute, Bossey, (2016).

[6] The quotation is given according to: Pawlikowski John, The Judaic Spirit of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church: A Case Study in Religious Acculturation, in: Journal of Religion in Africa, 4:3 (1972), p. 191.

[7] Phillip Tovey, Inculturation of Christian Worship: Exploring the Eucharist, 2004, p. 224.

[8] Pawlikowski John, The Judaic Spirit of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church: A Case Study in Religious Acculturation, in: Journal of Religion in Africa, 4:3 (1972), p. 179.

[9] Tamar Davis, A General History of the Sabbatarian Churches, Salt Lake City, 1995, pp. 41-42.

[10] Hammerschmidt Ernst, Äthiopien. Christliches Reich zwischen Gestern und Morgen, Wiesbaden, 1967, p. 153.

[11] The quotation is given according to: Haile Getatchew, The Forty-nine Hour Sabbath of the Ethiopian Church, in: Journal of Semitic Studies, 2 (1988), pp. 234-235.

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Title
Voices in Interfaith Studies. An Abrahamic Reflection
Subtitle
Studies in Interfaith Dialogue
College
University of Geneva  (Ecumenical Institute Bossey)
Course
Interreligious Studies
Authors
Year
2016
Pages
68
Catalog Number
V351984
ISBN (eBook)
9783668386419
ISBN (Book)
9783668386426
File size
801 KB
Language
English
Tags
voices, interfaith, studies, abrahamic, reflection, dialogue
Quote paper
Emmanuel Wayi Mico (Editor)Elliot Steinberg (Editor), 2016, Voices in Interfaith Studies. An Abrahamic Reflection, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/351984

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