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Intercultural
Lexicon

Christianity

Generally speaking, “Christianity” means the ensemble of churches, communities, sects, groups, but also the ideas and concepts following the preaching of he who is generally considered the founder of this religion, Jesus of Nazareth, a travelling preacher from Galilee, born between 4 B.

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Modernity

The concept of modernity can be analysed from various points of view. A sociological perspective sees modernity as the historical era arising from feudal society’s profound transformation processes and that, starting with the Protestant Reformation, sees the emergence of the new bourgeoisie..

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Ethnocentrism

While empathy breaks down the barriers of borders, ethnocentrism – the supposed superiority of one’s own cultural world – is addressed at strengthening them, and if possible, at raising new ones.

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Islamism

Islamism is a highly militant mobilizing ideology selectively developed out of Islam’s scriptures, texts, legends, historical precedents, organizational experiences and present-day grievances, all as a defensive reaction against the long-term erosion of Islam’s primacy over the public...

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The Mediterranean

Mediterranean: literally the sea in the middle of lands, a bordering sea, and linking these lands. This characteristic makes the Mediterranean a sea that does belong to all the countries overlooking it, but to none in particular, a shared sea, not available for becoming private property..

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Reset
A month of ideas.
Giancarlo Bosetti Editor-in-chief
Association for dialogue and intercultural understanding

Philosophy and Religion

IT Philosophy and Religion

Liberal Democracy in Islam: Abdolkarim Soroush

By Giancarlo BosettiDue to the importance of his reformist religious perspective, many journalists have described him as “Islam’s Luther,” perhaps explained by the fact that in the Shiite tradition, unlike the Sunnis, there is the presence of the clergy and its earthly power. Soroush is a theoretician of freedom and individual rights, and he is a critic of the theological tradition that has justified power through transcendence, thereby sanctifying centuries of tyranny.


IT Women

Shirin Ebadi, battling for rights

By Nicola MissagliaJurist and Nobel Prize winner Ebadi took the lead in sponsoring an International Women’s Day in Iran, as well as a series of protest events against Iranian family law. In addition to having published numerous books, among them, Iran Awakening, A Memoir of Revolution and Hope (Milan 2006), as well as The Golden Cage, Three Brothers, Three Choices, One Destiny (Milan 2008), Ebadi founded the Defenders of Human Rights Centre in Iran and the Society for Protecting the Child's Rights. These two organizations are NGOs for the defence of human rights, which focus on strengthening the legal status of women and children in Iran.


Philosophy and Religion

Ashis Nandy: Why Nationalism and Secularism Failed Together

An interview by Giancarlo Bosetti

October 2016, New Delhi – MilanAshis Nandy sees vendors of nationalism inflicting damage all over the world, including in his own country, India. In India, the modern ideologies dominant during the liberation struggle against British rule were anti-colonialism and anti-imperialism. These then gave way to secular nationalism after Independence in 1947, under the first Prime Minister of free India, Jawaharlal Nehru (d. 1964). But less than seven decades later, what dominates Indian politics today is Hindu nationalism or “Hindutva”, and this is now being aggressively promoted by the 'strongman' currently leading the government in Delhi, Narendra Modi. Nandy, 79, a clinical psychologist by training, an analyst of culture and society, an astute political commentator and today India's most significant living public intellectual, has embraced the view of one of India’s founding fathers, Rabindranath Tagore, who thought that the idea of Indian nationalism was as absurd as Switzerland having a navy. In this interview below, Nandy will explain why.


Philosophy

Death took them in 2010: let’s celebrate their legacy

Brahim El Guabli

From Reset-DoC's Archive - For people of the Maghreb, or at least for those who are interested in the intellectual life, 2010 will undisputedly be associated with the heaviest harvest of intellectual and political figures of the region. As if death plotted against the region and decided to take away the emblematic figures of a glorious period of intellectual and political life. Mohamed Abid Al Jabiri, Edmond Emran El Maleh and Abraham Serfaty from Morocco; Mohamed Arkoun and Tahar Ouettar from Algeria and Nasr Hamid Abu Zayd from Egypt, took their leave in 2010. As much as these intellectuals’ works are widely studied in Western academia, especially in Europe and America, they remain unknown to large sections of the Arab world. Many factors inform this ignorance. First, the objective discontinuities that exist in terms of free circulation of knowledge between the Mashriq (the east of the Arab world) and the Maghreb (the west). Second, the historical jealousies that have always existed between the two sides of the Arab world. (This article was published on Reset-Dialogues on Civilizations in 2011)


Philosophy and Religion

The paradox of the Holy texts
where violent people look for legitimation

Prince El Hassan Bin Talal of Jordan and Ed Kessler

Christianity has been part of the essential fabric of the Middle East for two thousand years. Far from being a Western import as some, incredibly, now seem to suggest, it was born here and exported as a gift to the rest of the world. Christian communities have been intrinsic to the development of Arab culture and civilisation.


Philosophy and Religion

Political Legitimacy and Islam in the Ottoman Empire: Lessons Learned

Karen Barkey

This article explores the role of religion in Ottoman political legitimation. It shows that the Ottoman rulers were interested in a much more expansive, diverse form of political legitimation that included Islamic religious legitimation, but also used toleration and sultanic law to construct a more capacious form of political legitimation that included Muslim and non-Muslim populations of the empire.


IT DE Switzerland

Secularism, Post-Secularism, Religion and the ‘Open Society’

Reinhard Schulze

The open, secular society threatens to turn into a laical one when the state takes on the function of an religio-juridical regulatory body. In this doubled fragmentation of both society and religion, the state is assigned a role which, within the classical liberal social order, had never been its due. This laical transformation of claims is much more than a mere extrapolation of the religio-political model that became the law in France over 100 years ago; it is a model of order which is based on statements on the truth of religion. In the example of Islam, this can be seen quite clearly: advocates of the ban on minarets justified their demands by stating that they knew ‚the truth of Islam’.


IT AR Nasr Abu Zayd

Portrait of an Islamic freethinker

Ramin Jahanbegloo

I first met Nasr Abu Zayd at Reset Istanbul Seminars in 2009. His lifeline reads like one long relationship with truth. One might honestly characterize Nasr Abu Zayd as a truth seeker. He was a scholar who had risked everything to restore the tradition of truth seeking in Islam. His work is an indispensable tool for Muslims themselves so they can wage their struggle for enlightenment and reform of their faith tradition.


In memory of the philosopher on his 78th anniversary

Mohammed Abed al-Jabri: the Future of the Arab World?

Mohammed Hashas

Written on the occasion of his birthday (b. 27 December, 1936, in Figuig, eastern Morocco, d. 3 May 2010), this piece is an homage to a towering figure in modern Arab-Islamic thought, a figure that any serious scholar in the field cannot do without: Mohammed Abed Al Jabri. One has either to build on the heritage he has left, or overcome it with a more challenging one. In both cases, one cannot escape reading him. In the age of Arab turmoils, al Jabri must be in the library of every Arab house for one simple reason: he genuinely managed to classify Arab-Islamic thought, a thing that is still missing from Arab socio-political life.


Philosophy and Religion

The Question of Ethics: Taha Abderrahmane’s Praxeology and Trusteeship Paradigm

Islamic Philosophy III

The previous two pieces (Islamic Philosophy I and II) presented some reflections on the past and present conditions and themes of Islamic thought, philosophy in focus. The present piece, based on two forthcoming papers[1], introduces a voice that aims at regrounding (i.e. reconstructing) not only Islamic philosophy but philosophy in general, and the way philosophers pose philosophical questions. It sketches out some major aspects of the project of Taha Abderrahmane (b. 1944, Morocco), a leading logician and ethicist in the Arab-Islamic world.


IT AR Philosophy and Religion

Mohammed Arkoun, the «demystification» of the Qur'an

By Giancarlo BosettiArkoun possessed a rhetorical passion capable of enchanting his listeners. He powerfully laid claim to the internal resources of a tradition he never ceased to belong to, such as the Muslim and Arab humanism of the golden age of Islam (12th century) that could have flourished and produces its own Enlightenment in the sciences, the arts and critical thought, if it had not been destroyed at birth by political circumstances.


Philosophy and Religion

Muhammad Sa’id Al-Ashmawi: Against Islamic Extremism

By Nicola MissagliaOften described as “one of the most influential contemporary liberal Muslim intellectuals”, together with the Syrian Sadik Al-Azm and the Egyptian philosopher Fu’ad Zakariyya,  Al-Ashmawi – who is also Egyptian – belongs to the category of secular or secularist Muslim thinkers clearly against the “extremist” emphasis of the Islamic religion’s political role.


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