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Hindu Scriptural Reasoning

OCHS Library
Prof. Gavin Flood
Thursday, 15 November 2012 - 11:00am

Scriptural Reasoning is a practice of reading scriptures and thinking about them across traditions. It was founded by Peter Ochs as a practice of Jews, Christians, and Muslims reading their scriptures together in small groups and comes out of the post-liberal Theology of the Yale School along with traditional Jewish practices of reading scripture (called Textual Reasoning). With a view to broadening the scope of Scriptural Reasoning it is proposed to transplant the practice into a Hindu context. The enterprise is hermeneutical in orientation although it assumes that much of the text-historical or philological work has been done. The practice will be simply to take a theme and passages from Hindu scriptures and discuss them. The aim of Scriptural Reasoning is to understand difference rather than to arrive at consensus (although that too can arise) but the practice is open ended. It is practice driven rather than theory driven although general features of Scriptural Reasoning have developed over the last twenty years or so. Probably the best way to describe it is to let Peter Ochs speak:

Scriptural Reasoning (SR) is an open-ended practice of reading- and reasoning-in-dialogue among scholars of the three Abrahamic traditions. There are no set doctrines or rules of SR, since the rules are embedded in the texts of scripture and their relation to those who study and reason together. Individual practitioners of SR do find it useful, however, to reflect occasionally on their group practice and identify its leading tendencies. Such reflections differ from individual to individual and from time to time, but there are overlaps, and both the overlaps and the differences stimulate http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/journals/jsrforum/

Hindu Scriptural Reasoning will be by way of experiment to see whether a practice developed out of a Jewish context can work in a Hindu context.