Madrasa-Midrasha: Reflections from Christchurch: Enlightenment Views of Judaism and Islam

Tuesday, April 16th 2019, 12:30pm
Dinner Board Room, Flora Lamson Hewlett Library, 2400 Ridge Road Berkeley, CA 94709

The CJS and CIS welcome Professor Vicki Spencer from the University of Otago in New Zealand to offer a reflection on the recent violence in Christchurch, NZ.

In the wake of the tragic massacre of 50 Muslims and many more being injured at the hand of a white supremacist in Christchurch on 15 March 2019, the topic of tolerance takes on additional poignance. This seminar goes back to the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries to examine the views of four leading Western advocates of toleration: John Locke, Pierre Bayle, Montesquieu, and Voltaire, with particular reference to their attitudes toward Islam and Judaism. The picture that emerges is a complex one, particularly in the case of the French intellectuals who lived under the fear of persecution and censorship in a Catholic and authoritarian state. 

Respondents: Deena Aranoff, Faculty Director of the Richard S. Dinner Center for Jewish Studies and Munir Jiwa, Director of the Center for Islamic Studies.

Vicki Spencer is Associate Professor of Political Theory at the University of Otago, New Zealand. She works on cultural and religious diversity with reference to the Enlightenment and contemporary Western thought. She is editor and contributing author of Toleration in Comparative Perspective (NY: Rowman & Littlefield, 2017). She is also author of Herder’s Political Thought (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2012).