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Hosting the Stranger

Hosting the Stranger: Between Religions features ten powerful meditations on the theme of interreligious hospitality by eminent scholars and practitioners from the five different wisdom traditions: Jewish, Christian, Hindu, Buddhist and Islamic. By gathering thinkers from different religious traditions around the same timely topic of what it means to ‘host the stranger,’ this text enacts the hospitality it investigates, facilitating a hopeful and constructive dialogue between the world’s major religions.

“This is an important, open-hearted and useful collection of essays on the subject of hospitality, which often takes language as the first sign of its difficulty. The ghosts of Ricoeur and Derrida haunt the first half of the volume, and then it opens into Jewish, Christian, Buddhist, Islamic and Hindu perspectives on the subject of welcome in which God is the long-awaited guest. Almost any one of these essays could be read by students in a number of disciplines; the volume opens doors to discussions about translation and uprootedness, liturgies and history. They are written with great clarity and ease by people who know their subject and want to share it. It is, as its title suggests, a cheering book.” – Fanny Howe, Chair of the Lannan Center for Poetics and Social Practice, Georgetown University


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Phenomenologies of the Stranger

Phenomenologies of the Stranger: Between Hostility and Hospitality plays host to a number of encounters with the strange. It asks such questions as: How does the embodied imagination relate to the Stranger in terms of hospitality or hostility (given the common root of hostis as both host and enemy)? How do we distinguish between projections of fear or fascination, leading to either violence or welcome? How do humans “sense” the dimension of the strange and alien in different religions, arts, and cultures? How do the five physical senses relate to the spiritual senses, especially the famous “sixth” sense, as portals to an encounter with the Other? Is there a carnal perception of alterity, which would operate at an affective, prereflective, preconscious level? What exactly do “embodied imaginaries” of hospitality and hostility entail, and how do they operate in language, psychology, and social interrelations (including racism, xenophobia, and scapegoating)? And what, finally, are the topical implications of these questions for an ethics and practice of tolerance and peace?

“As a whole, this is an excellent contribution to the growing body of literature in philosophy on strangeness, the stranger, and hospitality.” — Missiology: An International Review, the American Society of Missiology


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Traversing the Heart

The key wager of Traversing the Heart: Journeys of the Inter-religious Imagination is that a spiritual imaginary operating at the level of metaphor, narrative, symbol and epiphany can traverse the borders of dogma and ideology and open genuine conversations between wisdom traditions. Like every hermeneutics of the heart, this journey begins to unfold in a concrete space and time: the inter-religious conference at Bangalore in June 2007. While this collection does not claim to cover the religious traditions of all continents, its concluding essay on transculturation in Andean-Christian art highlights the importance of the North-South dialogue as a necessary supplement to the East-West one largely addressed in the book. As a call to future journeys and dialogue, this volume aims to communicate the one seminal lesson learned during the India conference: that in our third millennium, religions will be inter-religious or they will not be at peace.

“As I put down this marvelous book […] it seemed to me that this is a book that one reads over the years, during the various moods of one’s life. Its contents are vast and its heart, the guha that allows so many surprises and so many discoveries to grow in the hospitality of a welcoming, generous imagination, gives this book an endurance far beyond the circumstances that occasioned it. Its contents are unusually willing to surrender the professional armor that too often confuses academic rigor with rigor mortis.” – Jason Wirth, Seattle University.


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On Hosting the Stranger

On Hosting The Stranger: The New Arcadia Review Vol. 4 is a collection of adapted lectures from a 2009 speaker series at Boston College entitled ‘The Guestbook Project.’ From its linguistic roots in hostis, which gestures simultaneously toward hostility and hospitality, to our contemporary world of suspicion, background checks, and war, hospitality, when offered to the stranger, to the other or the unknown, is frequently delivered (and sometimes received) only with a frown, or with strings attached, or behind a metal detector. Indeed in an important sense, on our planet seven billion strong, we have abandoned, at least ‘temporarily,’ the very project of hospitality. Instead of hosting the stranger we have opted for a different — if no less archaic — vision of community, a dark heaven of gated communities and nations, of dreams (and even realities) of electrified fences stretching hundreds and thousand of kilometers across boarders, out into space, from here to eternity.

Includes essays from Richard Kearney, Kascha Semonovitch, Anne Davenport, Pamela Berger, Matilda Tomaryn Bruckner, Paul Mariani, Fanny Howe, Pier Paolo Pasolini, James Taylor, Stephen Sartarelli, Elena Shvarts, Adam Fitzgerald, and Sheila Gallagher.


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Hospitality: Imagining the Stranger

This 2010 special edition of journal Religion & the Arts (vol. 14, No. 5) contains numerous essays on the themes of the hospitality and the stranger. Highlights include: “Grammar of the Uncanny” by Chris Yates, “The Anatheistic Wager: faith after Faith” by Brian Traenor, and “Wonder-Horror” by Fanny Howe.