Nicholas of Cusa & Qur’anic Exegesis 

Jul 21, 2021
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Wilhelmus (Pim) ValkenbergCatholic University of America

Free and open to the publicThis event was held online through Zoom and live-streamed to YouTube. This event is part of a webinar series, "Catholics & Muslims: History, Theology, Encounters," presented by the Lumen Christi Institute and the American Cusanus Society.

This session will focus on "faithful interpretation" (pia interpretatio) as characteristic of Nicholas of Cusa's approach to the Qur'ān as a book that claims to be revealed by God. He argues that it is possible to take the Qur'ān seriously as a theological source for Christian faith. Following Nicholas of Cusa's example he will also talk about his own experiences as a Christian theologian reading the Qur'an as confirmation and critique of Jews and Christians as "People of Scripture" (ahl al-kitāb).  



Catholics & Muslims: History, Theology, Encounters 


The 1965 Vatican II document Nostra Aetate 3 encouraged Catholics and Muslims to “forget the past” and focus on a more positive future together, one based on dialogue and cooperation. Since then, Catholics at all levels, from popes to parishioners, have heeded this call. However, the complicated, centuries-long history of Christian-Muslim relations demands attention. Instead of “forgetting the past,” Catholics need to revisit this history, both on their own and with their Muslim partners. In this series, we will examine Nicholas of Cusa’s approach to the Qur’an; the history of Mary as a bridge or barrier in Christian relations with Muslims; and St. Francis and Pope Francis as models of fraternal encounter.  

This series is co-presented by the Lumen Christi Institute and the American Cusanus SocietyThis series is cosponsored by the Graymoor Ecumenical & Interreligious Institutethe Australian Catholic University, the Pontifical Institute for Arabic and Islamic StudiesSt. Paul's Catholic Center, the Nova Forum for Catholic Thought, the Saint Benedict Institute, the Hank Center for the Catholic Intellectual Heritage, and both the Jay Phillips Center for Interreligious Studies and the Encountering Islam Initiative at the University of St. Thomas (Minnesota).


Upcoming events:

August 18, 6:00 p.m. CDT 

Mary & Muslims: Bridge or Barrier? 
Dr. Rita George-Tvrtkovic (Benedictine University)

Respondent: Dr. Zeki Saritoprak (John Carroll University)


September 8, 6:00 p.m. CDT

Francis & Francis: Encountering Muslims, Past & Present
Dr. Jason Welle, OFM (Pontifical Institute for Arabic & Islamic Studies, Rome) 

Dr. Pim Valkenberg studied theology and religious studies in the Netherlands, where he was involved in dialogue between the three Abrahamic religions at the Radboud University of Nijmegen. He worked at the Radboud University for twenty years until he came to the United States with his family to work at Loyola University Maryland and, since 2011, the Catholic University of America in Washington DC. His fields of specialization are comparative theology, interreligious dialogue and Christian - Muslim relations. Among his publications are: World Religions in Dialogue (2014, 2017), Renewing Islam By Service: A Christian View of Fethullah Gülen and the Hizmet Movement (2015), and Nostra Aetate: Celebrating Fifty Years of the Catholic Church's Dialogue with Jews and Muslims (2016). His latest book, published in 2021 by Peeters in Leuven, is No Power over God's Bounty: A Christian Commentary on the "People of Scripture" in the Qur'ān.