Emperor Julian (331/2 -363) ruled the Roman Empire from 361 to 363. Although his reign was brief, it was significant. He became emperor after Constantine declared Christianity religio licita (a permitted religion), but before 380, when Theodosius I made it the empire’s sole authorized religion.
Julian lived at a time that Christianity was gaining influence in the empire, but nonetheless, he took a stand as a proud Pagan. He began a policy of restoration of the Pagan Temples which had been confiscated in Constantine’s time. He also proclaimed an Edict of Tolerance in 362, stating that all religions were equal before the law. In a letter to the Jewish Patriarch, Julian express imperial support for a project of rebuilding the Temple in Jerusalem! (This project did not reach fruition, as it was discontinued upon the death of Julian.)
Visiting scholar Avi Gold will speak about Emperor Julian’s writings and the significance of his policies for Jewish-Pagan interfaith relations. Professor Gold lives in the south of Israel and teaches Yiddish Literature, Greek Philosophy, and a variety of other subjects. His first visit to South Carolina was in 2001, as a result of several years’ correspondence with a Baptist on matters of scripture. Since then, he has been back to South Carolina several times, and greatly appreciates the warm weather and warm welcome in the Palmetto State.
Jewish Federation of Columbia furthers the welfare of the Jewish community in Columbia, South Carolina, and throughout the world. Visit the Federation at www.jewishcolumbia.org.
Cherry Hill Seminary provides education for ministry, leadership and personal growth in Pagan and other earth-based religions. Visit the Seminary at www.cherryhillseminary.org.
Interfaith Partners of South Carolina is a statewide partnership of local groups fostering understanding and cooperation among the religious groups of our community, our state, and our world. Visit IPSC at www.interfaithpartnersofsc.org.
What do sacred texts like the Old and New Testament really mean when they speak of stranger, friend, and neighbor? in the OT (Carl) and NT (Don). Our own Carl Evans and Don Cooper will share their understanding, based on their lifetimes of study (Carl OT and Don NT). Then they will lead a discussion of related concepts in the religious traditions of those attending. Carl Evans (Ph.D. Univ. of Chicago, 1974) is the former Chair of Religious Studies at USC Columbia. Don Cooper (Ph.D. Harvard, 1971) is adjunct Professor of Linguistics at USC.
Midlands Interfaith Meetup: Tuesday, July 3 from 6-8 PM
Zorba’s Greek Restaurant, 6169 St. Andrews Road
About Midlands Interfaith Meetup:
Join old and new friends from many faiths for good food and fellowship. All are welcome, whatever your religion or non-religion! We order separately, no required order minimum.
Remarks by our president, Dr. Adrian Bird, on December 28, 2017, at a media conference at the S.C. State House
On behalf of Interfaith partners of South Carolina, it is a delight to welcome you all this morning for this rather unique gathering here at the State House, announcing the Governor’s proclamation of January 2018 as Interfaith Harmony Month. We surely appreciate you coming out for this special occasion.
Scholar Diana Eck informs us that the United States is the most religiously diverse nation in the world. South Carolina is both historically and today no exception to the reality of religious diversity. We cross religious boundaries through our everyday encounters in schools, colleges, coffee shops, work spaces, sports field sidelines and social media sites.
But Eck adds that religious diversity is merely a fact – it doesn’t inform us how well we get along with one another – and surely that’s a more interesting and more important challenge to address. So, I would ask, how do we get along with one another here in South Carolina? Well, though there is still a long way to go, we do have cause to celebrate. Interfaith Partners of South Carolina represents many vibrant and diverse religious traditions across this State. We are in many ways the ‘ultimate group of diversity’ – holding to fundamental differences in religious belief and expression.
And yet, we at IPSC strive diligently to educate, encourage and empower people from diverse religious traditions to build bridges of understanding, dignity and respect.
It is precisely because of our diversity that we can celebrate the transformative potential that emerges when we work together, building those essential bridges across boundaries of division, as evidenced by the many initiatives, discussions and events generated through local IPSC groups across the State over the last several years. This work continues into 2018, beginning with a wonderful range of events taking place for Interfaith harmony month this coming January. We do this work because it is too important for us to neglect.
At a time when much of the global and local rhetoric drives the idea that we, as human beings, need ‘protecting’ from one another, Interfaith partners of South Carolina and local chapters across the State instead encourage us to ‘know’ one another, building relationships of trust, helping to overcome walls of ignorance that divide us. IPSC will speak the language of protection if and when religious voices are excluded or prejudice drives destruction. But ultimately it is only in knowing one another that we truly learn to see and relate to each other as dignified human beings.
Community building cannot thrive when we judge the worst of another’s tradition in comparison to the best of our own. Instead, IPSC urges that we ‘get to know the best in one another’, raising awareness of our community needs; connecting with one another; and celebrating one another in our religious differences. This is key to building and maintaining strong, enriching and peaceable communities. Local needs, local collaborations, local progress.
And so, we gather this morning, to celebrate the Governor’s proclamation of January, 2018, as Interfaith Harmony Month right here in South Carolina. We invite you to check out the IPSC website to discover an event in your local area and to celebrate religious diversity close to home – and to check out the many other exciting plans we have in store for 2018.
Now, without further ado, it gives me great pleasure to call upon Cheryl Nail, newly elected Vice President of Interfaith Partners of South Carolina, to read the Governor’s proclamation.
Interfaith Partners of S.C. announces that Governor Henry McMaster has issued a formal proclamation naming January 2018 “South Carolina Interfaith Harmony Month.” Interfaith Partners will read the proclamation and release a schedule of events at a media event in the State House lobby on Thursday, December 28, 2017, at 10:00 AM.
During South Carolina Interfaith Harmony Month, Interfaith Partners presents a calendar of special religious services and events to which the public is invited. Many of the events are an opportunity for people to learn about and experience communities of faith with which they may be unfamiliar. Read more here