Scriptural Literacy in Muslim-Christian Reading of the Scriptures Together : Significance, Challenges, and Opportunities in the Indonesian Context
Mamahit, Ferry Yefta
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Reading Muslim-Christian scriptures together is a form of interfaith dialogue. It engages the scriptures’ interpretation by identifying the text’s plain sense to address a particular topic or issue. However, the activity may become a mere cognitive exercise, emphasising intellectual authority and expertise in understanding the text. Given this situation, the paper proposes the inclusion of scriptural literacy in the reading process. It is a competence attained through collective exploration and interactive communication of the textual meaning. It includes reconstructing, reiterating, and extracting both the (written and oral) text from the participants’ situated argument and context. Scriptural literacy aims to share a collective sense of knowledge and experience, work together in dealing with a particular issue, and set strategies for doing so (or use them in the most effective ways). The paper intends to demonstrate scriptural literacy’s significance in developing participants’ capacity to use the text (and its discussions) to analyze and transform their social relations. It also highlights some challenges from common and current religious practice in the context, such as exclusive scriptural reading, apologetical/polemical dialogues, dominant religious authority, and single/hegemonic textual interpretation. Finally, the paper perceives that scriptural literacy may offer Muslims and Christians opportunities to attain impactful reading of their scriptures in the Indonesian context.