A brief account on the meeting of the Oasis Scientific Commitee in Venice

Last update: 2022-04-22 09:43:58

The title, Interpreting tradition in the age of métissage, said it all. At its recent meeting the Oasis Scientific Committee focused its attention on traditions, their interaction in the context of what we have called mestizaje, as well as the difficulties that minority status entail for Christians in Muslim countries and Muslims in Europe. That education might be discussed was not that self-evident initially, but no one should have been surprised that is was. In fact if tradition means both faithful transmission and intelligent interpretation, it is first and foremost a matter of education. What was more surprising though was to see the almost 70 speakers focus on this issue on their own: Christians and Muslims, Western and Eastern Christians, clergymen and academics, all agreed on the need for education in all of our societies. Of course, the problems are not the same for everyone. Once again, East and West mirror each other by reflecting back their respective difficulties. In the East passing on traditions is so valued that all that each generation appears to be doing is to reproduce what those who came before did. Conversely, in the West people appear so won over by their capacity of interpretation that they end up devaluing the legacy of the past. But because each has something to learn from and to teach the other, they must develop a relationship of narration and mutual recognition. Oasis will continue its reflection about education starting with three elements that emerged during the committee’s deliberations. The first one is about the vitality of our community and its constitutive network of relationships. The second is about how far the Oasis project’s initial intuition can go, which is the study of how Christians and Muslims interact with each other within the process of civilisational métissage so as to be able to assert the practical value of living together. The third element is how far the subject matter can go, not in terms of a greater focus on any one specific field like Islamic Studies or interfaith dialogue, but in terms of developing a more synthetic and global vision of the process underway which, notwithstanding the unity of the group, involves people of different backgrounds and traditions. Oasis editorial board