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Georgetown Professor Kicks Off CCS Fifteenth Annual Lecture Series
Seton Hall > News & Events 

Student Reflects on ‘Islam’ LectureSeton Hall University Diplomacy and International Relations student Paul Murphy attended Georgetown professor Paul Heck’s lecture on the prophecy of Islam and its implications for Christians, which asked questions such as; “Is there any sense in which Islam can offer a prophetic voice for Christians? In what ways does it meet the conditions of Christian prophecy and in what way does it differ from them? How these questions are answered will have tremendous implications for global harmony for decades and centuries to come.” Paul Murphy responded to the dynamic lecture with the following observations.

“On September 27, the Center for Catholic Studies began its fifteenth season of lectures and co-curricular activities with Georgetown professor Paul Heck on campus in an event titled, “The Prophecy of Islam.” The lecture was co-sponsored by the Department of Religion, the Department of Catholic Studies, the Whitehead School of Diplomacy, the Newark Archdiocesan Commission for Christian Unity, and the Newark Archdiocesan Commission of Interreligious Affairs.

In the midst of a slowly widening divide between Christianity and Islam, Heck offered himself as a case study of respect and understanding between the two. In his experience as a scholar of Islam and interactions with those that practice the faith, Heck says that the faith served as a, “prophetic witness” to his own faith.

“I am a Christian, a Roman Catholic, who believes what the Church teaches on faith and morals,” said Heck. “…yet I also have a great love for Islam, for Muslims and also for the Islam that they bear in their hearts and that makes the Muslims who they are.”

He also touched on how as a professor of theology, he has seen faith leaders from a myriad of religions further grow in their own faith while further developing tolerance and understanding of other faiths through learning about them.

On the discourse, Heck offered a simple solution: theology.

“Theology has to weigh in,” said Heck. “There are very different world views out there and they can clash, and they will continue to do so if theology cannot weigh in.”

The cycle of religious discourse could be broken by engaging religions with gratitude, not dismissal, offered Heck.

“I believe that all of us: Jews, Christians and Muslims have a chance to participate in rediscovering God’s promises to Abraham,” said Heck.

Heck, the founding director of the Center for the Study of Religions across Civilizations, is a doctorate graduate of Islamic studies from the University of Chicago. He has penned two books, Common Ground: Muslims, Christians, and Religious Pluralism, and Skepticism in the Golden Age of Islam.”

Paul Murphy is Senior Seton Hall University student, majoring in Diplomacy and International Relations. He is the Technical Producer of The Global Current and the International News Editor of The Whitehead Envoy. 

View the lecture on YouTube here

About the Center for Catholic Studies
Founded at Seton Hall University in 1997, The Center for Catholic Studies is dedicated to fostering a dialogue between the Catholic intellectual tradition and all areas of study and contemporary culture through scholarly research and publications and ongoing programs for faculty, students, and the general public. In 2001, the Center conducted the annual faculty summer seminar, "The Core of the Core," which originated the present University Core Curriculum. The Center also developed the undergraduate degree program in Catholic Studies with its major, minor and certificate, which in 2012 became the Department of Catholic Studies. The Center continues to support the Department with scholarship aid and its ongoing program of co-curricular activities.
Focusing on the central role of the faculty, the Center is the primary sponsor of regular Faculty Development programs, including lectures, seminars and retreats. The Center also administers two national faculty development programs: Collegium: A Colloquy on Faith and Intellectual Life, and The Lilly Fellows Program.
The Center maintains a global focus in international scholarship and is the home of G.K. Chesterton Institute for Faith & Culture, as well as the Bernard J. Lonergan Institute. The Micah Institute for Business and Economics concentrates on communicating Catholic Social Teaching and ethics to business education at Seton Hall and the wider business community. The Institutes offer opportunities for study and research, as well as ongoing programs related to faith and culture. The Center also publishes the prestigious Chesterton Review, The Lonergan Review and Arcadia, a student journal. As of Fall 2012, The Newman Association of America will be housed under the auspices of the Center for Catholic Studies. 

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