Spotlight on Graduate Research: Ian Mills

The theme of the International Network of Interreligious Research and Education’s annual conference and summer school was “Normative Religious Traditions and their Authority.” Conversation and presentations centered around how various texts in the abrahamic religions were used as authorities. While lectures on interpretive traditions reflected in the Quaran and competing ecumenical councils in the Middle Ages were particularly instructive, the highlight for me was an afternoon dedicated to discussing a single story in the Talmud. The passage portrayed God defending to Moses the legitimacy of novel interpretations of the Torah with tenuous textual justifications. This tradition’s openness toward doctrinal innovation alongside a textual conservatism is a fascinating analog and counter-point to my own work on the editing and re-writing of scripture. The chance to discuss these issues  with a diverse group of religious practitioners and scholars will inform my on-going study of theologically motivated textual practices.