Why ‘reasoning’? Scriptural Reasoning began as 'textual reasoning', and the name just stuck! Most often the process is not about academic scrutiny but about reading and reflecting on a scriptural text. Neither is it about imposing a style of reading that would be inappropriate within one's own faith community.
Is it just for Jews, Christians and Muslims? No. The practice started off between Jews, Christians, and Muslims, but many other combinations of faiths have been tried, and some of these have proved exciting and sustainable.
Do you only use English versions of the scriptures? For the sake of a shared discussion, all the participants need to be able to read all the texts in a language they know well. So in English-speaking contexts, we focus on reading the texts in English. We know that the English versions of scriptural texts have a different status in the different religions. For example whilst some Christians might be happy to regard an English translation of the Christian Bible as authoritative, many Muslims and Jews would regard translations of their scriptures as an interpretation, not at the status of the scripture in the original language. If people are able to refer to the original language, in our guidelines for Scriptural Reasoning we advise that they bring their understanding of the original language to the conversation in a way that opens up the conversation for other participants too.
What English translations are best? There are very many English translations of the Qur’an , New Testament and Hebrew Bible, and it is important to use translations that are acceptable to the members of the tradition, who are participating in SR. In the text pack resources available on this website, by and large the Jewish Publication Society (JPS 1985) is used for translations of the Hebrew Bible, the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) is used for the New Testament, and Abdel Haleem or Sahih International translations are mostly used for the Qur'an.
Can members of a Scriptural Reasoning group try to convert each other? SR should be a space where all participants feel safe from any pressure to accept another tradition, or any attack on their own tradition. So all participants need to agree that the group itself is not a context in which the main aim is to convince other participants of the truth or authority of one set of scriptures. An SR group can, of course, remain a context in which you show your love for your scriptures, and at no time are you called to compromise your faith commitment.
Who can participate in Scriptural Reasoning? Anyone can participate in SR. It works best when there are at least two people from each of the participating religions so that no one person feels they are the sole representative of their faith. It also works best when there are people from each tradition who are passionate about reading their scriptures, and really believe those scriptures are important for their lives. But no one is there as an authoritative teacher of their scriptures, nor as an official representative of their tradition. No one needs to have a religious education or an academic background. A passion for their scriptures is all that is required.