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History, Remembrance and Religious Education


Edited By Stephen G. Parker, Rob Freathy and Leslie J. Francis

How should the Holocaust be taught in schools, and to what end? What role should religious education play in recounting and remembering this human catastrophe? How has the nature and purpose of religious education changed and developed over time? What contribution should religious education make to identity formation, particularly regarding the role of memory, heritage and tradition? The scholarly reflections in this volume, drawing upon historical, theoretical and empirical perspectives, provide insights into past, present and potential future developments in religious and values education in a range of national contexts, including Germany, Israel, Norway, Canada and South Africa. The chapters fall under three headings: fostering a culture of remembrance; historical perspectives on religious education; and history, tradition, memory and identity. Together they form a unique collection of international perspectives upon these interlocking themes.
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The International Seminar on Religious Education and Values (ISREV, is the most important international research association of its kind, with a major seminar session taking placed in a different country every two years. ISREV has no religious basis or test itself, and has members specialising, for example, in Protestant and Catholic Christian, Jewish, Muslim, and secular traditions. It was founded in 1978 by John M. Hull, the distinguished Australian academic (currently Honorary Professor of Practical Theology at The Queen’s Foundation, and Emeritus Professor of Religious Education at the University of Birmingham), and John H. Peatling, then of the Character Research Project in Union College, Schenectady, New York. The first meeting had research papers from thirty-two scholars attending from ten countries; the 18th meeting in 2012, in Turku, Finland, had 118 research papers from more than thirty countries. This volume’s chapters represent just about 15 per cent of all the papers presented at that fine event.

Each seminar has a broad theme, and the theme for the Turku meeting was History, Remembrance and Religious Education. I remember myself, as a schoolteacher, teaching History as well as Religious Education. Some colleagues treated them as no more than parts of a larger subject called ‘Humanities’, but this does not seem fair on either subject. The teaching of the Holocaust in both History and Religious Education, as is common in many countries around the world, can sometimes highlight the differences between the subjects and also the need for them...

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