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Peace Not Walls

The Biblical Text in the Context of Occupation

The Rev. Dr. Mitri Raheb has edited a new book called The Biblical Text in the Context of Occupation: Towards a new hermeneutics of liberation.  A wide variety of scholars write on the importance and meaning of the biblical narrative in the midst of occupation and the need for liberation in the Palestinian context.  Read more about it and find it soon on

Here is the table of contents:

1. Toward a New Hermeneutics of Liberation : A Palestinian Christian Perspective    Mitri Raheb

2. Engaging the Palestinian Theological-Critical Project of Liberation: A Critical Dialogue   Fernando F. Segovia

3. Palestinian Theology: Between Construction and Identification: A Comparative Analysis of the Theology of Naim Stifan Ateek and Mitri Raheb      Peter Lodberg

4. Toward an Emancipatory Palestinian Theology: Hermeneutical Paradigms and Horizons   Luis N. Rivera-Pagán

5. (Home)Land, Diaspora, Identity, and the Bible in Imperial Geopolitics:   What does the Asia-Pacific Region have to do with Israel-Palestine?    Eleazar S. Fernandez

6. Interpreting the Bible, Interpreting the World:  Anglo-American Christian Zionism and Palestinian Christian Concerns Robert O. Smith

7. The Hermeneutical Predicament: Why We Do Not Read the Bible in the Same Way and Why it Matters for Palestinian Advocacy    Julia M. O’Brien

8. Talmudic Terrorism in Bethlehem   Santiago E. Slabodsky

9. One Text, Many Meanings: Reading a non-Zionist Judaism from the Hebrew Bible   Steven Friedman

10. The Contribution of Hermeneutics to Peace and Reconciliation     J.H. (Hans) de Wit

11. Arab Christian Fundamentalist Reading of the Book of Daniel:  A Critique     Munther Isaac

12. Biblical Hermeneutics in the Kairos Palestine Document     Jamal Khader

13. The Context of the Christians of the Arab World as a Key to Biblical Interpretation according to the Six First Pastoral Letters of the Eastern Catholic Patriarchs      Rafiq Khoury

14. I Am a Presbyterian Christian: Toward a Dialogical Contextual Hermeneutics   Patricia K. Tull

15. What has the Bible to do with us?   Erik Aurelius

16. The Theological and Historical David: Contextual Reading     Samuel Pagán

17. The Ambiguity of Identity and Responsibility toward the Other       Dexter Callender, Jr

18. “Contact Zone”: Exploring Land, Liberation, and Life      Yak-Hwee Tan

19. The Dignity of Resistance in Solidarity:   The Story of Rizpah   Allan Boesak

Pastor Mitri Raheb receives German media award: “We need bridges not walls”

ELCJHL Pastor Mitri Raheb, Director of DIYAR Consortium, was recently awarded the 2011 “Deutscher Medienpreis” (German Media Prize) for his organizations' efforts for peace.

The Rev. Dr. Mitri Raheb, pastor of Bethlehem’s Christmas Lutheran Church of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land (ELCJHL),  received the 2011 “Deutscher Medienpreis” (German Media Prize) to recognize his individual and the Palestinian Lutheran church’s peace efforts. Pastor Raheb is also Director of DIYAR Consortium, which operates an international cultural center, a health and wellness center and a college. He is among four recipients of the prestigious prize to be awarded in Baden-Baden, Germany.

In his speech receiving the award, Pastor Raheb said:

We said, firstly, that the Holy land does not need walls but bridges. That is why we called our centre “Dar annadwa”, Centre for International Encounter. Martin Buber, the Jewish philosopher, whose thinking is very significant for me, was right when he wrote, “All true life is encounter.” The “thou” of the other person gets a face and a name through encounter. Dialogue can only be true dialogue if it is a dialogue between people with equal rights, if the “thou” and the “I” stand face to face. If each person can have their narrative, their history and identity, but also listen to the narratives of the others. A monopoly of truth, of certainty or the role of the victim are not part of genuine dialogue.

Then we said we must not just become peace chatterers. In a context where so many destructive factors are created every day and, at the same time, there is constant talk about peace processes, we must work continuously to create spaces for life: spaces where people can breathe, where children in refugee camps can make music; where women from distant villages can learn a profession in artistic handwork; where Christian and Muslim children attend school together, where young men who cannot find jobs on the labour market receive further training; where people in leadership receive political education; where young Palestinian women play football and compete at the world level, where senior citizens can lead a life in fullness and where Jewish and Palestinian academics and activists together seek a better future. What we put into practice with them is the belief that the sky and not the wall should be the limit of our thinking and creativity. That may sound good but in our region (and not only there) it is very dangerous. It is dangerous to think; demands for freedom of opinion are not welcome and challenging myths frequently costs one one’s life. But life is only genuine if it is lived in freedom.

Pastor Raheb is known world-wide for his peace and creativity work with media, education and culture.  Find out how you can help with Raheb’s work for children at Bright Stars of

In a congratulatory letter, the Lutheran World Federation’s General Secretary Martin Junge wrote:

“The Deutscher Medienpreis is a recognition of not only your hard work and passion for justice, it is an affirmation of your approach, and that of the ELCJHL, to the complicated challenges of building institutions that change lives and of building relationships that strengthen prospects for a lasting peace.  Your efforts exemplify the ELCJHL’s nonviolent opposition to the Occupation, its uncompromising commitment to finding peaceful solutions, and its rigorous promotion of tolerance and mutual respect among Jews, Christians and Muslims, and between Palestinians and Israelis.”

To mark the 20th anniversary of the prize this year, it honors individuals who, in their work for peace, have quietly carried on without much media attention. The Deutscher Medienpreis jury said Raheb was being honored for building the Bethlehem congregation’s education, health care and dialogue programs.

Read Pastor Raheb’s entire speech   |  See German video of award presentation