Ambivalent Friendship : Anglican Conflict Handling and Education for Peace in Jerusalem 1920-1948

University dissertation from Department of History

Abstract: This thesis concerns a religious actor in the civil society in times of violent conflict. During the British Mandate period in Palestine, Jewish, Muslim and Christian children studied together at Anglican missionary schools. At this time Jerusalem bore all the imprints of ethnic and religious separation and division. The Anglican educational project became part of the efforts made by the Anglican Church to promote conflict handling and peace in Palestine. The thesis analyses what were the beliefs, values and practical aims behind this educational effort. One of the students was young Edward W. Said. In this thesis, his theory of ?Orientalism? has proved a useful tool for critical evaluation of the discourses of the Anglican Church in Palestine in general and the activities of the Anglican schools in particular. The book also deals with what was Said's own learning context, the early foundation of his personal and scholarly development. Were the Anglican schools merely the instrument of British educational and imperial policy or did they provide, in this particular multicultural context, some further quality? The source material on which the analysis is based includes reports, letters and articles written by the Anglican bishops in Jerusalem as well as British teachers in Jerusalem working for two Anglican mission organisations, Jerusalem and East Mission and Church Ministry among Jews. Also material from outside is included, i.e. articles from the local press and reports of the British administration. Two lines of interpretation are emphasised: one focusing the Anglican discourses and activities as part of that Western Orientalism which regards the British spiritual and political superiority to be self-evident, the other taking seriously the efforts of the Anglicans trying to be an informal ?third party? who promoted peace and interreligious dialogue in civil society. The conclusions of the thesis emphasise the ambivalence found in the discourses as well as the importance of a ?space in between? for moving beyond the dichotomy ?us-versus-them?. In particular the concept of ?friendship? is taken into account in this matter, a concept which the Anglican representatives in Palestine on the one hand used in order to legitimise asymmetric power relations. On the other hand it was also connected to openness and responsibility for the Other.

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