Introduction to Interfaith Engagement

Field: Religious Studies
Unit Code(s): AR8000T 
Unit value: 24 points
Level: Postgraduate Foundational
Delivery mode: Class-based only
Prerequisites: None

Living in a multicultural context both locally and globally, we are constantly interacting with people of different faiths and traditions. One of the greatest theological challenges that faces us today is to make sense of this diversity of faiths, to grasp their meaning both for others and for ourselves, and to determine our ethical relationship to those whose values and behaviours are in contrast to our own. The aim of this unit is to explore some of the ways in which selected religions have interacted throughout history, to articulate both the difficulties and the benefits associated with entering into relationship with faiths that are not our own, to analyse the issues involved in interfaith engagement and to consider the potential impact of interfaith engagement on our personal theology.

Learning Outcomes:

Upon successful completion of this unit, it is expected that students will be able to:

  • describe the history of interfaith engagement and the ways in which it has changed in diverse historical and social settings, with specific reference to the three Abrahamic faiths
  • critically engage with different theories about interfaith engagement
  • articulate the difficulties and benefits of engaging with different faith traditions
  • develop appropriate vocabulary for interfaith engagement respectful of theological difference
  • explore what it means to engage respectfully with adherents of different religious traditions
  • develop theological models to enable understanding of religious views and practices that differ substantially from our own.
  • 2000-word critical review essay, analysing two different theologies of religions (30%)
  • 2500-word essay analysing one major theme in interfaith engagement, from the perspective of two faith traditions (45%)
  • 1500-word journal on weekly tutorial topics (25%)
Recommended Reading:

* recommended for purchase

Paul Knitter, Introducing Theologies of Religions, Orbis, 2002

Catherine Cornille, The Im-possibility of Interreligious Dialogue, Crossroad, 2006

Peter Phan, Being Religious Interreligiously, Orbis, 2004

* Veli-Matti Karkkainen, An Introduction to the Theology of Religions, InterVarsity Press, 2003

Catherine Cornille, ed., Wiley-Blackwell Companion to Inter-Religious Dialogue, Blackwell, 2013

* Council of Christians and Jews (Victoria), Gesher (journal) 2013, issue on Dialogue [copies available from the CCJ office, 179 Cotham Road, Kew]

Alan Race, Christians and Religious Pluralism, SCM, 1982

James K. Aitken and Edward Kessler, ed., Challenges in Jewish-Christian Relations, Paulist Press, 2006

Francis Clooney, Comparative Theology: Deep Learning Across Religious Borders, Wiley-Blackwell, 2010

Martin Buber, I and Thou, Martino, 2010.