The Dignity of Difference: Christian Particularity and the Possibility of Interreligious Dialogue

Jaiyesimi, Wemimo Bright (2024) The Dignity of Difference: Christian Particularity and the Possibility of Interreligious Dialogue. Doctoral thesis, University of Wales Trinity Saint David.

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Difference is believed to constitute one of the greatest obstacles to interreligious dialogue. Hence, a strong view of the particularity of the religions is often criticised as incompatible with a commitment to, and willingness to engage in, interreligious dialogue. This thesis argues against this apparent incompatibility by making a case for the possibility of interreligious dialogue that does not come at the expense of the particularity of the religions, specifically, of Christian particularity. The thesis identifies itself as an interdisciplinary research. It proceeds by means of a methodology of close analysis of, and constructive engagement with, literature in the fields of Christian theology, interfaith studies, and religious peacebuilding. The first chapter defines and lays out the emergence of the particularist perspective in the Christian theology of religions. It does this through a critical review and engagement with the literature, with focused attention given to the work of George Lindbeck, Mark Heim, Jacques Dupuis, and Nicholas Healy. In the second chapter, a link is opened up between the particularist framework and interreligious dialogue, in conversation with the work of George Lindbeck. A moral impulse of moving the religions toward better forms of relationality with one another is also identified, in this second chapter, as constituting a key telos of the modern global interfaith movement. The question then arises of how a Christian form of particularity might locate itself within the moral framework of interreligious dialogue. The three chapters that follow are an extended engagement with this question. In the third chapter, in conversation with the ‘intratextual’ vision of scripture articulated in the work of George Lindbeck, an argument is made for regarding scripture as a key site through which Christians might acquire virtues crucial for interreligious dialogue’s flourishing. The fourth chapter posits friendship as an important mode of interreligious dialogue. But the account of friendship offered here moves away from those which predicate its possibility on shared metaphysical and moral orientation between the friends. Drawing insights from the work of Janet Soskice, James Fredericks, David Burrell, and Jürgen Moltmann, this fourth chapter makes a case for the possibility of, and the moral and spiritual blessings that come from, interreligious friendships. In the fifth and final chapter, the concern for interreligious peace, already noted as a motif in the modern interreligious dialogue movement, is framed as consistent with a Christian commitment to peaceableness. Through attention to two contexts of interfaith friendships, namely the contemporary practice of Scriptural Reasoning, and the friendship of Reverend Charles Freer Andrews and Mohandas K. Gandhi (in Apartheid South Africa and India), the fifth chapter argues that interreligious friendship is an important missional practice, a form of Christian witness to ‘the peaceable kingdom.’ Taken together, the thesis presents a Christian vision of interreligious dialogue.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religion
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BR Christianity
Divisions: Theses and Dissertations > Doctoral Theses
Depositing User: Victoria Hankinson
Date Deposited: 08 May 2024 14:04
Last Modified: 08 May 2024 14:04

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