Chapter 30 Comparative Theology and Interreligious Studies: Embracing and Transgressing the Dialogical Relationships Among Religious Traditions

In: A Companion to Comparative Theology
Axel Marc Oaks Takacs
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This chapter demonstrates the resonances between the disciplines of comparative theology and interreligious studies at the nexus of the study of religion and confessional, critical theology. It focuses on comparative theology qua instance of interreligious studies. Critical insights from interreligious studies are then constructively applied to comparative theology. Interreligious studies will be presented as a discipline that does explicitly what the study of religion has performed implicitly: study the relational dynamic not only among religious traditions, but also among cultural and social discourses. Comparative theology will then be presented as a discipline that recognizes and explicitly reproduces the relational dynamic in the development of theological discourses. Learning from critical interreligious studies and this relational dynamic, the chapter argues that comparative theology should not only embrace this relational dynamic, but transgress its historically totalizing and hegemonic project. This subversion should not be for its own sake, but for the sake of constructing a liberating praxis that unmasks restrictive ideologies and prescribes action in solidarity with the multiply oppressed. Learning from interreligious studies, comparative theology should add to its interreligious venture an intersectional praxis that gives unequivocal preference to those marginalized and made vulnerable by what Elizabeth Schüssler Fiorenza terms kyriarchy and feminist and critical race theorists Kimberlé Crenshaw and Patricia Hill Collins term intersectionality and the matrix of domination.

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