Twenty-First Century Theologies of Religions

Retrospection and Future Prospects


Within Christian theology, debates on the theology of religions have intensified over the last thirty or so years. This volume surveys the field and maps future directions in this expanding and important area of research. Both established experts and new voices address typological debates, comparative theology, multiple religious belonging or identity, and how dialogue between different religious traditions affects our understanding of these issues. Different perspectives and traditions are represented, and, while focusing upon debates in Christian theology, voices and perspectives from a range of religious traditions are also included. This volume is an essential tool for research students and established scholars working within the theology of religions and interreligious studies.

Contributors are: Graham Adams, Tony Bayfield, Abraham Velez de Cea, Gavin D’Costa, Reuven Firestone, Ray Gaston, Elizabeth Harris, Paul Hedges, Shanthikumar Hettiarachchi, Haifaa Jawad, Kristin Beise Kiblinger, Paul F. Knitter, Oddbjørn Leirvik, Marianne Moyaert, Mark Owen, Alan Race, Sigrid Rettenbacher, Perry Schmidt-Leukel, Leonard Swidler, Philip Whitehead, Janet Williams, Ulrich Winkler.

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Elizabeth J. Harris, Ph.D. (1993), University of Kelaniya, Sri Lanka, is Associate Professor in Religious Studies at Liverpool Hope University, UK. She has published widely on Theravāda Buddhism, Buddhist-Christian Studies and inter-religious studies, including Theravāda Buddhism and the British Encounter: Religious, missionary and colonial experience in nineteenth century Sri Lanka (Routledge, 2006).

Paul Hedges is Associate Professor in Interreligious Studies, Studies in Inter-Religious Relations in Plural Societies Programme, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.

Shanthikumar Hettiarachchi is Director, In Reach Consult (IC), Political Columnist on South Asia, and Visiting Lecturer, Universities of Colombo and Kelaniya, Sri Lanka.
"To conclude, this well-edited book is an excellent introduction to the present state of the theology of religions (...) the reader who is looking for an answer to post-typological questions will not find here one single answer, but rather a good number of diverse reflections (...) This book is not the end of the debate." Risto Jukko, in: Islam and Christian–Muslim Relations, Vol. 28.4 (2017).

"While those seeking a systematic text or homogeneous viewpoint may be disappointed, I would contend that one of the strengths [of this book] lies in the very convergence of different and sometimes dissonant perspectives. (...) This volume is a fitting tribute to [Alan] Race's contribution to this vital area of work. It is also a testament to the abiding significance of the paradigm which he established, a model which remains as vital as ever in an age of ever-deeper dialogue, of religious hyper-diversity, of new congruences and of multiple religious identity and of new ways of religious belonging." Stephen Bishop, Leicester Diocese, in: Insight, Vol. 15.2 (2017).

Foreword: Three Paths — Whither? – Leonard Swidler
Introduction: Theologies of Religions in the Twenty-First Century – Elizabeth Harris, Paul Hedges, and Shanthikumar Hettiarachchi

Section I - Disputing and Using the Typology

Chapter 1. Shaking the Typology: Being Honest and Hospitable – Graham Adams
Chapter 2. Comparative Theology of Religions and the Typology Exclusivisms-Inclusivisms Pluralisms – Abraham Velez de Cea
Chapter 3. The Typology and Theological Education: Towards a Practical Theology of InterFaith Engagement – Ray Gaston
Chapter 4. Exclusivism, Inclusivism and Pluralism: A Spatial Perspective – Elizabeth Harris
Chapter 5. The Theology of Religions Typology Redefined: Openness and Tendencies – Paul Hedges
Chapter 6. Rethinking the Typology from a Biblical Perspective: Paul, Adam, and the Theology of Religions – Philip Whitehead

Section II - Pluralist Voices and Contestations

Chapter 7. Race, Religion and Shared Theology – Tony Bayfield
Chapter 8. Changing the Typology: Why Pluralism should be Renamed Post-Christian Inclusivism – Gavin D’Costa
Chapter 9. The Pluralist Path: Where We’ve Been and Where We’re Going – Paul F. Knitter
Chapter 10. Pluralist Approaches in Some Major Non-Christian Religions – Perry Schmidt-Leukel

Section III - Beyond the Typology: New Debates, New Vistas

Chapter 11. Avowing Religious Identity and the Religious Other: A Postcolonial Perspective – Shanthikumar Hettiarachchi
Chapter 12. After Deconstruction: A ‘Weak’ Theology of Religions? – Kristin Beise Kiblinger
Chapter 13. Towards a Relational and Humanizing Theology: A Christian-Muslim Dialogue – Oddbjørn Leirvik
Chapter 14. Christianity as the Measure of Religion? Materializing the Theology of Religions Theology – Marianne Moyaert
Chapter 15. Theology of Religions in a Postcolonial Perspective: Epistemological and Ecclesiological Reflections – Sigrid Rettenbacher
Chapter 16. The Four Chalcedonian Adverbs: A Reflection on Buddhist-Christian Dual Belonging – Janet Williams
Chapter 17. Passion and Fog: The Impact of the Discussion about the Theology of Religions Typology on the Epistemology of Comparative Theology – Ulrich Winkler

Section IV - Some Responses to the Christian Theology of Religions

Chapter 18. A Jewish Response to the Christian Theology of Religions:– Reuven Firestone
Chapter 19. A Muslim Response to the Christian Theology of Religions – Haifaa Jawad
Chapter 20. A Buddhist Response to the Christian Theology of Religions – Mark Owen

Afterword: Persisting with the Typology and Pluralism – Alan Race

List of Contributors

Index of Subjects
Index of Names

This work is aimed at scholars and advanced students in the fields Theology of Religions, Comparative Theology, Interreligious Studies and Dialogue, and related areas. It should be in every serious theological library as a resource volume.
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