Dialogue of the Theologies
The phenomenon of one world growing together in the age of globalisation and the pluralisation of societies constitute some of the most significant challenges facing modern societies. This coexistence of different cultural worlds, due, among other things, to increasing worldwide migration movements, calls for deeper discussion and reflection on the meaning of identity, commonality and difference. With this in mind, religions and theologies are also called upon to engage in dialogue. Based on the phenomena just mentioned, the 21st century appears to be becoming a century of “great” or “interreligious ecumenism”. The research area Dialogue of the Theologies is intended to contribute to such a process. The associated work is to be understood in that same spirit of openness formulated in the Second Vatican Council, in the Nostra Aetate declaration and in the Assisi World Day of Prayer. These events have opened up new theoretical and practical paths for a dialogue between theologies and religions, which are taken into account in the context of various projects and dialogue initiatives of the department.
The primary concern of the Dialogue of the Theologies is, first of all, to secure and ensure a harmonious coexistence of religions based on mutual recognition. Dialogue has the potential to counter radicalism and fundamentalism and contribute to peace-building educational processes. Equally important, however, is facilitating a (new) understanding of one’s own by deeply engaging with the other. As a result, the Dialogue of the Theologies is therefore not intended primarily to develop a “theology of religions” solely from the self-understanding of the Christian tradition. Rather, from a perspective of dialogue, theology is interested in other religions – both in terms of their foundations and their actual historicity. Integrating the expertise of religious studies is crucial for such an undertaking. Furthermore, it requires us to develop and think anew our way of doing theology in the context of dialogue. Such a dialogue of theologies aims to bring the internal perspectives of different religions into conversation on an academic level, to respectfully and productively acknowledge differences on the one hand, and discover possible profound commonalities in traditions on the other. This is achieved through the challenge of actual encounters.
A deliberately interdisciplinary approach, as well as the establishment of biannual fellowships – awarded to young Jewish and Muslim scholars and serving direct, personal collaboration – encourage an intensive and multi-perspective analysis of theological, hermeneutical, sociological and political questions of religion – all of which concern all three monotheistic religions equally.