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Studies in Interreligious Dialogue
  • Comparative Theology and Cognitive Metaphor Theory poj©peeters-leuven.be

    This paper presents a methodological framework that uses both Comparative Theology and Cognitive Metaphor Theory, which are analogous in their approaches. The latter’s mapping between the ‘target’ domain and ‘source’ domain is, in many ways, similar to the former’s comparative process between one’s own religious tradition and a ‘strange’ religious tradition. This study aims to address the lack of clear methodology in the Comparative Theology of Francis X. Clooney SJ, as already observed by Hugh Nicholson and Marianne Moyaert. These comparative theologians explain how comparative theology is analogous to metaphor in contrast to metonymy, and searched for a hermeneutical framework for comparative theology in Paul Ricoeur’s hermeneutics, respectively. I argue that the Cognitive Metaphor Theory can provide the new comparative theology with an adequate methodological framework particularly for the intertextual study of metaphors across religious traditions. First, I will set the stage by stating the problem which causes ambiguity in Clooney’s comparative theology and then briefly describe how it functions. Second, I will present the scholarly views of Nicholson and Moyaert whose scholarly pursuits set impetus for this study. Third, after having explored how cognitive metaphor theory works, I will finally study the analogous nature of both comparative theology and metaphor theory.

  • 'Beneath Religious Claims' poj©peeters-leuven.be

    Beneath the surface of the narrative in the Book of Esther are embedded, unruly, semiotically unstable text and that must be decoded theologically for safe political and social application. Traditionally, the story has been read as a religious conflict that resulted from Haman’s unnecessary hatred for the Jews in King Xerxes I’s Assyria. However, a careful reading of this narrative will bring out several socio-political ignored themes. Thus, I discuss, analyze and assess how in many cases religious conflicts are actually underpinned by social and political motives and tensions.

  • Barriers to Intercultural Dialogue poj©peeters-leuven.be

    This article addresses one of the most pressing obstacles to intercultural dialogue in European societies today: the tendency to view cultures as fixed entities, defining people as a unit, and distinguishing them from other groups of people. While the acceleration of international migration into and within Europe has enhanced peoples’ cosmopolitan outlooks, it has also led to cultural generalisations. Moreover, such understandings may promote and consolidate cultural stereotypes, which in turn makes intercultural interaction difficult, even counterproductive. Focusing on the very concept of dialogue, however, this article argues that concentrating on uniqueness and cultural essence is to overlook the porosity of boundaries and the creative potential of the cultural encounter.

  • Finding God in All Things poj©peeters-leuven.be

    The dialogue between the Bhagavad Gita and the Spiritual Exercises on 'Finding God in All Things' (Isavasyam idam sarvam and Hallar Dios en todas las cosas) points toward a meeting of heart and mind between Hinduism and Christianity. The essence of the spirituality of the Bhagavad Gita, like the essence of the spirituality of Ignatius, is the vision of God in all things and all things in God, and, for the same reason, its spirituality is oriented to God above the world as well as within it. Both the Bhagavad Gita and the Spiritual Exercises agree that only those who have found God above the visible world are able to find God in all things, and vice-versa. The quest to find God in all things is an exercise involving conscious effort and constant attentiveness. This quest requires a fundamental receptivity toward the Truth who guides the steps of humanity.

  • Intercultural Understanding when Translating the Concept of Jihād into English poj©peeters-leuven.be

    This paper attempts to shed light onto the significance of the intercultural and interreligious understanding when translating the jihād concept. Religious concepts like jihād, are an intriguing area of research. Understanding and translating these religious concepts is shaped by the translator’s presuppositions. The translator cannot be detached from these presuppositions, consciously or unconsciously, because they are constituted by the narratives of his culture. He is embedded in these narratives and his understanding and translation has largely been shaped by them. As such, the translator must choose the best targeted English word or words to translate jihād. That choice, however, has its own conception and presuppositions on this issue. Therefore, the idea of intercultural and interreligious dialogue has become essential when translating religious concepts like jihād because it draws the attention of the translator to counter-narratives. This awakening informs him of discrepancies in the historical experience of the religious concept under examination and deconstruct his own set of presuppositions. As such, this study applies Baker’s narrative theory to examine the translations of the jihād concept.

  • Negotiating National Sameness and Religious Difference poj©peeters-leuven.be

    As a place for Christian-Muslim dialogue in Pakistan, the Christian Study Centre (CSC) in Rawalpindi inhabits an exceptional position in relation to both its roots in global missionary and ecumenical movements, as well as processes of Islamization on a national level. While CSC’s international connectivity has influenced the organization’s policies and activities regarding interreligious relations, it has also jeopardized its 'Pakistani' character. This character is further contested through Pakistani Christian experiences of social exclusion of as a result of processes of 'Islamization' in the country. In response to both this international and national context, CSC advances definitions of Pakistani Christian identity. Through an analysis of these expressions in CSC’s journal Al-Mushir, especially in the context of interreligious dialogue, this study shows that the organization attempts to disassociate this identity from foreignness and associate it with the local context. At the same time, however, these expressions of identity also constitute efforts to redefine both Christian and Pakistani identity.

  • The Epistemology of Truth-Claims in the Global Multi-Religious Ambiance poj©peeters-leuven.be

    The interpretations of truth-claims inherent in the theology of different world religions have a negative epistemic bearing on the religious belief systems of humankind and, as such, affect interreligious relations. This paper therefore, explicates the theological and philosophical issues in truth-claim discourse with a view to endorse a tenable approach for addressing the problem of conflicting truth-claims. The various notions of religious truth-claim, i.e. — exclusivism, inclusivism, non-exclusivism, pluralism and relativism, are explored and critically analyzed. The author submits that pluralist philosophy offers a better approach to curtail the problems emanating from conflicting truth-claims and promotes interreligious relations among the world religions. Unlike other notions which claim that truth is domiciled in one religion (exclusivism), other religions have partial truth (inclusivism), religious truth should be held tentatively (non-exclusivism), other religions should be merely tolerated (relativism), pluralism advocates for energetic engagement with religious diversity, the — active seeking of understanding across lines of differences among religions.

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