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SCM Core Text Christian Approaches to Other Faiths


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The textbook begins with a chapter on exclusivism, inclusivism, particularity and pluralism, and one on interfaith. Each chapter explains the history, rationale and workings of the various approaches. Moreover, each is divided into sub-sections dealing with various forms of each approach, so that each may be appreciated in its individuality, i.e. the chapter on 'Inclusivism' will include sections on 'fulfilment theology' 'anonymous Christians', etc.The second part of this textbook deals with attitudes towards different faiths, considering the problems and relations that exist with Christian approaches to each. It will deal with the world's major faiths as well as primal religions and new religious movements. The introduction and conclusion will deal with some central themes that run throughout, in particular, the questions of the Trinity and concepts of salvation. In each section reference will be made to the key texts discussed in the Reader which accompanies this(9780334041155), however, the work may be read as a stand alone text.



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Published 11 February 2013
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Christian Approaches to Other Faiths
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Christian Approaches to Other Faiths
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Edited by Paul Hedges and Alan Race
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All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying or otherwise, without the prior permission of the publisher, SCM Press.
© Paul Hedges and Alan Race 2008
The Editors have asserted their right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988, to be identiîed as the Editors of this Work
Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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British Library Cataloguing in Publication data
A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library
978 0 334 04114 6
First published in 2008 by SCM Press 13–17 Long Lane, Londonec1a9pn
SCM Press is a division of SCM-Canterbury Press Ltd
Typeset by Regent Typesetting, London Printed and bound in Great Britain by CPI William Clowes Ltd, Beccles,nr34 7tl
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Preface Contributors
vii ix
Part 1 Theoretical and Methodological Issues Section A: Mapping the Terrain  1 Theology of Religions in Change: Factors in the Shape of a Debate 4  Alan Race  2 A Reection on Typologies: Negotiating a Fast-Moving Discussion 17  Paul Hedges
Section B: The ‘Classical’ Approaches  3 Exclusivisms: ‘Indeed Their Rock is Not like Our Rock’  Daniel Strange  4 Inclusivisms: Honouring Faithfulness and Openness  David Cheetham  5 Pluralisms: How to Appreciate Religious Diversity Theologically  Perry SchmidtLeukel
Section C: Other Approaches  6 Particularities: Tradition-Speciîc Post-modern Perspectives 112  Paul Hedges  7 Feminisms: Syncretism, Symbiosis, Synergetic Dance 136  Jeannine Hill Fletcher  8 Interfaith Dialogue: Religious Accountability between Strangeness and Resonance 155  Alan Race
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Part 2 Christian Responses to Individual Faiths Section A: Abrahamic Traditions  9 Judaism: Siblings in Strife  Ronald H. Miller 10 Islam: Jesus and Muhammad as Brothers  Martin Bauschke
Section B: Indic Traditions 11 Hinduism: We Are No Longer ‘Frogs in the Well’ K. P. Aleaz 12 Buddhism: Two Essential Movements of the Human Spirit?  Elizabeth Harris 13 Sikhism: From Competition to Co-operation  John Parry
Section C: Chinese Traditions 14 Chinese Religions: Negotiating Cultural and Religious Identities  Panchiu Lai
Section D: Further Traditions 15 Indigenous Religions: Lessons of History and Challenges for the Future  Garry W. Trompf 16 New Religious Movements: Dialogues Beyond Stereotypes and Labels  J. Gordon Melton
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The purpose of this textbook in an already crowded market is validated by three key elements:
1 The importance of the subject matter. 2 The particular relevance for understanding in this area. 3 To address a lack in the existing range of texts.
First, Christians have always lived in a pluralist world, a place where many different faiths coexist. If, as Christians believe, the world is part of a divine creation, then Christians are faced with the theological necessity of answering the question, ‘Why are there other faiths?’ Moreover, the relationship of Christianity, or the Christian world, with other faiths, or the non-Christian world, is a matter of increasing importance. The events of recent history have shown us that we live in a world where conict between blocs – understood as being on separate sides of an ideological faith divide – exist. Therefore, it is of absolute importance that Christians reect upon and understand their relationship to the other faiths of the world, in both theoretical and practical terms. Second, and very much related to our îrst point, is the need for under-standing. This means several things. As we have said, it is of the utmost importance that Christians reect upon their relationship to other faiths for practical and theoretical ends. However, this cannot occur in an isolated Christian context. Today’s situation of plurality means we live in a world not just where we are aware of blocs of faith communities in different parts of the world, but where our friends, neighbours and colleagues will, increasingly, very often be of a different faith and cultural tradition to our own. We therefore need to develop a sympathetic and empathetic understanding and relationship with the other faiths, and to recognize their needs, desires and aspirations alongside our own. It is not, therefore, enough to think of the issue as important, so that simply holding a theoretical position about it seems all that is required; instead, it is a matter of integral and immedi-ate concern in the daily lives of many Christians. Moreover, the needs and problems of these other faiths should also be seen as relevant to Christians when they ask who is their sister, brother or neighbour.
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c h r i s t i a n a p p r oa c h e s t o o t h e r fa i t h s Finally, this textbook (and the accompanying Reader) is written, in part, simply with the hope of îlling a lacuna in the îeld. There have been many recent works discussing the issues of the theology of religions, interreligious dialogue and engagement, including some books written as introductions to the area. However, these tend to focus separately on either the theoretical aspects, or approaches to particular faiths, or groups of faiths, or to provide a set of readings (often of a theoretical nature). We have therefore sought here to provide an introduction to the theology of religions that does all of this. A îrst section on theoretical dimensions is matched by a second section on approaches to individual faiths, each written by a particular expert in that area, while a carefully balanced selection of contemporary and classical readings is available in the Reader. Also, in its approach it has added to the standard ‘classical’ typology to consider feminist and postmodern approaches, as well as moving beyond relationships with the ‘great world religions’ to such things as indigenous faiths and New Religious Movements. It is hoped that this approach will be of use to both teachers and students and interested educated people beyond academia. For students and teachers, it is hoped that it will provide a textbook which can be used for courses and modules in the subject area. For the interested reader, it introduces a spectrum of views and approaches that won’t be found elsewhere in one volume. It is our belief that it is imperative that Christians come to realize the very real importance of how Christian faith might respond creatively to our world’s religious plurality through theological reection as well as interreligious engagement. Our hope is that this book will stimulate involve-ment in all aspects of the new world which is opening up before us all.
Paul Hedges and Alan Race
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K. P. Aleazis Professor of Religions at Bishop’s College and Professor and Dean of the Doctoral Programme at the North India Institute of Post-GraduateTheologicalStudies,Kolkata,India.HealsoguidesdoctoralcandidatesoftheSouthAsiatheologicalResearchInstitute,Bangalore,India. Author of 20 books and more than 105 articles, he was William PattonFellowoftheSellyOakColleges,Birmingham,in1977,VisitingProfessor at Hartford Seminary, USA, and the University of South Africa, Pretoria, in 2002, and Teape Lecturer, in the Universities of Cambridge, Birmingham, Bristol and Edinburgh, UK, in 2005.
Martin BauschkeDirector of the Global Ethic Foundation’s ofîce in is Berlin.Heresearches,lecturesandprovideseducationalmaterialsintheîelds of the Global Ethic Project and in the dialogue between the three Abrahamic religions. His publications includeJesus in Koran(2001, 2007), andGemeinsam vor Gott. Gebete aus Judentum, Christentum und Islam(2004, 2006).
David Cheetham is Senior Lecturer in Theology and Religion at the Uni-versity of Birmingham, UK, and specializes in the philosophy and theology of religions. He is the author ofJohn Hickand numerous articles (2003) in journals, includingThe Heythrop Journal,Sophia,New Blackfriarsand Theology. He is currently completing a new book entitledWays of Meeting and the Theology of Religions.
Elizabeth Harrisis Senior Lecturer in Religious Studies at Liverpool Hope University, with a specialism in Buddhism. Previously, for 11 years, she was the Secretary for Inter-Faith Relations for the Methodist Church in Britain.SheisontheadvisorygroupoftheEuropeanNetworkofBuddhistChristianStudiesandofVoiesdOrient,Belgium.Shehaswrittenwidelyon Buddhist–Christian relations, and her recent books includeTheravada Buddhism and the British Encounter (2006) andWhat Buddhists Believe (1996). She is a Reviews Editor for the journalInterreligious Insight.
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c h r i s t i a n a p p r oa c h e s t o o t h e r fa i t h s
Paul Hedges has taught for universities in the UK (Winchester, Lecturer, 2005–present), Canada (Queen’s, ISC campus) and China (2000–03). His Ph.D. (University of Wales, Lampeter, UK) is published asPreparation and Fulfilment(2001). He has published articles in journals including theJour nal of Religious History,Interreligious Insightand theInternational Review of Mission. Broad research interests include: the theology and history of reli-gious encounter (India, China, postmodernism, Global Ethic); modern and contemporary Christian thought (critiquing Radical Orthodoxy, modern/ postmodern debates, contemporary liberal theology); theory in the study of religion (deîning religion, Orientalism, death, sacred space).
Jeannine Hill Fletcheran Associate Professor of Theology at Fordham is University, Bronx, New York. Her research asks whether and how women’s interfaith encounters offer new resources for theology. Publications include Monopoly on Salvation? A Feminist Response to Religious Pluralism(2005); ‘As Long as We Wonder: Possibilities in the Impossibility of Interreligious Dialogue’,Theological Studies68 (2007); ‘Women’s Voices in Dialogue: A Look at the Parliament of the World’s Religions’,Studies in Interreligious Dialogue16.1 (2006); and ‘Shifting Identity: The Contribution of Feminist Thought to Theologies of Religious Pluralism’,Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion19.2 (2003).
Panchiu Laifrom the Chinese University of Hong Kong and graduated King’s College London (Ph.D., 1991). He is now Professor and Chairman of the Department of Cultural and Religious Studies at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Research interests include interreligious dialogue, Christian theology and environmental ethics. In addition to publications in Chinese, he published in EnglishTowards a Trinitarian Theology of Religions: A Study of Paul Tillich’s Thought(1994) and numerous articles in various academic journals. He delivered the Edward Cadbury Lectures 2005/6, Birmingham, UK, on ‘Experiments in Mahayana Christian Theology’.
J. Gordon Melton is the Director of the Institute for the Study of Ameri-can Religion in Santa Barbara, California, and a research specialist with the Department of Religious Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara.HewasordainedanelderintheUnitedMethodistChurchin1968.He is a fellow with the Western Institute for Intercultural Studies, a Christian association focused in studies of religious pluralism. Publications include more than 30 reference and scholarly texts on contemporary religion and modern religious history, includingAmerican Religion: An Illustrated His tory(2000),Encyclopedia of Protestantism(2005), andNelson’s Handbook of Denominations(2007).
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