Colloquia on Interreligious Dialogue
The Boston College Coloquia on Interreligious Dialogue has brought together scholars from different religions and various parts of the world to focus on fundamental questions in Interreligious Dialogue.
Boston College Conferences on Interreligious Dialogue (2008-2012)
Women and Interreligious Dialogue
September 20–22, 2012
Even though women are still often absent from dialogues between official representatives of different religions and bypassed for high level appointments in dialogue organizations, they have contributed significantly and in different ways to advancing interreligious dialogue and interfaith or comparative theology. At this conference, we both look back and look forward to the voices of women in interreligious dialogue. Looking back, papers focus on how women have shaped the dialogue between religions, and/or how interreligious dialogue has shaped the self-understanding of women in a particular religion. What are some of the topics or themes in interreligious dialogue which have caught the imagination of women in particular religious traditions? What have been some of the main contributions of particular women to the theological or systematic dialogue between religions? Looking forward, papers may reflect on challenges and promises for women’s contribution to interreligious dialogue. Does it still make sense to speak of a distinctive role for women in dialogue in light of contemporary gender theories? If so, what might be the contents and/or the nature of such dialogue? What are some of the pressing issues in interreligious dialogue which might profit from the input from women or from gender studies?
Opening Plenary, September 20, 2012
"Women and Interfaith Dialogue: Toward a Transnational Feminism"
Rosemary Radford Ruether, Pacific School of Religion and the Graduate Theological Union
Heights Room, Corcoran Commons, Boston College
Free and open to the public
Dover Speakers, September 21–22
Katharina von Kellenbach
Sue Levi Elwell
Interreligious Dialogue and the Cultural Shaping of Religions
September 22-24, 2011
The global mobility of religions has raised a series of practical and theoretical questions regarding the mutual shaping of religions and cultures, and the role of interreligious dialogue in the process of cultural and religious change. As religions negotiate the challenges of adapting to ever new cultural environments, they inevitably encounter the traces (linguistic, conceptual, ritual) which previous religions have left on a particular culture. The process of inculturation thus generally leads to some form of implicit or explicit dialogue between religions. While in the past the reality of religious borrowing tended to be downplayed or ignored, the present atmosphere of openness allows for a more conscious process of learning from the religion or religions which have shaped a particular culture, and from the ways in which they have dealt with particular cultural challenges.
The reality of religious globalization also raises fundamental questions about the relationship between religions and cultures. Religions tend to enter new cultures shaped by the culture in which they arose, or which they previously encountered. To which extent might this pose limits on their adaptability to new cultural contexts? And to what extent are cultures so defined by particular religions that they are limited in their receptivity to other religions?
At this symposium, we will focus on different case studies, both past and present, in so far as they shed light on the broader questions of the intersection between interreligious dialogue and cultural adaptation and change.
Catherine Cornille, John Makransky, Ruth Langer, James Morris, and Roberto Goizueta.
Peter Phan (Georgetown University)
Susan Abraham (Harvard University)
Kwok Pui-Lan (Episcopal Divinity School)
Jonathan Sarna (Brandeis University)
Robert Schreiter (Catholic Theological Union)
James Heisig (Nanzan Institute for Religion and Culture)
Marcia Hermansen (Loyola, Chicago)
Fareed Munir (Siena College)
Frank Korom (Boston University)
Thomas Kasulis (Ohio State University)
David McMahan (Franklin and Marshall)
John Berthrong (Boston University)
Note: Papers from this event have been published in Interreligious Dialogue and Cultural Change, Catherine Cornille and Stephanie Corigliano, eds. (Oregon: Wipf and Stock, 2011)
Third Boston College Symposium on Interreligious Dialogue,
October 7-9, 2010
INTERRELIGIOUS DIALOGUE AND ECONCOMIC DEVELOPMENT
Proponents of interreligious dialogue often focus on social action and economic advancement as a privileged occasion for collaboration and productive exchange between religions. Even though economic realities are governed by their own logic and systems, religious beliefs and practices may have a profound effect on socio-economic structures and developments. At this conference, we will focus on how religious beliefs may and do affect economic praxis and on how dialogue between religions may enrich particular conceptions of market economics, and improve socio-economic relationships between individuals from different religious groups and cultures.
Papers may deal with economic theories and principles linked to a particular religious tradition, with the extent to which these theories may contribute to economic development in a particular context or in a global perspective, and/or with the ways in which one religion has or may learn from the social theories and economic principles of other religious traditions. Some may focus on historical examples of the way in which interreligious dialogue has led to socio-economic development, while others may advance more theoretical and hypothetical proposals of how religions may work together to improve economic relationships in different parts of the world, or to offer alternatives to prevailing conceptions of economic development.
Thursday, October 7
"Profits and Prophets: Economic Development and Interreligious Dialogue"
Paul Knitter (Union Theological Seminary)
Heights Room, Boston College
Jenny Aker (Tufts University)
Joe Kaboski (Ohio State University)
(By invitation only)
Connors Conference Center, Dover, Mass.
Friday, October 8
8:30-9:30 a.m.: Eliott Dorff (Baylor University)
9:30-10:30 a.m.: Walid El-Ansary (University of South Carolina)
11:00-12:00 a.m.: Caner Dagli (College of the Holy Cross)
2:00-3:00 p.m.: Katherine Marshall (Georgetown University)
3:00-4:00 p.m.: Laurenti Magesa (Hekima University, Kenya)
4:30-5:30 p.m.: James Buchanan (Bruggeman Center for Interreligious Dialogue, Cincinnati)
Saturday, October 9
8:30-9:30 a.m.: Donald Swearer (Harvard Center for the Study of World Religions)
9:30-10:30 a.m.: Christopher Ives (Stonehill College)
11:00-12:00 a.m.: David Loy (Xavier University)
1:00-2:00 p.m.: Ishanaa Rambachan (Oxford University)
2:00-3:00 p.m.: Siddhartha (Fireflies Ashram, Bangalore)
Catherine Cornille, John Makransky, James Morris, Ruth Langer, Peter Ireland.For more information, please contact Glenn Willis at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Second Boston College Symposium on Interreligious Dialogue, September 25-27, 2009
Plenary Address (Friday, september 25)
Understanding the Religious Other: Western Hermeneutics and Interreligious Dialogue
David Tracy, University of Chicago
September 25, 2009, 4 p.m.
Heights Room, Corcoran Commons
Catherine Keller, Drew University
Mark Heim, Andover Newton Theological School
This paper will address the difficult question of whether modern Western hermeneutics (especially those of Gadamer and Ricoeur) are helpful as heuristic guides for interreligious dialogues. The claim will be that Gadamer's model of conversation is indeed a helpful one and that Ricoeur's addition of explanatory methods and hermeneutics of retrieval and suspicion are also relevant. However, I will also claim that there are serious limits to the present hermeneutic models: namely Gadamer's idea of "fusion of horizons" and Ricoeur's notion of "appropriation." These hermeneutic claims must be faced with the question of radical otherness. This was central in the exchange between Gadamer and Derrida as well as Ricoeur and Levinas. Clearly radical otherness and difference are present in interreligious dialogues. The question of otherness and difference in a context of a revised hermeneutics will be posed as a possible heuristic tool for interreligious and intercultural dialogues.
Dover Symposium (Saturday and Sunday, september 26-27)
(By invitation only)
The dialogue between religions presents various hermeneutical challenges. On a purely epistemological level, it involves the question of mutual understanding or the degree to which individuals belonging to one religion can grasp the meaning of symbols, teachings and practices of another. This question has been at the heart of the insider-outsider debate in the study of religions. But it may be asked anew in the context of interreligious dialogue where religious presuppositions tend to be more deliberately engaged in the process of understanding. How do religious beliefs and commitments shape one’s selective engagement with and understanding of the religious other? What is the role of empathy in interreligious dialogue? And would imperfect understanding of the other necessarily impede constructive dialogue?
Interreligious hermeneutics may also address the dynamics and the ethics of interreligious borrowing, of the appropriation and reinterpretation of particular religious texts, teachings and practices within different religious contexts. The goal of interreligious dialogue is mutual fecundation and growth. But in the process of learning from other religious traditions, symbols, teachings or practices often undergo subtle or more pronounced semantic shifts. Is this to be regarded as an inevitable part of any constructive dialogue between religions, or as an illegitimate form of domestication of the religious other? These and other pressing questions within the domain of interreligious hermeneutics will be the focus of this symposium.
Saturday, September 26
Werner Jeanrond, University of Glasgow
Reza Shah-Kazemi, Institute of Ismaili Studies, London
Ramprasad Chakravarthi, University of Lancaster
John Keenan, Middlebury College
Charles Hallisey, Harvard University
Joseph Prabhu, California State University
Henk Vroom, University of Amsterdam
Sunday, September 27
John Maraldo, University of North Florida
Ibrahim Kalin, Georgetown University
Laurie Patton, Emory University
Joseph O’Leary, Sophia University
David Eckel, Boston University
First Boston College Symposium on Interreligious Dialogue
September 19-21, 2008
In the process of dialogue between members of different religious traditions, each typically approaches the other from within a particular religious framework which serves as the basis for discerning what is valuable and true in the other religion. These principles of discernment may be operative implicitly or explicitly and may manifest themselves in the ways in which elements of other religions have been spontaneously assimilated or consciously engaged as an occasion for change and growth.
Within the context of religious pluralism, some theologians engaged in dialogue have moved away from religion-specific criteria of truth in favor of “neutral” or common ones. However, in so far as dialogue is conducted from within religious traditions, religious criteria will continue to take precedence over neutral ones. At this conference, we wish to reflect on the principles and processes of discernment which have been and may be operative within particular religious traditions. These may arise from doctrines, from socio-ethical values and/or from normative practices.
Dialogue Between Muslims and Christians as Mutually Transformative Speech
David Burrell, University of Notre Dame
September 19, 2009
Francis Clooney, Harvard University
Dover Symposium (Saturday and Sunday, September 20-21)
Saturday, September 20
Anantanad Rambachan, St. Olaf’s College
Deepak Sarma, Case Western Reserve Univeristy
Mark Unno, University of Oregon
Judith Simmer-Brown, Naropa University
Omid Safi, University of North Carolina
Asma Afsaruddin, Notre Dame
Sunday, September 21
David Elcott, New York University
Jonathan Magonet, L. Baeck College, London
Gavin D’Costa, Bristol University
Reinhold Bernhardt, University of Basel
Note: Papers from this event have been published in Criteria of Discernment in Interreligious Dialogue, C. Cornille, ed. [Wipf & Stock Publishers, Eugene, OR, 2009)
Books from the Interreligious Dialogue Series
Criteria of Discernment in Interreligious Dialogue
Edited by Catherine Cornille
Edited by Catherine Cornille, Christopher Conway
Women and Interreligious Dialogue
Edited by Catherine Cornille, Jillian Maxey
Brien O'Brien and Mary Hasten Lecture Series
Religious Exclusivism and Interreligious Dialogue: Incompatible or Not?
Miroslav Volf: October 12, 2017
Miroslav Volf, the Henry B. Wright Professor of Systemic Theology at Yale Divinity School, discusses whether or not openness to other religions and interreligious harmony require compromising one's own strong faith convictions as part of the Brien O'Brien and Mary Hasten Lecture Series. This lecture is based on Volf's years of involvement in dialogue and peace work in the Balkans, and on his role in responding to the Muslim dialogue initiative, "A Common Word Between Us and You," of which we celebrate the tenth anniversary.
The Challenge of Interreligious Dialogue in the Age of Laudato Si'
Mary Evelyn Tucker: April 7, 2016
Mary Evelyn Tucker, senior lecturer and co-director of the Forum on Religion and Ecology at Yale University, delivers the 2016 Brien O'Brien and Mary Hasten Lecture in Interreligious Dialogue. Responses to the talk are provided by Christopher Ives, professor of Religious Studies at Stonehill College, and Caner Dagli, associate professor of Religious Studies at College of the Holy Cross.
Experiences with Dialogue at the Edge of Auschwitz
Manfred Deselaers, Rabbi Daniel Lehmann: April 16, 2015
The Brien O'Brien and Mary Hasten Lecture commemorates the 50th anniversary of Nostra Aetate, the Declaration on the Relation of the Church with Non-Christian Religions of the Second Vatican Council, and Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Memorial Day on the Jewish calendar, in Jewish Christian dialogue with presenter Manfred Deselaers, director of the Auschwitz Center for Dialogue and Prayer, and respondent Rabbi Daniel Lehmann, president of Hebrew College.
Revelation in the Context of Interfaith Dialogue
Rowan Williams: Monday, April 7, 2014
Rowan Williams, emeritus archbishop of Canterbury and professor of theology at Cambridge University, delivers the O'Brien Lecture. Sponsored by the Church in the 21st Century Center and the Boston College Department of Theology.