The Inner Similarities of Religions – Chances of an Interreligious Theology

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The Inner Similarities of Religions – Chances of an Interreligious Theology
Perry Schmidt-Leukel: Wahrheit in Vielfalt. Vom religiösen Pluralismus zur interreligiösen Theologie Aus dem Englischen von Monika Ottermann. Bearbeitet und autorisiert von Perry Schmidt-Leukel Gütersloh: Gütersloher Verlagshaus 2019, 413 S., Namenregister --- ISBN 978-3-579-08249-3 --- The English Edition: Religious Pluralism and Interreligious Theology. The Gifford Lectures – an Extended Version. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis 2017, 304 pp.  Detailed review in German >>> Perry Schmidt-Leukel (University of Münster, Westphalia) makes with this fundamental book a thematic connection in a kind of climax: Part I is a series of lectures, which he held at the Chinese Zhejiang University in 2014. Here he deals with the pluralistic changes in the understanding of faith in Christianity and with pluralistic approaches in the other major world religions. They are an important "preliminary programme" for the distinguished Scottish Gifford Lectures of 2015 in Part II, in which he develops an interreligious theology beyond religious pluralism. It is based on the transfer of the fractal theory – deduced from nature, science and mathematics – to religions in a global context. His elaboration of structural similarities of faith traditions goes far beyond comparative religious studies or a comparative theology. This, however requires, that all religions likewise must review, revise and reinterpret certain previous positions of truth, salvation and ultimate reality. A fractal theory of religions in the horizon of far-reaching diversity opens possibilities – not yet used – to develop an interreligious theology. This must include at the same time the global challenges of our world. It also makes questionable social and political divisions. It is a vision that is still waiting to be realized. These changed interpretations of the different ways of salvation and of the understanding of "last reality" are a chance which should not to be underestimated, because in this way an amicable approach of the religions gains real ground, also in the sense of world peace. The debate on the elaboration of an interreligious theology in a "fractal way", which is already in full swing in the English-speaking world, will certainly soon extend to the German-speaking regions. Perry Schmidt-Leukel has made at large a decisive, so far unprecedented contribution.

Reinhard Kirste, August 2019


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7 August 2019 at 9:04 am EDT Reinhard Kirste