Christianity and World ReligionsDisputed Questions in the Theology of Religions
An engaging and accessible introduction to Christianity’s relationship with other world religions, addressing the questions of why the reality, and vitality, of other religions has become a challenge, and showing how Christianity is equipped to deal with religious plurality at both the doctrinal and social level. Timely and accessible, this book tackles the question of why the reality, and vitality, of other religions has become a challenge for Christianity Makes a decisive contribution to debates about the clash between Islam and the West, arguing that the major threat to religious freedoms come from secularism, and that Islam and Christianity both have the resources to develop a vibrant and pluralist public square; one informed by intellectual rigor and debate Considers the wider issue of how modernity has defined ‘religion’, and provides a substantial critique of secular ways of controlling religions Shows how Christianity is very well suited to deal with religious plurality at the doctrinal and social level Addresses the core issues and describes the various answers that have been proposed in recent years – making it an ideal introduction to the field, and one which will stimulate ideas and discussions
Part I: Charting the Territory: Theology of Religions 1.Early Map Making Introduction Pluralism Inclusivism Exclusivism 2. Changing the Angle: Recent Maps Some Criticisms of the Threefold Typology Comparative Theology Postmodern Postliberalism Part II: The Making and Meaning of Religions 3. Modernity’s Story Introduction Modernity’s Story about Religions 4. An Alternative: The Secular Construction of the Sacred Modernity as the Establishment of a New Ruling Religion Conclusion Part III: Religions in the Public Square 5. Whose Religion and Which Public Square? The Public Square A Taxonomy of Secular Modernity and Postmodernity 6. Christian and Muslim Public Squares Roman Catholicism, Modernity and Religious Plurality Islam, Reasoned Debate, and Religious Plurality Part IV: Christ’s Descent into Hell 7. Old Doctrines for New Jobs Introduction “The Descent”: Introduction to the “Circles of Hell” The Limbo of the Just and the Unevangelized 8. Further into the Inferno Purgatory and the Non-Christian The Children’s Limbo The Descent into Hell Bibliography Subject Index Index of Works
“All in all, D’Costa should be commended for writing an excellent book. This work is a wonderful contribution to the conversation regarding Christianity and non-Christian religions. I highly recommend it for all persons interested in the theology of religions, as well as any Christian looking for new ways to understand the possibility of salvation for non-Christians.” (The International Journal of Public Theology, 1 December 2012) "I warmly encourage readers in each to take it up and read." (One in Christ, July 2010) "[D'Costa] finds convincing substantiation for his position in biblical, patristic, and medieval Christian doctrine." (CHOICE, September 2009)"For a generation which is reasserting its Catholic identity, this thesis may serve a valuable purpose, calming the anxieties of those who, admirable, have managed to maintain an interest in the salvation of non-Christians yet are as hard put to win converts as their more pluralist co-religionists." (The Way, January 2010) "His gazetteer of these regions at the edge of the eschatological map is fascinating. The closing pages are as perceptive a meditation on what the dereliction of the cross can and cannot mean as we might expect to find in a first-rate book devoted entirely to that subject." (Chruch Times, December 2009)
Gavin D’Costa is Professor of Christian Theology at Bristol University. He also works with the Church of England and Roman Catholic Committees on Other Faiths, and the Pontifical Council for Other Faiths, Vatican City, advising these communities on theological issues. He is the author or editor of numerous books, including Theology and the Public Square (Wiley-Blackwell, 2005), Sexing the Trinity (2000), and The Meeting of Religions and the Trinity (2000).
Why has the reality of other religions become a big problem for Christianity? In the past, Christianity has been able to largely ignore other religions but in recent decades, not just the reality, but the vitality of other religions has become a challenge. This accessible book tackles a number of questions arising from these changes: is belonging to one religion rather than another merely a matter of cultural preference?; is salvation the same among all religions?; and what can be learned from other religions? Considering wider issues of how modernity has defined “religion,” Gavin D’Costa provides a substantial critique of secular ways of controlling religions, and shows how Christianity is very well suited to deal with religious plurality at the doctrinal and social level. The book makes a decisive contribution to debates about the clash between Islam and the West, arguing that the major threat to religious freedoms come from secularism, and that Islam and Christianity both have the resources to develop a vibrant and pluralist “public square” informed by intellectual debate. By engaging with the core questions and suggesting a pathway through the various answers that have been proposed in recent years, this is an ideal introduction to the field, and one which will help stimulate ideas and discussions.
"The deepest challenge to global Christianity is in its relation to world religions. Informative and thought-provoking, this book tackles one of the most heated issues of the time: the interactions within religious pluralism. Old-timers and newcomers to disputes over these 'disputed questions' will not walk away from this book casually or apathetically. It is provocative and, yes, challenging." –Martin E. Marty, University of Chicago “In this book, Gavin D'Costa continues to push and stretch established categories and traditional doctrines to provide highly original and deeply provocative thoughts on the relationship between Christianity and other religions and on the role of religion in the public square. And his approach to the question of the salvation of non-Christians in terms of Christ's descent into hell will undoubtedly be the focus of heated discussion in the theology of religions for years to come.” –Catherine Cornille, Associate Professor of Comparative Theology at Boston College, Author of The Im-Possibility of Interreligious Dialogue.
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