Introduction to Buddhist-Christian Dialogue – A new course in the Spring semester
The purpose of the course is to introduce students to a comparative study of Christianity and Buddhism. After a general introduction to Buddhism and an overview of the differences between the Theravada, Mahāyāna and Vajrayāna schools, students will explore the foundations of interreligious dialogue, as well as the chief differences between dialogue in the strict sense, theology of religions, and comparative theology. The course will then explore a number of theological themes that are developed in analogous, yet distinctive manners by the two religious traditions, such as Scriptural exegesis, anthropology, soteriology, the notion of incarnation and/or divine embodiment, and the nature and purpose of spiritual practice. Students will be encouraged to explore the points of contact, as well as the irreducible differences between the two traditions, while also considering the pastoral implications of this conversation.
- Students will gain a broad theological and cultural understanding of the main terms of in the field of interreligious dialogue; they will demonstrate knowledge of some of the main models in theology of religions and comparative theology, as well as a broad understanding of the conceptual and ethical implications of these models for the purposes of theological and pastoral reflection.
- Students will gain a good grasp of the fundamental teachings of Buddhism, and demonstrate an appreciation of the differences between the different schools of thought within Buddhism in areas such as anthropology, soteriology, and cosmology. In particular, students will gain familiarity with the teachings of Tibetan Buddhism and the way the Tibetan tradition draws on earlier strands of the tradition.
- Students will become acquainted with a number of theological themes such as divine embodiment, holiness, or the role of exegesis in the context of spiritual practice, from the perspective of comparative theology.
Need more info? Please contact Prof. Thomas Cattoi; [email protected]