How Can Catholic Natural Theology Help Us in Engagement with Non-Christian Religions?

Gavin D’Costa

University of Bristol

A common natural law tradition has been developed within certain strands of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. This relates to a positive relationship with Aristotle and philosophy within streams of these three traditions. Eastern religions have posed a real challenge due to the very different philosophical traditions drawn on compared to the Christian. I turn to Hinduism to seek a connection between natural law and the dharma, to both facilitate an appreciation of Hinduism and a critical engagement. This is developed in interaction with the very specific and contentious practice and theory underlying the Rajput tradition of the suttee. This instances one example of a fruitful avenue for further exploration.

Gavin D’Costa is Professor of Catholic Theology at the University of Bristol and Visiting Aquinas Professor, Pontifical University of Thomas Aquinas. Gavin studied at the Universities of Birmingham (under Professor John Hick) and completed his doctorate at Cambridge University. Gavin is author of nine books, one co-authored book, and has edited twelve books. His interests are in theology of religions, and more recently the Catholic theology of Jews and Muslims. His work has been translated into seven languages. His two most recent publications are: Vatican II. Catholic Doctrines on Jews and Muslims, (Oxford University Press, 2014) and Catholic Doctrines on the Jewish People after Vatican II (OUP, 2019). Gavin has also published a book of poetry (Making Nothing Happen) with a group of Christian poets. Gavin is an advisor to the Roman Catholic Bishops in England and Wales on matters related to other religions.