A new religious reality for academic theology in Europe

Europe faces the opportunity of doing theology across religious traditions in a shared university context, says Prof. Oddbjørn Leirvik. Photo: LWF/L. Gano
Europe faces the opportunity of doing theology across religious traditions in a shared university context, says Prof. Oddbjørn Leirvik. Photo: LWF/L. Gano

I look forward to the Christian-Muslim consultation, 10-13 March on hermeneutics, titled "Transformative Readings of Sacred Scriptures". The consultation Transformative Readings of the Sacred Scriptures in Oslo is a joint venture between the Faculty of Theology (University of Oslo), the Center for Islamic Theology (University of Münster, Germany) and The Lutheran World Federation (LWF).

The meeting reflects a new reality in academic theology which in Europe has been dominated by the Christian tradition. With new academic centers for Islamic theology (for example, at German universities) and new chairs in Islamic theology at several Faculties of Theology (as in the Netherlands and Scandinavia), this situation is now changing. We face the opportunity of doing theology across religious traditions, in a shared university context. Will we see the development of an interreligious university theology, in a dynamic interaction between the academy, the faith communities and larger society?

Will we see the development of an interreligious university theology, in a dynamic interaction between the academy, the faith communities and larger society?
Prof. Oddbjørn Leirvik

I'm grateful to the LWF for helping us make these links. This time, the theme of our Christian-Muslim exploration will be hermeneutics and the way we handle our sacred scriptures—both as a resource and as a potential problem. The hermeneutical challenge is related to the complex relationship between text, tradition and new contexts. Such questions should not be dealt with in isolation from other religious traditions. They are common questions that can and should be dealt with in an interreligious perspective.

Prof Oddbjørn Leirvik teaches interreligious studies at the Faculty of Theology, University of Oslo, Norway. He has been involved in LWF's interreligious work and the study process on religion in the public space.

 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this blog are those of the author, and not necessarily representative of Lutheran World Federation policy.