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Title: The conditions of the possibility of philosophical interfaith dialogue : a theoretical and empirical exploration
Author: Kastner, Christian
ISNI:       0000 0004 2743 8758
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2012
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Religious truth in the context of interfaith dialogue is a notoriously contentious issue. The notion of religious truth is usually taken to depend on a system of theological doctrines, the presence of which is not a general trait of all religious traditions. Furthermore, discourse on the truths of theological doctrines requires knowledge and skills that are not easily available to non-specialist lay believers, and it is uncertain how far such theological truth discourse impacts on how regular people of faith interpret and perform their religion on a day-to-day basis. Interfaith dialogue, particularly on the local and community level, has therefore come to be seen as an unsuitable setting for discussing issues of religious truth. It is in this context that this thesis explores both theoretically and practically how interfaith dialogue about religious truth, i.e. philosophical interfaith dialogue, is possible between non-specialist believers. The theoretical part of the thesis examines the history of the interfaith movement and discusses in which ways the inherent truth discourse is flawed. It then proceeds to analyse the nature of religious truth discourse by explicating the epistemological situation of religions vis-à-vis each other. Finally it discusses different ways to conceptualise what a religion is in order to extend the notion of truth discourse to practical reasoning which is accessible and relevant for non-specialist lay believers. The second part of the thesis has a practical focus. From the theoretical conclusions reached, a practical programme for philosophical interfaith dialogue is developed and the results of a test run are presented in the form of a discussion and interpretation of empirical data collected through field work research. The theoretical conclusion of this thesis is that reasoning about religious truth across the boundaries of religious traditions is generally not possible. However participants can understand each other and can even participate in the reasoning about truth within the framework of the respective other’s religion. The field work research suggests that doing so is a positive and valuable experience from the perspective of the dialogue participants.
Supervisor: McLoughlin, S. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available