The limits of univocity in interreligious relationality
Richard Schenk's chapter is a critical review of four main strands in contemporary pluralist theology of religions. First, Schenk points to weaknesses in Perry Schmidt-Leukel's articulation of the now standard exclusivist—inclusivist—pluralist classification of religious systems. Schmidt-Leukel claims that these three classifications are "comprehensive and unavoidable", meaning that they exhaust all logical possibilities, and that religious theories as wholes should be forced to choose one and only one of the three, on pain of logical inconsistency. Schmidt-Leukel also calls the threefold classification theologically "adequate"; i.e., the possibility that no one of the three positions can fully describe a theory is excluded. The only valid theological view of the relationships between religions will be one, and only one, of the three positions. Schenk responds by arguing that no one of the three genera of models describes the optimal theory of religions, and no one of the three genera is without some partial justification. One ought, therefore, to look for the possibility of combining these three genera of arguments within a single theory which can apply different standards of judgments to different phenomena of any given religion. The inadequacy of Schmidt-Leukel's classificatory scheme is clear, e.g., in those classical patristic and medieval views on non-Christian religions in which exclusivist and inclusivist dimensions coexist. Secondly, Schenk points to the exclusivist line of argumentation intrinsic to John Hick's form of pluralism, which is based on a univocal concept of truth. Hick's pluralism has an exclusivist definition of true religion as the transition from ego-centeredness to Reality-centeredness. Thirdly, those pluralistic forms which reject the univocal notion of truth in Hick (most successfully, Raimundo Panikkar's) encounter the further problem of a coherent notion of plural truths. Fourthly, Schenk considers pluralist theologies focused upon social justice (notably those of Paul Knitter and Langdon Gilkey), which seek in the criteria of just action a non-relativist grounding for pluralism. Finally, Schenk offers three aspects of successful interreligious dialogue.
Schenk, R. (2019)., The limits of univocity in interreligious relationality, in B. M. Mezei & M. Z. Vale (eds.), Philosophies of christianity, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 67-95.
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