Dialogical Theology and Dialogical Practice

  • Wolfram Weisse University of Hamburg
  • Ephraim Meir Bar-Ilan University
Keywords: Dialogical Theology, Trans-difference, Dialogical Practice, Interreligious Dialogue, Heschel, Gandhi


This article focuses on the relationship between religions and dialogue, considering its current relevance. It shows how interreligious dialogue forms the basis for a pluralised theology. Against the backdrop of the established research project ‘Religions and Dialogue in Modern Societies’ (ReDi), we find an integrative approach to interreligious dialogue desirable, as it offers a means of linking three different research strands: religious studies, social sciences and education. In explaining their concept of a Dialogical Theology, the authors offer an answer to developments of global religious pluralisation. An important impulse of this approach lies in the concept of “trans-difference”, anchored in Jewish philosophy. Dialogical Theology requires the counterbalance of analyses related to interreligious dialogue at the grassroot level. This endeavour, carried out with sociological methods, is called “Dialogical Practice”. The article relates general ideas of a Dialogical Theology to concrete analyses of Dialogical Practice. In an imagined interreligious dialogue between the activists Abraham Joshua Heschel and Mahatma Gandhi, it shows how interreligious dialogue can contribute to a practice-oriented Dialogical Theology. Concluding remarks point to perspectives that underscore the need for further development of a Dialogical Theology with reference to Dialogical Practice.


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