Ritualizing Interreligious Encounters
Mapping the Field of Interrituality
Keywords:intrreligiious studies, ritual, interreligious dialogue
To this day, there is strikingly little interest for the ritual dimension of interreligious relations; i.e. how the encounter between believers belonging to different religious traditions is concretized and materialized through ritual. This article argues that the neglect of the ritual dimension of interreligious encounters unduly limits our understanding of interreligious relations. I intend to broaden the scope of interreligious studies by drawing interrituality into the research program of interreligious studies. Before exploring some of the expressions of interrituality, I want to probe after the reasons why interreligious scholars tend to overlook the ritual dimension of interreligious relations. I ask the following question: Given the fact that our understanding of the dynamics of interreligious relations closely related to the way we understand religion (and vice versa), is it possible to trace back this disregard for ritual in the field of interreligious studies to a certain understanding of religion, which likewise downplays the importance of ritual for religious life? Next, I will turn to ritual studies and try to bring into focus the novelty and importance of this research domain. In the last part of this lecture, I bring both interreligious studies and rituals studies together, by turning to interrituality as a new framework for studying interreligious relations. The aim of this article is to begin to map the field of interrituality by pointing to its manifold expressions.
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