Interreligious Engagement and Identity Theory: Assessing the Theology of Religions Typology as a Model for Dialogue and Encounter

Authors

  • Paul Hedges University of Winchester

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.1558/jasr.v27i2.198

Keywords:

Identity theory, Henri Tajfel, social psychological identity theory, theology of religions, religious Other, interreligious dialogue

Abstract

This paper will use identity theories developed in sociology, social psychology and cognate areas to assess traditional Christian theories about religious Others. Employing the theology of religions typology as a focus, it will be argued that Christian theological approaches tend to stress monolithic notions of identity and are not adequate as tools to approach religious Others. Even where more nuanced understandings of identity are employed it is argued that these tend to be very generic and speak broadly of ‘identity’ without classifying what is meant, for instance, by ‘group’ or ‘personal’, and so discussions tend to be inadequate. It will further be suggested that certain theological positions are inherently problematic with regards to engaging Others when viewed through the lens of identity theories, and possible ways forward are suggested. This paper is an attempt to explore the territory of identity theory in this area and is intended to promote further research.

Author Biography

Paul Hedges, University of Winchester

Paul Hedges is currently Reader in Interreligious Studies at the University of Winchester, UK. His research has covered such areas as the encounter of Christianity and South and East Asian religions, interreligious ethics, Comparative Theology, and theory in the study of religion. He has published, as author or editor, seven books, and is on the editorial boards of the Journal of Religious History and Studies in Interreligious Dialogue.

Published

2014-11-03

How to Cite

Hedges, P. (2014). Interreligious Engagement and Identity Theory: Assessing the Theology of Religions Typology as a Model for Dialogue and Encounter. Journal for the Academic Study of Religion, 27(2), 198–221. https://doi.org/10.1558/jasr.v27i2.198

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