Journal of Ecumenical Studies - Volume 52, Number 4 (Fall 2017)
A Century of Advaita Mission: Tracing a Lineage and Opening a Conversation
Reid B. Locklin
Several recent studies have explored questions of mission and missiology in comparative, interreligious perspective. This essay also engages the possibility of an interreligious theology of mission, albeit with a narrow focus on the nondualist Hindu tradition of Advaita Vedānta. To this end, the author profiles four movements: the Ramakrishna movement, Ramanasramam, the Chinmaya Mission, and Transcendental Meditation. Each of these movements deploys distinctively Advaita concepts and method in a broadly missionary mode, and all aspire to transnational status. Finally, a few concluding reflections are offered on the new possibilities opened for Hindu-Christian theologies of mission in and out of an encounter—not with “Hinduism” or “world religions” in general but with this very particular missionary tradition.
Supersessionism, the Epistle to the Romans, Thomas Aquinas, and the Jews of the Eschaton
Contemporary theologians, intent on divesting Christian theology of supersessionism, have sought to ground a more benign, more pluralistic ecclesiastical stance toward the Jews in Thomas Aquinas’s Commentary on Romans. This essay returns to that Romans commentary in its medieval context, seeking to appreciate the ambiguities of the Jews’ role in salvation history as Thomas construed it. Reviewing the modern literature and pre-modern sources, the essay thus takes issue with the reading of Thomas proffered by Bruce Marshall, Steven Boguslawski, Matthew Tapie, and others, and, recalling the counsel of Edward Synan, it proposes that the priorities of post-Holocaust, post-supersessionist theology not lure the historian into imposing upon Aquinas the values and priorities of an age not his own.
A Genuine Monotheism for Christians, Muslims, Jews, and All
Rem B. Edwards
Today’s conflicts between religions are grounded largely in historical injustices and grievances but partly in serious conceptual disagreements. This essay agrees with Miroslav Volf that a nontritheistic Christian account of the Trinity is highly desirable. Three traditional models of the Trinity are examined. In their pure, unmixed form, two of them should logically be acceptable to Jews, Muslims, and strict monotheists who regard Christianity as inherently tritheistic, despite lip service to one God. In the social model, three distinct self-aware subjects are unified by being in perfect harmony with each other. Despite Volf’s best defense of this, to conceive of three gods, this is how one would go about it. In the psychological model, one divine subject has three psychological capacities—memory, understanding, and will. In the functional model, one subject relates to the world in three different ways—as creator, redeemer, and companion. These two are genuinely monotheistic. Finally, a monotheistic account of the unity of Jesus with God is proposed for consideration.
Three Prayers in Dialogue: The Shema, the Lord’s Prayer, and the al-Fatiha
John Dupuche, Fred Morgan, and Fatih Tuncer
The three prayers, the Shema, the Lord’s Prayer, and the the al-Fatiha, lie at the heart of the Jewish, Christian, and Muslim traditions, respectively. The authors of this article are committed and practicing members of their faiths. This essay brings the three prayers into dialogue by process of comparative theology and comparative experience.. The three prayers are presented both in both their theological aspects and their liturgical settings. The three authors then observe how the encounter with the other prayers has enhanced their understanding and appreciation of their own prayer.