Building Interreligious Relations 3


Course Objective

The student:
- has developed knowledge, understanding and competences in the field of
interreligious and interworldview dialogue (incl. anthropological,
philosophical, theological, political and ethical questions),
specifically with regard to compassion;
- can recognize, summarize and explain the dominant positions in the
ongoing discussion about the (im-)possibility of interreligious
dialogue, specifically with regard to compassion;
- can integrate the insights from the course and use them to analyze and
discuss articles written by authoritative thinkers;
- is able to make nuanced judgments about the complex matter of
interreligious encounters, specifically with regard to compassion;
- can integrate insights from this course and apply them to a case
- is aware of his/her own identity, fears, biases, and theological,
philosophical, ethical and hermeneutical prejudices as s/he teaches
about diversity issues.

Course Content

This course is an introduction to the field of interreligious dialogue
and interreligious studies. It will use as a case study the notion of
compassion, its place in Buddhism, Christianity and secularity, and its
role in interreligious dialogue. We will delve deeply into the
complexities related to the meeting between religions and worldviews
(especially the meeting between Christianity, Buddhism and secularity)
so that students learn to get a better grasp of the underlying
mechanisms that affect this meeting in society (for better or for

We will address fundamental questions touching upon
1. How do we interpret the phenomenon of religious diversity – What is
the discourse on world religions and what are its problematic aspects?
What are postcolonial and feminist perspectives on religious diversity?
What is transreligiosity?
2. How do different models of religious diversity (such as, for example,
the model of exclusivism, inclusivism, pluralism and particularism)
impact upon the way we understand the (im-)possibility of interreligious
3. What does compassion mean from a Christian, Buddhist, and secular
perspective? Which possibilities and challenges does this offer for
interreligious and interworldview dialogue?
4. In what ways can compassion offer a contribution to facilitating
interreligious and interworldview communication, and reducing conflict
and violence? We will discuss (1) Karen Armstrong’s Charter for
Compassion and (2) the Compassionate Cities project (Nieuw Wij)

Teaching Methods


Method of Assessment

20%: Writing assignments
80%: final paper

Student Responsibilities:
• Students come to class prepared to participate in the discussion;
• Students analyse and study the obligatory literature through specific
study questions and assignments;
• Students contribute to the discussion.


Articles posted on Canvas.

Target Audience

Obligatory for students in Building Interreligious Relations.
Elective for all other master students who want to come to a better
understanding of
(philosophical, theological, hermeneutical and pedagogical) issues of
religious diversity and interreligious dialogue.

Additional Information

Courses Building Interreligious Relations 3 and Building Interreligious
Relations 4 alternate on a yearly basis with the other courses Building
Interreligious Relations 1 and Building Interreligious Relations 2.
The courses Building Interreligious Relations 3 and Building
Interreligious Relations 4 will not be taught in 2020-21.

General Information

Course Code G_BIR3
Credits 6 EC
Period P1
Course Level 400
Language of Tuition English
Faculty Faculty of Religion and Theology
Course Coordinator prof. dr. A.F.M. van der Braak
Examiner prof. dr. A.F.M. van der Braak
Teaching Staff prof. dr. A.F.M. van der Braak
prof. dr. M. Kalsky

Practical Information

You need to register for this course yourself

Last-minute registration is available for this course.

Teaching Methods Seminar
Target audiences

This course is also available as: