In the introductory note to our posting of the Introduction to Polydoxy: Theologies of the Manifold on the website, we spoke of a continuity between the themes and concerns of last fall’s colloquium and our present shared project. That continuity is perhaps most obvious in John Thatamanil’s paper from last year, entitled, "God as Ground, Contingency and Relation: Trinity, Polydoxy, and Religious Diversity." With John’s permission, and participation, we’d like to try an experiment—something new in the way we prepare for our gathering at a common table of conversation; something to provide more concrete specificity about the content and complexity of our shared theme and its cluster of related issues, for you to think with over the summer. A link to John’s paper, now a chapter in the Polydoxy volume, is also available on the “related readings” page of the website (available in PDF and HTML formats).
In what follows, Wesley Ariarajah and Chris Boesel begin a conversation with John about the introductory framing of his paper, noting the ways in which it nicely raises many of the questions and issues that we find most central and most intriguing for our current theme. Given that John approaches the topic of his paper from the perspective of comparative theology, Wesley is a religious pluralist, and Chris repentantly orthodox doctrinally, they have different approaches to the issues and tend to come up with different answers to the questions; but they are shared issues and questions.
This conversation, then, is open to continue through the summer, as an invitation to all colloquium presenters and respondents (with a comments option for anyone else interested in these themes) to begin thinking and talking together as we work on our respective contributions to our meeting in the fall. We by no means intend this to narrow or restrict your own approach to the material. This is just one example of a cluster of questions as approached by several disciplinary perspectives in conversation. The wager is that, as folks choose to enter and contribute to the conversation from their own differing disciplinary and religious locations and thematic interests, the conversation will widen. We hope it will open up beyond the initial interests and concerns expressed by John, Wesley and Chris, and expose to all of us involved in the colloquium various transdisciplinary and inter-religious dimensions of our shared theme that may not be initially visible from our own particular disciplinary, methodological and religious identities and interests.
Chris’s initial post is a bit long, as it includes a brief summary of John’s introduction. Further postings should be briefer and more conversational. This blog is not meant to be a burden of further work, but a fertile stimulant for constructive and mutually transformative thinking.
If you wish to contribute a post, and need some guidance on the procedure, find basic instructions here.