On November 17th , the HEST’s cluster on Christian-Muslim relations organized a webinar on “Comparative Theology as an Instrument for Solving Problems: Reflections from an Islamic Perspective”. The keynote speaker was Prof. Rana Alsoufi from the Goethe University (Frankfurt).
This webinar involved 20 representatives from the main institutions of the Kircher Network working on Christian-Muslim relations such as: Philosophisch-Theologische Hochschule Sank Georgen (Frankfurt), Innsbruck Faculty of Theology, Universidad Loyola Andalucia (Sevilla-Granada), Collegium Bobolanum (Warsaw), Centre Sèvres (Paris), and the Gregorian University (Rome), among several Muslim participants, which presence was essential for the richness and depth of the dialogue.
Unfortunately, due to the present technical difficulties in Lebanon, no one from Université Saint Joseph was able to participate.
In her speech, Prof. Rana Alsoufi presented the tension inside the Muslim theological world between the traditional theological institutions (like Al-Azhar or Qom University) and the new theological fora that are appearing like the new faculties of Islamic theology that the German government has been funding these last years. Prof. Alsoufi proposed comparative theology as a way to develop a new Islamic theology in dialogue with other religious traditions from these new theological settings that are appearing. This comparative theology should be a theology that answers actual questions, and therefore should have a word to say on present ethical controversies.
This theological choice will also help Muslim theologians to take the initiative and bring Muslim reflection and mindset into the present intellectual debates. Doing theology comparatively with other traditions also allows the Muslim theologian to review its tradition discovering possibilities and underdeveloped points in it.
After Prof. Alsoufi intervention we had a very lively debate among all the participants. The conversation went around two main questions: What do we learn when we hear a Muslim theologian doing comparative theology? And, how does comparative theology answer our questions in interreligious dialogue?
This webinar is a step in a path of growing convergence among the different groups connected to the HEST cluster on Christian-Muslim dialogue. The webinars started last academic year as an answer to the impossibility of organizing a study week in Granada because of the COVID-19. They see now the webinars as a fantastic tool to bring the different groups together and start to develop a common thought about Christian-Muslim dialogue.