Religions 2012, 3(4), 1054-1074; doi:10.3390/rel3041054
Article

Tradition with a New Identity: Thomist Engagement with Non-Christian Thought as a Model for the New Comparative Theology in Europe

Heythrop College, University of London, Kensington Square, London W8 5HQ, UK
Received: 26 September 2012; in revised form: 13 October 2012 / Accepted: 16 October 2012 / Published: 6 November 2012
(This article belongs to the Special Issue European Perspectives on the New Comparative Theology)
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Abstract: British theologians have criticised contemporary comparative theology for privileging learning from other religions to the exclusion of challenge and transformation in the Christian encounter with the thought of other religions. Moreover, a wider concern in Britain about contemporary expressions of theology in the academy, including comparative theology, is about their accountability to the ecclesial communities to which theologians belong. This paper aims to retrieve the Thomist engagement with non-Christian thought as a model for contemporary comparative theology that also addresses these concerns. The paper outlines Aquinas’ understanding of Christian theology’s engagement with non-Christian thought as being one of transformation, using the Biblical image of water changing into wine to illustrate what is involved. The paper points to historical examples of Thomist encounters with Indian thought and suggests some new applications. Using the Thomist model for contemporary comparative theology is a case of tradition coming to have a new identity, one that balances learning with challenge and transformation, one that bridges the divide between the academic and the ecclesial exercise of theology.
Keywords: comparative theology; Thomas Aquinas; Catholic Church

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MDPI and ACS Style

Ganeri, M. Tradition with a New Identity: Thomist Engagement with Non-Christian Thought as a Model for the New Comparative Theology in Europe. Religions 2012, 3, 1054-1074.

AMA Style

Ganeri M. Tradition with a New Identity: Thomist Engagement with Non-Christian Thought as a Model for the New Comparative Theology in Europe. Religions. 2012; 3(4):1054-1074.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Ganeri, Martin. 2012. "Tradition with a New Identity: Thomist Engagement with Non-Christian Thought as a Model for the New Comparative Theology in Europe." Religions 3, no. 4: 1054-1074.

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