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Fall lectures to engage Hindu-Christian Dialogue

Oct 04, 2011
Two distinguished scholars and experts on interfaith dialogue will speak on re-thinking mission and conversion in an interreligious age at the fall lecture event at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, later this month. The sixth-annual Edwards-Presler Lectures, “Ministry in a World of Religious Difference,” will provide a unique opportunity to explore how Christianity, Hinduism, and Buddhism might find common ground for the well being of the world.

The two lectures, which are picking up the theme of Louisville Seminary’s inter-Christian, interfaith initiative, Doors to Dialogue, will feature Dr. John Thatamanil (11:30 a.m.), a Christian scholar from Union Seminary in New York with deep connections to Buddhism, who will present “The Hospitality of Receiving: Rethinking Mission and Conversion in an Interreligious Age,” and Dr. Anant Rambachan (7 p.m.), a Hindu scholar from St. Olaf College, whose lecture is entitled “The Resources and Challenges for Constructing a Hindu Theology of Liberation. “

Both lectures will be held free of charge, Thursday, October 20, at Louisville Seminary’s Caldwell Chapel.

Thatamanil is the author of The Immanent Divine: God, Creation, and the Human Predicament. An East-West Conversation (Fortress Press, 2006), which is described an exercise in constructive comparative theology for a non-dualist Christian theology worked out through a conversation between Paul Tillich and Sankara, the master teacher of the Hindu tradition of Advaita Vedanta. Thatamanil believes that “tying together diverse interests is a basic commitment to a deeply metaphysical form of philosophical theology which he takes to be essential for any Christian theology that seeks to be in conversation with non-Christian religious traditions.”

Rambachan has been involved in the field of interreligious relations and dialogue for more than twenty-five years, as a Hindu participant and analyst. He is the author of Accomplishing the Accomplished, The Limits of Scripture, The Advaita Worldview: God, World and Humanity, The Hindu Vision and Gitamrtam: The Essential Teachings of the Bhagavadgita, and 25 of his lectures have been transmitted by The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) around the world. A highly sought-after consultant among national and international organizations concerned with interreligious issues, Rambachan is very active in the dialogue programs of the World Council of Churches, and was a Hindu guest and participant in the last four General Assemblies of the World Council of Churches in Vancouver, Canada, Canberra, Australia, Harare, Zimbabwe and Puerto Alegre, Brazil. He is also a regular participant in the consultations of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue at the Vatican.

The goal of Louisville Seminary’s Doors to Dialogue (D2D) Program is to equip all graduates with the skills for faithful Christian ministry in a world of religious difference. This is achieved through the Seminary’s curriculum in which various courses include ecumenical and interfaith perspectives, help students think theologically about ministry in a world of religious difference, and provide knowledge and skills to understand and work with those of other faith traditions. Beyond the curriculum Louisville Seminary also seeks to provide experiential and extra-curricular service and learning opportunities, and this year’s Edwards-Presler fall lectures will carry out that aim as these two scholars engage each other and participants in interreligious dialogue.

The Edwards Peacemaking Lectureship honors Dr. George Edwards and his wife, Jean. Dr. Edwards, who died in 2010, served Louisville Seminary for 27 years as Professor of New Testament. Together, the Edwards shared a ministry that was active in Christian efforts for peace and social justice.

The endowed Henry H. and Marion A. Presler Lectureship was established in 2006 to honor the lifetime missionary service of the Presler couple and to inspire the Seminary community and its wider lifelong learning community about issues of global mission and the role of American denominations in their historical and present witness in mission. Louisville Seminary is delighted to bring together these vital ministries of the church into an annual fall lecture series. Held together, the lectures present justice and evangelism where they belong—side by side in the passions of the church. As you join us for this event, we hope it will stretch your mind and expand your horizons related to ministry in a world of religious difference.

For more information about the fall lecture event, contact the office of Lifelong Learning.

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