Maimonides, Aquinas, and Interreligious Dialogue

One way to work toward intercultural understanding is through interreligious dialogue, given the centrality that religion often has in a culture. David Burrell has suggested that Maimonides and Aquinas can offer us principles for interreligious dialogue. In particular, he argues that their negative theology shows us the impossibility of one tradition claiming a better understanding of God than those advanced by other traditions. This should lead religious traditions away fromcompetition and toward dialogue. In my paper, I propose a critique of Burrell’s thesis, arguing for a different interpretation of Maimonides and Aquinas and adifferent understanding of interreligious dialogue. While it is true that Maimonides and Aquinas have a well-developed sense of the limits of our theological knowledge, they do not draw the conclusion that these limitations necessarily make all understandings of God equal. I think Maimonides and Aquinas show us instead that the firmest basis for interreligious dialogue is the recognition that some genuine knowledge of the divine is available to all, regardless of religious tradition
Keywords Catholic Tradition  Conference Proceedings  History of Philosophy  Philosophy and Religion
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ISBN(s) 0065-7638
DOI 10.5840/acpaproc20037725
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