Date of Award

2010

Document Type

Graduate Paper

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Theology

Department

School of Theology • Seminary

First Advisor

J. Michael Byron

Abstract

This essay explores the interaction of George Lindbeck’s cultural-linguistic model of religious knowledge and Jacques Dupuis’ trinitarian Christology as a model for a theology of religious pluralism. The goal is to provide a basic overview of how the work of these two thinkers might work together to articulate a theology of religious pluralsim. In summary, a cultural-linguistic model does not provide conclusions in advance for the theology of religions. Rather, it allows a freedom in which to explore how doctrines might be formulated in order to remain true to the inherited tradition, to contemporary religious experience, and to the situation of religious pluralism. It also allows for and encourages interreligious dialogue, which can foster mutual cooperation and respect, as well as the ability to understand and employ other religions’ cultural and linguistic grammar.

In the case of Christianity, trinitarian theology is central. It is the primary grammar of our faith. As such, we may legitimately inquire into whether the doctrine of the Trinity ontologically corresponds to the reality of God. Jacques Dupuis is one pluralist theologian who believes that it does, and I am inclined to agree with him. In addition to being a central belief of Christian faith, it can also provide a firm foundation on which to build a Christian theology of religious pluralism. God is one and yet triune; there are different yet convergent paths to salvation. Lindbeck’s model affirms the possibility of these statements, and Dupuis’ theology demonstrates its content and form.

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