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Open Theology

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Interspiritual Theology as a Radical Potential for New Vistas in Theological Thought

Rory McEntee
Published Online: 2016-05-11 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/opth-2016-0032


Is a transreligious theology possible? A theology that is not beholden to any particular religious tradition? If so, what would it be? What would it look like? How would it be done? Perhaps more importantly, why would it be done? That is, whom would it be for? Is it a part of a larger (and perhaps privileged) pursuit of human philosophical wisdom and progress? Or are there real world communities in need of such a thing? Could it be helpful to religious traditions themselves? These are some of the questions pursued here. In response, I offer the possibility of an “interspiritual theology,” a theology that opens widely—in the spirit of exploration and hypothesis—to such questions, while aiming not to lose the heart of the theological endeavor, articulated by Evagrius of Pontus as, “The one who truly prays is a theologian; the one who is a theologian, prays truly.” As one possible strand of transreligious theological thought, interspiritual theology finds resonance with contemporary academic scholars Robert Neville, Wesley Wildman, John Thatamanil, Beverly Lanzetta and the late Raimon Panikkar, as well as real-world movements on the ground springing up outside of academia. Interspiritual theology is explained as being inter-religious, interdisciplinary, pragmatic, contemplative, and prophetic. An academic endeavor that is in partnership with (but not beholden to) religious traditions, in service to spiritual communities outside of academia, in dialogue with secular sciences, partaking of transformative wisdom, and committed to the prophetic task of service to humanity and the transformation of all of its social, cultural, political, and economic structures to reflect the deep human values of dignity, equality, compassion, love and wisdom—while also pursuing the transreligious project of understanding “as fully as possible the nature of ultimate reality.”

Keywords: transreligious theology; interspiritual theology; Raimon Panikkar; prophetic; Bede Griffiths; spirituality; John Thatamanil; Wesley Wildman; Robert Neville; contemplative; pragmatism; Wayne Teasdale


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About the article

Received: 2016-01-21

Accepted: 2016-04-27

Published Online: 2016-05-11

Citation Information: Open Theology, Volume 2, Issue 1, ISSN (Online) 2300-6579, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/opth-2016-0032.

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©2016 Rory McEntee. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 3.0 License. BY-NC-ND 3.0

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