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Multiple Religious Belonging: Hermeneutical Challenges for Theology of Religions

Daan F. Oostveen
Published Online: 2017-01-13 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/opth-2017-0004


The phenomenon of multiple religious belonging is studied from different perspectives, each of which reveals a different understanding of religion, religious diversity and religious belonging. This shows that the phenomenon of multiple religious belonging is challenging the applicability of these central notions in academic enquiry about religion. In this article, I present the different perspectives on multiple religious belonging in theology of religions and show how the understanding of some central scholarly notions is different. In Christian theology, the debate on multiple religious belonging is conducted between particularists, who focus on the uniqueness of religious traditions, and pluralists, who focus on the shared religious core of religious traditions. Both positions are criticized by feminist and post-colonial theologians. They believe that both particularists and pluralists focus too strongly on religious traditions and the boundaries between them. I argue that the hermeneutic study of multiple religious belonging could benefit from a more open understanding of religious traditions and religious boundaries, as proposed by these feminist and post-colonial scholars. In order to achieve this goal we could also benefit from a more intercultural approach to multiple religious belonging in order to understand religious belonging in a nonexclusive way.

Keywords: multiple religious belonging; theology of religions; religious diversity; religious traditions; religious boundaries; hybrid religiosity


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About the article

Received: 2016-05-01

Accepted: 2016-09-23

Published Online: 2017-01-13

Published in Print: 2017-01-26

Citation Information: Open Theology, Volume 3, Issue 1, Pages 38–47, ISSN (Online) 2300-6579, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/opth-2017-0004.

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© 2017. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 License. BY-NC-ND 4.0

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