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.”
Panikkar, Raimon. Opera Omnia: Vol. 1, Mysticism and Spirituality: Part One: Mysticism, Fullness of Life. Maryknoll: Orbis Books, 2014.
Panikkar, Raimon. The Cosmotheandric Experience. New York: Orbis Books, 1993.
Panikkar, Raimon. The Intra-Religious Dialogue. Mahwah: Paulist Press. 1999.
Teasdale, Wayne. The Mystic Heart: Discovering a Universal Spirituality in the World’s Religions. Novato: New World Library, 1999.
Thatamanil, John. “Comparative Theology after ‘Religion’.” In Planetary Loves: Spivak, Postcoloniality, and Theology, edited by Stephen Moore and Mayra Rivera. New York: Fordham University Press, 2010.
Thatamanil, John. “God as ground, contingency, and relation: Trinitarian polydoxy and religious diversity.” In Polydoxy: Theology of Multiplicity and Relation, edited by Catherine Keller and Laurel C. Schneider, 239-257. New York: Routledge, 2011.
Thatamanil, John. The Immanent Divine: God, Creation, and the Human Predicament. Minneapolis: Forest Press, 2006.
West, Cornel. The American Evasion of Philosophy. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1989.
Wildman, Wesley. Religious Philosophy as Multidisciplinary Comparative Inquiry: Envisioning the Future for Philosophy of Religion. Albany: SUNY Press, 2010.
Open Theology is an international Open Access, peer-reviewed academic journal that welcomes contributions written in English addressing religion in its various forms and aspects: historical, theological, sociological, psychological, and other.