The Whole Is Greater Than Its Parts Encountering the Interreligious and Ecumenical Other in the Age of Pope Francis

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2020-08-01
  • Publisher: Herder & Herder

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Pope Francis has applied the principle of “the whole is greater than its parts” to ecumenical and interreligious contexts. For example, Pope Francis often speaks about a unity that is greater than its parts in terms of the polyhedron. Unity born of a polyhedron preserves difference, and unity born of the sphere reinforces homogeneity. The epoch of globalization invites us to think about the cultural and economic exchanges in the world today in such a way that difference is never abandoned for the sake of wanton hegemony. Pope Francis has thus applied this new notion of encounter to questions of ecumenism and interreligious dialogue. Christians can be encouraged not only to seek greater unity amongst themselves but also to bear witness to their faith to seek greater unity among Christians and, with no less vigor, to advance understanding with adherents to non-Christian systems of belief. In this process, Protestants, Catholics, Muslims, Christians, and Jews can learn about one another through a consideration of the complementarities between the two kinds of dialogue. The more we address the specific challenges and blessings of each particular dialogue, the more we become true agents of dialogue for the Church and for the world.

Author Biography

Peter Casarella is Associate Professor at the University of Notre Dame and co-editor with Mun’im Sirry of Finding Beauty in the Other: Theological Reflections across Religious Traditions (Herder & Herder, 2019). His last monograph was entitled Word as Bread: Language and Theology in Nicholas of Cusa (Aschendorff, 2017). Gabriel Said Reynolds currently researches the Qur'an and Muslim/Christian relations and is Professor of Islamic Studies and Theology in the Department of Theology at Notre Dame. He is the author of The Qur'an and the Bible (Yale 2018), and Allah: God in the Qur’an (Yale 2020), among other works.

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