Intercultural Theology and Interreligious Studies (IT&IS)
Intercultural Theology & Interreligious Studies integrates a variety of disciplines in order to explore some of the complex relationships within and between religious communities and their traditions, as well as to attend closely to the connections and tensions experienced as the religions encounter alternative social, political and cultural resources of meaning and identity. The course focuses on the practical and theoretical possibilities of dialogue, and is concerned with sustaining communities in which the challenging praxis of peace and reconciliation with others is given concrete embodiment. Pioneered over five decades at the Irish School of Ecumenics, the metadiscipline of ecumenics focuses on the dynamic interconnections between the study of:
- ecclesial communities and their interrelations,
- the Christian encounter with other religions and with its own forms of primal religiosity (popular religion),
- and the social, cultural and political realities of which Christians and Christian churches are part and parcel.
Lecturers draw on a wide range of scholarly perspectives, including those of Buddhism and buddhology, comparative theology, world Christianity studies, Jewish studies, politics and political science, international relations, contextual and ecumenical theologies, philosophy, historical theology, sociology, ethics, fundamentalist studies, ecclesiology, Islamic studies, and theological anthropology. Fieldwork opportunities and an internship module also assist students to draw connections between theory and practice in their chosen field of study.
Modules include: Research and Methods in Intercultural Theology & Interreligious Studies; Authority, Tradition, Experience: Ecumenics as Intercultural Theology; Religions in International Relations; Issues in Buddhist-Christian Dialogue; World Christianity and Interreligious Dialogue; Nature, Grace and the Triune God; Comparative Theology: Meaning and Practice; Engaging Religious Fundamentalism; Northern Ireland: Religion, Conflict and the Politics of Peace.
An internship module offers students the opportunity to engage with reflective practitioners in this field. The course also offers fieldwork visits to a monastic community, to the World Council of Churches in Geneva (which may be combined with the International Peace Studies visit to the United Nations), and an intensive module based in Belfast. Students on this course may also apply to take a module from one of ISE’s other taught master’s courses for assessment.