CHAPTER 7. Postmodernity and Religious Plurality: Is a Common Global Ethic Possible or Desirable?
From his first volume, Theology and Religious Pluralism (Oxford, 1986), to The Trinity and the Meeting of Religions (New York, 2000), Gavin D'Costa has been concerned with the practices of other faiths. Although D'Costa continues to use the word “religion” he is more than aware that the concept has a genealogy. Modernity constructed a discourse on religions, then turned to the study of religions and, more recently, the comparison of religions. D'Costa's work challenges this construction and seeks to further dialogue between world faiths in a way that accepts and works with some of the categories forged by modernity. The means by which he does this are exemplified in the following essay: he takes a major proposal for a universalist perspective (in this case, Hans Kiing's), points out its methodological limitations (Enlightenment categories, Eurocentrism, patriarchalism, Christocentrism), and seeks to render the perspective more complex. In his earlier work he examines in this way the liberal approaches to religious pluralism of such major exponents as John Hick and Paul Knitter. At the center of his challenge to these universalist methods which continue to work with an uncritical understanding of the term “religion,” is his appeal to the specific differences between faiths. Furthermore, D'Costa is keen to demonstrate that a religion is not simply a set of ideas, but a complex ... log in or subscribe to read full text
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