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VDS Concentrations:

Global Christianities and Interreligious Encounter 

True and transformative knowledge of Christianity cannot exist without the study of other religions, their influence upon Christianity and its portrayals of these religious movements.  “Global Christianities and Interreligious Encounters” engages the inexorably intercultural and interreligious nature of the various versions of Christianity from its very first days, whether Second Temple Judaism or religions of Rome in the first century, ce.; whether Islam from its birth or Hinduism, Buddhism and other religions as mercenaries, merchants and missionaries encountered them; and whether various new religious movements in the recent past.  This Concentration offers a panoply of courses that are designed to introduce VDS students to the variety of encounters between various religious traditions and Christianity, and the mutual gaze that has influenced both sides.  The telos of this Concentration is to help the larger VDS community – students, alumni, and friends – to become better equipped to understand the complexities and nuances of the historical contingencies of their version and vision of Christianity vis-à-vis other versions of Christianity as well as other religions.

Learning Goals:

  • Students will understand how religions emerge out of contact with one another.

  • Students will recognize their traditions as contingent, thus open to interpretation, with an awareness of accompanying historical harms and benefits of their tradition.  Further, they will value difference and become aware of the dynamics of Christian privilege, with a concomitant commitment towards transformative solidarity not guilt.

  • Students will develop the capacity for deep listening and civil discourse across religious difference, thereby becoming more adroit in assessing religious traditions, building constructive alliances, and cultivating respect interreligiously.

Current Steering Committee: Paul Lim (Convener), Annalisa Azzoni, Juan Floyd-Thomas , Jay Geller , Amy Jill Levine , Dave Michelson , Graham Reside , Leong Seow , Melissa Snarr 

Required Courses: None 

Additional Requirements: None 


Praxis Options:

Strongly encourage a field education placement. Designated courses that emphasize the theorypraxis connection may also satisfy this requirement. 


Course Projections:

Fall 2020 

NEW Schneider Native American Philosophies 

5443 Geller The Holocaust: Its Meanings and Implications 

6614 Levine Parables of Jesus

6617 Levine Gospel of Luke 


Spring 2021 

NEW Snarr Models of Interfaith Engagement 

5431 Geller Modern Critics of Religion 

5444 Geller Holocaust Diary, Memoir, & Testimony 

6603 Levine Gospel of Mark (Prison Context) 

6777 JFT Black Prophetic Discourse