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Seminar 13:
Three Anglican Masters of Inter-Religious Dialogue and the Parliament of the World's Religions (December 2009)

During the first week of December 2009, the Parliament of the World's Religions will convene at the new Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre. More than ten thousand people will gather to experience, discuss and (re)discover the spiritual depths of the world's religions. This seminar will use the lifework of three distinguished Anglican scholars of world religions to alert Melburnians to issues that such a large-scale enactment of inter-religious dialogue will trigger.

Bishop Stephen NEILL (1900–84) helped the Church of South India to emerge, and as a professor in Hamburg and Nairobi, wrote a path-breaking history of missions.
Professor Ninian SMART (1927–2001) of the University of California, Santa Barbara, applied expertise in philosophy to the task of describing all the world's religions.
Kenneth CRAGG (1913–), former Anglican Bishop of Jerusalem, continues in his early nineties to write probing books about dialogue, particularly between Islam and Christianity. Together these three Anglican thinkers have pioneered a variety of ways for Christian to "encounter" the world's religions.

This seminar will harvest some of these thinkers' wisdom to help us prepare for Melbourne's inter-religious extravaganza. We will tackle questions like:

  • In what ways does inter-religious encounter deepen Christian faith?
  • Are there specifically Christian responses to other religions?
  • What, if any, features of Christianity have no parallel in other religions?
  • How can Christian spirituality position itself in anticipation of the Parliament of the World's Religions?
  • Is there a distinctive Anglican perspective on these matters?

Date Wednesday 9 September
Time 7.30 pm – 9.30 pm
Venue St Peter's, Eastern Hill
Cost $15 (concession: $12)
Conductor Dr William Johnston
Dr Johnston studied at Harvard University, and has taught European cultural history and World Religions at the University of Massachusetts. He now teaches Church History at Yarra Theological Union.

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