The Faiths of Others A History of Interreligious Dialogue Thomas Albert Howard

Publication date:
13 Jul 2021
Yale University Press
376 pages: 235 x 156 x 25mm
15 b-w illus.
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The first intellectual history of interreligious dialogue, a relatively new and significant dimension of human religiosity
“[A] fast-paced history of interreligious dialogue . . . For those new to the field or interested in looking at where we’ve been and how we came to be here, this book is a very good place to start.”—Emily Soloff, Christian Century
In recent decades, organizations committed to interreligious or interfaith dialogue have proliferated, both in the Western and non‑Western worlds. Why? How so? And what exactly is interreligious dialogue? These are the touchstone questions of this book, the first major history of interreligious dialogue in the modern age. Thomas Albert Howard narrates and analyzes several key turning points in the history of interfaith dialogue before examining, in the conclusion, the contemporary landscape.
While many have theorized about and practiced interreligious dialogue, few have attended carefully to its past, connecting its emergence and spread with broader developments in modern history. Interreligious dialogue—grasped in light of careful, critical attention to its past—holds promise for helping people of diverse faith backgrounds to foster cooperation and knowledge of one another while contributing insight into contemporary, global religious pluralism.

Thomas Albert Howard is professor of humanities and history and holds the Phyllis and Richard Duesenberg Chair in Christian Ethics at Valparaiso University, where he is affiliated with Christ College.

“Significant and deeply researched...A must-read on interfaith dialogue”—Brian Cooper, Church of England Newspaper

“Thomas Albert Howard has the gift of writing history in a captivating way, with great erudition and mastery of sources. This is a truly impressive piece of scholarship.”—Catherine Cornille, Boston College

"A wonderfully illuminating book that shows how faith has been a bridge of cooperation rather than a barrier of division across time and place. Highly recommended."—Eboo Patel, author of Out of Many Faiths: Religious Diversity and the American Promise

“In an era overwhelmed by conflict, rage and hate, the brilliant historian Thomas Albert Howard shows us another side of ourselves: our extraordinary interest in the faith of others. Interreligious dialogue has become our defining theological concern today and Howard skillfully analyzes both its pitfalls and its potential for great contributions to a safer, peaceful world order.”—Susannah Heschel, Dartmouth College

 “In rich detail, Howard tells the history of interreligious conversations and initiatives, from the birth of Christianity to the present when, after 9/11, the number centers, journals, dialogues increased exponentially. Theologically astute, his critical assessment of it all is bracing but hopeful.”—James L. Heft, S.M., University of Southern California

 “Cleverly rooting historical turning points in key influential geographical centers, Thomas Albert Howard engagingly traces the essential junctures of the dynamic history of interreligious dialogue from its forerunning harbingers to the ‘booming heyday’ of the present.”—Hans Gustafson, University of St. Thomas, Minnesota