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Towards a New Religious Dialogue: Buddhism and Postmodern Theology.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


Journal publication date1998
JournalHeythrop Journal
Number of pages19
Original languageEnglish


This paper proffers an example of a new form of religious dialogue. It subverts, rather than assumes the philosophical tradition of universal reason, upon which religious dialogue has traditionally proceeded. To this end, I call into question the frequently perceived affinity between Buddhism and radical postmodern a/theology. Whereas the latter works within a framework of oppositions inherited from the modern philosophical tradition, Buddhism is innocent of such a framework, and jettisons its ‘either-or’ antinomies. In this respect, I argue that there is a striking ‘coincidence in outlook’ between Buddhism and conservative postmodern theology, which also seeks to subvert the modern philosophical framework which it regards as being essentially secular. I suggest that this ‘coincidence in outlook’, which contrasts with the modern outlook, opens the way for a religious dialogue based on a mutual affirmation of difference, rather than on the distorting universalist quest for affinity at all costs.