Academic Programs 


Are We All Bound for Heaven?: Christian Theology and Other Religions (TH-635)
Summer 2006

This course explores the theological issues surrounding interfaith. Following a brief survey of the extent of the diversity in religion (both historically and today), the course concentrates on theological issues. The first issue is soteriology: are non-Christians “saved”? Along with “Pluralism”, “Inclusivism”, and “Exclusivism”, the course examines various alternatives. The second issue is similarity and difference. Critics and advocates of Hans Kung’s global ethics project are discussed. The third issue is truth, mission, and dialogue. What are the limits to dialogue? Does a commitment to dialogue entail a commitment to relativism? How should Christians interpret the great commission to go and convert the world? These and other questions will be explored. Meeting Day, Time and Dates: 
Monday, June 12 – Friday, June 16 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.  

Dale Bishop
Adjunct Professor of Theology and Director of Relationships and Resources for Interreligious Understanding

Contact Information:


Course Syllabus

Paul F. Knitter, Jesus and the Other Names: Christian Mission and Global Responsibility, (Orbis). Required.

Wesley Ariarajah, The Bible and People of Other Faiths, (World Council of Churches) Required.

Jeanine Hill Fletcher, Monopoly on Salvation? A Feminist Approach to Religious Pluralism (Continuum, 2005) Required.

Hans Kung, Global Ethics.  (Parliament of World Religions). Required

Dan Cohn-Sherbok, Interfaith Theology. A Reader (Oneworld). Recommended.

Ian Markham (ed.) Plurality and Christian Ethics, 2nd Edition ( Seven Bridges Press). Recommended.

John Hick, An Interpretation of Religion (Macmillan). Recommended.

Schedule of Topics to be covered:

1. The Reality of Religious Pluralism (read Ariarajah, start Fletcher).

2. Approaches to Religious Pluralism (complete Fletcher, pp to be assigned)

3. The question of Salvation and Uniqueness (read Knitter, 1-101)

4. Ethics (read Kung)

5. Mission and Dialogue (read Knitter, p. 101-164)

Aims of the Course:

To equip students to think theologically about the issue of religious diversity;

To encourage a critical examination about fundamental religious issues, such as salvation and ethical living.

To enable students to explore critically the theory and practice of mission and dialogue.

Learning outcomes:

Students will have studied and understood a variety of approaches to the theological questions provoked by the interfaith reality.

Students will have explored these approaches in reference to their own faith.

Students will have been exposed to the possibility of a religiously-based global ethic.

Course Format:

A combination of lectures and seminar discussions of lectures and readings.


Full attendance of class sessions
Prior to course, reading of Ariarajah, and Fletcher, 1-48.
Participation in class discussions, sharing of personal reflections on issues raised. Maintaining a journal of daily reflections to be submitted at the conclusion of the course.
A paper of 10-15 pages on one of the theological issues discussed in the course, due August 15, 2006.

Evaluation of students performance will be based upon discussion and journals (50%) and paper (50%).


Hartford Seminary  77 Sherman Street  Hartford, CT  06105   860-509-9500