History as a Challenge
to Buddhism and Christianity
Oude Abdij, 27th June-1st July, 2013
a joint conference between the
Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
European Network of Buddhist Christian Studies
The Venue of the conference will be the Retreat Centre Oude Abdij, near Ghent.
History as a Challenge to Buddhism and Christianity
Tenth Conference of the European Network of Buddhist Christian Studies in cooperation with the KU Leuven
Ghent, 27 June – 1 July, 2013
Thursday, 27. June
Perry Schmidt-Leukel (University of Münster, Germany)
Contemporary Historical Consciousness and the Challenge to Religion
Friday, 28. June
Mark Blum (University of Albany, USA)
The Traditional Buddhist Concept of History: Liberation History
Jan-Olav Henriksen (Norwegen School of Theology, Oslo/Norway)
The Traditional Christian Concept of History: Salvation History
Terrence Merrigan (Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium)
Jesus Christ: Fact and Fiction.
John S. Strong (Bates College, USA)
Gautama Buddha: Fact and Fiction
Open research papers
Saturday, 29. June
Open research papers
Afternoon and Night
Cultural tour of Ghent
Sunday, 30. June
Sven Bretfeld (University of Bochum, Germany)
Giovanni Filoramo (University of Turin, Italy)
Catharina Stenqvist (University of Lund, Sweden)
Dangerous Memory: Christianity
Ian Harris (University of Cumbria, UK)
Dangerous Memory: Buddhism
Monday, 1st July
Rita Gross (University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, USA)
Permitting Historical Consciousness in Buddhism
Armin Kreiner (University of Munich, Germany)
Permitting Historical Consciousness in Christianity
John S. Strong
is Charles A. Dana Professor of Religious Studies at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine (USA). He is the author of many articles and several books, including Relics of the Buddha (2004), The Experience of Buddhism (third ed., 2008), and The Buddha: A Beginner’s Guide (2009).
Professor of Religious Studies and Intercultural Theology at the University of Münster/Germany
Director of the Institute for Religious Studies and Inter-Faith Theology (http://egora.uni-muenster.de/rwit/index_en.shtml).
After studying Theology and Philosophy of Religion (Emphasis on Buddhist Philosophy) in Munich, he taught at the Universities of Munich, Innsbruck and Salzburg. From 2000-2009 he was Professor of Religious Studies and Systematic Theology at the University of Glasgow.
His main interest is in the fields of inter-faith relations, Buddhist-Christian dialogue, pluralist theologies of religions and – most recently – inter-faith theology. He published more than 20 books in different languages. Among his more recent publications are:
Understanding Buddhism, Edinburgh: Dunedin Academic Press 2006. (ed.) Buddhist Attitudes to Other Religions, St. Ottilien: EOS Publisher 2008. Transformation by Integration. How Inter-faith Encounter Changes Christianity, London: SCM Press 2009. (ed.) Buddhism and Religious Diversity, London – New York 2012.
Jan-Olav Henriksen (Norwegian School of Theology, Oslo)
(1961), dr. theol & dr. philos, is professor and research director of systematic theology and philosophy of religion at (MF) Norwegian School of theology, Oslo, Norway and professor of Religious Studies at Agder University, Kristiansand. Henriksen is trained as both a philosopher and as a theologian. He has been Alan Richardson Fellow at Durham University (UK) (2000), Resident Scholar at Center of Theological Inquiry, Princeton, New Jersey (2006-2007), and is the academic 2012-2013 again in Princeton in the latter capacity. Henriksen has lectured on most continents, has published many books on contemporary theology, and his main research interest is theological anthropology. Working presently on a book on how the symbol God interprets human experience, Henriksen is moving toward a future project involving research on articulating a contemporary understanding of the relation between Christianity and other religions.
Terrence Merrigan is Professor of Systematic Theology at the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies of the Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium, and chair of the Research Group, ‘Christian Self-Understanding and Interreligious Dialogue’ and of the Research Unit Systematic Theology. He has published extensively on the theology of interreligious dialogue and the thought of John Henry Newman and also lectures on ‘European Perspectives on Religion’ in the university’s ‘Master of European Studies’ program. His most recent publications include The Cambridge Companion to John Henry Newman (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009) and Godhead here in Hiding: Incarnation and the History of Human Suffering(Leuven: University Press & Peeters, 2012).
lives in a rural area near the border between England and Scotland. He is a keen gardener and hill walker. Initially a student of Buddhist philosophy his current academic interests focus on the modern and contemporary history of Cambodia, Buddhism and politics in Southeast Asia, Buddhist environmentalism, and landscape aesthetics. His most recent books are Cambodian Buddhism: History and Practice (2005), Buddhism Under Pol Pot (2007), and an edited volume entitled Buddhism, Power and Politics in Southeast Asia (2007). A new work, Buddhism in a Dark Age: Cambodian Monks under the Khmer Rouge, will appear in late 2012. He is the Tun Lin Kok Yuen Distinguished Visiting Professor of Buddhist Studies at the University of Toronto, Professor Emeritus at the University of Cumbria, and has held previous visiting positions at the University of Oxford, the University of British Columbia, the National University of Singapore, and the Documentary Center of Cambodia in Phnom Penh. He is currently engaged in research on Buddhism and political conflict in Cambodia, 1940-75.
Rita M. Gross
is a Buddhist dharma teacher, well-known scholar, and professor emerita of Comparative Studies in Religion at the University of Wisconsin—Eau Claire. Her books include Buddhism after Patriarchy: A Feminist History, Analysis, and Reconstruction of Buddhism, A Garland of Feminist Reflections, and the forthcoming Religious Diversity—What’s the Problem? Buddhist Advice for Flourishing with Religious Diversity. For the past six years, she has been teaching empirical history of Buddhism at Lotus Garden in Stanley, Virginia, the retreat center of Her Eminence, Jetsun Khandro Rinpoche. In addition to her academic work, she teaches mediation and Buddhadharma at many Buddhist centers in North America.
is Professor at the Ludwig-Maximilians-University and Head of the Chair of Fundamental Theology, Faculty of Catholic Theology (Munich, Germany). His research involves studies in analytic philosophy of religion, the problem of evil, and issues in science and religion. He is the author of numerous publications, including Ende der Wahrheit? Zum Wahrheitsverständnis in Philosophie und Theologie (1992), Gott und das Leid (1994), Gott im Leid. Zur Stichhaltigkeit der Theodizee-Argumente (1997), and Das wahre Antlitz Gottes – oder was wir meinen, wenn wir Gott sagen (2006).
Sven Bretfeld, born 1970, is professor for Religious Studies at the Ruhr-University of Bochum (Germany). He studied Indology, Tibetology and Religious Studies in Marburg, Goettingen and Peradeniya (Sri Lanka). His main fields of study are Buddhism in India, Sri Lanka and Tibet and the theory of religion. His PhD thesis on the historiographical narratives about the Sri Lankan king Dutthagamani (Dutugemunu) was published in 2001. Currently he is working on a book about Buddhism as a contested social field in Indian, Sri Lankan and Tibetan history.
Italian, born in Monopoli (Bari) in 1945. Living in Turin. Full Professor of History of Christianity at the University of Turin. His main research interests concern ancient Christianity, especially gnosticism, marginal manifestations and visionary and prophetic phenomena, the formation of monastic communities. His historical-philological perspective is aimed at understanding the social and cultural role of Christian faith in late antiquity society. He has also written about religious historiography and methodology, as well as different aspects of religious life in contemporary society with particular attention to the relations of the Catholic church with the modern world.
Prof. Filoramo has been responsible of a WP on the Mediterranean Religion in the European Project Ramses II. He is editor of “Rivista di Storia del Cristianesimo”, and “Historia Religionum. An International Journal”. He has teached in some Italian and French universities (Aix-en-Provence; Paris, EPHE Ve section). Main books: L’attesa della fine. Storia della gnosi, Roma-Bari 1983 (ingl. tr., A History of Gnosticism, Oxford-Cambridge, Mass., Basil Blackwell, 1990). Religione e Ragione tra Ottocento e Novecento, Roma-Bari 1985. Figure del sacro. Saggi di storia religiosa, Brescia 1993. Che cos’è la religione. Temi metodi problemi, Torino 2004 Veggenti Profeti Gnostici. Identità e conflitti nel cristianesimo antico, Brescia 2005 La Chiesa e le sfide della modernità, Roma-Bari 2007.
la croce e il potere. I cristiani da martiri a persecutori, Roma-Bari 2011.
Current research: Metamorphoses of the Christian prophetism in Late Antiquity, Power and Authority in the monastic communities (IV- VII c.), Religion and modernity between conflict and compromise, Historiography of the History of religions.
Prof in Philosophy of Religion. I wrote my dissertation on the French-Jewish Philosopher of Religion, Simone Weil. The second book worked with mysicism in the Western tradition but also with Zen. My third book dealt with the American Trappist, Thomas Merton. I have been the editor for several books and written a number of articales on various themes. For the present time I am trying to complete a book on “death and life-views”.