Comparative Theology of Religions Group (CTRG)

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An international group of theologians from Judaism, Christianity, and Islam formed to reflect together on issues related to a theology of religious pluralism by means of comparative theology, each seeking to articulate the meaning of the religious other in their respective theologies. They try to learn from the other theological traditions to develop their own theology of the two other religions. The first step in this project is to develop a theology concerning the partners’ faiths, i.e., a Christian theology of Judaism and Islam, an Islamic Theology of Judaism and Christianity, and a Jewish theology of Christianity and Islam, in a manner which considers seriously the reciprocal impact of the other's theology of religions. The group aims to produce and discuss texts on these topics and to organize seminars and conferences.

Recent historical research on the emergence of Islam suggests that Islam started as a believers’ movement which, encountering the conflicts between Christianity and Judaism, sought to develop an inclusive vision. One example will be to discuss the disputed historical questions on the emergence of Islam and on the Qur’anic vision of Abrahamic reconciliation. It appears that there has not been a coherent Christian or Jewish response to the Qur’anic vision, if the latter is understood in an ecumenical sense. Recent historical-critical research provides resources for Muslims who could use these findings to create an Islamic theology of Judaism and Christianity; furthermore, one that may be hermeneutically similar, in some respects, to the Christian theologies of Judaism that have been developed in the last decades. Even as Muslims engage in the complex work towards developing such a theology, Jews and Christians may, in turn, modify their own theologies of Islam in a way that is responsive to this development.  Christians continue to integrate concrete ways of learning from Rabbinic Judaism, and must reflect seriously on the limits and implications of shaping their theologies with the help of Rabbinic and Qur’anic insights. Jews might not only respond creatively to the Qur’anic challenge, but also to Christian appropriations of Rabbinic theologies.

Historically, the exchange between Jewish, Christian, and Islamic theologies is not new. Theologies of the past used to share the same philosophical language and framework. Comparative theology offers modern theologies a new connection and perspective to improve mutual understanding, respecting the differences in a more inclusive and comprehensive way. It is necessary to move from the imaginal other to the concrete one, where the images are checked and revised through the other’s self-image. The internal sources are insufficient for a complete, realistic, and complex image. In this manner, our theologies of religions are subject to corrections, both historically and comparatively.

Theologians often pretend to belong to universal religions and to proclaim global truths. Yet the concrete forms their work takes inevitably reveals that they are, in some respects, rather local and limited. Comparative theology provides an opportunity to be more universal by allowing theologians to develop their respective theologies in the light of other traditions. The other’s theology, shared in its own terms and with all of its differences, can be provocative in a positive and productive manner. It offers an occasion to look from outside the box, confronting one with new insights, methodologies, and questions. We can no longer do theology in the presupposition of the absence of the other. We face the same challenges and problems that need collaborative theological reflection in our globalized world.

At the same time, recognizing that we cannot be interreligious without being ecumenical, the group includes Sunni and Shia Muslims, Catholic and Protestant Christians, liberal and Orthodox Jews.

Goals and Methodology

The group members meet four times a year: three meetings online every three months for two or three hours each, then an annual meeting in person for two or three days that can be open (fully or partially) for external participants. The first meeting was in september 2023 in Bonn, hosted by the International Center for Comparative Theology and Social Issues (CTSI).

During these meetings, we present and discuss research projects, papers, and books written by the members or others, with the possibility of preparing collective works. This research will eventually be published in books and articles in academic journals. It might also be presented at the European Academy of Religion.

A provisory schedule for the first academic year 2023: Meetings online: March 6, 2023, 10 a.m.-12 p.m. (CET), and June 5, 2023, 10 a.m.-12 p.m. (CET). (One text that we will focus on is Adnane Mokrani’s Toward an Islamic Theology of Religious Pluralism: Key Concepts and Main Obstacles. Klaus von Stosch will also present a first text.) First Annual meeting in person: September 18-19, 2023, in Bonn.


International Center for Comparative Theology and Social Issues, Bonn, Prof. Dr. Klaus von Stosch,

The Pontifical Gregorian University, Gregorian Centre for Interreligious Studies, Rome, Prof. Dr. Ambrogio Bongiovanni,

The John Paul II for Interreligious Dialogue, the Pontifical University of St Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum), Rome, Elena Dini (Senior Program Manager),



  1. Mohammad Gamal Abdelnour, Cairo
  2. Ambrogio Bongiovanni, Rome
  3. Elena Dini, Rome
  4. Margareta Gruber, Vallendar
  5. Amer al-Hafi, Amman
  6. Elisa Klapheck, Paderborn/ Frankfurt
  7. David Maayan, Boston
  8. Vahid Mahdavi Mehr, Qom
  9. Adnane Mokrani, Palermo/ Rome
  10. Marianne Moyaert, Leuven
  11. Joshua Ralston, Edinburgh
  12. Mira Sievers, Berlin
  13. Fatima Tofighi, Qom/ Bonn
  14. Klaus von Stosch, Bonn
  15. Muna Tatari, Paderborn
  16. Daniel Weiss, Cambridge

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