Lecture investigates Eastern thought to better understand Christianity

November 5, 2012 | Events, UToday, — Languages, Literature and Social Sciences
By Brian Purdue

The quality of presence, engaging in Zen, and experiencing the nonstatic universe may be unfamiliar concepts to many Westerners, but they will be the focus of an upcoming lecture by Dr. Peter Feldmeier, UT professor of religious studies, in order to better understand Christianity.


“West Meets East: A Spiritual Transformation” is the title of the free, public event, which will be held Thursday, Nov. 8, at 7 p.m. in the Richard and Jane McQuade Law Center Auditorium and will be the final lecture in The University of Toledo Center for Religious Understanding’s fall lecture series.

Feldmeier, who teaches with a specialization in Christian spirituality, comparative theology and Buddhism, hopes that the lecture will help show guests that entering into the religious imaginations of other traditions can help them to rethink their own traditions.

With the focus of investigating Theravada Buddhism, Zen and Daoism, the lecture will show how these three areas can help revitalize and re-evaluate a number of Christian understandings and practices.

Feldmeier believes that it is very beneficial to perform this type of comparative theology where one’s own theological interests are addressed in the context of dialogue or some other engagement with other traditions.

“It is not an exercise in religious syncretism, whereby one intends to make a metaphysical mud of mutually incompatible religious claims into some new morphed hybrid,” Feldmeier said. “These traditions, precisely because they look different, help us challenge our own assumptions, see our own blind spots, or offer opportunities to reconceive our own tradition with both continuity and newness.”

Feldmeier holds the Margaret and Thomas Murray and James J. Bacik Endowed Chair in Catholic Studies.

Visitors may park in area 12 near the Law Center for the event.

For more information on this lecture of the Center for Religious Understanding, visit utoledo.edu/llss/philosophy/cfru.

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