Giancarlo Bosetti

1 May 2024


Our Project: Theologies and Practices of Religious Pluralism

This research project stems from a deep need for pluralism, coexistence, understanding, recognition, pacification and dialogue between cultural and religious differences. A clear mission since the act of birth of our association, Reset DOC, which we created with a group of intellectuals belonging to different cultures and from different backgrounds, from East and West, from the United States to the Maghreb, from Paris to Delhi. Some of them have left us, such as Hassan Hanafi, Nasr Abu Zayd, Amos Luzzatto, Roman Herzog, Karel Schwarzenberg, embodying the traditions of freedom and reformism in their respective cultural spheres and in different democratic or authoritarian contexts (which often took its toll, such as Hanafi who was surveilled at home and Abu Zayd, who was forced into exile).

Their experiences reflect a strong commitment, to cultural and of course religious pluralism, to their study, mutual understanding, and translation.  We are keeping that mission alive and, with this project we are exploring the religious and theological dimensions of the pluralistic mission.

The contemporary era, with globalization and the dizzying development of migratory movements, both voluntary and induced by economic outlooks and climate change, poverty, wars, has produced a phenomenon whereby so many diversities are pushed very close together. As the great advocate of pluralism, Ramon Panikkar, stated, this phenomenon compels us to embrace one another closely, with far-reaching consequences across all fields, notably among religions.

Through our project, V-Theo: Varieties of religions, Theologies and Practices of Religious Pluralism we aim to investigate the impact of this close diversity on different faiths and on society as a whole. We seek to understand how each denomination lives out its own message of truth when faced with the message of truth of others.

We desire dialogue and to enhance it in every possible way, recognizing its seemingly delicate nature and apparent weakness in the face of war. However, we firmly believe that knowledge serves as a potent weapon, enabling us to look beyond the barriers that separate us, and grasp the truth of others. Over distance, it is a powerful means that can pave the way to a better and more peaceful world. We see well that often conflicts that seem unsolvable also arise from the inability to see, or even imagine, the world of others’ aspirations and suffering.

The specific contribution our project aims to make involves entering the realms of faiths and theologies, to analyze:


– How faiths adapt to coexistence and confrontation with those who are different;

– How each faith’s theological quest engages with the kaleidoscope of differences;

– Responses to the questions posed by the truth claims of others;

– The delicate balance between the desire to convey its faith to others (announcement) and the ability to interrelate with them (dialogue);

– The places these differences occupy in the divine design of each faith;

– The status and regime of truth each is willing to accord to others;

– Answers to the questions: What exists outside one’s faith? Is it only error, or are other faiths worthy of respect and equal dignity? To what extent are they equal, and in what ways are they not?

– Responses to the internal drives within each religion that view the possible loss of absolute hierarchical superiority of their own truth as a threat, triggering radical and, in many cases, violent reactions?

Additionally, we aim to investigate the historical background of each faith, to comprehend the sources of diverse reactions in today’s context – whether towards dialogue or exclusion, understanding, empathy or rejection.

This collaborative project involving our European and American associations, Georgetown University’s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs, Birmingham University, the Foundation for Religious Sciences in Bologna, the Department of Islamic Studies at the University of Sarajevo, the Hicham Alaoui Foundation and the Haifa Laboratory for Religious Studies along with other study centers representing various religions and contexts, including Buddhist and Hindu, will develop over time, after delving into the first three religions of the Book.



Cover photo: Pope Francis embraces the Grand Imam of al-Azhar mosque Sheikh Ahmed Al-Tayeb during their meeting at the Papal residence near the Sakhir Royal Palace, in the eponymous Bahraini city on November 4, 2022. (Photo by Marco BERTORELLO / AFP)

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