Contribution of the Former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, to Inter-religious Dialogue and its Relevance to Turkish Religious Affairs

Esra Akay Dag
PhD Candidate, University of Bristol

Theology of religions and interfaith dialogue are two recent phenomena in the Christian world. During the twentieth century, Christians have developed different types of theologies of religions and as a result they have given different responses to inter-faith dialogue. On the other hand, in the Muslim world, Islamic theology of religions has not been studied systematically, but some groups of Muslims have responded to Christians’ call for inter-faith dialogue. Despite the lack of theological rationale, the Presidency of Religious Affairs, as the highest religious institution of Turkey, has responded positively to the Catholic Church’s call to dialogue, which started with the Second Vatican Council.

This paper presents Rowan Williams’ theology of religions and its effect on inter-faith dialogue. Although Rowan Williams represents the exclusivist wing of theology of religions, his form of theology gives legitimacy to non-Christian religions and accepts the real differences of other religions. The paper will suggest that Williams’ type of theology of religions can be an applicable model for Turkish Religious Affairs, through which the institution can form its own theology of religions for inter-faith dialogue.