Academic journal article Journal of Ecumenical Studies

Kenneth Rose, Pluralism: The Future of Religion

Academic journal article Journal of Ecumenical Studies

Kenneth Rose, Pluralism: The Future of Religion

Article excerpt

Kenneth Rose, Pluralism: The Future of Religion. New York and London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2013. Pp. 190. $110.00.

In this passionate and erudite book, Rose mounts a forceful defense of pluralism. He believes that contemporary theology of religions is at an impasse, that comparative religion is equally hobbled, and that religious studies are in a serious crisis. He argues that apophatic pluralism, in contradistinction to cataphatic religious truth, is the future of religion. Apophatic pluralism "consists of purely negative, or apophatic, critical observations that deflate inclusivist illusion about the epistemic prowess, normativity, and ultimacy of cataphatic religious doctrines." The book debunks all criticism against pluralism and asserts that it is the only viable model in our globalized world. Religion, in his view, is a nonreductive category related to an "'immaterial dimension of beatitude and deathlessness." No religious teaching, however, can secure universal consent, and no religious community will be able to maintain its exclusivist positions, less it falls sadly into doomed forms of fundamentalism. Unlike many, Rose values syncretism because it fosters hybridity and multiple religious identities. He makes a very compelling point in "the Syncretic Basis of the Theory of Apophatic Pluralism. …

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