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Pilgrimage of Hope: One Hundred Years of Global Interfaith Dialogue.

Pilgrimage of Hope: One Hundred Years of Global Interfaith Dialogue. By Marcus Braybrooke. New York: Crossroad, 1992. Pp. xvi + 368. $34.50.

Interfaith dialogue has become a theological enterprise of many people from diverse religious commitments. Because relatively few people are involved in exchanges between religions, the majority of believers are not aware of the work being done in the field of interreligious dialogue and of the impact that the Interfaith Movement has had on theological reflection.

B.'s book presents an overview of the history of dialogue and of the activities of many organizations that participate in the Interfaith Movement. First, he traces the emergence and process of the modern dialogue which began with the Parliament of Religions held in Chicago in 1893, describing what actually transpired at the meeting and the contributions of the various religions represented there. Next he deals with two major aspirations of dialogue that have dominated the interactions between world religions, namely the yearning for unity and the quest for peace. The roles played by various associations, such as the International Association for Religious Freedom and the Temple of Understanding, and by various conferences, such as the World Conference on Religion and Peace, are outlined.

B. also covers the bilateral conversations between the world religions, reporting on the various encounters between Christians and members of other religions, such as Jews, Muslims, Hindus, and Buddhists. He considers specific organizations, particularly the Pontifical Council for Inter-Religious Dialogue and the World Council of Church's Sub-Unit on Dialogue with People of Living Faiths, and he devotes a short chapter to the involvement in dialogue of a relatively new religious movement, the Unification Church. His final sections deal respectively with the studying and teaching of world religions, the prospects for the 1993 meeting of representatives of the many religious faiths, and some conclusions on the impact of dialogue over the last 100 years.

This is a useful and informative book. It does an excellent job in outlining the efforts of many individuals and organizations to encourage religious understanding and to minimize religious conflict. It is fairly thorough, even though it omits reference to some organizations, like the Graymoor Ecumenical and Interreligious Institute in Garrison, New York. One of its major drawbacks is that it stresses a single aspect of dialogue, namely that which transpires in organized conferences and meetings between people who are knowledgeable in the field. As a byproduct of this one-sided approach, little is said about the problems that dialogue presents to the average believer. Due perhaps to B.'s intention to stress the positive achievements of interfaith relations, the conscious opposition to dialogue that one encounters among people of different faiths is not addressed, except in relatively minor references to some conflicts (163-64) and to problems (211, 221-22) that hinder the dialogue process.

In his conclusion, B. remarks that "as of all efforts to change attitudes, it is hard to estimate what has been achieved in one hundred years of the Interfaith Movement" (314). In part this may be due to the fact that dialogue has had minor impact on the average believer. Unless ways are devised to extend the aspirations and results of the Interfaith Movement to a larger audience, interreligious dialogue might remain the monopoly of the educated few with little impact on those attitudes that are an obstacle to understanding and peace.

University of Detroit Mercy, Detroit John A. Saliba, S.J.
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Author:Saliba, John A.
Publication:Theological Studies
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Mar 1, 1993
Words:569
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