Christian Theology and the Dialogue with Islam

Photo of the Mostar Bridge in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

November 3, 2023
4:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. EDT
Location: Online Zoom Webinar

This Building Bridges symposium addressed questions and challenges raised for Christian theology and practice through dialogue with Muslims and examined issues of how Christian-Muslim dialogue is theorized and practiced. Although primarily an intra-Christian conversation, the symposium also included reflections by Muslim scholars about their experience of interfaith dialogue.

The symposium offered virtual and in-person attendees an opportunity to learn from those who have organized and/or participated in two significant and long-running Christian-Muslim dialogue processes, namely Building Bridges and Theologisches Forum Christentum – Islam, and from Christian scholars with expertise in different theological disciplines.


4:00 a.m. - 4:30 a.m. EDT / 9:00 a.m. - 9:30 a.m. CET | Arrivals and coffee

4:30 a.m. - 4:50 a.m. EDT / 9:30 a.m. - 9:50 a.m. CET | Welcome
Introduction: Angela Berlis, Douglas Pratt
Greeting: Rainer Hirsch-Luipold, Dean of the Faculty of Theology, University of Bern

4:50 a.m. - 5:45 a.m. EDT / 9:50 a.m. - 10:45 a.m. CET | Two Dialogues: Overviews, Methodologies, and Observations
David Marshall (Chair)
Rev. Daniel A. Madigan, S.J., Melbourne (by Zoom) – Building Bridges
Anja Middelbeck-Varwick, Frankfurt – Theologisches Forum

5:45 a.m. - 6:15 a.m. EDT / 10:45 a.m. - 11:15 a.m. CET | Break

6:15 a.m. - 7:15 a.m. EDT / 11:15 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. CET | What Did We Experience? Reflections of Muslim and Christian Participants in Building Bridges and Theologisches Forum Christentum-Islam
Hansjörg Schmid (Chair), Fribourg
Ahmet Alibasic, Sarajevo (by Zoom) – Building Bridges
Muna Tatari, Paderborn (by Zoom) – Theologisches Forum
Rev. Lucy Gardner, Oxford (by Zoom) – Building Bridges
Tobias Specker, S.J., Frankfurt (by Zoom) – Theologisches Forum

7:15 a.m. - 8:30 a.m. EDT / 12:15 p.m. - 1:30 p.m. CET | Lunch

8:30 a.m. - 10:00 a.m. EDT / 1:30 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. CET | Christian Theologians Reflect on Christian-Muslim Dialogue
David Marshall (Chair)
Reinhold Bernhardt, Basel
Clarissa Breu, Göttingen
Friedmann Eissler, Stuttgart
Katharina Heyden, Bern

10:00 a.m. - 11:15 a.m. EDT / 3:00 p.m. - 4:15 p.m. CET | Conference Participant Reflection in Small Groups

11:15 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. EDT / 4:15 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. CET | Panel Discussion
Hansjörg Schmid (Chair)
Reinhold Bernhardt, Basel
Clarissa Breu, Göttingen
Friedmann Eissler, Stuttgart
Katharina Heyden, Bern
David Marshall
Christian Ströbele, Stuttgart

12:30 p.m. - 1:15 p.m. EDT / 5:30 p.m. - 6:15 p.m. CET | Conclusion
Angela Berlis, Bern

1:15 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. EDT / 6:15 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. CET | Public Lecture on Whence and Whither: Theology after Dialogue?
Douglas Pratt, Bern

The Building Bridges Seminar is planned and convened by Georgetown University. This event was co-hosted by the Institute for Christian Catholic Theology at the University of Bern, the Foundation for Historical and Ecumenical Theology in Bern, Switzerland, and Georgetown University's Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs.

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