In the Synagogue, in the Streets, on the Aeropagus: Kerygma and Dialogue with Reference to Acts 17
Vol. 4, No. 1
Christian Theology, Theology, Interreligious Dialogue, Dialectic, Relativism, Acts of the Apostles
This paper seeks to examine the relationship between kerygma and dialogue, arguing that the proclamation of the Christian message can take the form of a dialogical practice, and indeed of an interreligious dialogical practice. There seems to be an underlying assumption that “dialoguing” necessarily requires the weakening of one’s religious convictions, insofar as to express these in their full-blown form would lead necessarily to conflict and/or the shutting down of the conversation. However, I shall argue that this conclusion is not demanded by the nature of dialogue per se but rather from a particular understanding of what dialoguing means. The latter is underpinned by the assumption that in the realm of religion and spirituality we have no objective access to truth. I shall then hark back to a different understanding of dialogue rooted in Socrates’ philosophizing by making reference to the episode of the Apostle Paul’s kerygmatic preaching of the Gospel in Athens. I will read such a scene as one where kerigma and interreligious dialogue intertwine. The Socratic model off dialogical practice makes room for truth and allows interreligious dialogue to take place without the need to set aside one’s own religious beliefs.