Recording Available Now: Mike McMullen, "Interfaith Comparisons: Faith Communities Today Survey" 

Interreligious Dialogue: Myths and Reality (Interview with Professor Leonard Swidler)

Jun 09, 2018

Since the second half of the twentieth century interreligious dialogue has become one of the leading trends in Christian theology. How does interfaith dialogue work and what makes it effective? What are the “dos and don’ts” of a fruitful exchange of religious views and opinions, and what are the perspectives of Bahá’í–Christian cooperation in the field?

In this program one of the pioneers of interreligious dialogue from a Catholic perspective, Professor Leonard Swidler, shares his experiences and insights in developing mutual religious understanding and appreciation, discusses the rules of interreligious dialogue laid down in his Interfaith “Decalogue,” and deliberates on the future of globalism and religion.

The interview with Prof. Leonard Swidler is conducted by Dr. Mikhail Sergeev, co-chair of the Department of Religion, Theology, and Philosophy at the Wilmette Institute.



Leonard Swidler

Leonard Swidler, Professor of Catholic Thought & Interreligious Dialogue at Temple University since 1966, Founder/Editor with Arlene Anderson Swidler in 1964 of the Journal of Ecumenical Studies, Founder/Director of the Dialogue Institute (1978), holds degrees in History, Philosophy, and Theology from St. Norbert College (BA), Marquette University (MA), University of Wisconsin (Ph.D.) and Tübingen University, Germany (S.T.L.), was Visiting Professor at Universities of Graz, Hamburg, Tübingen, Nankai University (Tianjin, China), Fudan University (Shanghai), Temple University Japan (Tokyo), University of Malaya (Kuala Lumpur), Chinese University of China (Hong Kong), and Khazar University (Baku, Azerbaijan). He has published more than 200 articles and 75 books, including: After the Absolute: The Dialogical Future of Religious Reflection (1990), Death or Dialogue. From the Age of Monologue to the Age of Dialogue (1990), A Bridge to Buddhist-Christian Dialogue (1990), For All Life: Toward a Universal Declaration of a Global Ethic. An Interreligious Dialogue (1998), Confucianism in Dialogue Today (2005), Trialogue. Jews, Christians, and Muslims in Dialogue (2007), Dialogue for Interreligious Understanding (2014), and his latest Religion for Reluctant Believers (2017).


Mikhail Yu. Sergeev, PhD

WI Department Co-Chair (Religion, Theology, and Philosophy)

Mikhail Sergeev was born and raised in Moscow, Russia, where he received his bachelor’s degree in international journalism from Moscow State Institute of International Relations (University) in 1982. In 1990 he moved to the United States to pursue his doctoral studies. In 1993 he received his master’s degree in religious studies and in 1997 his doctorate in philosophy of religion from Temple University, Philadelphia. Sergeev works as an adjunct professor of religion and philosophy at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, where he received The President’s Distinguished Teaching Award (2010). He also co-chairs and serves on the faculty of the Department of Religion, Philosophy, and Theology at the Wilmette Institute as well as on the faculty of Temple University in Philadelphia. The author of more than two hundred scholarly, journalistic, and creative works, Sergeev published and presented them in Canada, Europe—the Czech Republic, Greece, the Netherlands, and Poland—Russia, and the United States. Some of his articles were translated into Polish, and his books were reviewed in Germany, Japan, Poland, Russia, Slovakia, and the United States. He has authored and edited twelve books, including the monograph, Theory of Religious Cycles: Tradition, Modernity, and the Bahá’í Faith, (Brill, 2015) and his latest, Russia Abroad: The Anthology of Contemporary Philosophical Thought (M-Graphics, 2019). In 2017 at the International Festival “Visit to Muses,” in Greece, he was awarded the Nodar Dzhin Literary Prize for the best work in philosophy: Grand Prix in the category “journalism/scholarship.”See Faculty Bio

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