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

Jun 9, 2018
Interreligious Dialogue: Myths and Reality (Interview with Professor Leonard Swidler)

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 Coordinator (Religion, Theology, and Philosophy)

Mikhail Sergeev (b. 1960) – Ph.D. in philosophy of religion (1997, Temple University, Philadelphia, USA); historian of religion, philosopher, writer. Sergeev teaches history of religions, philosophy, and contemporary art at the University of Arts in Philadelphia. He served as co-chair of the department of religion, philosophy, and theology at Wilmette Institute (2017–21). The author of more than two hundred scholarly, journalistic, and creative works, Sergeev published them in the United States, Canada, Japan, Poland, Greece, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Uzbekistan, and Russia. Some of his articles were translated into Polish and Japanese, 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, Russian Philosophy in the Twenty-First Century: An Anthology (Brill, 2020).See Faculty Bio


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