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Cambridge Interfaith Programme


How does CIP relate to undergraduate study at the Faculty of Divinity?

Inter-Faith & Interface

A main focus of the Cambridge Interfaith Programme is the study of Theology, Religion and the Philosophy of Religion in the context of ‘inter-faith’. This can mean looking at the ways in which one can learn more about a religious tradition by studying how it has interacted with or responded to other religious traditions. We explore how studying religious traditions in relation to one another can give a perspective that differs from studying a religious tradition on its own. We look into the historical, textual, material and conceptual engagements between religious traditions, as well as the intertwined lives of religious communities in different social and political contexts.

In addition to this study of inter-faith relations, we also look at the ways in which we can understand a religious tradition by looking at it in a wider sense of ‘inter-’ – that is, not just its relation to other religious traditions, but its relation to other cultures, world-views or social forces. This type of ‘inter-’ can be thought of in terms of ‘interface’. For example, we could examine a religious tradition in its interface and interaction with modern science; or the way in which a minority religious group might interface with a more dominant majority culture; or the interface between religious ideas and the genres of novels or film; or the interface between religion, theology and politics; or the ways in which religious traditions have been reshaped through interfacing with various philosophical systems; or the interface between the ideas of ‘religious’ and ‘secular’.

In all of these cases, the approach of ‘inter-’ can shed new light on the texts, contexts, and ideas being studied.

Undergraduate study

In the first year, students typically take one language paper plus four additional papers, and in the second and third years, students typically take four papers. Students select papers from those offered by the Faculty of Divinity.

These include various papers that prominently incorporate aspects of the ‘Inter-’, both in the specific sense of inter-faith and in the wider sense of interface. Here are some examples:

Part I (first year)

A4: Christianity and the Transformation of Culture

A6: Understanding Contemporary Religion

A7: World Religions in Comparative Perspective 

Part IIA (second year)

B3: The Shaping of Jewish Identity (332 BCE – 70 CE)

B7: Themes in World Christianities: Context, Theology and Power

B9: Religious encounter

B13: Theology & Literature

B14: Modern Judaism: Thought, Culture, and History

B15: Introduction to Islam

B16: Life and thought of religious Hinduism and of Buddhism

Part IIB (third year)

C2: Creation and Covenant

C5: Charity

C8: The Jewish Tradition and Christianity: from Antiquity to Modernity

C9: Islam II

C10: Hinduism and Buddhism II

C11: Truth, God and Metaphysics

C12: Theology and the Natural Sciences

D1e: Philosophy in the Long Middle Ages

D1g: Self and Salvation in Indian and Western Thought

D2b: Apocalypse

D2c: Judaism and Western Philosophy

D2d: Judaism and Hellenism

D2e: World Christianities - Pentecostal and Charismatic Christianities Worldwide

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