10th Annual Conference of the European Network of Buddhist-Christian Studies June 2013

Retreat Centre Oude Abdij, near Ghent, Belgium

History as a Challenge to Buddhism and Christianity

10th Annual Conference of the European Network of Buddhist-Christian Studies

Dr Tamara Ditrich, Head of Program (Applied Buddhist Studies) from Nan Tien Institute (NTI) will be presenting at this conference.


European Network for Buddhist-Christian Studies and the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies at the KU Leuven (in collaboration with the GOA)


Elizabeth Harris (President ENBCS), Perry Schmidt-Leukel (Treasurer ENBCS), and Terrence Merrigan (KU Leuven) in collaboration with Joke Lambelin (KU Leuven) and Ashlee Kirk (KU Leuven)

Main Speakers:

Perry Schmidt-Leukel (University of Münster, Germany), Mark Blum (University of Albany, USA), Jan-Olav Henriksen (Norwegian School of Theology, Norway), Terrence Merrigan (KU Leuven, Belgium), John Strong (Bates College, USA), Sven Bretfeld (University of Bochum, Germany), Giovanni Filoramo (University of Turin, Italy), Catharina Stenqvist (University of Lund, Sweden), Ian Harris (University of Cumbria, UK),Rita Gross (University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, USA), and Armin Kreiner (University of Munich, Germany)

Conference Theme:

History as a Challenge to Buddhism and Christianity

Buddhism and Christianity not only have their own concepts of history – based on their general understandings of reality – but also hand down rather specific narratives about the course of past events. Modern historical research has falsified or at least seriously questioned the veracity of various of these historical constructs, some of them touching upon central aspects of the self-understanding of the Christian and Buddhist religious communities. How could and how do both traditions reply to those challenges? How are metaphysically, cosmologically and soteriologically grounded concepts of history related to the pervasive understanding of the radical historicity of the formation and development of religious traditions in contemporary historical sciences, such as, for example, the “history of religions?” Can a critical awareness of historical facts function as a necessary and, in the end, wholesome corrective to the ‘historical imaginaries’ cherished by the distinctive traditions? Or will historical consciousness, in the end, undermine religions’ credibility? Constructive engagement with such questions plays a major part in Christianity’s and Buddhism’s struggle with modernity. It is a challenge confronting both traditions and one which opens up new possibilities for fruitful dialogue.