1st Edition

The Routledge Handbook of Religious Literacy, Pluralism, and Global Engagement

Edited By Chris Seiple, Dennis R. Hoover Copyright 2022
    468 Pages 5 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    468 Pages 5 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This pioneering handbook proposes an approach to pluralism that is relational, principled, and non-relativistic, going beyond banal calls for mere "tolerance."

    The growing religious diversity within societies around the world presents both challenges and opportunities. A degree of competition between deeply held religious/worldview perspectives is natural and inevitable, yet at the same time the world urgently needs engagement and partnership across lines of difference. None of the world’s most pressing problems can be solved by any single actor, and as such it is not a question of if but when you partner with an individual or institution that does not think, act, or believe as you do. The authors argue that religious literacy—defined as a dynamic combination of competencies and skills, continuously refined through real-world cross-cultural engagement—is vital to building societies and states of neighborly solidarity and civic fairness.

    Through examination, reflection, and case studies across multiple faith traditions and professional fields, this handbook equips scholars and students, as well as policymakers and practitioners, to assess, analyze, and act collaboratively in a world of deep diversity.

    The Open Access version of this book, available at www.taylorfrancis.com, has been made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives 4.0 license.


    1. Rethinking Religious Literacy and Pluralism: Crossing Cultures, Making Covenants, and Engaging Globally

    Chris Seiple and Dennis R. Hoover

    Part I: What is Religious Literacy For? Philosophical and Religious Perspectives on Covenantal Pluralism

    2. Covenantal Pluralism: Toward a World of Peaceable Neighborhoods

    W. Christopher Stewart, Chris Seiple and Dennis R. Hoover

    3. Covenantal Pluralism: Perspectives from Jewish History and Thought

    David Saperstein

    4. Fratelli Tutti, Lessons Learned from Interreligious Action, and the Catholic Church

    Maryann Cusimano Love

    5. Are Calvinists for Pluralism? The Politics and Practice of a Protestant Possibility

    Robert J. Joustra and Jessica R. Joustra

    6. Deed Over Idea: Toward a Shared Caliphate

    Mahan Mirza

    7. Hinduism, Insular Pluralism, and Religious Literacy

    Shylashri Shankar

    8. The Elephant in the Room: Buddhist Religious Exclusivism and Prospects for Covenantal Pluralism

    Paul Fuller

    9. Isomorphism, Syncretism, and Poly-ontological Dynamics: The Implications of Chinese Religion for Covenantal Pluralism

    David A. Palmer

    10. On Neutrality and the Nones: Secular Humanism, Covenantal Pluralism, and "Religious" Literacy

    Roy Speckhardt

    PART II: Who Needs Religious Literacy? Perspectives on Professional Fields

    11. Religious Literacy and K-12 Education

    Benjamin Pietro Marcus

    12. Religious Literacy and Higher Education

    James Walters

    13. International Studies, Religion, and Cross-Cultural Religious Literacy

    James K. Wellman, Jr.

    14. Religious Literacy in Development and Humanitarian Relief

    Katherine Marshall

    15. Religious Literacy and Diplomacy

    Nicole Bibbins Sedaca

    16. Religious Literacy, Chaplaincy, and Spiritual Care

    Wendy Cadge, Carolina P. Seigler and Trace Haythorn

    17. Corporate Religious Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion as Covenantal Pluralism

    Brian J. Grim and Kent Johnson

    18. Religious Literacy and Social Services

    Chelsea Langston Bombino and Stanley Carlson-Thies

    19. Religious Literacy and American Journalism: A Charge to Public Service

    Josh Good

    PART III: Where Can Religious Literacy and Covenantal Pluralism Make a Difference? Case Studies and Practitioner Perspectives

    20. Engagement & Embrace—from Apartheid to Democracy: A Reflection on Rupture and a Toolkit for Transition

    Ebrahim Rasool

    21. The Secularism Paradox: Living with Deep Difference in the Middle East

    Shadi Hamid

    22. Two Steps Forward, One Step Back: Prospects for Covenantal Pluralism in Laos and Vietnam

    Stephen Bailey and Hien Vu

    23. Cross-Cultural Religious Literacy, Competencies, and Skills: An Indonesian Experience

    Matius Ho

    24. ‘Salad Bowl’ Secularism: India’s Covenant to Preserve Pluralism

    Tehmina Arora

    25. Religious Literacy and Pakistan’s Pluralist Potential

    Minhas Majeed Khan

    26. Geo-Religious Literacy, Orthodoxy, and Plurality in Russia: Prospects for Covenantal Pluralism

    Katya Drozdova

    27. Transition and Transformation in Western Europe: Possibilities for Covenantal Pluralism

    Sughra Ahmed

    28. Religious Literacy, Racial Literacy, and Latin America’s Overdue Reckoning with Deep Diversity

    Raimundo C. Barreto

    29. Cross-Cultural Religious Literacy and Pluralist Leadership in the United States

    Stephanie Summers

    30. Understanding—and Bridging—Religious Liberty Tribalism: A Case Study in Talking About Muslims’ Rights with Christian Conservatives in America

    Asma T. Uddin

    31. Seeking a Virtuous Feedback Loop: Robust Pluralism and Civic Engagement in the United States

    Zeenat Rahman

    32. Fairness as a Path Forward on LGBTQ Rights and Religious Liberty

    Shirley Hoogstra and Robin Fretwell Wilson

    33. From the Pulpit to Pluralism: A Personal Reflection

    Bob Roberts, Jr.


    Chris Seiple, Ph.D., The Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy, is president emeritus of the Institute for Global Engagement, USA, and principal advisor to the Templeton Religion Trust’s Covenantal Pluralism Initiative. A former U.S. Marine infantry officer, he has served as a senior fellow for Comparative Religion at the University of Washington’s Jackson School of International Studies, as senior advisor to the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Evidence-Based Summit on Strategic Religious Engagement (2020), and as co-chair of the U.S. secretary of state’s “Religion and Foreign Policy Working Group” (2011–2013).

    Dennis R. Hoover, D.Phil., Oxford University, is editor of The Review of Faith & International Affairs; research advisor to the Templeton Religion Trust’s Covenantal Pluralism Initiative; and senior fellow at the Institute for Global Engagement, USA. He is co-editor with Mariano Barbato and Robert Joustra of Modern Papal Diplomacy and Social Teaching in World Affairs (2019); editor of Religion and American Exceptionalism (2014); and co-editor with Chris Seiple and Pauletta Otis of The Routledge Handbook of Religion and Security (2013).