Stendahl’s Three Rules of Religious Understanding

Krister Stendahl (1921-2008), former professor at the Divinity School of Harvard University, is famous in part for outlining very insightful guidelines for inter-religious discussion:

(1) When you are trying to understand another religion, you should ask the adherents of that religion and not its enemies.

(2) Don’t compare your best to their worst.

(3) Leave room for “holy envy.” (By this Stendahl meant that you should be willing to recognize elements in the other religious tradition or faith that you admire and wish could, in some way, be reflected in your own religious tradition or faith.)

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