THE CONCEPT OF GOD, THE ORIGIN OF THE WORLD, AND THE IMAGE OF THE HUMAN IN THE WORLD RELIGIONS

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1 THE CONCEPT OF GOD, THE ORIGIN OF THE WORLD, AND THE IMAGE OF THE HUMAN IN THE WORLD RELIGIONS

2 THE CONCEPT OF GOD, THE ORIGIN OF THE WORLD, AND THE IMAGE OF THE HUMAN IN THE WORLD RELIGIONS Editedby PETER KOSLOWSKI Hannover Institute of Philosophical Research, Hannover, Germany SPRINGER-SCIENCE+BUSINESS MEDIA, B.V.

3 A C.I.P. Catalogue record for this book is available from the Library of Congress. ISBN DOI / ISBN (ebook) Printed with the Support of the Foundation of Lower Saxony (Stiftung Niedersachsen) The German language version of this book is published simultaneously by WILHELM FINK VERLAG Munich Editorial Assistant: David W. Lutz Cover Photograph: JANNIS KOUNELLIS, Untitled, 1985 Claudio Abate, capc Musee d' art contemporain, Bordeaux, 1985 Printed on acid-free paper AII Rights Reserved 2001 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht Originally published by Kluwer Academic Publishers in 2001 Softcover reprint of the hardcover I st edition 2001 No part ofthe material protected by this copyright notice may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, induding photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system, without written permission from the copyright owner.

4 TABLE OF CONTENTS Foreword Vll The Conflict of Religions and the Mission of a Philosophy of the World Religions: Introduction PETER KOSLOWSKI 1 The Origin of the World, the Concept of God, and the Image of the Human Person in Hinduism R. BALASUBRAMANIAN 11 The Concept of God, the Image of the Human Person, and the Origin of the World in Buddhism SHIZUTERU UEDA 43 Imago Dei in Judaism: Early Rabbinic Literature, Philosophy, and Kabbalah: The Teaching about God, the Human Person, and the Beginning in Talmudic and Kabbalistic Judaism YAIR LORBERBAUM 57 Discussion of the Concept of God, the Origin of the World, and the Image of the Human Person in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Judaism 75 Creation, the Concept of God, and the Nature ofthe Human Person in Christianity MICHAEL WELKER 80

5 vi TABLE OF CONTENTS God, Creation, and the Image of the Human Person in Islam MEHDI AMINRAZAVI 95 Discussion of God, Creation, and the Image of the Human Person in Christianity and Islam 112 On the Conceptions of God, the World, and the Human Person in Five World Religions: An Attempt at a Synthesis from a Buddhist Perspective JOHANNES LAUBE 115 The Concept of God, the Origin of the World, and the Image of the Human Person in the World Religions: An Attempt at a Synthesis From a Christian Perspective ARMIN KREINER 127 Discussion ofa Possible Synthesis of the Ideas of the World Religions 144 Conversation between the Representatives of the World Religions after the Conclusion of the Public Discourse 146 Contributors 151 Index of Persons 155

6 FOREWORD In the world religions the modern consciousness stands face-to-face with forms of thought that derive from the earliest times, from world ages before our own, but which nevertheless extend into our most up-to-date present time. The forms of thought, the systems of rules for conduct and the good life, and the interpretations of human existence developed by the world religions characterize the life of many persons to a depth unlike that of any other system of thought. The series A DISCOURSE OF THE WORLD RELIGIONS, the five volumes of which are started with the volume in hand, are intended to contribute to the dialogue of the world religions. They were designed on the occasion of and for the World Exposition Expo 2000 Hanover in the year 2000 in Hanover, Germany. This world exposition established as its theme "The Human Person, Nature, and Technology," and thereby accepted the challenge of contributing to the knowledge of the human person, of nature, and of technology. It was clear in the reflections preparing for the world exposition that if it were to meet this challenge, the world exposition would have to be more than a great show and a presentation of virtual worlds. The Expo DISCOURSES OF THE WORLD RELIGIONS were intended and were held to complement the Expo 2000 Hanover with an encounter of philosophers and theologians representing the five world religions of Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The conversation of the religions is capable, in the framework of the encounter of people from the entire world, of forming a bond of the spirit between the religions and regions of the world, a bond about which a poem of August von Platen speaks: Einjedes Band, das noch so leise Die Geister aneinander reiht, Wirkt fort auf seine stille Weise Durch unberechenbare Zeit. A bond, which still ties spirits To one another so quietly, Continues to work in its silent way Through incalculable time.

7 viii FOREWORD It is thanks to the support of the Foundation of Lower Saxony, its President Dr. Ernst Albrecht and its General Secretary Dr. Dominik von Konig, and of the Founder of the Hanover Institute of Philosophical Research, the Catholic Bishop of Hildesheim, Dr. Josef Homeyer, as well as the Chairman of the Foundation of the Hanover Institute of Philosophical Research, Vicar-General Karl Bernert, that we have the opportunity at the beginning of the new millennium, with the Expo DISCOURSES OF THE WORLD RELIGIONS "The Human Person, Nature, and Technology from the Perspective of the Religions," to lead a conversation between the major forms of religious thought in the world today. Before and during the Expo 2000 in Hanover, the Expo DISCOURSES OF THE WORLD RELIGIONS investigated the contribution of the religions to the solution of major and vital problems of humankind. With this volume, the series of books that emerged from the Expo DIS COURSES is started. The present volume publishes the essays and discussions of the FIRST ExPO DISCOURSE, "The Concept of God, the Origin of the World, and the Image of the Human Person in the World Religions," which took place in the Johannes a Lasco Library Great Church Emden in Emden, Lower Saxony, Germany, on the 3rd and 4th of September The Great Church Emden in the city on the North Sea, a medieval brick church, which was converted into an academic library and place of study for Reformed Protestantism after its destruction in the Second World War, was the ideal site for an encounter and a conversation of the world religions. The organizers of the Expo DISCOURSES, the Hanover Institute of Philosophical Research and the Foundation of Lower Saxony, thank the Johannes a Lasco Library Great Church Emden, its then Director, Pastor Walter Schulz, and its members for their support of the discourse. I would also like to thank Anna Maria Hauk, Michael Berges, Luca Di Blasi, Dr. Friedrich Hermanni, and Brigitte Berges of the Hanover Institute of Philosophical Research, as well as Linda Anne Engelhardt of the Foundation of Lower Saxony, for their help in organizing the conference and preparing the book series A DISCOURSE OF THE WORLD RELIGIONS. Peter Koslowski

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