Holistic Philosophy Articles

Volume I


Raimon Panikkar and The New Atheists: The Promise

of a Fully-Inclusive and Ever-Expanding Dialogue

by Bruce Alderman, MA 

"Panikkar has been working for quite some time on a hermeneutic (interpretive theory) of interreligious dialogue. In particular, he has developed what he calls diatopical hermeneutics, which he sees as the foundation of dialogical dialogue. Diatopical means "across places" or "across spaces" and is to be distinguished from more common forms of hermeneutics -- morphological, i.e. taking place within the same overall tradition or cultural space; and diachronical, taking place within the same overall historical stream (of a particular tradition or culture). In either of the latter cases, there is a natural hermeneutic circle that is available for parties to enter into. But in the encounter between very different cultures and traditions there is no such circle; in essence, it has to be created anew, and this is facilitated by what Panikkar calls the imparative method."