Interreligious Understanding Today


As we live in an age of increasing plurality but also instability, the need for interreligious understanding, which is grounded on solid academic research and in touch with the realities of interreligious encounter, is greater than ever.

The course Interreligious Understanding Today has been designed to meet this need. It consists of two modules (part-time and flexible) – 'Exploring the Principles' and 'Addressing the Issues' – which together with Induction and Conclusion weeks lasts for 10 weeks in total.

This course will provide a forum in which participants will:

  • Explore different kinds of interreligious understanding (Intellectual, Empathic, Civil, Spiritual) between Abrahamic religions and beyond;
  • Compare the ways in which such understanding can be achieved in different cultural and political contexts in the world (US, Asia, Europe);
  • Study the relationship between secularity and interreligious understanding;
  • Find out how to apply the lessons from historical experiences of particular minority groups in contemporary settings;
  • And explore the ways in which the challenges to interreligious understanding posed by religious nationalisms and extremisms can be addressed.

The course is multidisciplinary, engaging with religious studies and sociological, historical and philosophical approaches.

The course is accessed via Hedwig which is hosted by the Cambridge Theological Federation.

Course structure

The course is divided into two modules during which you will receive set readings and various assignments. The individual topics of each module are as follows:

Each week, you will receive set readings and prepare various assignments online. Woolf Institute tutors will support you and provide feedback throughout the course. Alongside fellow participants, you will be able to discuss ideas on the online discussion forum. Following an online Induction Week, the course is divided into two modules:

Module 1: Exploring the Principles

Week 1: Interreligious Understanding: The Key Concepts
Week 2: The Principles of Dialogue: Ethical Questions in Interreligious Communication
Week 3: Different Kinds of 'Understanding': Intellectual, Empathic, Civil, Spiritual
Week 4: How to Live in an Interreligious Society? A Comparative Study

Module 2: Addressing the Issues

Week 1: Secularity and Interreligious Understanding
Week 2: Problems with and Critique of Interreligious Dialogue
Week 3: Learning from Experiences of Minority Communities
Week 4: Addressing Conflict through Dialogue: A Case Study

Course timetable

Participants will have access to the general course information a few days before the course commences to familiarise themselves with this material.

Induction Week

Module 1: Exploring the Principles

Module 2: Addressing the Issues

Conclusion Week

Application details

Interested in applying? Contact Emma Harris at

The course fee is £325. The fee includes online access to the course and the course materials, tutor feedback, and a Woolf Institute Certificate of Completion.

Before submitting your application, please read the Online Courses Booking Terms and Conditions and Refund Policy.