RANKING RELIGIONS: Taxonomic Comparison in Medieval Christian, Jewish, and Islamic Thought

The Center for Christian-Jewish Learning at Boston College
2024 Corcoran Chair Conference

Within the polemical inter-religious context of the Middle Ages, Christian, Jewish, and Muslim thinkers developed systematic and sophisticated ways of comparing their own faiths with those of others, including non-monotheists. Although each thinker maintained that his own community’s system of belief and practice was superior to those of other groups, they nonetheless engaged in a kind of comparative practice that prefigured or arguably lay foundations for the modern study of Comparative Religion. One element of this comparative practice was the production of taxonomies of religions and systems of ranking them, sometimes using the discourse of “proximity” and “distance” to conceptualize their interrelation. In this conference, we will study how Muslim, Jewish, and Christian thinkers produced taxonomies and rankings of other religious communities focusing on the underlying reasons for producing the taxonomies adopted and the shifting grounds of comparison itself (doctrine, ritual, revelatory status, prophetology, etc.).

Conference Program

Sunday, April 7, 2024 2:00 – 6:00 PM
Monday, April 8, 2024 9:30 AM – 2:45 PM


  • Date : 07 Apr 2024 - 08 Apr 2024
  • Time : 14:00 - 15:00 (America/New_York)

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