Karen Armstrong Awarded Honorary Doctorate at VU Amsterdam

Karen Armstrong Awarded Honorary Doctorate at VU Amsterdam

If there is one concept that defines the work of British author and religious scientist Karen Armstrong, it is compassion. She highlights this common core in a wide variety of religious traditions and has made an important contribution to the ongoing debate about the position different religions hold in society.

Be­cause her work and achieve­ments closely em­body the con­tri­bu­tion that Vrije Uni­ver­siteit Am­s­ter­dam aims to make to the di­a­logue be­tween dif­fer­ent re­li­gions and to the ideas about their role in so­ci­ety, Arm­strong is being awarded an hon­orary doc­tor­ate in The­ol­ogy and Re­li­gious Stud­ies. At the open­ing of the aca­d­e­mic year on Mon­day, 4 Sep­tem­ber, she will be awarded the hon­orary title by her hon­orary su­per­vis­ing pro­fes­sor Manuela Kalsky, pro­fes­sor in the en­dowed Ed­ward Schille­beeckx chair for The­ol­ogy and So­ci­ety. 

Twenty-one books trans­lated into 45 lan­guages
Karen Arm­strong is one of the world’s lead­ing ex­perts in in­ter­faith di­a­logue and re­li­gious tol­er­ance in the pub­lic do­main. She is in high de­mand as a speaker across the world and her work has in­cluded ad­vis­ing the Dutch and Amer­i­can par­lia­ments on Islam and re­li­gious ex­trem­ism. Her 21 books have been trans­lated into 45 lan­guages and are often best­sellers. Hon­orary su­per­vis­ing pro­fes­sor Manuela Kalsky: “Re­li­gious plu­ral­ity keeps in­creas­ing in so­ci­ety and at Vrije Uni­ver­siteit Am­s­ter­dam. We need pub­lic in­tel­lec­tu­als like Karen Arm­strong to in­ter­pret that plu­ral­ity for a wider pub­lic.” In her best-known work, A His­tory of God: The 4,000-Year Quest of Ju­daism, Chris­tian­ity and Islam, Arm­strong pro­vides a highly ac­ces­si­ble in­sight into the re­li­gious sci­ences. 

Con­nec­tion in times of po­lar­iza­tion
Arm­strong has joined forces with lead­ers and great thinkers from all of the world’s re­li­gions, in­clud­ing the Dutch rabbi Awraham Soe­tendorp, in ini­ti­at­ing a so­cial move­ment under the name ‘Char­ter for Com­pas­sion‘. She aims to use this as a man­i­festo for pro­mot­ing con­nec­tion be­tween re­li­gions, mean­ing and so­ci­etal en­gage­ment. “Arm­strong’s Char­ter for Com­pas­sion seam­lessly matches our fac­ulty’s ef­forts to show­case and pro­mote the pos­i­tive power of re­li­gious di­ver­sity in so­ci­ety”, says Ruard Ganzevoort, Dean of the fac­ulty of The­ol­ogy. He em­pha­sizes that striv­ing for com­pas­sion is par­tic­u­larly top­i­cal in a world char­ac­ter­ized by so­cial, cul­tural and re­li­gious po­lar­iza­tion. Ac­cord­ing to Ganzevoort, Arm­strong’s work rep­re­sents his fac­ulty’s am­bi­tion to make re­search in the­ol­ogy and re­li­gious sci­ence rel­e­vant for so­ci­ety. 

source: https://www.vu.nl/en/news-agenda/news/2017/jul-sep/170704-karen-armstrong-awarded-honorary-doctorate-at-vu-amsterdam.aspx

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