Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 1998


Today, in an effort to respond to their religiously pluralistic situation, Christians should recognize friendships with non-Christians as a theological virtue. The first section of this essay reviews some of the recent discussion of virtue theory, noting that virtues are enduring aspects of character that incorporate values and skills, have histories, and often act as correctives to vices. The second section reflects on friendship as a virtue, using Aristotle, Sartre, and Levinas, among others. The third section discusses interreligious friendship in particular as an example of a human excellence, a new virtue that incorporates values and skills and helps Christians in resisting the vice of despising, ignoring, or caricaturing their non-Christian religious neighbors. A final section has to do with the limitations of interreligious friendship as a new theological virtue.

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Copyright © 1998 Dialogue Institute

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Recommended Citation

Fredericks, James L. "Interreligious Friendship: A New Theological Virtue." Journal of Ecumenical Studies 35, no. 2 (Spring 1998): 159-174.

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