The Institute for Religion and Science Presents Lecture on

New Axial Age and the History of Religion

Paul Knitter, Ph.D., professor emeritus of theology, world religions, and culture at Union Theological Seminary will deliver the lecture, “Is the History of Religions on the Brink of a New Axial Age?” on Wednesday, March 12, 2014 at the Commonwealth Chateau, SugarLoaf Hill campus. This lecture is sponsored by the Institute for Religion and Science at Chestnut Hill College.

Knitter will discuss that the present state of the world, with the various forms of violence threating the well-being of people and planet and the role that the religions of the world are playing, may call  many religious believers and leaders to fashion a new axial age in the religious history of humankind. Similar to the first axial age (800 to 200 BCE),this will call for a radical transformation in religiousawareness.  Knitter will argue that a shift from interreligious competition and dominance to interreligious cooperation and dialogue is necessary.The lecture will explore the necessity, the complexity, and the possibility of such an axial transformation.

Knitter joined the Union faculty in January 2007, and is a leading theologian of religious pluralism. He holds a licentiate in theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome and a doctorate from the University of Marburg in Germany. Knitter’s journey into interfaith dialogue began in 1964 when he was a seminarian in Rome and experienced the Second Vatican Council firsthand, at a time when the Roman Catholic Church declared its new attitude towards other religions. Dr. Knitter is a professor emeritus of theology at Xavier University in Ohio, where he taught for 28 years prior to coming to Union. He serves on the Board of the International, Interreligious Peace Council, formed after the 1993 World Parliament of Religions to promote interreligious peace-making projects.

Knitter is the author of six books and publications dealing with religious pluralism and interreligious dialogue, including “No Other Name,” “Jesus and the Other Names: Christian Mission and Global Responsibility,” and his recent publication, “Without Buddha I Could Not Be a Christian: A Personal Journey of Passing Over and Passing Back” (Oneworld Publications, 2009).

The lecture is free and open to the public. For more information, please contact Kathleen Duffy, SSJ, Ph.D. at 215.248.7197 or

About Chestnut Hill College

Chestnut Hill College is a four-year coed Catholic college offering a traditional liberal arts undergraduate program, as well as accelerated undergraduate degrees, master’s and doctoral programs. Since its inception, the College has offered a rigorous curriculum that provides students with a broad background in the humanities, social sciences and natural sciences. The goal of Chestnut Hill College has been to prepare students for life’s challenges by helping them to grow intellectually, spiritually, emotionally, and socially.

For the second consecutive year, Chestnut Hill College earned recognition as one of 26 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) institutions to receive the Division II Presidents’ Award for Academic Excellence. The Presidents’ Award honors NCAA athletic programs with four-year academic success rates of 90 or greater.

The College has been rated by US News & World Report as among the best master’s universities in the North, as among the best Northeastern colleges by The Princeton Reviewand has been classified as selective by The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.