This ‘viewpoint’ is (exceptionally) more extensive in terms of size, which is perhaps excusable in the light of the fact that the year 2008 witnessed several very auspicious events in the field of Muslim–Christian dialogue. The beginning of the currently rather positive news in this regard was a rather controversial incident back in 2006.
On 12 September 2006, Pope Benedict XVI delivered a lecture, entitled “Glaube, Vernunft und Universitat: Erinnerungen und Reflexionen” (Faith, Reason, and University: Memories and Reflections) at the University of Regensburg in Bavaria, Germany, where he had been a professor of theology during the late 1960s and early 1970s. Benedict’s controversial remarks on Islam during his speech have stirred anger among parts of the Muslim community worldwide as it was perceived as misrepresenting the very essence of the religion of Islam. Contrary to what is usually known among the wider public, however, the lecture – equipped with often critical references ranging from ancient Jewish and Hellenic thought, theology, as well as contemporary secularist thinking – focused mainly on Christianity and on what Pope Benedict referred to as the tendency “to exclude the question of God” from reason rather than on Islam. Islam features merely in a part of the lecture as his emphasis was on the West.
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