Liturgy and Comparative Theology

This seminar puts existing forms of liturgical theology into dialogue with the “new comparative theology,” new theories of religion and religious plurality, and studies of multiple religious belonging and inter-rituality, in order to explore the questions: Is a comparative or inter-religious liturgical theology possible? If so, what forms would it take? And what might be gained by such a project?


The Rev. James W. Farwell, Ph.D.

Seminar Report 2020



James Farwell, Professor of Theology and Liturgy, Virginia Theological Seminary (Episcopal)

Members in Attendance

Brian Butcher, Claudio Carvalhaes, James Farwell, Ruth Langer, Martha Moore-Keish, Andrew Wright

Visitors in Attendance

Saya Ojiri

Description of Work

After discussion of Emma O’Donnell’s Remembering the Future, we considered five projects:

  • a comparative account of Byzantine and Jewish liturgies (Ruth Langer)
  • a consideration of applying comparative theological methods to intra-Orthodox differences (Brian Butcher)
  • a book chapter on inter-religious prayer (Claudio Carvalhaes)
  • a reflection on directions for a comparative theology around experiences in India (Martha Moore-Keish)
  • a discussion of comparative themes in a sacramental theology illuminated by Dōgen Zen (James Farwell)

Other Work and Plans for the Future

The seminar intends to re-engage the constructive projects that were discussed this year.