The Concept of Focal Point in Models for Inter-Religious Understanding

  • Frank J. Hoffman
Part of the Library of Philosophy and Religion Series book series


The idea of a ‘focal point’ has been used in various ways. In this paper I propose to work toward the goal of articulating a technical meaning for the concept. Briefly, focal points are the objects of aspiration in religions. By ‘object’ here is not meant ‘empirical object’. Religious artifacts may symbolically represent focal points, but the focal point is not identical with an empirical object (except in idolatry). Typically religious systems hold interest for philosophers of religion by virtue of the fact that each religious system has at least one focal point enmeshed in a conceptual web which is capable of sustaining critical philosophical attention and which may evoke imaginative sympathy.


Focal Point Common Ground Religious Tradition World Religion Religious Pluralism 
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© The Claremont Graduate School 1993

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  • Frank J. Hoffman

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