Interfaith Chaplaincy as Interpretive Hospitality

by Peter Ward Youngblood

Department of Cultural and Religious Studies, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Sha Tin, NT,

Hong Kong, China;

Received: 27 February 2019; Accepted: 21 March 2019; Published: 26 March 2019

Abstract: Hospital chaplaincy must reconcile competing epistemologies of health and salvation

(Christian, clinical, holistic, etc.), but when done in interfaith situations this task becomes more

difficult. As current models of spiritual care are insufficient, this paper proposes a paradigm based

on Paul Ricoeur’s hermeneutics of translation, as adapted for comparative theology by Marianne

Moyaert. In particular, it looks at his idea of linguistic hospitality as a way to structure relations,

spiritual assessments, and pastoral interventions in interfaith chaplaincy without reducing the unique

strangeness of “the Other”. Furthermore, a practical, performative (ritual) hospitality can overcome

the epistemological and soteriological obstacles that have frustrated systematic theologies of religion.