Jesus Christ as 'vere Deus' as a challenge for interreligious dialogue


  • Reinhold Bernhardt University of Basel


Christianity, Jesus Christ, Dialogue (Theology), Religions -- Relations, Revelation, Theology, Difference (Philosophy), Image of God, Religions -- Theology, Bible, New Testament -- Theology -- Christology


The article explores a line of Christological argumentation which sets out the notion of Christ’s divinity in a way which does not end up with an exclusivist attitude towards other religions. I regard the Chalcedonian ‘vere Deus’ not as an ontological attribute but as the denotation of a profound relationship with God. ‘Relationship’ means unity and difference in one. That unity-in-difference between Christ and God is mirrored by the unity-in-difference between the divine content of the Christ-revelation and the historical Christ-event. God’s universal unconditional love which Jesus preached and presented cannot be restricted to the particular historical event in which it was presented. If it were, then the reference to that specific event would become a condition for the participation in that love—which ends up in a contradiction. In order to avoid that consequence, Christ can and should be seen as ‘representative of God’. The term ‘representation’ appears to be the apt conceptual model for conveying Christ’s theological relevance in a non-exclusive way, for it allows us to distinguish between: the ‘content’ which is represented; the ‘event’ of representation; and the ‘medium’ of the representation. That distinction opens up the possibility of acknowledging representations of God’s salvific power which are not mediated by Jesus of Nazareth. Reinhold Bernhardt is Professor for Systematic Theology / Dogmatics, University of Basel (Switzerland). Website:

How to Cite

Bernhardt, R. (2011). Jesus Christ as ’vere Deus’ as a challenge for interreligious dialogue. Approaching Religion, 1(1), 41–49.