The Catholic University of America

Wilhelmus Valkenberg, Ph.D.
– Ordinary Professor of Religion and Culture




Pim (Wilhelmus G.B.M.) Valkenberg was born in the Netherlands where he studied theology at the Utrecht State University and the Catholic Theological University of Utrecht. After his M.A. in theology (with specializations in dogmatic theology and phenomenology of religions) and an M.Div. in pastoral studies, he worked for the Diocese of Breda as a specialist on adult education, and for the Netherlands School of Advanced Studies in Theology and Religion as research fellow.

After the public defense of his dissertation on Thomas Aquinas and the use of Scripture in his theology, he became an assistant and later associate professor of dogmatic theology and the theology of religions at the Catholic University of Nijmegen (1987-2007), where he studied Arabic and Islam as well. He contributed to the establishment of a new Department of Religious Studies in 1991 with a focus on interreligious dialogue, and as associate dean of education between 1999 and 2004 he was responsible for the development of new programs of intercultural theology and pastoral studies. He was a visiting fellow at the Catholic University of Leuven (Belgium) in 1999, St. Augustine’s College in Johannesburg (South Africa) in 2000 and 2002, and the University of Notre Dame (South Bend, Indiana) in 2004. Between 2006 and 2011 he was a visiting professor and an associate professor of theology at Loyola University Maryland with a focus on Christian-Muslim relations.

He has taught courses on World Religions, Phenomenology of Religion, Monotheism and the doctrine of God, Contemporary Christologies, Theologies of Interreligious Dialogue, Theological Hermeneutics in Intercultural and Interreligious Perspective, Mission in Various Religious Traditions, Comparative Mysticism, Christology and Interreligious Dialogue, Medieval Theology, Peace Ethics, and the Mysteries of the Life of Christ in Theology and Music.

Dr. Valkenberg’s recent research concentrates on Christian-Muslim dialogue in the context of Abrahamic partnership, both in the present and in the past. His publications include books in English on St. Thomas Aquinas (Words of the Living God, Leuven 2000), on Abrahamic dialogue in the Middle Ages (The Three Rings, Leuven 2005) and on interreligious dialogue (The Polemical Dialogue,Saarbrücken 1997). His book Sharing Lights on the Way to God: Muslim-Christian Dialogue and Theology in the Context of Abrahamic Partnership (Amsterdam / New York: Editions Rodopi, 2006), contains reflections on Muslim-Christian dialogue and readings of texts by Thomas Aquinas, Jalaluddin Rumi, al-Ghazali, Said Nursi and Fethullah Gülen from the perspective of a comparative Muslim-Christian theology. He recently edited World Religions in Dialogue: A Comparative Theological Approach (Winona MN: Anselm Academic, 2013). Recent articles cover Medieval theology and Islam (Thomas Aquinas, Nicholas of Cusa), comparative theological studies of Islam, and present-day forms of Christian-Muslim dialogue such as the “Common Word” document and its Christian reception (2010).

His research interests include topics in Christian theology such as hermeneutics and Christology, and traditions of Muslim exegesis (tafsir), theology (kalam) and mysticism (tasawwuf). His current projects include a comparative theological approach of Fethullah Gülen and the hizmet movement (under contract with CUA Press) and an interreligious reading of texts about the “Scripture People” in the Qur’an (with co-author Prof. Asma Afsaruddin, Indiana University) in the series Christian Commentaries on non-Christian sacred texts (Eerdmans/Peeters).

Dr. Valkenberg lives in Baltimore together with his spouse Theodora van Gaal (affiliate professor at Loyola University in Maryland, and PhD student at the University of Nijmegen) and their children Yanah, Joris, and Sophie. His older children live in Maastricht in the Netherlands, as does his first grandchild Julia.


Abela teaching


Contact Information

Phone: 202-319-6517
Fax: 202-319-5704

Areas of Expertise

  • Christology

  • Christian-Mulsim Relations

  • Comparative Theology

  • Interreligious Dialogue

  • Medieval Theology

  • Theology of Religiouns

Latest Publications


“How Others Bear Witness To Our Faith: Aquinas and Lumen Gentium,”  Jaarboek 2013Thomas Instituut Utrecht, Henk Schoot, ed., Utrecht: Thomas Instituut, 2014, 55-75

“Foreword,” in:  Matthew A. Tapie, Aquinas on Israel and the Church: the Question of Supersessionism in the Theology of Thomas Aquinas, Eugene OR: Pickwick Publications, 2014, ix-xii

Una Religio in Rituum Varietate: Religious Pluralism, the Qur’an, and Nicholas of Cusa,” in: Nicholas of Cusa and Islam: Polemic and Dialogue in the Late Middle Ages (Studies in Medieval and Reformation Traditions, 183) eds. Ian Christopher Levy, Rita George-Tvrtkovi? & Donald F. Duclow, Leiden – Boston: Brill, 2014, 30-48.

“One Faith, Different Rites: Nicholas of Cusa’s Awareness of Religious Pluralism,” in: Understanding Religious Pluralism: Perspectives from Religious Studies and Theology, edited by Peter C. Phan and Jonathan S. Ray, Eugene OR: Pickwick Publications, 2014, 192-208.“Navigating Neuralgic Issues: The Art of David B. Burrell, C.S.C.,”  Modern Theology 30/1 (January 2014) 146-152

“Introduction: Exploring World Religions through Dialogue,” and “Conclusion: Learning World Religions by Encountering Religious Others,”  in: World Religions: A Comparative Theological Approach, Pim Valkenberg, ed. (Winona MN: Anselm Academic, 2013) pp. 7-14 and 249-261


TRS 290 World Religions

TRS 395 Christian-Muslim Relations

TRS 398 Introduction to Islam

TRS 491 Theology of World Religions

TRS 780B Religion and Hermeneutics

TRS 782B Interreligious Dialogue

TRS 782E Encounters Between Abrahamic Religions

TRS 864C Muslim God, Christian God

TRS 891B Comparative Readings of the Qur'an



Course Descriptions


Curriculum Vitae