Wilhelmus Valkenberg, Ph.D.
Ordinary Professor of Religion and Culture
Christology, Christian-Muslim Relations
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 MA in theology (with specializations in dogmatic theology and phenomenology of religions) and an MA 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 defence of his dissertation on Thomas Aquinas and the use of Scripture in his theology, he became an assistant and 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 most recent book in English is: Sharing Lights on the Way to God: Muslim-Christian Dialogue and Theology in the Context of Abrahamic Partnership (Amsterdam / New York: Editions Rodopi, 2006), containing 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. His recent articles (in Dutch, English, and German) include a comparative theological study of the concept of revelation in Christianity and Islam (2009), an analysis of the background of the Muslim “Common Word” document and its Christian reception (2010), and two articles about Nicholas of Cusa’s theology of learned ignorance and its relation to his “faithful interpretation” of the Qur’an (both 2011).
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 an interreligious reading of texts about the “People of the Book” in the Qur’an (with co-author Prof. Asma Afsaruddin, Indiana University) and a textbook on World Religions from a comparative theological perspective (Anselm Academics, to be published in 2013). This last book will contain a chapter on experiential learning and service-learning as methods to learn from religious others.
Dr. Valkenberg lives in Baltimore together with his spouse Theodora van Gaal who works as Director of Education and Youth Ministry for the Catholic Commuinity of South-Baltimore, and their children Yanah (15), Joris (12), and Sophie (10). His older children Irene and Antonie live in Maastricht in the Netherlands.