Contact: James Todd, Duke University News & Communications, 919-681-8061, firstname.lastname@example.org; Güven Güzelderecan be reached at 919-660-3068 or email@example.com through Nov. 30; beginning Dec. 1 he can be reached in
"This pope is an academic pope," said Guven Guzeldere, a professor of philosophy at Duke who is from
Güzeldereteaches a summer study abroad course in
"In the pope's mind, the European and Christian identity has been shaped in a very fundamental way by the rational philosophical inquiry that was developed in ancient
Güzelderesaid the pope's visit is also a political move that would bring together Orthodoxy and Catholicism and situate them against Protestantism.
"The pope thinks this is particularly important in this day and age because he thinks Protestantism took the rational essence out of Christianity and set up the modern contrasts of science versus religion and faith versus reason," Güzelderesaid.
"He also wants to situate this Greco-Roman Christian concept of God who acts according to reason against what he considers the Muslim concept of a transcendent God who is not bound by rationality."
Güzelderesaid he has found the pope's reading of Islamic theology "surprisingly cursory, and given the deep theological disagreements between the Orthodox and Catholic treatment of issues such as the Immaculate Conception, purgatory and the professed infallibility of the pope, a profound allegiance of the two churches seems more like a bit of wishful thinking."
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