Het wereldparlement van religies te Chicago (1893) | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
Volume 69, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 2542-6583
  • E-ISSN: 2590-3268


The aim of this contribution is to give a coherent account of the World Parliament of Religions held in Chicago in 1893. The meeting was organised in the context of the Columbian World Exhibition, which celebrated 400 years of America. The Parliament convened in the main hall of the Chicago Art Institute and attracted 150,000 people, according to one of the lengthy reports. Various aspects are addressed: the objectives of the organisers, the character of the various reports of this mega-event, the participation of women, the relationship between the Christian organisers and the representatives of the East, the various – opposing – claims about the superiority of specific forms of religion and culture (for instance, the juxtaposition of the material West and the spiritual East), the tendency to spiritualize religion, and the role of the emerging field of religious studies versus the ‘interfaith’ character of the Parliament. It is hardly possible to draw one final conclusion from this heterogeneous event, but perhaps one can say that the participants were convinced of the ultimate meaning of ‘religion’ – however defined – as a force against indulging in consumerism and materialism.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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