"Habent sua fata ¡¡belli." When Terentianus Maurus, a Latin grammarian, probably living toward the end of the 2nd century A.D., wrote this, he was thinking about the reader who determines the destiny of a book. For the full text of the often-cited verse claims that "pro captu lectoris," "depending on the capacity of the reader," little books have their fate. However, I am of the opinion that books find their destiny already in the time of their origin. At least regarding this little book I can confirm this.
• The book would not appear without the wonderful students I had at Marquette University, Milwaukee, WI, who attended my class on theology of religion, who were eager to learn more about it, and who practiced dialogue.
• The book would not be published if Fr. Thomas Krettek SJ, now provincial superior of the Wisconsin Jesuit province, had not invited me to hold the Wade Chair at Marquette in the spring semester of 2007.
• The book could also not be offered had there not been a German version published in the series of TOPOS books edited by Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Beinert, of the publishing house F. Pustet in Regensburg. It was Wolfgang Beinert who inspired me to write the little book for a greater audience interested in the subject of increasing religious pluralism.
I have many reasons to express my gratitude to many companions. I want to thank, first of all, the members of the Jesuit community at 1404 W Wisconsin Ave, Milwaukee, for their friendship, and especially those who gave me the opportunity to discuss various points of content and language with them. I want to mention by name Fr. Robert J. Joda SJ and Fr. Robert Faricy SJ, of course, the chair holder of theology Fr. John D. Laurance SJ, and also Fr. Richard F. Sherburne SJ. I have to thank the colleagues of the Department of Theology, especially Dr. Irfan Omar, Fr. Philip J. Rossi SJ, Dr. John Schmitt and Dr.
Ulrich Lehner for their encouragement and advice. I am grateful to the publisher Dr. Andrew Tallon, director of Marquette University Press, Milwaukee, who accepted the book in his program, to the manager of Marquette University Press, Ms. Maureen Kondrick, and to the always helpful secretariat of the Department of Theology, especially Ms. Patricia Psuik.
Habent sua fata libelli. Now I invite the reader to determine the effect of the book. I wish only that it will contribute to the improvement of an interfaith atmosphere and cooperation so badly needed in today's society.
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