Francis X. Clooney, S.J.
Professor of Comparative Theology
Director of the Center for the Study of World Religions
- BA, Fordham University
- MDiv, Weston School of Theology
- PhD, University of Chicago
Francis X. Clooney, S.J., joined the Divinity School in 2005. He is Parkman Professor of Divinity and Professor of Comparative Theology and, since 2010, director of the Center for the Study of World Religions.
After earning his doctorate in South Asian languages and civilizations (University of Chicago, 1984), he taught at Boston College for 21 years before coming to Harvard.
His primary areas of Indological scholarship are theological commentarial writings in the Sanskrit and Tamil traditions of Hindu India. He is also a leading figure globally in the developing field of comparative theology, a discipline distinguished by attentiveness to the dynamics of theological learning deepened through the study of traditions other than one's own. He has also written on the Jesuit missionary tradition, particularly in India, on the early Jesuit pan-Asian discourse on reincarnation, and on the dynamics of dialogue and interreligious learning in the contemporary world.
Clooney is the author of numerous articles and books, including Thinking Ritually: Retrieving the Purva Mimamsa of Jaimini (Vienna, 1990), Theology after Vedanta: An Experiment in Comparative Theology (State University of New York Press, 1993), Beyond Compare: St. Francis de Sales and Sri Vedanta Deshika on Loving Surrender to God (Georgetown University Press, 2008), The Truth, the Way, the Life: Christian Commentary on the Three Holy Mantras of the Shrivaisnava Hindus (Peeters Publishing, 2008), and Comparative Theology: Deep Learning across Religious Borders (Wiley-Blackwell, 2010). He edited The New Comparative Theology: Voices from the Next Generation (Continuum, 2010) and co-edited European Perspectives on the New Comparative Theology (MDPI, 2014). His most recent monograph, His Hiding Place Is Darkness: A Hindu-Catholic Theopoetics of Divine Absence (Stanford University Press, 2013), is an exercise in dramatic theology, exploring the absence of God as dramatized in the biblical Song of Songs and the Hindu Holy Word of Mouth (Tiruvaymoli). He is currently editing, with Klaus von Stosch (University of Paderborn), “How to Do Comparative Theology,” a collaborative project undertaken by American and European scholars, for Fordham University Press; finishing a short book on the future of Hindu-Christian learning (Routledge); and working on a larger ongoing project that examines consolidation and synthesis as practices in medieval Hindu theology and the implications of these practices for interreligious learning.
He is a Roman Catholic priest and a member of the Society of Jesus, serves regularly in a Catholic parish on weekends, and blogs in the “In All Things” section of America magazine online. In July 2010 he was elected a Fellow of the British Academy and is currently also a Professorial Research Fellow at the Australian Catholic University.
- His Hiding Place Is Darkness: A Hindu-Catholic Theopoetics of Divine Absence (Stanford University Press, 2013) Publisher page
- The New Comparative Theology: Interreligious Insights from the Next Generation (Continuum, 2010) Publisher page
- Comparative Theology: Deep Learning Across Religious Borders (Blackwell Publishing, 2010) Publisher page
- The Truth, the Way, the Life: Christian Commentary on the Three Holy Mantras of the Srivaisnava Hindus (Peeters Publishing, 2008) Publisher page
- Beyond Compare: St. Francis de Sales and Sri Vedanta Desika on Loving Surrender to God (Georgetown University Press, 2008) Publisher page
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