Francis X. Clooney, S.J.
Professor of Comparative Theology
- BA, Fordham University
- MDiv, Weston School of Theology
- PhD, University of Chicago
Francis X. Clooney, S.J., joined the Harvard Divinity School faculty in 2005. He is Parkman Professor of Divinity and Professor of Comparative Theology. 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), Comparative Theology: Deep Learning across Religious Borders (Wiley-Blackwell, 2010), and His Hiding Place Is Darkness: A Hindu-Catholic Theopoetics of Divine Absence (Stanford University Press, 2013). Recent books include the co-edited How to Do Comparative Theology (Fordham University Press, 2017), The Future of Hindu-Christian Studies: A Theological Inquiry (Routledge, 2017), and Learning Interreligiously: In the Text, in the World (Fortress, 2018).
He is currently completing Slow Learning in Fast Times: On Reading Six Hindu and Christian Classics and How It Matters, based on the 2017 James W. Richard Lectures at the University of Virginia, and writing shorter essays on the the Manual of Daily Worship (Nityam) by by the Hindu theologian Ramanuja, and on Constantine Beschi, S.J., a Jesuit missionary in South India in the eighteenth century.
He is a Roman Catholic priest and has been a member of the Society of Jesus for 50 years. He serves regularly in a Catholic parish on weekends. From 2007 to 2016 blogged regularly in the “In All Things” section of America magazine online, and his current blogsite, The Inner Edge, can be found here.
In July 2010 he was elected a Fellow of the British Academy and has served as a Professorial Research Fellow at the Australian Catholic University. From 2010 to 2017, he was the Director of the Center for the Study of World Religions here at Harvard.
- Professor Clooney's personal website
- "In 'Gitanjali,' I Found Wisdom, Lost It, and Found It Again," National Catholic Reporter, January 2, 2017.
- "Pope's Gender Comments Underscore Uneasy Fit with Partisan Politics," The Christian Science Monitor, October 5, 2016.
- "In Massachusetts, an 11-Year Vigil to Redefine Church," The Christian Science Monitor, October 16, 2015.
- "With the Pope at Ground Zero," America magazine, September 26, 2015.
- "Forgiveness as the First Step in Reconciliation," The Conversation, June 26, 2015.
- "Reactions of Relief as LCWR Oversight Ends," Global Sisters Report, April 17, 2015.
- “In All Things” blog
- His Hiding Place Is Darkness: A Hindu-Catholic Theopoetics of Divine Absence (Stanford University Press, 2013)
- The New Comparative Theology: Interreligious Insights from the Next Generation (Continuum, 2010)
- Comparative Theology: Deep Learning Across Religious Borders (Blackwell Publishing, 2010)
- The Truth, the Way, the Life: Christian Commentary on the Three Holy Mantras of the Srivaisnava Hindus (Peeters Publishing, 2008)
- Beyond Compare: St. Francis de Sales and Sri Vedanta Desika on Loving Surrender to God (Georgetown University Press, 2008)
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