Francis X. Clooney

Francis X. Clooney

Parkman Professor of Divinity and Professor of Comparative Theology
Francis X. Clooney

Francis X. Clooney, S.J., joined the Divinity School 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). 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 recentl books are The Future of Hindu-Christian Studies: A Theological Inquiry (Routledge, 2017) and the just released How to Do Comparative Theology (Fordham University Press, 2018), co-edited with Klaus von Stosch.

He is a Roman Catholic priest and a member of the Society of Jesus, serves regularly in a Catholic parish on weekends, and from 2007–2016 blogged regularly in the “In All Things” section of America magazine online. 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, and in June 2017 received the John Courtney Murray Award, the highest honor awarded by the Catholic Theological Society of America.

From 2010 to 2017, he was the Director of the Center for the Study of World Religions here at Harvard.


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