The field of Hindu-Christian studies revives theology as a particularly useful interreligious discipline. Though a sub-division of the broader Hindu-Christian dialogue, it is also a distinct field of study, proper to a smaller group of religious intellectuals. At its best it envisions a two-sided, mutual conversation, grounded in scholars’ knowledge of their own tradition and of the other.
Based on the Westcott-Teape Lectures given in India and at the University of Cambridge, this book explores the possibilities and problems attendant upon the field of Hindu-Christian Studies, the reasons for occasional flourishing and decline in such studies, and the fragile conditions under which the field can flourish in the 21st century. The chapters examine key instances of Christian–Hindu learning, highlighting the Jesuit engagement with Hinduism, the modern Hindu reception of Western thought, and certain advances in the study of religion that enhance intellectual cooperation.
This book is a significant contribution to a sophisticated understanding of Christianity and Hinduism in relation. It presents a robust defense of comparative theology and of Hindu-Christian Studies as a necessarily theological discipline. It will be of wide interest in the fields of Religious Studies, Theology, Christianity and Hindu Studies.
Table of Contents
1. Prologue: Framing the Questions
2. Lecture One: The Jesuit Study of Hinduism: An Admirable and Imperfect Model for Hindu-Christian Studies
3. Lecture Two: How (and Why) Some Hindus Have Studied Christianity
4. Lecture Three: How the Study of Religions Can Rejuvenate Hindu-Christian Studies
5. Epilogue: Retrieving the Delicate Balance of Hindu-Christian Studies
Francis X. Clooney, SJ, is Parkman Professor of Divinity and Professor of Comparative Theology at Harvard Divinity School, Harvard University, USA. From 2010-2017, he was also the Director of the Center for the Study of World Religions. He is one of the foremost authorities in Hindu-Christian studies, and a leading proponent of comparative theology, a field of study which, though informed by philological scholarship and advances in the study of religion, respects the inner logic of faith traditions even while employing intellectual tools not defined by any one tradition.