RELIGIONS AS WAYS OF LIFE, PATHS OF STUDY, COMMUNITIES IN THE MAKING

  • Francis X. Clooney Parkman Professor of Divinity and Professor of Comparative Theology at Harvard University
Keywords: Being-Interreligious, Christian and Hindu Traditions of Learning, Study as a Way of Life

Abstract

The thesis of this essay is relatively simple, familiar, but also challenging, if we take it seriously: religion is a constitutive and inevitable part of 21st century life and not a dimension that is option, able to be put aside in a secular society. All citizens, even those interested only in their own religion or not personally committed to any religion, must know religions well, for the common good of all people in a city, state, or nation. If we are to take religions seriously, we must be committed to thinking non-reductively about life’s ‘religious dimension,’ retrieving a rich sense of being-religious, and affirming religion as a whole way of life, rather than one component among many. In particular, scholars and professors, their students, and the wider reading public need to cultivate practices of interreligious reading as a course of daily life in the 21st century. This thesis is explored with reference to the author’s reflections on religion as a way of life, the vocation of teaching and the practice of interreligious teaching, and his own study of Hindu traditions as a Christian for nearly 50 years.

Author Biography

Francis X. Clooney, Parkman Professor of Divinity and Professor of Comparative Theology at Harvard University

Francis X. Clooney, S. J. is the Parkman Professor of Divinity and Professor of Comparative Theology at Harvard University. 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. His most recent books are Reading the Hindu and Christian Classics: Why and How Deep Learning Still Matters (University of Virginia Press, 2019) and Western Jesuits in India: Tracing Their Paths, Reassessing Their Goals (Jesuit Studies Series 28, Brill, 2020).

References

Francis X. Clooney. “Enlightenment Here: Steven Pinker’s Myth of a Secular Harvard,” Commonweal (March 28, 2018).

Francis X. Clooney. “Interreligious Learning in a Changing Church: From Paul VI to Francis,” Irish Theological Quarterly. 82.4 (2017), 269-283.

Francis X. Clooney. “Reading the World Religiously: Literate Christianity in a World of Many Religions,” Theological Literacy for the Twenty-First Century, Rodney L. Peterson and Nancy M. Rourke (eds.). Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans, 2002, 242-256.

Francis X. Clooney. “Teaching and Learning Interreligiously in a Time of Change,” in Georgetown Companion to Interreligious Studies. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press. Forthcoming.

Francis X. Clooney. Comparative Theology: Deep Learning across Religious Borders. Chichester, West Sussex, U.K.: Malden, MA: Wiley Blackwell, 2010.

Francis X. Clooney. Reading the Hindu and Christian Classics: Why and How Deep Learning Still Matters. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2019.

Lucinda Mosher. Georgetown Companion to Interreligious Studies. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press. Forthcoming.

Stephen Prothero. Religious Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know — and Doesn’t. San Francisco: Harper, 2007.

Steven Pinker. Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress. New York: Viking, 2018.

Tomoko Masuzawa. The Invention of World Religions: Or, How European Universalism Was Preserved in the Language of Pluralism. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005.

Published
2020-09-30
How to Cite
Clooney, F. X. (2020). RELIGIONS AS WAYS OF LIFE, PATHS OF STUDY, COMMUNITIES IN THE MAKING. Journal of Dharma, 45(3), 311-322. Retrieved from http://dvkjournals.in/index.php/jd/article/view/3166