“Beyond compare” and Christian-Vaishnavite encounters

“Beyond compare” and Christian-Vaishnavite encounters

Recently,  the book, “Beyond compare” written by Francis Xavier Clooney, Professor of  Theology, Harvard University appears to have created a lot of heat among the Vaishnavites.

Beyond compare: Wrapper of the book

Beyond compare: Wrapper of the book

About the comparison of Vedanta Desikan and Francis de Sales, they have not only relished, but also raised serious objections.

Beyond Compare is an amazing book. The research is thorough and the appreciation of Sri Vedanta Desika’s thoughts and writings prove beyond doubt that this Harvard Divinity School Professor has imbibed the teachings of our great Teacher in the true spirit of a Srivaishnava. The comparative study of St.Francis de Sales’ Treatise and Swami Desika’s Srimad Rahasyatrayasara makes most interesting reading and invites Srivaishnavas to read about the Catholic saint’s ideas on loving surrender to God. Beyond Compare is truly beyond compare! .”—Anuradha Sridharan, associate editor, Sri Nrsimhapriya

In his commentary, Clooney achieves multiple goals—the book is a contribution to Christian spiritual theology, highlighting for today the beautiful insights into love by St. Francis de Sales (1567-1623), Doctor of the Church. At the same time it points out how even in our world of many religious paths, we can recover and deepen the ancient tradition of loving surrender into God’s hands by opening ourselves to the wisdom of India and one of Hindu India’s most famous traditions of loving God, explained to us by the south Indian Hindu theologian Sri Vedanta Desika (1268-1369). Clooney goes further, offering a comparative study of these classic works in which he self-consciously writes about the process of reading the two works and the impact this approach has on the reader. The good advice found through this deep engagement with these texts offers a deeper insight into how we can most fruitfully and spiritually think about religious pluralism in the 21st century, remaining open in heart and mind while loyal still to our own tradition.

As mentioned elsewhere, some of them have been unhappy the way in which he is being encouraged and promoted by the Vaishnavites of India and abroad.

the preface of the book can be seen here:

http://press.georgetown.edu/pdfs/9781589012110_Preface.pdf

Table of content can be seen here:

http://press.georgetown.edu/pdfs/9781589012110_TOC.pdf

In the process of “inculturation”, no Christian has ever hidden their agenda and therefore, it is quite amusing that these learned Vaishnavite elites would not know Clooney’s motive.

Francis X. Clooney Anand Amaladass

Francis Clooney and Anand Amaladass have brought several books on the subject of “comparative theology”.

Having helped him, as could seen in the reports available as early as 1992, there is no meaning in crying wolf about his activities.

Since 2005, there has been a feeling that Clooney has been going beyond the limits in his methods of “inculturation” involving his friends in such “inter faith dialogues” with or without their knowledge.

M A Venkatakrishnan Anbil Ramaswamy

It is learnt that under the auspices of “Centre for Policy Studies”, Clooney was reportedly invited for a “dialogue” and he was allowed to speak. But later, when discussion time, the attended scholars and others reportedly appreciated him and even honoured him with salvai and all. Only S. Gurumurthy asked one question pointing out that his writings had been addressed to the western audience E for which Clooney replied in affirmative!

S. Gurumurthy Velukkudi Krishnan

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7 Responses to ““Beyond compare” and Christian-Vaishnavite encounters”

  1. vedaprakash Says:

    An Exploration of Interreligious Understanding:

    http://press.georgetown.edu/pdfs/pr/9781589012110.pr.pdf

    A Hindu-Christian Perspective WASHINGTON D.C. — Beyond Compare:

    St. Francis de Sales and Śrī Vedānta Deśika on Loving Surrender to God is a remarkable work that offers a commentary on spiritual learning for the 21st century rooted in two classic texts from the Hindu and Christian
    traditions: the Essence of the Three Auspicious Mysteries by Śrī Vedānta Deśika and Treatise on the Love of God by St. Francis de Sales. Written by Francis X. Clooney, SJ, of Harvard Divinity School and considered by many to be the country’s preeminent scholar in comparative theology, the book is a stunning display of Clooney’s thirty years of studies
    in Hindu traditions. In the book, Clooney examines how each author understands the role of reason, scripture, theological presuppositions, imagination, and the ethics of “loving surrender” to God.

    Beyond Compare achieves multiple goals—the book is a contribution to Christian spiritual theology, highlighting for today the beautiful insights into love by St. Francis de Sales (1567-1623), Doctor of the Church. At the same time it points out how even in our world of many religious paths, we can recover and deepen the ancient tradition of loving
    surrender into God’s hands by opening ourselves to the wisdom of India and one of Hindu India’s most famous traditions of loving God, explained to us by the south Indian Hindu theologian Śrī Vedānta Deśika (1268-1369). Clooney goes further, offering a comparative study of these classic works in which he self-consciously writes about the
    process of reading the two works and the impact this approach has on the reader. This deep engagement with these texts offers a deeper insight into how we can most fruitfully and spiritually think about religious pluralism in the twenty-first century, remaining open in heart and mind while loyal still to our own tradition.

    Not merely a book about loving surrender to God, Beyond Compare offers us the opportunity to advance along that path ourselves, learning from the wisdom of St. Francis de Sales and Śrī Vedānta Deśika, meditating on their two paths together, deepening our own love and willingness to surrender in love to God. Alexander Pocetto, of DeSales
    University, calls Clooney’s work “rich and rewarding, especially in the novel and refreshing way in which the Treatise on the Love of God is read and reflected upon in the light of a recognized scholarly work in an entirely different religious tradition. Moreover, theologians and philosophers interested in furthering the debate and dialogue between
    faith and reason or religion and reason will relish the observations and insights demonstrating in an engaging fashion both the power and limitations of ‘undisciplined’ reason.”

    Francis X. Clooney, SJ, is Parkman Professor of Divinity and Comparative Theology in the Harvard Divinity School at Harvard University.

    PUBLICATION DATE: November 2008, 288 pages
    ISBN 978‐1‐58901‐211‐0, paperback $34.95/£20.75
    CONTACT: Jacqueline Beilhart, Publicist, (202) 687-9298, jb594@georgetown.edu

  2. vedaprakash Says:

    Introduction to Comparative Theology and the Theology of Religions
    September 5, 2007: subject to revision before and during semester
    Francis X. Clooney, S. J. (fclooney@hds.harvard.edu)
    HDS 3101/Religion 1040
    Course Location: Andover 102 Tuesday-Thursday 10:00-11:30
    Office: CSWR, 2nd Floor Teaching Assistant: Harpreet Singh
    (singh@fas.harvard.edu)
    Requirements:
    Regular class attendance and participation; weekly reflection (1-2 pp., on the reading of
    the week unless otherwise specified) due on Thursdays; mid-term paper (approx. 12
    pages, due end of October) and end term paper (approx. 12 pages, due in January) —
    papers must be related to course theme and to a course reading or readings, but the actual
    theme is chosen by the student in consultation with the professor
    Required Books: only the required readings, as below
    Recommended Book: Paul Knitter, Introducing Theologies of Religions (background for
    those not familiar with the issues in the theology of religions; will not be directly
    discussed in class)
    Required Readings (available on reserve in Andover Library, and as pdf files at course
    site)
    1. Gospel according to Matthew 25-28
    2. Bhagavad Gita 9-12 (recommended translation: R. C. Zaehner)
    3. Nostra Aetate
    4. Dominus Iesus
    5. Notifications on Jacques Dupuis and Roger Haight
    6. Karl Barth, Church Dogmatics I.2, “Religion as Unbelief,” “True Religion”
    (excerpts), T & T Clark
    7. Francis X. Clooney, Beyond Compare: St. Francis de Sales and Sri Vedanta
    Desika on Surrender to God (mss.)
    8. Vedanta Desika, “The True God,” Chapter 6 in Srimad Rahasyatrayasara;
    Kumbakonam, 1956; adapted from the translation of M R Rajagopalan Aiyyangar.
    Private Publishing by Agnihotram Ramanuja Tathachariar.
    9. Jacques Dupuis, “The ‘One Mediator’ and ‘Participated Mediations,’” c.7,
    Christianity and the Religions, Orbis Books, 163-194
    10. Jeannine Hill Fletcher, “”We are All Hybrids,” Monopoly on Salvation
    (Continuum), 82-101
    11. Roger Haight, “Jesus and the World Religions,” c. 14 in Jesus Symbol of God,
    Orbis Books, 395-423
    9/25/07 2
    12. Roberto de Nobili, “Inquiry on the Meaning of ‘God’” (tr. by A. Amaladass and
    F.X. Clooney)
    13. Guru Nanak, Arbad narbad dhundkara, and selections from Guru Gobind Singh
    14. Guru Nanak, The Ballad of God and Man (Asa Di Var; excerpt to be assigned)
    15. Michelle Roberts, “Flowing and Crossing: The Somatic Theologies of Mechthild
    and Lalla,” from Emory University Ph.D. Dissertation
    16. Swami Saradananda, The Great Master (Ramakrishna), 11-16, 259-262, 294-297
    17. Dayananda Sarasvati: excerpts from Satyarth Prakash, c. 13, introduction and
    “Comments on the Gospel according to Matthew”
    18. Ram Swarup, “Semitic Religions and Yogic Spirituality,” c. 3, Hindu View of
    Christianity and Islam, Delhi: Voice of India, 57-117
    19. Tracy Tiemeier, “Restless Hearts: Reading between Antal and Rita Nakashima
    Brock,” from Boston College Dissertation
    20. Swami Vivekananda, Addresses from the 1893 Parliament of Religions
    CLASS AND READINGS SCHEDULE
    September
    18 Introduction
    20 Nostra Aetate (1965) and Clooney, Beyond Compare 1, “Two Spiritual Classics and
    the Possibilities They Present” (2007)
    Traditional Apologetics
    25 de Nobili, “Inquiry on the Meaning of ‘God’”
    27 Desika, “The True God”
    October
    2 Clooney, Beyond Compare, c. 2, “Thinking, Writing, Reading: Along the Way to
    Loving Surrender”
    4 Recap
    9 Reading a Hindu scripture: Bhagavad Gita 9-12
    Scripture
    11 Reading a Sikh scripture: Arbad narbad dhundkara (Guru Nanak); selections from
    Guru Gobind Singh
    16 Reading a Christian scripture: Gospel according to Matthew 25-28
    18 Critiquing a Christian scripture, by reason: Dayananda Saraswati, excerpts from
    Satyarth Prakash
    23 Barth, “Religion as Unbelief” and “True Religion”
    25 Clooney, Beyond Compare, c. 3, “Awakening: Reading and the Education of the
    Reader”
    9/25/07 3
    Systematizing the Problems and Solutions
    30 Recap
    November
    1 Dupuis, “The ‘One Mediator’ and ‘Participated Mediations
    6 Dominus Iesus
    8 Haight, “Jesus and the World Religions,” and Vatican Notification First Paper due
    13 Recap (recommended, not required: Clooney, c. 4, Surrender: Writing and Reading
    the Ultimate Act)
    Critiques from the Indian Context
    15 Excerpt from the Asa Di Var of Guru Nanak (to be assigned)
    20 AAR, no class
    22 Thanksgiving, no class
    27 Saradananda, The Great Master (excerpts) and Vivekananda, “Address from the 1893
    Parliament of Religions”
    29 Swarup, “”Semitic Religions and Yogic Spirituality”
    New Horizons:
    December
    4 Hill Fletcher, “We are All Hybrids”
    6 Roberts, “Flowing and Crossing”
    11 Tiemeier, “Restless Hearts”
    13 Beyond Compare 5, “As We Become Ourselves: On the Ethics of Loving Surrender
    and of Persistence in Reading”
    18 Recap Second Paper Due in Januar

  3. vedaprakash Says:

    Clooney’s papers on “inculturation”:

    Dialogue Not Monologue: Benedict XVI & Religious Pluralism
    Francis X Clooney, S.J.
    This essay reviews essays by Cardinal Ratzinger – Pope Benedict XVI – on religious pluralism, truth, and tolerance, collected in Many Religions (1998), which concentrates on Christian-Jewish relations, and Truth and Tolerance(2005) which deals more broadly with religious diversity. As test cases, the essay highlights examples the Cardinal draws from the Indian context. It also takes into account several documents from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, including Dominus Iesus. This article appears in Commonweal: A Review of Religion, Politics and Culture, Volume CXXXII, Number 18, October 21, 2005.

    I Am Evangelizing Christians
    Francis X Clooney, S.J.
    Frontline is a premier Indian fortnightly magazine of news and opinion, and it regularly carries religious news items regarding events in India and the West as well. When Frank Clooney was in Chennai this summer, Nandagopal R. Menon, a Frontline journalist who specializes in religious news, interviewed him about the rationale and substance of his many years of study of Hindu traditions.

    Learning to Let Go: Francis Xavier, American Jesuits, and Religious Pluralism
    Francis X Clooney, S.J.
    The 450th anniversary of the death of St. Francis Xavier (1506-1552) provides us with an opportunity to reflect anew on mission and interreligious encounter as these developed in the first years of the Society of Jesus. As Francis X. Clooney, S.J., suggests in this reflection which appeared in National Jesuit News in December 2002, Xavier’s example also challenges us to assess our way of proceeding as companions of Jesus in a world of pluralism: What do we need, and what do we need to let go of, in order to communicate effectively in the 21st century?

    Some Bibliographical Resources for Jesuits in encounter with the world’s religious traditions:
    We list some basic bibliography comprised of “primary sources,” Jesuit writings, premodern and contemporary, which exemplify the Jesuit encounter with other traditions. The list is not meant to be comprehensive, and we will list only a few secondary sources. We also welcome your suggestions for additions to the list.

    Christianity in Japan. This site has a variety of articles, mostly by Jesuits, on the historical and theological interrelationship between Christianity and the people of Japan.

    A Charism for Dialog: Advice from the Early Jesuit Missionaries in Our World of Religious Pluralism
    Francis X Clooney, S.J.
    For a generation Jesuits have recognized the importance of retrieving the original Ignatian and Jesuit charism in order to renew the ministry of the Spiritual Exercises, formation, governance in the Society. Now that the Society (at the 34th General Congregation) has identified interreligious dialogue as a key component in our mission today, it is time to look back to the theory and practice of the early Jesuit missionaries to detect their charism for interreligious encounter, to learn from them, and also to identify unique features of our current situation. While there are numerous scholarly studies of the Jesuit encounters with other cultures in different parts of the world, it is not easy for the non-specialist to grasp essential features of the early Jesuit contribution in brief form, and few studies attempt to survey the global scene. In this work (Studies in Jesuit Spirituality, March 2002) Francis X. Clooney, S.J., turns to primary sources in order to reflect on some key features of the early Jesuit encounters (in the first 200 years of the Society) with other religious traditions in the Americas, Africa, and Asia.

    Reflections on the American Jesuit Response to Our Mission and Interreligious Dialogue
    Francis X Clooney, S.J.
    In 1998 Frank Clooney became the Coordinator for the Jesuits of the United States of their initiative in regard to Mission and Interreligious Dialogue in response to the 1995 34th General Congregation . This 1998 report for the National Jesuit News was his first statement of the nature and goals of the initiative .

    Report of the Secretariat for Interreligious Dialogue: A Response
    Francis X Clooney, S.J.
    This brief essay responds to the Report on Dialogue written for the 1999 international meeting of Jesuit delegates in Rome in 1999.

    Goddess in the Classroom: Is the Promotion of Religious Diversity a Dangerous Idea?
    Francis X Clooney, S.J.
    This essay was written for an issue of Conversations in Jesuit Higher Education (Fall 1999) commemorating the deaths of the six Jesuits, their cook and her daughter in El Salvador in 1989; the issue had the general title, Do Ideas have Dangerous Consequences? In this essay Frank Clooney puts forward the thesis that we are better off if we attend positively and attentively to the religious diversity that flourishes on Jesuit campuses today.

    Dominus Iesus and the New Millennium
    Francis X Clooney, S.J.
    A key task of Jesuits involved in interreligious dialogue is to study, reflect on, and respond to documents which are issued by various offices of the Vatican. Here in repsonse to Dominus Iesus, a document of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, we collect several recent reflections by the American Jesuits Francis X. Clooney, Michael A. Fahey, and Francis A Sullivan, and by Samuel Rayan from India and Aloysius Pieris from Sri Lanka.

  4. vedaprakash Says:

    The Sixty First Annual Convention The Catholic Theological Society of America on the theme of “Theology in Dialogue” weas held at San Antonio Hyatt Regency, San Antonio, Texas from June 8–11, 2006.

    Clooney participated and presented papers as follows:

    “Christian Commentaries on the Bhagavad Gita”
    Regency East-3
    Convener & Moderator:
    Leo Lefebure, Georgetown University
    Panelists: Francis X. Clooney, Harvard University

    “Indology and the Theology of Religions: Regency East-2
    A Conversation with J. Patrick Olivelle”: Selected Session
    Convener: Francis X. Clooney, Harvard University
    Moderator: Paul J. Griffiths, University of Illinois
    Presenter: J. Patrick Olivelle, University of Texas
    Respondents: Francis X. Clooney, Harvard University

  5. Francis Clooney’s talk on his books at Chennai: A Vaishnavite-Christian dialogue « inculturation Says:

    […] inculturation Just another WordPress.com weblog « “Beyond compare” and Christian-Vaishnavite encounters […]

  6. M. Nachiappan Says:

    In spite of your arguments made, I do not find any link between the methdology of Clooney with that of “Inculturation”.

  7. The Christian-Vaishnavite dialogue continues: Clooney’s 2011 visit to Chennai! « inculturation Says:

    […] https://vaticanculturation.wordpress.com/2009/07/31/beyond-compare-and-christian-vaishnavite-encounte… […]

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