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western jesuit scholars in indiaWestern Jesuit Scholars in India. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2020.


This book collects fifteen essays and book sections about the Jesuits in India written over a period of more than thirty years. Many of these pieces, unavailable for years, now appear together for the first time. The essays open a window on the 450-year Jesuit history in India, from Roberto de Nobili in the seventeenth century to the leading Jesuit scholars of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. The volume looks back into this long missionary history, but Clooney’s eye is also on the question of relevance today: How ought interreligious learning take place in the twenty-first century?


Reading the HinduReading the Hindu and Christian ClassicsWhy and How Deep Learning Still Matters University of Virginia Press (October 28, 2019).

We live in an era of unprecedented growth in knowledge. Never before has there been so great an availability of and access to information in both print and online. Yet as opportunities to educate ourselves have greatly increased, our time for reading has significantly diminished. And when we do read, we rarely have the patience to read in the slow, sustained fashion that great books require if we are to be truly transformed by them.

In Reading the Hindu and Christian Classics, renowned Harvard Divinity School professor Francis Clooney argues that our increasing inability to read in a concerted manner is particularly notable in the realm of religion, where the proliferation of information detracts from the learning of practices that require slow and patient reading. Although awareness of the world’s many religions is at an all-time high, deep knowledge of the various traditions has suffered. Clooney challenges this trend by considering six classic Hindu and Christian texts dealing with ritual and law, catechesis and doctrine, and devotion and religious participation, showing how, in distinctive ways, such texts instruct, teach truth, and draw willing readers to participate in the realities they are learning. Through readings of these seminal scriptural and theological texts, he reveals the rewards of a more spiritually transformative mode of reading—and how individuals and communities can achieve it.

Learning Interreligiously: In the Text, In the World

Learning Interreligiously: In the Text, In the World

Fortress Press, June 2018

Learning Interreligiously offers a series of about one hundred short pieces, written online between 2008 and 2016. They are meant for a wide range of readers interested in interreligious dialogue, interreligious learning, and the realities of Hindu-Christian encounter today, and are rich in insights drawn from teaching, travels in America and India, and the author’s research on sacred texts. The author, a Catholic priest who has spent more than forty years learning from Hinduism and observing religion as a plus and minus in today’s world, has much to share with readers. Some pieces were prompted by items in the news, some go deeper into traditions and probe the rich Scriptures and practices going back millennia, some seek simply to provoke fresh thinking, and others invite spiritual reflection. The book is divided into several parts so that readers can focus on individual events that made the news or on longer term and more concerted study. Familiar texts such as the Yoga Sutras, the Bhagavad Gita, the Qur’an, and key passages from the New Testament will be considered for their spiritual possibilities. Readers will find much here to learn from and respond to as they too consider religion in today’s world.


The Future of Hindu–Christian Studies2017
The Future of Hindu-Christian Studies: A Theological Inquiry. The 2015 Westcott-Teape Lectures. Routledge.

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.



How to Compare Theology 2017
How We Do Comparative Theology: European and American Perspectives in Dialogue. Edited by Francis X. Clooney, SJ and Klaus von Stosch. Fordham University Press.

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.

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.

His Hiding Place is Darkness: A Hindu-Catholic Theopoetics of Divine Absense Stanford University Press.

His Hiding Place is Darkness explores the uncertainties of faith and love in a pluralistic age. In keeping with his conviction that studying multiple religious traditions intensifies rather than attenuates religious devotion, Francis Clooney's latest work of comparative theology seeks a way beyond today's religious and interreligious uncertainty by pairing a fresh reading of the absence of the beloved in the Biblical Song of Songs with a pioneering study of the same theme in the Holy Word of Mouth (9th century CE), a classic of Hindu mystical poetry rarely studied in the West.


Comparative Theology in Europe2014

Comparative Theology in Europe. Thematic issue of the online journal Religions, with additions for the print version. Co-edited with John H Berthrong. MDPI Publishing, 2014. Also an e-book



The New Comparative Theology 2010
The New Comparative Theology: Interreligious Insights from the Next Generation. Francis X. Clooney, SJ, Editor. (New York, London: Continuum Publishing)


So-called Local Color Literature emerged in the mid nineteenth century, both in the United States and Europe. The US tradition has received scholarly attention, most notably by Donovan herself, whose pioneering work opened up the field. Her new book, on the European tradition, fills a significant gap in the literary history of Western culture. It covers the German ( "Dorfgeschichten" - more or less "village histories" ) French ( "Contes" or "stories" ) Irish, and Scottish traditions in detail, with a chapter devoted to each. In Germany, the tradition has been neglected by critics and commentators because of an unfair association with the Nazi heimet (home) literature. A final chapter will limn the European influence on the American local colorists - an influence not studied before. In an age of globalization, with the fears we all have of conformity and homogenization, interest in local-color literatures is growing. This book will help bring these literatures and their tradition back to life.



Comparative Theology2010
Comparative Theology: Deep Learning Across Religious Borders (Oxford: Blackwell Publishing) Now available in German, Chinese and Korean

Drawing upon the author’s three decades of work in comparative theology, this is a pertinent and comprehensive introduction to the field, which offers a clear guide to the reader, enabling them to engage in comparative study.



The Truth, the Way, the Life: Christian Commentary on the Three Holy Mantras of the Srivaisnava Hindus
The Truth, the Way, the Life: Christian Commentary on the Three Holy Mantras of the Srivaisnava Hindus (Leuven: Peeters Publishing)


The Truth, the Way, the Life offers a careful reading of the three holy mantras of Srivaisnavism, a south Indian Hindu tradition dedicated to Narayana, Lord of the universe, and Sri, his eternal spouse. The mantras, short prayers rich in theological and devotional meaning, explain and encourage a way of life dedicated to praise and service, surrender and dependence on divine grace - and so introduce key topics that Christian readers will find familiar and still central to the spiritual life today. Francis Clooney's commentary is explicitly Christian and yet deeply indebted to the classic reading of the mantras by the 14th century theologian Vedanta Desika; it thus exemplifies an interreligious learning appropriate to the 21st century and yet, in the end, still deeply Christian.



Beyond Compare: St. Francis de Sales and Sri Vedanta Desika on Loving Surrender to God2008
Beyond Compare: St. Francis de Sales and Sri Vedanta Desika on Loving Surrender to God  (Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press)


Beyond Compare is a remarkable work that offers a commentary on spiritual learning for the twenty-first century rooted in two classic texts from the Hindu and Christian traditions: the Essence of the Three Auspicious Mysteries by r Ved nta De ika and Treatise on the Love of God by St. Francis de Sales.

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 r Ved nta De ika (1268-1369).



Jesuit Postmodern2006 

Jesuit Postmodern: Scholarship, Vocation, and Identity in the 21st Century (Lexington Press). Editor, and author of “Introducing Ourselves” (1-22), and “On the Jesuit Tradition of Encountering Other Religions — and “This Jesuit’s Encounter with Hinduism Today,” 157-180


Fr. Bouchet’s India2006

Fr. Bouchet's India: an 18th Century Jesuit's Encounter with Hinduism. (Chennai: Satya Nilayam Publications) 


Divine Mother, Blessed Mother: Hindu Goddesses and the Virgin Mary2005
Divine Mother, Blessed Mother: Hindu Goddesses and the Virgin Mary (Oxford University Press) Winner of the 2005 Alpha Sigma Nu Book Award for Excellence in Theology


Analyzing six Hindu and Christian hymns, Clooney asks questions such as: How have Hindu theologians made room for a feminine divine alongside the masculine, and why? How has Christian thinking about divine gender differed from Hindu thinking? What might contemporary feminists, including goddess worshippers and experts in the field of theology, learn from the goddess traditions of India?




Hindu God, Christian God2001
Hindu God, Christian God: How Reason Helps Break Down the Boundaries between Religions (New York: Oxford University Press) 

This volume offers an in-depth study of key themes common to the Hindu and Christian religious traditions. It redefines how we think about Hinduism, comparative study, and Christian theology. This book offers a bold new look at how traditions encounter one another, and how good comparisons are to be made. Redefining theology as an interreligious, comparative, dialogical, and confessional practice open to all people, it invites not only Hindus and Christians, but also theologians from all religious traditions, to enter into conversation with one another.

Preaching to the Wise2000

Preaching Wisdom to the Wise: Three Treatises by Robert de Nobili in Dialogue with the Learned Hindus of South India. Introduced, annotated, and translated by Anand Amaladass, S.J., and Francis X. Clooney, S.J. (St. Louis: Institute of Jesuit Sources); Indian edition, 2005. 


Hindu Wisdom for all God's Children1998

Hindu Wisdom for All God's Children. Orbis Books.  French translation: Sagesse Hindoue pour qui cherche Dieu (Brussels: Editions Lessius, 2004) 


Seeing Through Texts



Seeing through Texts: Doing Theology among the Srivaisnavas of South India. State University of New York 

(Indian edition published by Indian Book Centre, New Delhi)

Winner of the Award for “Best Book in Hindu-Christian Studies, 1994-1996,” presented by the International Society for Hindu Christian Studies in 1997.

The Art and Theology of Srivaisnava Thinkers



The Art and Theology of Srivaisnava Thinkers, T.R. Publications for Satya Nilayam Publications, Madras (the publication of the de Nobili Endowment Lectures, 1992).


Theology After Vedanta: An Experiment in Comparative Theology1993

Theology after Vedanta: an exercise in comparative theology. In the series, Toward a Comparative Philosophy of Religion, State University of New York Press.

(Indian edition published by Indian Book Centre, New Delhi)

In two respects this is a truly original book. First, it elaborates the fundamental truth that people and communities live from the word of scripture, not from doctrines to which scriptures tend to be reduced. Second, this book refuses to take a higher view in theories applied to scriptures. Second, this book refuses to take a higher view in the History of Religions by passing superficially attractive judgments on either Christianity or Hinduism. It does not take sides with either dogmatism or liberalism, and its impartiality is modest. The author does not attack any side; he appreciates, compares, and then seeks such theological illumination as the process of appreciation and comparison warrants.


Thinking Ritually


Thinking Ritually: Rediscovering the Purva Mimamsa of Jaimini. Volume 17, De Nobili Research Series, ed. G. Oberhammer. (Vienna: Indological Institute of the University of Vienna).