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by Francis X. Clooney SJ
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    Francis X. Clooney SJ
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Theology After Vedanta: . 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.

Author: CLOONEY, FRANCIS X. Title: Theology After Vedanta: An Experiment in Comparative . Price: US$ 2. 6 Seller: BookMarx Bookstore - Book number: LE11572bs. Title: Theology After Vedanta: An Experiment in Comparative Theology (S U N Y Series, Toward a Comparative Philosophy of Religions) Description:, State Univ of New York Pr, 1993. Has some underlining.

He argues for Hindu theology and Hindu comparative theology, though without arguing that ‘Hindu theology’ is.

He argues for Hindu theology and Hindu comparative theology, though without arguing that ‘Hindu theology’ is exactly like Christian theology. 100 Hence, he states that his choice of texts from various Hindu traditions presume the possibility of making theological comparisons because Hindu traditions such as Mimamsa 101 and Vedanta are best described as ‘theological. 103 Some are trained as scholars of religions such as the two Catholics Francis Clooney (Hinduism) and James L. Fredricks (Buddhism, among others), whereas others are theologians, most notably the systematician and philosopher Keith Ward.

Comparative theology is a relatively new discipline within theology, which holds together "comparative" and "theology" in creative tension

Comparative theology is a relatively new discipline within theology, which holds together "comparative" and "theology" in creative tension. It represents a particular type of theological practice committed to deep interreligious learning ("comparative") while staying rooted in a particular religious tradition ("theology"). Moreover, while many of its proponents come from the Christian religious tradition, it can have as a starting point the theology of any religious tradition.

That is, Christian theology after reading Vedanta.

Theology After Vedānta book. Theology After Vedanta: An Experiment in Comparative Theology (S U N Y Series, Toward a Comparative Philosophy of Religions). 0791413667 (ISBN13: 9780791413661). In two respects this is a truly original book.

41 See Clooney, Francis . Theology after Vedanta: An Experiment in Comparative Theology (Albany, NY: SUNY Press, 1993);Keenan, John . The Meaning of Christ: A Mahayana Theology (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 1989). The Meaning of Christ: A Mahayana Theology (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 1989); and Abe, Masao, Kenotic God and Dynamic Sunyata in Cobb, John B. Jr. and Ives, Christopher, ed. The Emptying God: A stian Conversation (Maryknoll, NY.Lingis, Alphonso (Pittsburgh: Duquesne University Press, 1969). For Tracy, David see his Plurality and Ambiguity: Hermeneutics, Religion, Hope (San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1987)

Philosophy of Cognitive Science. Submit a book or article. Upload a bibliography. Personal pages we track. Jacqueline Suthren Hirst, Francis X. Clooney, Frank Reynolds & David Tracy.

Philosophy of Cognitive Science. Philosophy of Computing and Information. Philosophy of Mathematics. Philosophy of Physical Science. Philosophy of Social Science. Philosophy of Probability. Journal of the American Oriental Society 118 (4):558 (1998).

Download (pdf, . 1 Mb) Donate Read. Epub FB2 mobi txt RTF. Converted file can differ from the original. If possible, download the file in its original format.

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.

Foreword Acknowledgments Chapter One: Comparative Theology and the Practice of Advaita Vedanta I. The Elements of the Experiment II Comparative Theology 1. Calling Comparison "Theological" 2. Calling Theology "Comparative" 3. Comparative Theology in Relation to Other Disciplines III. Comparative Theology as Practical Knowledge IV. Advaita, Text and Commentary 1. A Brief Overview of the Advaita as a Commentarial Tradition 2. Advaita as Text: The Flourishing of a Commentarial Tradition 3. Advaita as Uttara Mimamsa: The Purva Mimamsa Paradigm V. Practical Implications 1. Retrieving the Advaita "Text" 2. From the Study of Sankara to the Study of the Text 3. From Truth outside the Text to Truth after the Text 4. From Reader as Observer to Reader as Participant Chapter Two: The Texture of the Advaita Vedanta Text I. The Texture of the Advaita Text II. The Rough Texture of the Upanisads III. The Organization of Upanisadic Knowledge in the UMS 1. Sutra 2. Adhikarana a. Badarayana's Statement of the Problem regarding Taittiriya 2.1-6a b. Sankara's Two Interpretations of Taittiriya 2.1-6a c. The Later Commentarial Contribution to the Interpretation of Taittiriya 2.1-6a d. Is There a World outside the Text? The Case of World- Renunciation (UMS III.4.18-20) 3. Weaving the Text Together: Samgati and Pada a. Samgati: the Connections within a Pada b. Textured Reasoning (nyaya) c. Two Strategies of Coherent Practice i. Coordination (upasamhara) in UMS III.3 ii. Harmonization (samanvaya) in UMS I.1 4. Adhyaya and the Organization of the Whole IV. The Contextualization of Meaning through Engaged Reading Chapter Three: The Truth of Advaita Vedanta I. The Problem of Truth in the Text II. Strategies of Textual Truth 1. Denying to Brahman its Qualities (nirgunatva) 2. Paradoxes in the Text (mahavakyas) III. Truth after the Text: The True Meaning of the Upanisads and the World of Advaita 1. UMS III.3.11-13: Can We Assume that Brahman is Always Bliss? 2. UMS I.1.5-11: The Upanisads Do Have a Right Meaning 3. UMS I.1.2: Inference within the Margins of the Upanisads 4. UMS IV.3.14 and the Systematization of Advaita IV. Defending Brahman: The Fragmentation of the Other in the Text 1. UMS II.1.4-11: The Relative Reasonableness of the Advaita Position 2. Arguing the Advaita Position: UMS II.2.1-10 a. The Structure of UMS II.2 b. The Refutation of Samkhya in UMS II.2.1-10 and the Scriptural Reasoning of Advaita V. Truth, Text and Reader VI. A Concluding Note on Advaita and Intertextual Truth Chapter Four: Advaita Vedanta and Its Readers I. The Tension between the Text and Its Truth II. Timeless Truth, Timely Reading: The Truth in Reading 1. The Simplicity and Temporal Complexity of Liberative Knowledge 2. Two Analogies: Music and Yoga III. Becoming a Reader 1. The Desire to Know Brahman and the Desire to Read 2. Authorizing the Reader: The Prerequisites of Knowledge IV. The Constraints on Liberation and the Cessation of Reading in UMS III.4: Description as Prescription 1. Expectations about the Person Who Will Renounce 2. The Ritual Background to Renunciation 3. Prescribing Renunciation V. Advaita Elitism and the Possibility of the Unauthorized Reader: Finding a Loophole Chapter Five: Theology after Advaita Vedanta: The Text, The Truth, and The Theologian I. The Practice of Comparative Theology II. The Composition of the Text for Comparative Theology: Reading the Summa Theologiae and the Uttara Mimamsa Sutras Together 1. Rereading Summa Theologiae I.13.4 after UMS III.3.11-13 a. Setting the Comparison b. Finding Similarities c. Finding Differences d. Some Strategiesfor the Practice of Reading Amalananda and Aquinas Together i. Coordination (upasamhara): Rulesfor Using Texts Together ii. Superimposition (adhyasa): The Superimposition of One Text on Another iii. The Comparative Conversation iv. The Comparative Tension: Metaphor, Epiphor and Diaphor v. Collage: Visualizing the Margins of Comparison 2. Are There Incomparable Texts? The Example of ST III.46.3 3. The Fruits of Recomposing the Theological Text: Retrieving the Bible and the Commentaries on the Summa Theologiae a. Retrieving the Citation of the Bible b. Retrieving the Reading of Commentaries: Cardinal Cajetan on ST I.13.4 III. The Truth of Comparative Theology 1. The Patient Deferral of Issues of Truth 2. Truth and the Conflict of Truths in Light of the Textuality of Doctrine 3. The Truth of the Theology of Religions 4. The Truth about God IV. The Education of the Comparative Theologian . 1. Texts as Teachers 2. The Education of the Comparativist: Competence, Motivation and Limits 3. The Comparativist as Educator V. Finishing the Experiment Notes Selected Bibliography Index

Theology after Vedanta: An Experiment in Comparative Theology offers an important step forward in comparative studies, laying a foundation for a fruitful (re)reading and (re)working of theological conceptions in our pluralistic context. Working from a reading of Advaita Vedanta texts, Francis Clooney provides an experience of “reading together” Vedanta and Catholic theology which directs readers toward an inclusivist reading of traditions external to their own and offers a practical and relevant method for contemporary comparative theology. This review notes the important contributions of Theology after Vedanta, concluding that this work is an important contribution to the methodology of comparative theology, the practice of textual comparison, and the reading of Advaita Vedanta.

Two things must be briefly said to properly situate Theology after Vedanta: First, this work explicitly builds upon and expends the work of Lee Yearly found in Mencius and Aquinas (13f). For his own comparative project Clooney shifts to the Indian context and the threefold task of considering Indian exegetical theology in the Advaita Vedanta school, reconceiving of Christian theology following his reading of Advaita, and exploring any tensions between Advaita and Christian comparative theologies of reading as a means of theological knowledge. Second, this project is conceived of as distinct from the study of religion, comparative philosophy, or history of religions, Clooney instead viewing this as a project of comparative theology. From his perspective theology is inquiry carried out by believers who “allow their belief to remain an explicit and influential factor in their research, analysis and writing” (4). Here Clooney seeks to understand his own Catholic knowledge of God while operating within the boundaries marked by the tensions of the Advaita materials being studied.
Francis Clooney

Francis Clooney

Chapter One outlines the general features and topics which impact the engagement of the ‘other’ and reappraisal of a ‘home’ tradition within the comparative process. Central to this task is the importance of reading attentively, which involves working through an unfamiliar body of texts through a purposeful and persevering engagement while allowing those texts to cumulatively (re)organize previous and new concepts and commitments (9-10). Clooney works from the position that Advaita remains best understood as a theology (or scriptural theology) rather than philosophy (or philosophical theology), and understands the texts of the movement to provide the optimal opportunity for delving into the Advaita theological program. Most important are the Uttara Mimamsa Sutras (4-5th century) and Advaita commentaries, especially Sankara’s Bhasya. For Clooney, the proper reading of the theology of Sankara is one that puts him in dialogue with the commentaries and tradition he engaged in his writing. A central part of this enterprise involves consideration of how scriptural practice in Advaita provides accessibility to non-believers and allows them to take advantage of the dynamics of those scriptures. Clooney thus purposes to trace Advaita’s own articulation of textual truth and learn how to speak about that truth in a way that does not abandon its textual basis.

Next Clooney investigates that ‘texture’ of the text, the requirements and expectations within the text that dictate that the reader properly engage with the text and become its approved reader. Noting that the Upanishads present (without conclusion) a number of systematic possibilities, Clooney argues that texts serve as the privileged vehicle of entrance into Advaita. So important is the right reading of the text for Advaita that even renunciation, liberation from the demands of the text, is meaningful only when found prescribed within the text. For Advaitans, a coordinated reading safeguards the ongoing acts of reading and meditation in order to ensure the proper reading of Advaitan texts. The learning of Advaita is thus effectively a textual process. Clooney also insists that Advaita consists of textual composition, the entire practice of text and commentary. Therefore, to be literate in Advaita is to be familiar with texts, literary practices, developments within commentaries, and subsequent interpretative projects. Those who engage in Advaitan textual practice are offered a path to the truth of Brahman through the gradual process of making right distinctions.

In his third chapter Clooney engages the Advaitic construction of meaning in the Upanishads and the way Advaita directs its readers toward textually-situated post-textual truth. Central to this task is comprehending how the truth claims of Advaita Vedanta coordinate with their permanent textuality and recognizing that the continued emphasis on reading the text demonstrates the text’s function as an indispensible field of engagement with the truth of Advaita that can only be accessed by the process of engaged reading. The truth of the text is thus accessed only by increased skill in reading and reasoning properly. This skilled reading eventually leads the reader to the truth of Brahman which is beyond the words of the text, a reasonable, world-encompassing, and inquiry-demanding truth that is firmly situated after textual knowledge accessible only through the text. While aware of the limitations of language and deeply invested in the experience of Brahman, Advaita’s insists upon the mediation of Brahmanic knowledge through texts, and thus requires acts of skillful reading. These first three chapters demonstrate the paradox of Advaita, that there is universally available truth which commands compliance, but it is only accessible via certain prescribed terms of reading and mastering the truths of the text.

In his fourth chapter Clooney turns to what is required from the reader of the text, the student of Advaita. Here he explores the tensions between the truth of the text and the descriptions of proper reading, demonstrating that since truths beyond the text are only gradually mastered, Advaita reflects a tension between simplicity of knowledge and the complexity of the reading process. Whereas the ‘fault line’ of simple and complex reveals a series of tensions, Advaita posits that the balance between simple knowledge and complex ritual context within the renunciation of action parallels the implications of textual knowledge where a “competent performer of rituals is the person for whom independence from rituals becomes a real possibility” (147). Advaita’s truth is thus universally available to all, though mediated through technically articulated texts which may only be properly read by those possessing the right balance of skills. By the end of this chapter, Clooney notes that the preceding chapters have demonstrated access to Advaita through textual knowledge alone, and that such knowledge is only possible through the paths of experience and reason that enable one to successfully read Advaitan texts.

Although an experiment in comparative theology, Theology after Vedanta does not offer an explicit comparison of Advaita Vedanta and Catholic theology until its fifth and final chapter. Here Clooney offers suggestions about how one might “read theology and articulate theological truth after one has become at least initially familiar with Advaita” (154). However, he insists upon not drawing firm conclusions from this reading, and instead focuses on discovering the important activities and changes that precede any comparative conclusions. This sort of comparative process creates a new link between sources that do not seem to be historically connected or similar. The task of Theology after Vedanta is a comparison of Aquinas’ Summa Theologica and the Uttara Mimamsa Sutra’s (156f). As these texts “meet, resist, and intrude upon one another” they force readers to orient themselves towards the materials in constructive new ways (186-9). Thus readers who are even somewhat proficient in Advaita may approach a text like the Summa to find significant theological and literary insights that only arise as the result of a comparative reading. Instead of viewing comparative projects as battlegrounds where truth is being attacked, this method of comparative reading necessitates approaching theological truths through the lens of texts and a (re)reading of textual interpretation. For Clooney, an important task of comparative theology is reconstituting the questions posed by the theology of religions, with Christian comparativists approaching the table as inclusivists who neither abandon their starting point in faith in Christ nor imagine the world so narrowly that they excise the rest of the world. In this view, Christians may learn much from reading Advaita with Christian theologies, which would provide an educational experience not possible by reading only within one’s own tradition. This realization directs readers of Theology after Vedanta to continue comparative work of their own, to compose their own conclusions as part of the ongoing comparative project of which Clooney represents only a portion.

Overall, Theology after Vedanta stands as an extremely useful and provoking work. Perhaps most important is the project’s structure, which offers a versatile methodological model for all manner of future comparative projects. The process of “reading together” texts from diverse theological perspectives presents a meaningful process by which highly different theological programs may be purposefully compared in the highly pluralistic context that is contemporary theological and religious studies. Here it is worth raising questions about the possibility of ‘incomparable’ texts. Clooney writes that, methodologically, one need not compare the similar texts, or even the most important or representative portions of the texts being examined, as finding notable similarities and differences, wherever they might be, remains the task of this comparative project (159). That is, in theory any theological texts from any tradition may be usefully compared to any other theological text from another tradition. In practice, however, there may be some pragmatic limitations to this method. Not every theological text from every tradition offers the same level of usefulness in comparison, nor do all texts discuss meaningfully comparable concepts or ideas. At some point it seems likely that texts may be so divergent or opposed that little of value may be gained from the comparison, either from the perspective of personal faith or academic research.
Clooney in conference with Radhanath Swami

Clooney in conference with Radhanath Swami

A second significant aspect of Theology after Vedanta is Clooney’s willingness to work from the perspective of faith (8). Given the complexity of the contemporary theology, the advantages of theological thought influenced by engagements with multiple textual traditions offers an important resource for continuing theological thought as a reflexive basis for creating relevant and substantial dialogue. Indeed, an integral part of Clooney’s project involves advocating for a more balanced and favorable attitude toward theological study (28). The innovative process of employing the text of another tradition as a source of new (or at least newly framed) observations regarding one’s own tradition suggests lifetimes of future comparative work between even the smallest religious communities. When readers approach the texts of differing traditions as “faith seeking understanding” (of the Ultimate or another issue) from their own understanding-seeking faith, Clooney demonstrates that valuable insights may be gleaned. In this way, Theology after Vedanta serves as an important paradigm shift for comparative studies in general, and Christian theological comparison in particular.

Perhaps the most unsatisfying aspect of Theology after Vedanta is the lack of implications for Clooney himself. After chapters of investigation into Advaita and then a comparative “reading together” of Aquinas and Advaita, there are precious few implications for Catholic theology apart from aforementioned observations on the comparative process. From the start this work is clearly the foundation of the comparative process. Since the value of the comparatives practices advocated here will only be known by their final performance, we must thus “leave open the question of the use of the models in any particular comparison, while inviting the reader to complete the process initiated here” (175). This caveat, however, does not make the exclusion of concrete conclusions any less disappointing for those who have worked their way through Advaita and its comparison with Aquinas.

In conclusion, Theology after Vedanta is an important contribution to the methodology of comparative theology, the practice of textual comparison, and the reading of Advaita Vedanta. Clooney’s process of comparative reading together, which emphasizes the skillful reading advocated in Advaita, offers a useful foundation for comparative theological projects. Clooney urges Christian theologians to read outside their own traditions as a meaningful theological enterprise, and successfully employs Advaita Vedanta in the production of an effective comparative reading.

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Theology after Vedanta, by Francis X. Clooney, S.J. 'The author is a Jesuit priest and therefore to some extent an outsider to the Vedic tradition, but his read is one that demonstrates a sensitivity to and admiration for Advaita. His title is Theology After Vedanta precisely because of the transformative value he finds in its study. I found the book enormously informative on a topic that has remained to me quite opaque over the many years of my involvement with Advaita, and that is the chronological development of the Vedas and the various aspects of Vedic literature, and the chronology of the development of, and relation to each other of, the systems of Indian philosophy, including of course Buddhism. Clooney traces this arc as he explores Shankara's commentaries that set down the tenants of Advaita in the context of those competing philosophical views. What are the Vedas, how does Indian philosophy develop afterward, who were Jaimini and the Mimamsakas, when and how were the Upanishads authored, who was Veda Vyasa, when and in what context did he write the Brahma Sutras. All that as the backdrop to an erudite look at Vedanta philosophy. As they might say on QVC, "that and more". Satsang of the highest order and intellectually fascinating.