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Francis X Clooney, SJ

Professor of Divinity, Harvard University

Francis X. Clooney, S.J., joined the Divinity School in 2005. He is Parkman Professor of Divinity and Professor of Comparative Theology and, since 2010, director of the Center for the Study of World Religions. He served as acting director of the CSWR during the 2008 spring term and began a long and active relationship with the Center before coming to HDS, participating in many CSWR programs and events. After earning his doctorate in South Asian languages and civilizations (University of Chicago, 1984), he taught at Boston College for 21 years, until coming to Harvard.

His primary areas of scholarship are theological commentarial writings in the Sanskrit and Tamil traditions of Hindu India, and 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. He has also written on the Jesuit missionary tradition, particularly in India, and the dynamics of dialogue in the contemporary world.

Clooney is the author of numerous articles and books, including Beyond Compare: St. Francis de Sales and Sri Vedanta Desika on Loving Surrender to God (Georgetown University Press, 2008), The Truth, the Way, the Life: Christian Commentary on the Three Holy Mantras of the Srivaisnava Hindus (Peeters Publishing, 2008), and Comparative Theology: Deep Learning across Religious Borders (Wiley-Blackwell, 2010). He edited The New Comparative Theology: Voices from the Next Generation (Continuum, 2010) and co-edited European Perspectives on the New Comparative Theology (MDPI, 2014).

His most recent monograph, His Hiding Place Is Darkness: A Hindu-Catholic Theopoetics of Divine Absence (Stanford University Press, 2013), is an exercise in dramatic theology, exploring the absence of God in accord with the biblical Song of Songs and the Hindu Holy Word of Mouth (Tiruvaymoli). His new book project delves into the Mimamsa tradition of Hindu ritual theology, as a study of the fourteenth century Jaiminiya Nyaya Mala of Madhavacarya.


  • –present
    Professor of Divinity, Harvard University