Francis X. Clooney, S.J., Parkman Professor of Divinity and Professor of Comparative Theology at Harvard Divinity School, presents on his research project, "From (Hindu) Ritual to (Catholic) Theology: Two Exercises in Slow Reading Across Religious Borders," to an interdisciplinary group of scholars, artists, and scientists comprised of fellows, guest faculty and students. His primary areas of Indological scholarship are theological commentarial writings in the Sanskrit and Tamil traditions of Hindu India. Professor Clooney 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 scholarly publications include the Jesuit missionary tradition, particularly in India, the early Jesuit pan-Asian discourse on reincarnation, and the dynamics of dialogue and interreligious learning in the contemporary world. Professor Clooney is the author of numerous articles and books, including Thinking Ritually: Retrieving the Purva Mimamsa of Jaimini (1990), Theology after Vedanta: An Experiment in Comparative Theology (1993), Beyond Compare: St. Francis de Sales and Sri Vedanta Deshika on Loving Surrender to God (2008), The Truth, the Way, the Life: Christian Commentary on the Three Holy Mantras of the Shrivaisnava Hindus (2008), Comparative Theology: Deep Learning across Religious Borders (2010), and His Hiding Place Is Darkness: A Hindu-Catholic Theopoetics of Divine Absence (2013). He edited The New Comparative Theology: Voices from the Next Generation (2010) and co-edited European Perspectives on the New Comparative Theology (2014); The Future of Hindu-Christian Studies: A Theological Inquiry (2017); and How to Do Comparative Theology (2018).
He is a Roman Catholic priest and a member of the Society of Jesus, serves regularly in a Catholic parish on weekends, and from 2007–2016 blogged regularly in the "In All Things" section of America magazine online. In July 2010 he was elected a Fellow of the British Academy and has served as a Professorial Research Fellow at the Australian Catholic University. From 2010 to 2017, he was the Director of the Center for the Study of World Religions at Harvard University.