Harvard Comparative Theology Professor Visits Faculty

Written by Hannah Crivello
October 18, 2013

??Francis X. Clooney, S.J.Through a generous grant from The Henry Luce Foundation, internationally known scholar, Francis X. Clooney, SJ, spent a week earlier this month with Seattle University?s School of Theology and Ministry. Clooney, a theology professor at Boston College for more than 20 years, is now a professor at Harvard Divinity School and the director of the prestigious Center for the Study of World Religions. The Center is known internationally for beginning to respond to the inevitable impact improvements in travel and communications will have on the world as the world?s religions begin to encounter one another.? (For more information on the Center, visit here.)

Clooney, a Jesuit priest, has spent his academic career placing his Christian faith in dialogue with the Hindu tradition.? Through his work he created a research methodology known as ?comparative theology,? an approach to the study of sacred text that allows a person to draw deeper into one?s own faith tradition by dialoguing with another tradition.?

While at Seattle University, Clooney addressed denominational leaders in a school year launch event, engaged in several consultations on comparative theology with faculty at the School, and gave a presentation to regional leaders in the Hindu tradition.

In 2009, Seattle University's School of Theology and Ministry made a commitment to take seriously the impact religious diversity and pluralism is having on religious identity of all people of faith, but especially Christians.? The School has received several million dollars in the past five years to create programming and expertise in this area.? With these funds, the School has invited some of the world?s best interreligious scholars to campus for presentations and consultations, has sent faculty to the far corners of the world to learn new methodologies and build new partnerships, and has created partnerships with religious leaders of half a dozen different religions.? Over the past few years the School has slowly built a national reputation, being one of only a handful of seminaries in North America taking this important issue seriously.