The New Comparative Theology Book ReviewLast modified: January 18, 2011
The New Comparative Theology: Interreligious Insights from the Next Generation. Francis X. Clooney (ed.). T&T Clark, 2010: 208 pages.
Review by Samuel Youngs (M.A. in Religion, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary)
At the beginning of this new year, a purveyor of theological and religious studies may note that 2010 was a remarkable annum for the emergent field of comparative theology. This reviewer would tentatively put forth the statement that 2010 was the year of comparative theology’s “elucidation;” wherein scholarship sought not to define comparative theology through standardized reference works (this challenge was gamely taken up by David Tracy in 2005[i] and by F.X. Clooney in 2007[ii]), but to illumine this new discipline in terms of methodology, agendas, hermeneutics, and interdisciplinary concerns. Beyond a doubt, the two most significant works in these areas were F.X. Clooney’s Comparative Theology (Oxford, 2010)–the fullest and most accessible treatment of comparative theological methodology to date–and a volume of essays that Clooney edited, aptly entitled The New Comparative Theology,[iii] which focuses on issues of hermeneutics, postmodern philosophy, postcolonialism, and interreligious dialogue. This review of the latter work is extensive, and seeks to deal with each essayist in their own right, though hopefully in a manner that is not (too) painfully verbose.
Trailblazing comparative theologian James Fredericks commences the volume with some orienting matter on the variegated history of the discipline before detailing some of his own pioneering thought. Fredericks offers a four-fold definition of comparative theology as (1) necessarily dialectical, (2) distinctly theological (in terms of having an impact on both specific religious communities and their systematic reflections), (3) non-soteriologically focused, and (4) rooted in specific instances (or “experiments”) in comparison, rather than general theorizing.[iv] He also offers his now (in)famous critique of theology of religions and stages his approach to comparative theology as an “alternative” to this allegedly defunct discipline.
While this introduction is certainly adequate, it is ultimately only an introduction to Fredericks’ own program, rather than to comparative theological reflection as a whole. A brief critical note: In his four-fold definition of comparative theology, Fredericks desperately wants to retreat from questions of soteriology. Alongside this stipulation comes Fredericks’ desire that comparative theology become a kind of modus operandi for theologizing as a whole.[v] The issue, of course, is that all theological systems entail some notion of salvation (justification, liberation, enlightenment, etc.), and thus if comparative theology becomes normative for theology in some regard, then it seemingly must offer a way toward some soteriological position. Fredericks cannot have it both ways.
Comparative Theology: Between Identity and Alterity by A. Bagus Laksana
Laksana’s essential thesis is that the most productive model for comparative theologizing is that of a “pilgrimage” (taking as his inspiration the life of al-Harawi, a medieval Muslim who retained his strong religious identity while still engaging in “rather intimate encounters” with religious others throughout his travels).[vi] He emphasizes comparative theology as a process rather than a method of theoretical and abstract construction; for him, it represents the opportunity for constructing a “hermeneutic bridge” between oneself and the other.[vii] Laksana’s strategy for building this bridge proceeds along three strands of dialogue with postmodern philosophy. First, Laksana speaks on the topic of the re-creation of identity through encounter; one’s identity as a comparative theologian is portrayed as a constant and humble search after a God that is the great Other, discovered in all manner of contexts and alterity.[viii] Second, a consideration of the imagination as a vital tool for comparative theology is presented; working within a broadly construed reading of the Roman Catholic notion of the “eye of faith.”[ix] Third, comparative theology is framed in terms of its openness to the other in conversation with the “unreserved hospitality” of Jacques Derrida.[x]
While a well-presented and interesting confabulation of comparative theology and postmodern philosophy, the article does founder a bit on the very tensions it relishes. A prominent example would be Laksana’s insistence that comparative theology seeks out its border-crossings for the sake of real understanding, not for mere novelty. However, due to his maintenance of an ethic of openness and the necessity of a “pilgrim” (unsettled, exploratory) mindset, Laksana leaves himself with no theoretical ground to stand on in order to answer the question of why understanding is desirable in the first place. To provide any theoretical grounding that justifies the moral principles of openness and understanding, Laksana would have to claim a governing system, a move which is conspicuously absent.
Relating Theology of Religions and Comparative Theology by Kristin Beise Kiblinger
This essay by Kristin Kiblinger challenges the “anti theology of religions” perspective of scholars like Clooney and Fredericks, boldly claiming that all comparative theologians should “disclose…the working theology of religions guiding their comparative engagement.”[xi] She maintains that this self-disclosure actually makes comparative theologizing more respectful of the other, for it places all of the presuppositional cards which govern the interreligious dialogue on the table. She also notes that many critiques of theology of religions have been leveled at older, “discredited” forms of inclusivism and pluralism.[xii] Finally, Kiblinger enters into some comparative work of her own, demonstrating that even Buddhist stances on other religions can succumb to the difficulties presented by the older theology of religions positions.[xiii]
Kiblinger’s essay is full of appreciable critical fervor, and it unhesitatingly challenges more than a few assumptions that have held sway in the field. But in the midst of her several excellent points, a criticism can be raised concerning the “newer” forms of theology of religions that she so vigorously champions. She notes that these newer positions are “open” to learning from the other, choosing to respectfully “hear others as they are and leave their distinctiveness intact.”[xiv] But then how is this “new theology of religions” doing anything that is substantially different from what comparative theology is trying to do itself, in particular as it is exemplified in the work of F.X. Clooney? In short, these new theologies of religions seem superfluous, at least as presented here.[xv]
The New Comparative Theology and the Problem of Theological Hegemonism by Hugh Nicholson
Nicholson has distinguished himself as one of the chief voices in methodology among the younger comparativists, and this essay displays his trademark penchant for hairline distinctions and tightly-orchestrated argumentation. His essay opens with a short excursus on older forms of theology of religions, and thus complements Kiblinger’s piece. However, Nicholson then veers off in a much different direction by claiming that the new comparative theology is just the latest in a long line of correctives to the hegemonic discourse that has plagued (Christian) interactions with other religions since the Enlightenment.[xvi] He frames the new comparative theology as the most productive step yet taken along this path, claiming that it has the potential to “de-politicize” us-them oppositional categorization in a very successful way by (a) working prominently toward dialogical encounter (Fredericks is his primary example);[xvii] (b) focusing on small comparisons rather than overarching reductionist theories (as in F.X. Clooney’s inter-textual comparative method);[xviii] and (c) being honest about its faith commitments.[xix]
Nicholson makes characteristically well-formulated points, but, as seems to be the case with several other comparative theologians who are moving to eschew theology of religions, he cannot escape Kristin Kiblinger’s critique. Nicholson has sawn off the branch he wishes to sit on if he praises comparative theology’s honesty and self-disclosing propensity but wants to dodge Kiblinger’s point that an admittance of a governing theology of religions perspective is an indispensable part of this methodological honesty.
On Hegemonies Within: Franciscan Missions and Buddhist Kings in Comparative Theological Contexts by David Clairmont
Clairmont is far-and-away one of the more prominent bridge-builders between comparative theological discourse and comparative religious ethics. His essay in this volume marks an exercise that seeks to extract the moral underpinnings of comparative theology through an examination of a particular historical encounter between the Buddhist king of western Sri Lanka and Portuguese Franciscan monks in the 16th century. These historical events annunciate variegated religious tensions, including the meaning and ethic of conversion and the often-tangled web of political overlays on religious ideals.[xx] Insights gleaned from this historical encounter are then fed into a nexus of comparative theological considerations, generating three helpful insights: (1) religious ideas are notoriously unsettled and under-communicated in missional and dialogical contexts,[xxi] (2) the particularities of one interreligious exchange may not produce universally applicable insights,[xxii] and (3) we must always be aware of our own struggle to live up to our highest (and proclaimed) religious ideals and how this struggle affects the potential for productive dialogue.[xxiii]
The ethical ramifications of comparative theology are critically highlighted throughout this article. Despite its obvious utility, however, Clairmont’s piece comes dangerously close to reducing the field to a theologically-sensitive moral barometer, with little regard for its status as an academic discipline or as “theology” proper. While this is forgivable given the article’s focus, Clairmont goes perhaps a step too far when he posits a specific “devotional” outlook for comparative theology: “[C]omparative theology may exhibit a distinctive spirituality or tone of reflection that is both intellectually reserved and historically gradual… characterized by a kind of sorrow and solidarity[….]”[xxiv] While these things may be personally and relationally desirable, the academic pedigree of comparative theology runs the risk of being impugned if the work itself becomes equated with a particular ethical and spiritual outlook.
Comparative Theology and the Status of Judaism: Hegemony and Reversals by Daniel Joslyn-Siemiatkoski
Joslyn-Siemiatkoski makes no mystery of his thesis in this provocative and constructive piece: he sincerely holds that a latent supersessionist attitude toward Judaism mars the scope of most contemporary forays into comparative theology. This holdover from Christian anti-Semitism is mediated into the field inadvertently by Christian thinkers and has rendered any comparative analysis of Judaism (if it occurs) partial and reflexive. After a helpful excursus on supersessionism and (Catholic) attempts to rectify this tendency at Vatican II, Joslyn-Siemiatkoski notes that among the most prominent comparative theologians—Clooney, Fredericks, Neville, and Ward—only Ward has taken on Judaism in the course of his interreligious theologizing.[xxv] The essay is concluded by an example of serious interreligious comparison between rabbinic Judaism and Christian New Testament readings in the Augustinian-Lutheran vein.[xxvi]
Excelling perhaps all other entries in this collection, Joslyn-Siemiatkoski’s piece presents one of the most accessible (and valid) critiques of the current status of the discipline, uses this critique as a lens to scrutinize its most significant theoretical voices, and demonstrates an actual way forward with an example of fascinating interreligious reading. His reverse-interrogation of christology, in light of the rabbinic theology of Torah, leads to a series of constructive comparative moments that highlight the ever-unique relationship between Christianity and Judaism: “Was…the Son and Logos the active agent of revelation at Sinai? If so, was Jesus Christ obedient to the Torah that he himself revealed?”[xxvii] Joslyn-Siemiatkoski also makes one of the most concrete and readily-perceptible methodological critiques of the discipline: the neglect of the inter-Abrahamic theological comparisons among the American forerunners of the field.[xxviii] All comparative theologians should be moved to stop and consider whether the preponderance of material comparing Christianity to primarily Chinese and Indian traditions has only enlivened certain aspects of our methodology by dampening others.
Gendering Comparative Theology by Michelle Voss Roberts
Michelle Voss Roberts (whose recent book Dualities is a fascinating and timely addition to the field) approaches the issue of hegemony from a predictable-yet-appreciable standpoint: that of gender and feminist studies. After noting the problematic nature of essentialist definitions of religion, she delves into some examples of the “feminine” as an object in comparative theological study.[xxix] She then suggests ways in which this interaction could be expanded in comparative reflection, predominantly through the application of Patricia Hill Collins’ concept of the “outsider within.”[xxx] A comparative exercise follows, wherein the mystical and marginalized voices of Mechthild of Magdeburg and Lalleswari of Kashmir are brought to bear on issues of “theological genre, androcentric hagiography, and liberative vision.”[xxxi]
Roberts’ essay is generally engaging; she makes salient points concerning the intersection of feminist-theological sensibilities and comparative theology. She perceptibly notes that feminist programs can find confluence with comparative theology by their “shared interest in the particular;”[xxxii] (though, this suggestion does seem to limit the dialogue partners to the likes of Clooney and Fredericks, excluding more theoretical comparativists, such as Robert Neville). However, insofar as the content of comparative work is concerned, it is not abundantly clear what Roberts is after. In her conclusion, she argues against “the unnecessary narrowing of subjects for comparison to authoritative male theologians.”[xxxiii] However, even a cursory survey of the authors and works cited in the pages of this volume reveals that the field already focuses rather markedly on traditionally marginalized voices. Ergo, her “argument” for a hearing of the marginalized seems redundant.
Comparative Theology as a Theology of Liberation by Tracy Sayuki Tiemeier
Tiemeier stridently proposes that comparative theology should take a cue from various Asian liberation theologies and become “responsive to the cultural, multireligious, and social contexts within [sic] which religions inhabit and responsible to the religious communities that the theologian studies.”[xxxiv] She moves forward by looking at some exemplary interreligious liberationists—Aloysius Pieris, Peter Phan, and Sathianathan Clarke.[xxxv] Methodological considerations then come to the fore as Tiemeier uses liberation frameworks to warn against the “new imperialism” that is perceptibly latent in certain approaches to comparative theology, where other religions are “plundered” solely for the acquisition of their theological “goods.”[xxxvi] She proffers three points that are insulated by the triple concern of liberation theology (religion, culture, and justice): (1) Christianity is historically “entangled” with other faiths, (2) “theology always occurs in a cultural context,” and (3) “theology is never value-free.”[xxxvii]
While this essay certainly marks the most substantial renovation of comparative theological method that is proposed in these pages, Tiemeier seems to struggle throughout the piece to clearly articulate her ideas. Her examples from Pieris, Phan, and Clarke are interesting solo excursions, but their contribution to her thesis is murky at best. The three points she raises against the “new imperialism,” while certainly true, are by now so axiomatic that to iterate them here is almost patronizing. Finally, her conclusion that “not every comparative theology needs to be an explicit theology of liberation” seems to neither strengthen her hope that her program will “ground comparative theology’s identity” nor “broaden its appeal.”[xxxviii] Thus, while her project is industrious and grounded in many needful areas of devotional and theological reflection, her scattershot presentation renders it somewhat impotent.
(Tentatively) Putting the Pieces Together: Comparative Theology in the Tradition of Sri Ramakrishna by Jeffrey Long
Comparative theology has, thus far, tended in two directions: topical comparison for the sake of broadening dialogue, and more abstract comparison for the sake of developing hybrid systems. Long’s fascinating article is an excellent example of the latter trend. Merging Neo-Vedanta, Jain philosophy, and Whiteheadian process thought, Long pictures a pluralistic theological framework wherein “theology of religions and comparative theology are not, in practice, separable.”[xxxix] Whitehead’s system, while admittedly complex and beset by certain assumptive impediments, provides Long’s theorizing with something that many other comparativists lack: a cohesive philosophical and epistemological framework (which Long claims is readily suited to comparative theologizing because it is “an open system”[xl]). While process thought provides the intellectual bedrock on which Long builds his theology, the Jain “doctrine of perspectives” (nayavada) allows for the fusion of truth claims into a large, interlocking jigsaw of religious pluralism.[xli]
Long’s piece is as interesting (and intellectually tenable) an example of comparative theology that this reviewer has seen. His union of different but complementary systems lends credence to his definition of comparative theology as “the sharing and attempted co-ordination of our various pieces of the puzzle…in order to expand and deepen our own understanding.”[xlii] A further boon of this article is that it contains a concrete instance of the autobiographical nature[xliii] of the discipline, as Long reveals how an expansion in his understanding of karma allowed him to more deeply appropriate certain Christian understandings of the atonement.[xliv]
Solidarity through Polyphony by John N. Sheveland
Sheveland inhabits a parallel conceptual space with Laksana’s “pilgrimage” analogy for comparative theology,[xlv] though he opts instead for a thoroughly developed musical metaphor: polyphony, the bringing together of different tonal melodies into an aural stew that finds its definition through amalgamated contrasts. Sheveland articulates three alleged benefits of this model: theological polyphony (1) allows religious distinctions to form a unity, rather than fragmentation;[xlvi] (2) amplifies the aesthetic dimension of multiple-religious “hearing;”[xlvii] and (3) provides a new metaphor to constructively consider the global theological community.[xlviii] In demonstrating the utility of these ruminations, Sheveland engages in a comparative “symphony” of sorts, utilizing “melodies” from Saint Paul, Vedanta Desika, and Santideva.[xlix]
While new models and methodological metaphors are always welcome on the lightly-trodden pathways of an emergent discipline, the pitfalls of overly-analogical thinking should not be missed. Though Sheveland’s “polyphony” framework is commendable on some fronts, there are times when its application to interreligious learning seems to simply be reflective of a false analogy.[l] A prominent example emerges when Sheveland says that when comparativists polyphonically forego the vindication of truth claims, they can then be “edified by the tonality of the dialogue.”[li] The analogy proves weak at this juncture, since, in carrying over the musical metaphor, Sheveland has allowed conceptual wires to be crossed between the notion of musical “dissonance” (which is merely unpleasant) and theological/philosophical “contradiction” (which can lead to unjustified claims, suppression of “heterodox” voices, and religious action based on fallacy). Comparative theologians do love the imagistic impulse of their discipline, and often rightly so, but we should be aware of its limitations in dealing with questions of religious truth and methodology.
Response by Francis X. Clooney, S.J.
Clooney exercises (but does not abuse) his rights as editor of the volume with this clarifying-yet-critical response to the contributors. While Clooney’s work is clearly a placeholder in the comparative theologizing of many of the scholars represented in this collection, he does not seek to engage their treatment of his work directly, but judiciously turns outward to address some of the more prominent issues that have dominated the preceding pages.
Clooney does not accompany Tracy Tiemeier in her sharply-pointed concern over whether or not comparative theology fosters a “new imperialism” that plunders the religious insights of other faiths. He is seemingly content with the self-critical disposition of the field and instead forges onward to what he refers to as “the deeper question:” why is comparative theology desirable in the first place?[lii] Clooney offers two reasons: (1) he claims that comparative theology helps us to “keep learning” across various theological contexts (a task that could just as easily be undertaken by comparative religion, or by interreligious dialogue alone), and (2) he highlights the humbling function of comparative theology.[liii] While this second point is certainly desirable, it leads him to somewhat ungraciously imply that “conversion” and “evangelism” are “simplistic ambitions” to be “dampened” by comparative study.[liv] (Interestingly, Clooney later laments the deficit of conservative Protestant scholarship among comparative theologians;[lv] but if his own comments on evangelistically-minded scholarship is reflective of the general ethos in the field, it is not difficult to see why there would be a prominent dearth of conservative Christian comparativists. The exclusion of more conservative perspectives is one of the problems which the discipline has yet to sufficiently address.)
After some needful and well-worded remarks on the theology of religions debate,[lvi] Clooney then engages two points: the status of “theology” in the field and the future of the field itself, and it is on these two subjects that I would like to commentate in closing. Although Clooney’s excursus on “improving ‘theology’ in comparative theology” certainly touches on helpful topics like feminism, post-colonialism, and the correction of scope afforded by them, he does not touch on prominent theological loci such as philosophy, systematics, or hermeneutics, nor on conceptions of deity.[lvii] Clooney then notes that the future of the field will not be shaped until much more work on particular theological comparisons is done.[lviii] According to Clooney, the work itself, rather than theories that justify it, will determine comparative theology’s place in the academy and in religious communities.
It is here that I must offer a suggestive counterpoint. While it has so far serviced Clooney well to simply engage in his comparative projects with little to no overarching theoretical structure or epistemic framework, I am of the opinion that the discipline will continue to struggle with vagueness and lack-of-acceptance in the wider realm of academia until these dearths are dealt with.[lix] With little methodological agreement, a muddy relationship to theology proper, and no clear answer as to “why” the discipline should proceed along its interreligious pathways (despite both David Clairmont’s and Clooney’s blurry attempts to provide a justification), comparative theology seems in danger of waning into interreligious ethics or a mere extension of post-colonial studies.
While these are real dangers to the field, they have not yet come to realization, and this volume stands in the rarified position of offering numerous insights from working comparativists on both scope and methodology as well as several examples of actual interreligious work (though, as stated above, very little actual theology gets done). Among the currently available contributions to this burgeoning arena of study, it is difficult to see how any work could supersede this one in terms of both timeliness and import.
[i] David Tracy, “Comparative Theology,” in The Encyclopedia of Religions, Lindsay Jones (ed.), Vol. 13 (Detroit: Macmillan Reference, 2005), pp. 9125-9134.
[ii] Francis X. Clooney, “Comparative Theology in The Oxford Handbook to Systematic Theology, John Webster et al. (eds.), (Oxford University, 2007), pp. 653-669.
[iii] In the interest of avoiding confusion, I will point out that the terms “comparative theology” and “the new comparative theology” have recently begun to be used interchangeably by practitioners of the discipline. The second term is allegedly more precise, for it distinguishes the comparative theology of the last 15-20 years from the “older” comparative theology, marked by the likes of scholars such as J.A. MacCulloch (Comparative Theology, 1902) and James F. Clarke (Ten Great Religions: An Essay in Comparative Theology, 1871), see Clooney, Comparative Theology, pp. 30-35.
[iv] James Fredericks, “Introduction,” The New Comparative Theology, Francis X. Clooney (ed.), (T&T Clark, 2010), xii-xv.
[v] Against a soteriologically-driven practice of comparative theology, see p. xii. For Frederick’s desire that all theology become indwelt with a comparative ethos, see p. xiv.
[vi] A. Bagus Laksana, “Comparative Theology: Between Identity and Alterity,” in Clooney, pp. 1-2.
[vii] Laksana, p. 6.
[viii] Ibid., p. 12.
[ix] Ibid., p. 15.
[x] Ibid., p. 17-18.
[xi] Kristin Beise Kiblinger, “Relating Theology of Religions and Comparative Theology,” in Clooney, p. 25, 29.
[xii] As is typically (and disturbingly) the case in contemporary discussions of theology of religions, the exclusivist position is ignored. Kiblinger’s new forms of inclusivism include the contributions of S. Mark Heim; the new forms of pluralism come from David Ray Griffin, among others.
[xiii] Ibid., pp. 32-41. In an interesting turn here, Kiblinger is essentially engaging in “comparative theology of religions.”
[xiv] Ibid., p. 28.
[xv] Said another way, Kiblinger wants comparative theology be “up-front” and utilize theology of religions, but her updated theology of religions does not appear to be, in the end, actual theology of religions. Rather, it seems to be either (a) a somewhat blurry model for benign interreligious dialogue or (b) comparative theology itself.
[xvi] Nicholson, “The New Comparative Theology and the Problem of Theological Hegemonism”, in Clooney, pp. 50-54.
[xvii] Ibid., pp. 55, 58-59.
[xviii] Ibid., p. 58.
[xix] Ibid., p. 59.
[xx] See Clairmont, “On Hegemonies Within: Franciscan Mission and Buddhist Kings in Comparative Theological Contexts,” in Clooney, pp. 78-81, 83.
[xxi] Ibid., pp. 84-85.
[xxii] Ibid., pp. 86-87.
[xxiii] Ibid., p. 87.
[xxiv] Ibid., p. 88.
[xxv] Daniel Joslyn-Siemiatkoski, “Comparative Theology and the Status of Judaism: Hegemony and Reversals,” in Clooney, pp. 96-100.
[xxvi] Ibid., pp. 102-107.
[xxvii] Ibid., p. 107.
[xxviii] Here meaning Clooney, Fredericks, and Neville, ibid., pp. 96-97.
[xxix] Michelle Voss Roberts, “Gendering Comparative Theology,” in Clooney, pp. 112-114. Her examples come from Aloysius Pieris, Bede Griffiths, and F.X. Clooney.
[xxx] Ibid., pp. 110, 115-116
[xxxi] Ibid., pp. 117ff.
[xxxii] Ibid., p. 114.
[xxxiii] Ibid., p. 127.
[xxxiv] Tracy Sayuki Tiemeier, “Comparative Theology as a Theology of Liberation,” in Clooney, p. 129.
[xxxv] Ibid., pp. 133-137.
[xxxvi] Ibid., pp. 129, 139-142.
[xxxvii] Ibid., pp. 141-142.
[xxxviii] Ibid., p. 149.
[xxxix] Jefferey D. Long, “(Tentatively) Putting the Pieces Together: Comparative Theology in the Tradition of Sri Ramakrishna,” in Clooney, p. 152.
[xl] Ibid., p. 154.
[xli] Ibid., pp. 157-159, 166-167. Long is here drawing on a variety of sources and makes several in-depth points that cannot be explicated at any real length in this review. Of note is his employment of Vrajaprana’s ‘puzzle’ metaphor and John Cobb’s ‘metaphysical pluralism’ to give his framework conceptual efficacy.
[xlii] Ibid., p. 167.
[xliii] I am here borrowing some language from F.X. Clooney, Comparative Theology (Oxford, 2010), Chapter 1.
[xliv] See Long, p. 162 n25.
[xlv] See A. Bagus Laksana, “Comparative Theology: Between Identity and Alterity,” in Clooney.
[xlvi] John Sheveland, “Solidarity through Polyphony,” in Clooney, pp. 172-174.
[xlvii] This is my term, though Sheveland could hardly disagree with it, given his overarching metaphorical preference. Also, he uses this point of his polyphonic approach as leverage to defer questions of religious “truth,” at least until “the distant future.” One is reminded here of Clooney’s similar truth-deferential moment in his Theology After Vedanta (SUNY, 1993), pp. 191-193. (The issue of the deferment of claims to truth is one of the major methodological and epistemic questions that has yet to be significantly debated among philosophically-trained comparativists.)
[xlviii] Sheveland, in Clooney, pp. 176-177.
[xlix] Ibid., pp. 178-186.
[l] Also ‘weak’ analogy. See Patrick J. Hurley, A Brief Introduction to Logic (Thomson, 2008 [10th ed.]), p. 140.
[li] Sheveland, p. 175.
[lii] Clooney, “Response,” in Clooney, pp. 193-194.
[liii] As an “in-house” note, as a comparative-theologian-in-training, and as one who thinks the discipline has miles yet to travel in terms of intellectual justification and sound philosophical underpinnings for interreligious investigation, I find Clooney’s two “reasons” here to be significantly less than stirring.
[liv] Ibid., pp. 194-195.
[lv] Ibid., p. 199.
[lvi] Ibid., p. 196. The three paragraphs on this page may be among the most even-handed on this topic that are available in the current literature.
[lvii] Ibid., pp. 197-198.
[lviii] Clooney, p. 200.
[lix] Hugh Nicholson raises a similar point, “A Correlational Model of Comparative Theology,” The Journal of Religion, Vol. 85.2 (April 2005), p. 193.