Synopses & Reviews
His Hiding Place is Darkness
explores the uncertainties of faith and love in a pluralistic age. In keeping with his conviction that studying multiple religious traditions intensifies rather than attenuates religious devotion, Francis Clooney's latest work of comparative theology seeks a way beyond today's religious and interreligious uncertainty by pairing a fresh reading of the absence of the beloved in the Biblical Song of Songs with a pioneering study of the same theme in the Holy Word of Mouth (9th century CE), a classic of Hindu mystical poetry rarely studied in the West.
Remarkably, the pairing of these texts is grounded not in a general theory of religion, but in an engagement with two unexpected sources: the theopoetics, theodramatics, and theology of the 20th-century Catholic theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar, and the intensely perceived and written poetry of Pulitzer Prize winner Jorie Graham. How we read and write on religious matters is transformed by this rare combination of voices in what is surely a unique and important contribution to comparative studies and religious hermeneutics.
This work of comparative theology brings together the Biblical Song of Songs and the Hindu Holy Word of Mouth to show how we can learn interreligiously and honor traditional commitments even while admitting the radical changes, losses, and gaps that pluralism is bringing to religious consciousness.
About the Author
Francis X. Clooney, S.J. is Parkman Professor of Divinity and Professor of Comparative Theology at the Harvard Divinity School, where he also directs the Center for the Study of World Religions. A Roman Catholic priest and a member of the Society of Jesus, he is the author of numerous books, including Beyond Compare: St. Francis de Sales and Sri Vedanta Desika on Loving Surrender to God (2008) and Comparative Theology: Deep Learning across Religious Borders (2010). In 2010, Clooney was elected a Fellow of the British Academy.