Doing Theology Inter-religiously?
The visit of Professor Francis Clooney to Australia in the winter of 2012 generated a good deal of lively conversation within the Centre for Interreligious Dialogue at Australian Catholic University. Clooney, an American Jesuit, Professor of Comparative Theology and Parkman Professor of Divinity at Harvard University is a leading global exponent of comparative theology. In this essay, we seek to examine the historical development of the discipline, discuss its distinctive features and probe the reasons for its emergence in a revitalised form in the Anglo-American academy towards the close of the twentieth century. Sections 2 and 3 of the article elaborate specific forms of comparative theology – Buddhist-Christian and Christian-Hindu collaborative learning – and suggest potential areas for future research. We conclude that the rejuvenated discipline represents a creative and fruitful way of doing theology in our pluralistic and globalised world.