Professor Francis X. Clooney, SJ

Parkman Professor of Divinity, Harvard University
Professor of Comparative Theology, Harvard University


Professor Francis X. Clooney, S.J., is a Roman Catholic priest and a member of the Society of Jesus. Since 2005 he has been Parkman Professor of Divinity and Professor of Comparative Theology at Harvard University, USA. Francis was previously Professor of Comparative Theology at Boston College, where he taught since 1984, after earning his doctorate in South Asian languages and civilizations from the University of Chicago. He served as Academic Director of the OCHS from 2002-2004. Furthermore Professor Francis X. Clooney, S.J., is on numerous editorial boards, was the first president of the International Society for Hindu-Christian Studies and, was, from 1998 to 2004, coordinator for interreligious dialogue for the Society of Jesus.

Research Areas

Professor Francis X. Clooney, S.J., primary areas of scholarship have been theological commentarial writings in the Sanskrit and Tamil traditions of Hindu India, and the developing field of comparative theology, a discipline distinguished by attentiveness to the dynamics of theological reading and writing in light of traditions other then one’s own.

Professor Francis X. Clooney, S.J., has also written on the Jesuit missionary tradition, particularly in India, and is interested in the dynamics of dialogue in a postcolonial world.

Selected Publications

  • Western Jesuit Scholars in India: Tracing Their Paths, Reassessing Their Goals (Brill, 2020)
  • Reading the Hindu and Christian Classics: Why and How It Matters (University of Virgina Press, 2019)
  • Learning Interreligiously: In the Text, in the World (Fortress, 2018)
  • The Future of Hindu-Christian Studies: A Theological Inquiry (Routledge, 2017)
  • His Hiding Place Is Darkness: A Hindu-Catholic Theopoetics of Divine Absence (Stanford University Press, 2013)
  • Comparative Theology: Deep Learning Across Religious Borders (Blackwell Publishing, 2010)
  • Fr. Bouchet’s India: An 18th-Century Jesuit’s Encounter With Hinduism (Satya Nilayam Publications, 2005)
  • Divine Mother, Blessed Mother: Hindu Goddesses and the Virgin Mary (Oxford University Press, 2004)

In Preparation: 

  • “The Two and the Three: Thinking about the Trinity in Light of a Hindu Reflection on the Divine Consort,” in TrinityTheological Perspective from the East and from the West. Editor, Christoph Schwöbel.
  • “Prologue: Reflections on Vaisnava-Christian Dialogue,” Journal of Vaisnava Studies

Chapters and Articles

  • “Hindu, Christian, Catholic: Four Western Jesuits in India and the Balance They Achieved,” The Whole is Greater than Its Parts: Encountering the Interreligious and Ecumenical Other in the Age of Pope Francis. Edited by Gabriel Said Reynolds and Peter Casarella. Crossroad Publishing, 2020, 71-93.
  • “An Instance of Interreligious Contemplative Reading: In the Absence of the Beloved,” Spirituality through Interreligious Experience. Edited by Xavier Tharamel, SJ. Delhi: ISPCK, 2019, 124-133.
  • “Comparative Theology: Writing Between Worlds of Meaning,” in Theologically Engaged Anthropology. Edited by Derrick Lemons, 2018.
  • “Vedanta and Christian Faith: A Signpost in the Intellectual Journey of Bede Griffiths,” The Continuing Quest: Bede Griffiths Centenary Volume. Edited by Thomas Matus, OSB, and Joseph Wong, OSB. EOS Publishing, 2016, 27-41.