Francis X. Clooney Named Parkman Professor of Divinity and Professor of Comparative Theology

wmcdowell@hds.harvard.edu

Francis X. Clooney, one of the world's leading comparative-theology scholars, will become the Parkman Professor of Divinity and Professor of Comparative Theology at Harvard Divinity School, effective July 1, 2005, Dean William A. Graham has announced.

Clooney, a Roman Catholic priest and a member of the Society of Jesus, is currently Professor of Comparative Theology at Boston College, where he has taught since 1984. His primary area of scholarship has been Hindu-Christian studies, and he is the author of many articles and books in that area, as well as in comparative theology more generally. His book Divine Mother, Blessed Mother: Hindu Goddesses and the Virgin Mary has just been published by Oxford University Press, and Hindu God, Christian God: How Reason Helps Break Down the Boundaries between Religions was published by Oxford in 2001.

"The Parkman Professorship was established in 1814 and is one of the Divinity School's most venerable chairs," Graham said in announcing the appointment. "The last incumbent was John Braisted Carman, and it is gratifying that HDS has been able to attract yet another acclaimed scholar whose work naturally flows between theology and the comparative history of religion."

Clooney earned a doctorate in South Asian Languages and Civilizations from the University of Chicago in 1984. He holds a master of divinity degree from Weston School of Theology and a bachelor of arts degree from Fordham University. He is on numerous editorial boards; was the first president of the International Society for Hindu-Christian Studies; and from 1998-2004 was Coordinator for Interreligious Dialogue for the Society of Jesus. 

"I am grateful for this appointment as the Parkman Professor of Divinity, and I look forward to joining the Divinity School and Harvard University," said Clooney. "Today's world is witnessing great changes in the study of religion and religions, as the great faith traditions revive and renew themselves, while contemporary pluralism creates unprecedented challenges and possibilities for all believers. Needed more than ever are theologians who are conversant in their own traditions, yet willing to cross boundaries and learn from the faith and practice of people of diverse faiths.

"Harvard Divinity School, in conjunction with its Center for the Study of World Religions, and the University's Committee on the Study of Religion and related departments, offers unparalleled resources for the study of classical and living traditions, and it will be exciting to work in so diverse and creative a community of colleagues and students. As a Roman Catholic comparative theologian who studies Hindu religious traditions, I look forward to sharing in a great conversation that will shape theologies, the study of religions, and ministerial practice, in the decades to come."