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In Theologising with the Sacred ‘Prostitutes’ of South India, Eve Rebecca Parker theologises with the Dalit women who from childhood have been dedicated to village goddesses and used as ‘sacred’ sex workers. Parker uses ethnographic, anthropological, theological, hermeneutical and historical research and analysis in order to critically engage with the lived religiosity and daily struggles of the dedicated women, known as devadāsīs. In doing so, she works towards an Indecent Dalit Liberation Theology that challenges systems of oppression and cultures of impunity, including casteism, sexism, classism and a history of socio-political and religious marginalisation. The result is a profound theologising of struggle and resistance with the sexual narratives of the oppressed.
Tracing Their Paths, Reassessing Their Goals
This book collects fifteen essays and book sections about the Jesuits in India written over a period of more than thirty years. Many of these pieces, unavailable for years, now appear together for the first time. The essays open a window on the 450-year Jesuit history in India, from Roberto de Nobili in the seventeenth century to the leading Jesuit scholars of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. The volume looks back into this long missionary history, but Clooney’s eye is also on the question of relevance today: How ought interreligious learning take place in the twenty-first century?

“Western Jesuit Scholars in India is a fascinating collection of studies of 17th-21st century Jesuit writings in and about classical India. By his methods and questions, Francis Clooney, Indologist and Jesuit theologian, exposes certain aporias and deficiencies latent in Indology. It concludes with a notable proposal of an interfaith sensibility.”
Gérard Colas, Directeur de recherche émérité, Centre National de la Recherche scientifique, Paris

“Francis X. Clooney’s Western Jesuit Scholars in India is that of a humanist. He is not only a studious and assiduous reader of texts in languages and intellectual idioms that few scholars are capable of untangling, but is also committed to finding deep human and spiritual connections, detecting the intellectual empathies and affinities that the Jesuit missionaries had labored to bring out in their writings over half a millennium. With a clear and engaging pen, impressive erudition, and intellectual humility before the truly difficult task, Clooney studies what is undoubtedly one of the most fascinating chapters in Jesuit intellectual history, the encounter with Indian philosophical and textual traditions. Seekers of knowledge and cultural understanding of all stripes will find in this book plenty of wisdom, some surprises, and a large historical canvas stretching from Italy to India and back, and beyond.”
Ines G. Županov, Senior Fellow, Centre d’études de l’Inde et de l’Asie du Sud, CNRS, Paris
A Comparative Theology of Divine Possessions
Author: Joshua Samuel
In Untouchable Bodies, Resistance, and Liberation, Joshua Samuel constructs an embodied comparative theology of liberation by comparing divine possessions among Hindu and Christian Dalits in South India. Critiquing the problems inherent in prioritizing texts when studying religious traditions, Samuel calls for the need to engage in body and people centered interreligious learning. This comparative theological reading of ecstatic experiences of the divine in Dalit bodies in Hinduism and Christianity brings out the powerful liberative potential inherent in the bodies of the oppressed, enabling us to identify alternative modes of resistance and new avenues of liberation among those who are dehumanized and discriminated, and to find deeper and meaningful ways of speaking about God in the context of oppression.
The Rites Controversies in the Early Modern World is a collection of fourteen articles focusing on debates concerning the nature of “rites” raging in intellectual circles of Europe, Asia and America in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The controversy started in Jesuit Asian missions where the method of accommodation, based on translation of Christianity into Asian cultural idioms, created a distinction between civic and religious customs. Civic customs were defined as those that could be included into Christianity and permitted to the new converts. However, there was no universal consensus among the various actors in these controversies as to how to establish criteria for distinguishing civility from religion. The controversy had not been resolved, but opened the way to radical religious scepticism.

Contributors are: Claudia Brosseder, Michela Catto, Gita Dharampal-Frick, Pierre Antoine Fabre, Ana Carolina Hosne, Ronnie Po-Chia Hsia, Giuseppe Marcocci, Ovidiu Olar, Sabina Pavone, István Perczel, Nicholas Standaert, Margherita Trento, Guillermo Wilde and Ines G. Županov.
Author: Naomi Thurston
Studying Christianity in China introduces an emerging academic trend in contemporary Chinese scholarship. Through qualitative interviews with leading experts in Chinese Christian studies, Naomi Thurston has investigated the ongoing conversation between China and Christianity. Since the 1980s, this conversation has given rise to an interdisciplinary academic field that is quickly gaining traction as a cutting-edge, cross-cultural discourse. The Chinese intellectuals driving this field are encountered as unique transmitters of cultural knowledge: they are cultural mediators working in a range of humanities and social science disciplines who are not only re-interpreting Western theology, but are also lending a new voice to Chinese expressions of the Christian faith. As such, they are at the forefront of a novel force in World Christianity.
Author: Melanie Barbato
In Jain Approaches to Plurality Melanie Barbato offers a new perspective on the Jain teaching of plurality ( anekāntavāda) and how it allowed Jains to engage with other discourses from Indian inter-school philosophy to global interreligious dialogue. Jainism, one of the world’s oldest religions, has managed to both adapt and preserve its identity across time through its inherently dialogical outlook. Drawing on a wide range of textual sources and original research in India, Barbato analyses the encounters between Jains and non-Jains in the classical, colonial and global context. Jain Approaches to Plurality offers a comprehensive introduction to anekāntavāda as a non-Western resource for understanding plurality and engaging in dialogue.

“Building upon earlier work in this field without simply reduplicating it, Melanie Barbato’s work delves deeply into the question of the relevance of Jain approaches to religious and philosophical diversity to contemporary issues of inter-religious dialogue, and dialogues across worldviews more generally. (…) This work is a most welcome contribution to the conversation.”

— Jeffery D. Long, Professor of Religion and Asian Studies, Elizabethtown College. April 2017. Author of Jainism: An Introduction.
A Critical and Methodological Perspective
Author: Paul Hedges
In this first volume of Brill Research Perspectives in Theology, the field of comparative theology is mapped with particular attention to the tradition associated with Francis Clooney but noting the global and wider context of theology in a comparative mode. There are four parts. In the first section the current field is mapped and its methodological and theological aspects are explored. The second part considers what the deconstruction of religion means for comparative theology. It also takes into consideration turns to lived and material religion. In the third part, issues of power, representation, and the subaltern are considered, including the place of feminist and queer theory in comparative theology. Finally, the contribution of philosophical hermeneutics is considered. The text notes key trends, develops original models of practice and method, and picks out and discusses critical issues within the field.
The Expansion of Catholicism in the Early Modern World
Volume Editors: Antje Flüchter and Rouven Wirbser
Translating Catechisms, Translating Cultures explores the dimensions of early modern transcultural Christianities; the leeway of religious negotiation in and outside of Europe by comparing catechisms and their translation in the context of several Jesuit missionary strategies. The volume challenges the often assumed paramount Europeanness of Western Christianity. In the early modern period the idea of Tridentine Catholicism was translated into many different regions where it was appropriated and adopted to local conditions. Missionary work always entails translation, linguistic as well as cultural, which results in a modification of the content. Catechisms were central instruments to communicate Christian belief and, therefore, they are central media for all kinds of translation processes. The comparative approach (including China, India, Japan, Ethiopia, Northern America and England) enables the evaluation of different factors like power relations, social differentiation, cultural patterns, gender roles etc.

Contributors are: Takao Abé, Anand Amaladass, Leonhard Cohen, Renate Dürr, Antje Flüchter, Ana Hosne, Giulia Nardini, John Ødemark, John Steckley, Alexandra Walsham, Rouven Wirbser.
Author: John J. Keane
In Cultural and Theological Reflections on the Japanese Quest for Divinity, John J. Keane offers an explanation of Japanese divinity ( kami 神) using sociology, anthropology, linguistics, literature and history. He presents an overview of how the Japanese have sought to love and serve their kami - a quest that rivals the interest that the West gives to God. The principles of interreligious dialogue are applied to the meaning of kami and a plea is made for a dialogue that respectfully accepts differences between the cultures and the theologies of Eastern and Western thought. Important cultural themes are discussed as a part of this quest, such as the emperors of Japan and the Japanese Tea Ceremony. The work also challenges the understanding of kami as highlighted by Akutagawa Ryunosuke and Endo Shusaku.





Author: Amos Yong
Recent thinking in Christian theology of religions has taken a “pneumatological turn” which asks how the doctrine of the Holy Spirit can contribute to the interreligious dialogue and to the emerging discourse of comparative theology. Pneumatology and the Christian-Buddhist Dialogue. Does the Spirit Blow through the Middle Way? tests the viability of this approach as applied to the Christian-Buddhist dialogue. Various Christian and Buddhist traditions are compared and contrasted within a pneumatological framework. Is the Holy Spirit to be found along the Buddha’s middle way? Some Christians say yes, while others demur. The thesis of this volume is that such a pneumatological perspective opens up possibilities for the deepening and transformation of Christian theology in the religiously plural world of the twenty-first century.