This chapter demonstrates the resonances between the disciplines of comparative theology and interreligious studies at the nexus of the study of religion and confessional, critical theology. It focuses on comparative theology qua instance of interreligious studies. Critical insights from interreligious studies are then constructively applied to comparative theology. Interreligious studies will be presented as a discipline that does explicitly what the study of religion has performed implicitly: study the relational dynamic not only among religious traditions, but also among cultural and social discourses. Comparative theology will then be presented as a discipline that recognizes and explicitly reproduces the relational dynamic in the development of theological discourses. Learning from critical interreligious studies and this relational dynamic, the chapter argues that comparative theology should not only embrace this relational dynamic, but transgress its historically totalizing and hegemonic project. This subversion should not be for its own sake, but for the sake of constructing a liberating praxis that unmasks restrictive ideologies and prescribes action in solidarity with the multiply oppressed. Learning from interreligious studies, comparative theology should add to its interreligious venture an intersectional praxis that gives unequivocal preference to those marginalized and made vulnerable by what Elizabeth Schüssler Fiorenza terms kyriarchy and feminist and critical race theorists Kimberlé Crenshaw and Patricia Hill Collins term intersectionality and the matrix of domination.
This article examines the use of Sufi lexicons (iṣṭilāḥāt) through the relatively unknown Mystical Commentary of the Love Lyrics of Ḥāƒiẓ by Abū al-Ḥasan Khatamī Lāhūrī. It resituates the iṣṭilāḥāt within the context of the philosophical-Sufi tradition, engaging theories of metaphor, imagination, poetry, and imaginaries from Ricœur, Castoriadis, Lakoff and Johnson, and Caputo. Rather than employing the iṣṭilāḥāt to produce a static correspondence between poetic terms and metaphysical realities, Lāhūrī’s theo-poetics transposes the metaphors and poetics of the poems into metaphors and poetics of this phenomenal world. This reading challenges previous criticisms of Sufi commentaries, particularly on the dīvān-i Ḥāfiẓ. The critique that the application of iṣṭilāḥāt disembodies or allegorizes the poetic images is challenged when they are interpreted within the philosophical-Sufi tradition. Contrary to literary criticisms of iṣṭilāḥāt, the poem is not merely a formal suitcase for mystical meaning; rather, poetics, the poem’s content, and theology create a nexus of interpretation for Lāhūrī.