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Cognitive Metaphor Theory Integrated into Comparative Theology

Possibilities and Challenges in the Multireligious Context of India

In: International Journal of Asian Christianity
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Yesudasan Remias Postdoctoral Researcher, University of Paderborn, Paderborn, Germany yesuremias@gmail.com

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Abstract

The emergence of the new comparative theology in the west has greatly benefitted from Indian Vedic texts and related ones. Despite their extensive use for western theological reflection, comparative theology, however, has not come to the limelight in India, since most of the western initiatives have been perceived to be camouflaged missionary efforts. This paper proposes the cognitive metaphor theory as a fitting supplement to comparative theology. I argue that combining both has much to offer to study, learn, and relate religions in the multi-religiously coexisting context of India. I explore its possibilities and challenges and address how new comparative theology stays distinct from its nineteenth-century efforts in terms of bridging religious traditions by learning from them. This paper draws much from my own experiences, insights, and studies as a native of Indian culture, brought up in Christian tradition. My studies and researches are focused on comparative theology developed through the lens of cognitive metaphor theory.

Abstract

The emergence of the new comparative theology in the west has greatly benefitted from Indian Vedic texts and related ones. Despite their extensive use for western theological reflection, comparative theology, however, has not come to the limelight in India, since most of the western initiatives have been perceived to be camouflaged missionary efforts. This paper proposes the cognitive metaphor theory as a fitting supplement to comparative theology. I argue that combining both has much to offer to study, learn, and relate religions in the multi-religiously coexisting context of India. I explore its possibilities and challenges and address how new comparative theology stays distinct from its nineteenth-century efforts in terms of bridging religious traditions by learning from them. This paper draws much from my own experiences, insights, and studies as a native of Indian culture, brought up in Christian tradition. My studies and researches are focused on comparative theology developed through the lens of cognitive metaphor theory.

It is in the context of the increasing diversity of the world today that the basic lessons of interreligious learning take shape in India, particularly in the classrooms where religious texts are made part of the academic curriculum. As an Indian Christian, I have learnt many stories from the Hindu epics, Mahābhārata and Rāmāyana, and these still resonate in my childhood memories. The study of other religious texts at that early stage, however, served in fulfilling academic requirements rather than leading to new learning of my tradition in light of another. Offering interreligious studies to promote a deeper learning of each student’s own religious tradition in light of another remains a desideratum in Indian universities.

Generally, interreligious learning is undertaken in the form of interreligious dialogue, interfaith dialogue, and other local forms of interreligious initiatives. Most of these forms attempt to establish peaceful coexistence among religious traditions and are, by and large, aimed at mutual enrichment. Such forms, nonetheless, often implicitly run the risk of elitism, namely, the enrichment of the elite.

Furthermore, interreligious learning has always been a challenge in the politically charged religious context of India. On the one hand, the dominant religion, Hinduism, fuelled by nationalism and indigeneity, has often turned out to be intolerant and fundamentalist vis-à-vis minority religions (particularly Islam and Christianity). Hindu scriptures are frequently made use of to safeguard the political status quo. For instance, the Bhagavad-Gītā has often been cited in the Indian parliament in defence of the Hindutva political agenda. On the other hand, many who profess minority religions deem the majority religion’s (Hinduism’s) rituals and other faith practices as superstitious, and sacrilegious. Moreover, the colonial legacy of missionary preaching, conversion and denigration of Hinduism continues to impact the Hindu-Christian relationship. 1

In the Indian context of both religious diversity and politically charged religious fundamentalism, interreligious learning and theologising practiced by Francis X. Clooney are promising. An expert in the Mīmāṃsā and Vedānta darśanas, and in the Hindu Vaiṣṇava tradition, Clooney has developed his own intellectual venture of theologising across Hindu-Christian traditions, and has substantially contributed to what has been called the “new comparative theology” (henceforth: ct). Clooney defines ct as: “Comparative theology – comparative and theological beginning to end – marks acts of faith seeking understanding which are rooted in a particular faith tradition but which, from that foundation, venture into learning from one or more other faith traditions”. 2 It calls for a deeper learning of one’s own tradition in light of another. Clooney’s interreligious learning and theologising are not only distinct from the nineteenth-century comparative theology that engaged other religions solely through the lens of Christianity, but also from the evangelical enterprise with missionary undercurrent. 3 Clooney’s approach in this respect can be defined as a journey towards one’s inner-life (antaryāmi), a central theme close to the heart of Hinduism. 4 As R. C. Zaehner, a renowned Indologist, puts it, “we must seek to understand them [other religions] from within and try to grasp how they too seek to penetrate the mystery of our being and our eternal destiny; for they have a magnificent heritage of ripe spirituality from which Christians can learn and profit”. 5 Clooney’s engaging of Hindu tradition, thus, remains promising in the multireligious context of India.

However, Clooney’s approach focused on dealing with texts of other religious traditions, is not free of criticism. Some scholars have argued that there is a lack of an adequate methodology in Clooney’s inter-texting across traditions. 6 Clooney has often defended his approach by inviting his critics to “do” ct rather than get stuck in questions of method and theories. Clooney would also say, “let one sow, and other reap”; some can attend to method, as some engage primarily in the practice. 7 By taking into account both criticisms of ct, and Clooney’s relentless pursuit in “doing” ct, this paper proposes that cognitive metaphor theory (henceforth: cmt) could be a supplement to ct. The paper further argues that combining ct and cmt is a very beneficial form of theology in today’s religiously diverse context of India.

1 Cognitive Metaphor Theory in Comparative Theology

As it began in the 1980s, cmt had its foundation in “cognitive linguistics”. 8 Proponents of cmt argued that linguistic expressions acquire their meaning through a dynamic process of cognition. 9 What we perceive in the world and how we interact with other people is fundamentally structured by our conceptual systems. Conceptual system and the cognitive process thus influence one another. cmt’s main contention is that the essence of any metaphor is “understanding and experiencing one kind of thing in terms of another”. 10 The metaphor “love is a journey” is an example: 11

Look how far we have come.

It’s been a long, bumpy road.

We can’t turn back now.

We’re at the crossroads.

We may have to go our separate ways.

The relationship isn’t going anywhere.

We’re spinning our wheels.

Our relationship is off the track.

The marriage is on the rocks.

We may have to bail out of this relationship.

cmt gained widespread acceptance in several circles; first in linguistic studies, then in literary circles, and more recently it has been adopted in biblical studies to analyse the metaphors in the Hebrew Bible. 12 As an Old Testament researcher, in my own research, after observing the analogous reasoning of cmt and ct, I argued that we might integrate cmt into the doing of ct. 13 What follows in the rest of this essay is, first, a brief description of how cmt mirrors ct, and, second, an examination of how ct can benefit from cmt in order to function in the multireligious context of India concretely.

1.1 Two Domains/Religious Traditions – Incongruent

As the following diagram shows, cmt deals with the relationship between two incongruent domains, in which the target domain is understood in terms of the source domain; ct functions by understanding one religious text in light of another.

Figure 1
Figure 1

Taken from Van Hecke

Citation: International Journal of Asian Christianity 3, 2 (2020) ; 10.1163/25424246-00302005

NOTE: Pierre Van Hecke, “Do You Understand What You are Reading?’ (Acts 8,30): On the Place and Role of Exegesis’, in R. Bieringer, R. Burggraeve, E. Nathan and M. Steegen, eds, Provoked to Speech: Biblical Hermeneutics as Conversation (Leuven: Peeters, 2014), pp. 69–83, at p. 77.

1.2 Mapping/Comparing – Unidirectional

The arrows with dots in the above diagram represent the mapping of conceptual correspondences from the source domain to the target domain—and not the other way around, since the flow is unidirectional. In the famous example of Max Black, one of the proponents of “Interaction Theory” of metaphor, the metaphor man is wolf 14 does not make the wolf more human-like, but rather the man is understood in light of the characteristics of the wolf. The arrows also represent the indispensability of the source domain for the understanding of the target domain.

In today’s pluralistic world, this suggests that the home tradition in ct necessarily needs the input of another tradition, lest it be impoverished by absolutising itself and exercising hegemony over another tradition. The work of comparison in ct, therefore, is not a process of identification, but rather a stage of “intensification, rediscovery, reinterpretation, appropriation, and reaffirmation”, as Catherine Cornille explains while listing five possible options of learning in ct. 15 The comparative process is the recovering of oneself in light of the Other; it is being touched by the Other, rather than being dismissed by the Other.

1.3 Mapping/Comparing – Selective

Not all elements in the source domain can be mapped onto the target domain, but only the elements that are considered appropriate to the nature of the target domain. Lakoff and Johnson call this partial mapping the “used” part of a metaphor, since only a selection of properties is “used” in the target domain. 16 This also concerns the comparisons that take place in ct. When comparisons in ct become too comfortable, which T. S. Tiemeier calls the “deceptively productive” nature of ct, 17 it demands that more attention be devoted to the selection of texts and to the comparisons enacted in ct. As Tiemeier puts it, “To take this into account is to recognise that the comparative theologian cannot squeeze meaning out of any arbitrary juxtaposition” (p. 149). In this respect, cmt supplements ct by reinforcing “selective” mapping, to which we now turn.

Pierre Van Hecke is an expert in the study of metaphors in the Hebrew Bible. While discussing the above diagram, he explains that not everything associated with the source domain is considered onto the target domain but only a “selective” mapping. He worked this out as he studied the source domain of pastoralism—of shepherd and sheep—in order to understand the relationship between God and the humans. According to Van Hecke, as a shepherd leads sheep, God is understood as leading humans, providing them food, protecting them against danger, and curing them when injured. But other instances of the behaviour of shepherds with regard to their sheep, such as selling, slaughtering, shearing, and milking, are things which human shepherds do for their own benefit. These are not mapped onto the target domain “God”, since these elements are seen as contrary to the nature of “God”, and therefore unacceptable. 18 Such a conclusion might seem to be implicitly and deliberately safeguarding prior prejudices, or the already established doctrines of the understanding of the target domain “God” but, in reality, it is not so. It rather points to respecting the nature (particularity) of the target domain, and presupposes at least basic knowledge of the domain before entering into this venture. 19 Similarly, as Clooney explains it in response to Tiemeier, “The reader of texts outside her own tradition will need to attend to the stubborn facts of a text, its meanings, and its refusal to be at the service of a theme alien to what it is really about and how it speaks”. 20 ct’s particularity, therefore, means paying due attention to the deeper learning of the “whatness” of each religious tradition by engaging in intertextual learning rather than simply promoting the sudden and peripheral expression of glorifying the “sameness” in every tradition. Thus, both cmt and ct are selective and not indiscriminate in making connections, or in following through implications.

1.4 Understanding Achieved – Only Partially

cmt states categorically that the achieved understanding of the target domain is never complete but only partial. As Lakoff and Johnson put it, “If it were total [understanding that is achieved], one concept would actually be the other, not merely be understood in terms of it”. 21 cmt in this way reemphasises in ct the acknowledgement of productive humility, as crucial in protecting both the target domain in cmt and the home tradition in ct from becoming absolute and triumphalist. In cmt, the target domain preserves its identity and at the same time is open to different source domains; ct keeps a balance between “openness for the Other and preservation of identity”. 22

2 cmt Integrated into ct – A Fruitful Form of Theologizing in Today’s India

In the following section, we discuss the added value of cmt as it addresses and stimulates ct’s theological questions and search for understanding. One of the most crucial challenges facing us in the context of India concerns the necessity of learning from other religions in order to learn more of one’s own religion. This raises a host of basic questions: Is the truth of one’s own tradition incomplete or imperfect, such that there be a real need of learning from other religions? Is Hinduism indispensable for Christianity? Is Christianity indispensable for Hinduism? What necessitates learning from the Other for the sake of one’s own tradition? What do the practice of mission and evangelisation mean, if one presents oneself as in need of learning from other religions? Does not every tradition maintain its self-understanding as irreducible and untranslatable? These and similar questions will be duly addressed as we now consider the effect of integrating cmt into ct in the Indian context.

First, cmt supplements ct with the term “mapping.” This can be productive particularly in the context of India since ct’s “being comparative” is often misapprehended as seeking what is better or worse in the Other (as the term “comparative” generally conjures up). Conversely, a theology of mapping directly points to learning from/in light of one and another, by reinstating ct’s indispensable characteristic of recognising the Other within the multireligious context of India. For instance, the worldview of Hinduism (source domain) becomes necessary to the understanding of the worldview of Christianity (target domain). It is not because one tradition is inadequate and thereby in need of the other tradition for its own fulfilment, but because both share a single cultural context/world and coexist. Nonetheless, ct cautions us not to fall victim to a bland or mindless pluralism but instead, as in cmt, to acknowledge and accept the essential need of the Other (source domain), while respectful of its particularity and uniqueness, and while refraining from being judgmental.

Second, the compelling concern of cmt, once integrated into ct, is that the basic structure of the target domain should not be violated during the mapping. Many religiously motivated instances of violence and communal conflicts in India result from the apprehension and sense of threat with regard to “preserving” the essence of one’s own religious tradition, while at the same time failing to understand similar concerns on the part of the Other. On the one hand, many interpretations of the Bible woefully wounded the feelings and religious sentiments of the Hindus during the colonial period; on the other hand, the many blood sacrifices in the Bible triggered many Hindus to interpret the Christian God (of the Old Testament) as “one of the inferior Hindu deities who delighted in such distasteful offerings”. 23 The teachings of the Bhagavad Gītā were invoked by incensed mobs to take up arms to take revenge against Christian proselytism and colonialism. 24 Likewise, the demolishing of the Babari Mosque at Ayodhya in 1992, the Gujarat pogrom in 2002, 25 and Muslims murdering millions of Hindus in 1971 (though occurring in Bangladesh), fueled Hindu-Muslim riots. The storming of the Golden Temple at Amritsar in 1984 dealt a heavy blow to Hindu-Sikh relations. 26 Violence arises when a single religion becomes dominant, and forcefully identifies itself with the nation. This has become a growing challenge, particularly in the multireligious context of India. Against this background, cmt’s reemphasis on ct’s work of rediscovery and reconceptualisation, precisely in ensuring the identity of the Other as one would ensure one’s own identity, is highly promising.

Third, another remarkable characteristic of cmt is the “unidirectionality” of the mapping. That is, the mapping functions only from source domain towards the target domain and not the other way around, as may occur in ct. For ct remains undisturbed if another religion is also benefited and transformed. Such a characteristic of ct might be perceived as disturbing in the current context of India, where right-wing Hindutva interprets every endeavour of Christians as serving the missionary cause of conversion. cmt, thus, can be viewed as a source for infusing into ct the unidirectionality of mapping which is directed to the learning and transformation of the target domain (home tradition). Current Christian trends in inculturation aim at incorporating Hindu elements into Christian rituals and feasts. 27 Such a trend could be viewed as a form of unidirectional mapping, by which a comparative theologian enriches his/her own tradition by drawing on another tradition. Thus, unidirectional mapping safeguards a comparative theologian from the threats and hypercriticism of the majority religious traditions.

Fourth, cmt’s claim that only a partial understanding can be achieved in the target domain is appealing. Even if many source domains are studied, explored, and mapped in order to understand the target domain, the understanding gained remains only partial. Such an acknowledgement of partial understanding is taken seriously in metaphor theory, particularly when ‘God’ is the target domain. This means, as Van Hecke holds, ‘no concept is literally suited to fully conceptualise God and his relation to men;’ and that is the reason why ‘biblical and other religious authors have always had to resort to metaphors for this purpose’. 28 Integrating cmt into ct could help particularly in the conflict-ridden religious context of India, on the one hand, to reemphasise ct’s recognition of “partiality or perfectibility” of the home tradition, 29 and on the other hand, to foster metaphorical language while doing ct. The latter could ensure in refining claims on one’s own ‘God’ in the Indian context where religions coexist and at the same time, are considered irreducible and untranslatable by another.

Lastly, we can briefly analyse how exactly integrating cmt into ct might be concretely initiated in India. Hindu Scholars like Anantanand Rambachan, building on the works of Klaus Klostermaier, has argued that the deep erosion of intellectual vigour has often been the most serious reason for the collapse of the Hindu-Christian relationship. 30 Since ct is primarily an intellectual enterprise aimed at interreligious learning and theologising, Hindu ashrams as well as Christian seminaries could be the initial loci in which to undertake ct in India. 31 cmt could serve as a clear pedagogical framework for explaining how ct works. ct’s ruminative reading enhanced by “formal traditional commentaries, their related scriptures and in light of normative religious practice”, 32 finds a fitting locus in ashrams and seminaries where the resources are readily accessible. For instance, the Jnanadeep Vidhyapeeth (jdv), a national Catholic seminary located in Pune, India, could provide the necessary resources for learning classic languages such as Sanskrit, Hebrew, and Greek, with a view to help read religious scriptures as well as to translate the original texts. Besides encouraging the knowledge of these languages, ct does promote works accomplished through commentaries on the Urtexts. 33 The incorporation of cmt into ct is also significant and appropriate for introducing ct into the classrooms of schools and universities (for instance, the Department of Christian Studies in the University of Madras) in India, since cmt engages in the study of linguistic, semantic, and cognitive elements in the texts. Combining cmt and ct could thus promote intellectual vigour towards comparative study of Hindu-Christian texts in the academic curriculum in India.

3 Conclusion

This paper has demonstrated how cmt can/should be a promising and fitting supplement to ct, when ct is undertaken in the context of India where multiple religions coexist. cmt complements ct by highlighting the necessity of a “theology of mapping” from one tradition to another. In the context of a truth-seeking ct grounded in learning in light of another, cmt reinstates into it the need to preserve the essence of one’s own home tradition while engaging with another, and to pay due respect to each tradition as it is. This calls for a unidirectional mapping, in order to avoid not only the privileging of one tradition over another, but also to avoid becoming judgemental regarding the Other. cmt’s caution that we become highly sensitive and selective regarding what is mapped/compared across the domains (traditions) can also help avoid communal conflicts and violence motivated by fundamentalist religious groups in India. The deploying of ct as enriched by cmt, therefore, is highly promising in the Indian context, as together they redefine and reconceptualise the comparative theological endeavours in today’s world.

Moreover, combining cmt and ct has proven to be effective and constructive with respect to interreligious learning in India, 34 as both approaches prompt the comparative theologian to be firmly grounded and seriously committed to her own religious texts and traditions before engaging with the Other, while at the same time also not letting herself overwhelmed by the practices and beliefs of other religious traditions. Such an attempt affirms differences without letting those differences lapse into hostility and antagonism. As Clooney observes, “much religious friction and hostility is due to ignorance; learning is a virtue and study a good spiritual discipline”. 35

Finally, through the lens of cmt, the study of the Christian Bible finds a creative way forward by reaching out to the comparative learning of the scriptures (target domain) in light of other religious traditions (source domain) in India. This approach does not only invite adequate learning of the Christian Bible before attempting to engage in learning from the textual resources of other religious traditions, but it also integrates the historical critical approach by responding to the given identity of the text, author, and its reader. Both ct and cmt acknowledge that the effect of the texts on the daily lives of the people undeniably exists, just like our shadows follow us. A ruminative reading reverberates between recovery and reconceptualisation. When cmt is integrated into ct, this creates a form of theologising that is pertinent also to the textual traditions in India, where religious texts, oral or written, play a crucial role in terms of daily reading, chanting, praying, and meditating in Christian churches, Hindu temples, Muslim mosques, and Sikh gurdwaras. Still, it must be noted this paper does not hold that it will be challenging to undertake ct in India unless a reintegration of cmt and ct is achieved. It has rather tried to show that cmt nonetheless provides a creative, promising, and sensitive pedagogical heuristics for ct to function, particularly in the multireligious context of India.

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1

Yesudasan Remias, ‘Intertexting Interreligiously: From Faith Seeking Souls to Faith Seeking Understanding’, The Living Word: Journal of Philosophy and Theology, 125:4 (2019), 200–203, at 201. In an excellent field-study demonstrating the missionary effects on Hinduism in south India, Felix Wilfred states: ‘It was important, then, for the missionaries to paint the picture of Hinduism and its deities in their darkest colours’: ‘Christianity in Hindu Polytheistic Structural Mould. Converts in Southern Tamilnadu Respond to an Alien Religion during ‘the Vasco da Gama Epoch”, Religions, 103 (1998), 67–86, at 78.

2

Francis X. Clooney, Comparative Theology: Deep Learning Across Religious Borders (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010), p. 10. Emphasis original.

3

See his works, for instance, Francis X. Clooney, Hindu God, Christian God: How Reason Helps Break Down the Boundaries between Religions (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001); Francis X. Clooney, Divine Mother, Blessed Mother: Hindu Goddesses and the Virgin Mary (Oxford: ­Oxford University Press, 2005); Francis X. Clooney, The Truth, the Way, the Life: Christian Commentary on the Three Holy Mantras of the Śrīvaiṣṇava Hindus (Leuven: Peeters, 2008).

4

Clooney’s path reflects Second Vatican Council’s description of Hinduism: ‘Thus in Hinduism, men contemplate the divine mystery and express it through an inexhaustible abundance of myths and searching philosophical inquiry. They seek freedom from the anguish of our human condition either through ascetical practices or profound meditation or a flight to God with love and trust’: Paul VI, Declaration on the Relation to the Church to Non-Christian Religions (Nostra Aetate), no. 2, Vatican Website, 28 October 1965, http://w2.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_decl_19651028_nostra-aetate_en.html [accessed 9 May 2020].

5

R. C. Zaehner, The Catholic Church and World Religions (London: Burns & Oates, 1964), p. 8. Emphasis mine.

6

For instance, Marianne Moyaert, ‘Comparative Theology in Search of a Hermeneutical Framework’, in David Cheetham, Ulrich Winkler, Oddbjorn Leirvik and Judith Gruber, eds, Interreligious Hermeneutics in Pluralistic Europe: Between Texts and People (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2011), pp. 161–86 at p. 161 argues that ct is methodologically underdeveloped. Paul Hedges, ‘Comparative Theology and Hermeneutics: A Gadamerian Approach to Interreligious Interpretation’, Religions, 7:1 (2016), 1–20 at 7 explicitly states that in ct, ‘there is actually no clear methodology’. Hugh Nicholson, ‘Comparative Theology after Liberalism’, ­Modern Theology, 23 (2007), 229–51 at 229 calls for further elaboration in ct’s methodological framework. Catherine Cornille, ‘Review of Faith among Faith by James Fredericks’, ­Buddhist-Christian Studies, 21 (2001), 132–32 at 132 urges over the necessity of ‘further reflection regarding what appear to be the presuppositions and methodology of this approach’.

7

See the focus on ‘doing’ ct in Clooney and von Stosch, eds, 2018.

8

For an extensive introduction to cognitive linguistics, see Taylor, 1995. See also, Gibbs and Steen, eds, 1999.

9

The main proponents of cmt are George Lakoff and Mark Johnson, whose seminal work is Metaphors We Live By (Chicago, IL: Chicago University Press, 1980).

10

Lakoff and Johnson, Metaphors We Live By, p. 10.

11

George Lakoff, ‘The Contemporary Theory of Metaphor’, in Andrew Ortony, ed, Metaphor and Thought (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1979), pp. 202–51, at p. 206. Metaphors are written in small capitals.

12

See for instance, Brettler, 1989; Van Hecke, 2005.

13

Yesudasan Remias, ‘Comparative Theology and Cognitive Metaphor Theory: An Analogous Reasoning’, Studies in Interreligious Dialogue, 28:1 (2018), 1–28, at 1.

14

Max Black, Models and Metaphors: Studies in Language and Philosophy (Ithaca, NY: ­Cornell University Press, 1962), p. 41. The small capitals indicate metaphors.

15

Catherine Cornille, ‘Discipleship in Hindu-Christian Comparative Theology’, Theological Studies, 77:4 (2016), 869–85, at 870.

16

Lakoff and Johnson, Metaphors We Live By, p. 52.

17

Tracy Sayuki Tiemeier, ‘Interreligious Reading in the Context of Dialogue: When Interreligious Reading “Fails”’, Modern Theology, 29:4 (2013), 138–53, at 149.

18

Van Hecke, “Do You Understand What You are Reading?’ (Acts 8,30)’, 77. In this respect, I do not disagree with Keith Ward, another comparative theologian who insists on the need to revise beliefs of the home tradition ‘if and when it comes to seem necessary’, in so far as the nature of home tradition is not violated; which is in line with cmt. See Keith Ward, Religion and Revelation: A Theology of Revelation in the World’s Religions (Oxford: Clarendon, 1994), p. 48. In addition, ct is not an enterprise of plundering other traditions by drawing only what is useful for home tradition, as Rose Dew, ‘Challenging Truths: ­Reflections on the Theological Dimension of Comparative Theology’, Religions, 3 (2012), 1041–53, at 1051 observes.

19

See William Croft, ‘Connecting Frames and Constructions: A Case Study of Eat and Feed’, Constructions and Frames, 11 (2009), 7–28. See also, Croft and Cruse, 2004.

20

Francis X. Clooney, ‘In the Balance: Interior and Shared Acts of Reading’, Modern Theology, 29:4 (2013), 172–87, at 184. Emphasis mine.

21

Lakoff and Johnson, Metaphors We Live By, p. 13. Emphasis original.

22

Marianne Moyaert, In Response to the Religious Other: Ricoeur and the Fragility of Interreligious Encounters (Lanham, MD: Lexington, 2014), p. 189.

23

Brian K. Pennington, Was Hinduism Invented? Britons, Indians, and Colonial Construction of Religion (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005), p. 62.

24

See one of the Indian nationalists, Bal Gangadhar Tilak (1856–1920)’s two-volume commentary on Bhagavad-Gītā: Śrīmad Bhagavadgītā Rahasya Or Karma-Yoga-Sāstra (1935) in which Tilak summarised Bhagavad-Gītā as Karma-Yoga (way to action).

25

For a survey of the Hindu-Muslim conflicts, see Zeenath Kausar, ‘Communal Riots in India: Hindu-Muslim Conflict and Resolution’, Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs, 26: 3 (2006), 353–370. Kausar ends his essay by stating that “All the communities in India may soon realise that religion should be seen as an essential necessity to keep all the people refined, disciplined and civilised so that they may promote love and compassion towards each other instead of perceiving religion as a tool to attain selfish political gains through promoting hatred and bloodshed among communities” (at p. 366).

27

For instance, the initial ceremony of a Hindu child before going to the school is called Upanayana, which has been incorporated into the Christian tradition, in which the children are brought to the Christian priest. Just as in the practices of the Upanayana, the Christian priest initiates children for learning.

28

Pierre Van Hecke, ‘Shepherd and Linguists: A Cognitive-Linguistic Approach to the Metaphor ‘God is Shepherd’ in Gen 48,15 and Context’, in Andre Wénin, ed, Studies in the Book of Genesis: Literature, Redaction and History (betl 155; Leuven: Leuven University Press, 2001), pp. 479–93, at p. 481.

29

Catherine Cornille, Meaning and Method in Comparative Theology (New York: Wiley Blackwell, 2020), p. 105.

30

Anantanand Rambachan, ‘The Nature and Authority of Scripture: Implications for ­Hindu-Christian Dialogue’, in Wolfram Weise, Katajun Amirpur, Anna Körs and Dörthe Vieregge, eds, Religions and Dialogue: International Approaches (Münster: Waxmann, 2014), pp. 233–241, at p. 234.

31

The new Hindu monastic program organised this year by Clooney at Harvard Divinity School might set an impetus to undertake ct in Hindu ashrams in India concretely. See for instance, Emily Farnsworth, “Hindu Monastics at Harvard”, The Harvard Gazette, 1 November 2019, https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2019/11/hindu-monastics-expand-their-views-at-harvard-divinity-school/.

32

Francis X. Clooney, ‘When Religions become Context’, Theology Today, 37 (1990), 30–38, at 30. See also how Clooney describes his reading in his book, Seeing Through Texts: Doing Theology among the Śrīvaiṣṇavas of South India (Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1996), p. xviii: “It is comparative not in the sense of lining things up and measuring them by yet another standard, but by following the pathways back and forth between the traditions we begin in and those we visit, once and many times”.

33

An intriguing illustration of working with commentaries in ct can be seen in Clooney’s recent book His Hiding Place is Darkness (2014) in which he intertexted the Tamil Vaiṣṇava text Tiruvāymoḻi, popularly known as the ‘Tamil Veda’, with the Song of Songs in the Hebrew Bible. Clooney expounded divine love by drawing tenderness and sublimity of human love, and magnetically evoking in these two texts. Interestingly, Clooney seems to have deliberately chosen the Christian text in which the term ‘God’ never occurs; this may suggest that also an atheist can pursue doing ct.

34

See my recently defended dissertation (at KU Leuven): In Search of the Hidden God in Bhagavad-Gītā and Deutero-Isaiah: Comparative Theology and Cognitive Metaphor Theory (Biblical Studies: KU Leuven, 2019).

35

Francis X. Clooney, Learning Interreligiously: In the Text, In the World (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress, 2018), p. xii.

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