Common Information :

III: Matters Common to Both the Major and the Minor

1. Events

a. The Comparative Theology Lunches:

a. The Comparative Theology Lunches: These are informal conversations led by faculty, students, and visitors on some question, topical theme, or example of work in progress related to CT. Topics range from informal discussion of a question someone raises at lunch, to presentations by professors or students on topics they are writing about, to discussions with visitors to the university. No background expertise, preparation or reading is required. For currently scheduled and past lunches, see the "Events" listing on this website's main navigation bar.

b. Center for Christian-Jewish Learning

The Center for Christian-Jewish Learning is dedicated to the multifaceted development and implementation of new and positive relationships between Christians and Jews. To do so requires engagement in Comparative Theology, investigating the ways that Christians and Jews understand themselves in the presence of the other. Students may receive degrees with a focus on Christian-Jewish Relations through a major or minor in the PhD program in CT with a focus on Judaism. For more information on the Center and its courses, go to or contact Prof. Langer.

c. Engaging Particularities

This is an annual national graduate student conference in CT-TR and related fields. This conference brings together graduate students from Jesuit and select other universities around the country for a weekend of presentations and discussion. Students in our Program organize the annual Engaging Particularities Conference. Please visit Engaging Particularities on the Events Overview for past conferences.

d. The Boston-area Society for Comparative Theology

The Society for Comparative Theology ordinarily meets two or three times a year and is open to faculty and graduate students in the Boston area, who take turns in giving papers and responding.

e. Other lectures and seminars

The Area is committed to creating an ongoing collegial conversation among faculty and graduate students — in the Department, at the university, among area schools, and more widely as well — and for this purpose invites speakers for lectures or seminars several times a year.

In general, students should ordinarily participate regularly in the events described under III., though no particular event will be required.

2. General Reading List for the Comprehensive Examination in Comparative Theology and the Theology of Religions, themes and methods

[This reading list is provisional and will be revised and updated regularly]

[This reading list is provisional and will be revised and updated regularly -- latest update May 2011]

Comparative Theology

Barnes, Michael, Theology and the Dialogue of Religions (2002)

Clooney, Francis:

  • Theology after Vedanta: An Experiment in Comparative Theology (1993);
  • Hindu God, Christian God: How Reason Helps Break Down the Boundaries Between Religions. (2001);
  • Comparative Theology: Deep Learning Across Religious Traditions (2010)

Cornille, Catherine:

  • ed., Many Mansions? Multiple Religious Belonging and Christian Identity (2002);
  • The Im-Possibility of Interreligious Dialogue (2008);
  • ed., Song Divine: Christian Commentaries on the Bhagavadgita (2006);
  • ed., Criteria of Discernment in Interreligious Dialogue (2009);
  • ed., Interreligious Hermeneutics (2010) [introductions to the edited volumes]

D’Costa, Gavin:

  • The Meeting of Religions and the Trinity (2000);
  • Christianity and World Religions (2009)

Dupuis, Jacques, Toward a Christian theology of Religious Pluralism (1997)

Frederickx, James:

  • Faith among Faiths (1999);
  • Buddhists and Christians: Through Comparative Theology to Solidarity (2004)

Griffiths, Paul J., Problems of Religious Diversity (2001)

Heim, S. Mark:

  • Salvations: Truth and Difference in Religions (1995);
  • Depth of the Riches: a Trinitarian Theology of Religious Ends (2001)

Hill Fletcher, Jeannine. Monopoly on Salvation? A Feminist Approach to Religious Pluralism (2005)

Knitter, Paul:

  • Introducing the Theology of Religions (2002);
  • Without Buddha I Could Not Be A Christian (2009)

OCollins, Gerald. Salvation for All (2008)

Panikkar, Raimon. The Intrareligious Dialogue (1999)

Phan, Peter. Being Religious Interreligiously (2004)

Thatamanil, John. The Immanent Divine: God, Creation and the Human Predicament (2006)

Ward, Keith [One of these volumes will normally suffice.]:

  • Religion and Revelation (1994);
  • Religion and Creation (1996);
  • Religion and Human Nature (1998);
  • Religion and Community (2000)

Theory and Method in the Comparative Study of Religions:

Eliade, Mircea:

  • Patterns in Comparative Religion (1958);
  • The Quest: History and Meaning in Religion (1969)

Flood, Gavin:

  • The Ascetic Self. Subjectivity, Memory and Tradition (2004);
  • Beyond Phenomenology: Rethinking the Study of Religions (1999)

Masuzawa, Tomoko, The Invention of World Religions (2005)

McCutcheon, Russel, ed., The Insider-Outsider Problem in the Study of Religion (1999)  

Neville, Robert [One of these volumes will normally suffice]:

  • ed., The Human Condition (2000);
  • Ultimate Realities (State University of New York Press, 2000);
  • Religious Truth (2000)

Patton, Kimberly and Ray, Benjamin, ed. A Magic Still Dwells. Comparative Religion in the Postmodern Age. (2000)

Said, Edward. Orientalism (1979)

Sharpe, Eric, Comparative Religion: A History (1975)

Smith, Wilfred Cantwell. The Meaning and End of Religion (1963)

Smith, Jonathan Z., Relating Religion. Essays in the Study of Religion (2004)

Van der Leeuw, Gerardus. Religion in Essence and Manifestation (1933)

3. Members of the Comparative Theology Area Faculty

For each faculty member we list just one or several representative publications, normally books; please check the individual faculty websites for further bibliography.

Boston College ’s Joint Doctoral Faculty:

Catherine Cornille: Theology of Religions, Theory and Methods in the Study of Religion, Interreligious Dialogue

  • Many Mansions: Multiple Religious Belonging and Christian Identity (2002);
  • Song Divine: Christian Commentaries on the Bhagavad Gita (2006)
  • The Im-Possibility of Interreligious Dialogue (2008)

Ruth Langer: Judaism

  • To Worship God Properly: Tensions between Liturgical Custom and Halakhah in Judaism (1998)
  • Liturgy in the Life of the Synagogue. Edited by Ruth Langer and Steven FIne (2005)

John Makransky: Buddhism

  • Buddhahood Embodied (1997)
  • Buddhist Theology. Edited by John Makransky and Roger Jackson (2000)

John McDargh: Psychology and Religion

  • Psychoanalytic Object Relations Theory and the Study of Religion: On Faith and the Imaging of God (1983)

James W. Morris: Islam

  • Islamic Thought in World Civilization (2004)
  • The Reflective Heart: Discovering Spiritual Intelligence in Ibn ‘Arabī’s “Meccan Illuminations” (2005)
  • Knowing the Spirit (2006)

Other faculty members at Boston College are engaged in various modes of comparative work and willing to work with students in this Area, and students are encouraged to work with faculty outside the Comparative Theology Area.

So too, many faculty in the BTI schools are interested in Comparative Theology and the Theology of Religions. For example,

Andover Newton School of Theology:

Mark Heim: Theology of Religions

Sze-kar Wan: New Testament, Asian Christianity

Boston University

John Berthrong: Theology of Religions; Religious Pluralism; Confucianism

David Eckel: Indian and Tibetan Buddhism

Robert Neville: Philosophy and Theology of Religions; Confucianism

Harvard University

Francis Clooney, S.J.: Hinduism, Comparative Christian Theology

Janet Gyatso: Tibetan Buddhism

Anne Monius: Religions in South India

Parimal Patil: Hindu and Buddhist Philosophies and Theologies

Updated: 22-Aug-2013
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