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College of Arts and Sciences

Erik Ranstrom

theology department

Erik Ranstrom

Doctoral Candidate, Comparative Theology

Stokes N310
Boston College
Chestnut Hill, MA 02467


Advisor/Dissertation Director: Catherine Cornille


Visiting Student, Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies (U.K.)
MA, Boston College
BA, History, Westfield State College


Born and raised in Western Massachusetts, my theological journey began with the faith of my mother, liturgies at St. John the Evangelist in Agawam, and education at St. Mary’s High School in Westfield.  An undergraduate course in Asian religion and philosophy with Professor P.M. John altered the course of things.  This led to graduate study at Boston College under the tutelage of Francis X. Clooney, S.J., and Catherine Cornille, where I focused on the disciplines of comparative theology, theology of religions and the systematic implications of religious pluralism for Christian doctrine.  My dissertation seeks to retrieve christological and ecclesiological insights in the early Raimundo Panikkar's dialogue with the Vedic tradition.  I am also interested in the use of the Bible in theology of religions, salvation-historical and covenantal approaches to Christianity and the religions, and the vexed question of comparative theology and mission.


Articles and Chapters

“Christology after Dominus Iesus: the early Panikkar as a creative resource.” Journal of Hindu-Christian Studies. Volume 25. 2012. 

“Raimundo Panikkar’s interpretation of Melchizedek in Genesis 14” and “Paul’s Inclusion of the Gentiles as an Opening for Non-Christian Traditions,” in Global Perspectives on the Bible, ed. Mark Roncace. Upper Saddle: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2012. 

Book Reviews

Raimon Panikkar. The Rhythm of Being. Maryknoll: Orbis, 2010. Religious Studies Review (forthcoming). 

John Borelli and Archbishop Michael Fitzgerald. Interfaith Dialogue: A Catholic View. Journal of Buddhist-Christian Studies, 2009.


“Surprised to be Sent, Sent to be Surprised: Missional Interreligious Pedagogy and Comparative Theology.” College Theology Society, Omaha, 2013. 

“Dialogue as Communio: Recovering the Eschatological Dimension of the Church in Dialogue.” Catholic Theological Society of America, St. Louis, 2012. 

“I Discovered Myself a Hindu’: The Promise and Problem of Raimon Panikkar as a Source of Hindu Self-Understanding for Christology.” Society of Hindu-Christian Studies at the AAR, San Francisco, 2011. 

“Theological Virtues as Virtues of Dialogue in the thought of Raimundo Panikkar.” Harvard Divinity School Society of Comparative Theology, Cambridge, 2011.

“Costly Obedience to the Word: Interreligious Hospitality and Henri Le Saux, O.S.B.” Benedictine Pedagogy Conference, Goffstown, 2011. 

“Catholic Inter-Religious Dialogue: Seeking Common Ground or Creative Difference?” Congress for Religious Education, Diocese of Springfield MA, 2009. 

“Thomas Aquinas and the Recovery of ‘Religion’ in a Theology of Religions.”  Engaging Particularities, Chestnut Hill, 2006. 


Boston College: Religious Quest I & II, Hinduism and Christianity
St. Anselm College: Religions of Asia
Our Lady of the Elms College: Christian Scriptures, Spirituality of World Religions, Western Religions.  

Teaching Assistantships

Religious Quest I & II; Biblical Heritage I & II
Christianity in India (during a summer immersion trip to Bangalore with Dr. Catherine Cornille).