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9781589012110
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Beyond Compare

St. Francis de Sales and Sri Vedanta Desika on Loving Surrender to God

Beyond Compare is a remarkable work that offers a commentary on spiritual learning for the twenty-first century rooted in two classic texts from the Hindu and Christian traditions: the Essence of the Three Auspicious Mysteries by Śrī Vedānta Deśika and Treatise on the Love of God by St. Francis de Sales.

In his commentary, Clooney achieves multiple goals—the book is a contribution to Christian spiritual theology, highlighting for today the beautiful insights into love by St. Francis de Sales (1567-1623), Doctor of the Church. At the same time it points out how even in our world of many religious paths, we can recover and deepen the ancient tradition of loving surrender into God's hands by opening ourselves to the wisdom of India and one of Hindu India's most famous traditions of loving God, explained to us by the south Indian Hindu theologian Śrī Vedānta Deśika (1268-1369). Clooney goes further, offering a comparative study of these classic works in which he self-consciously writes about the process of reading the two works and the impact this approach has on the reader. The good advice found through this deep engagement with these texts offers a deeper insight into how we can most fruitfully and spiritually think about religious pluralism in the 21st century, remaining open in heart and mind while loyal still to our own tradition.

Not merely a book about loving surrender to God, Beyond Compare offers us the opportunity to advance along that path ourselves, learning from the wisdom of St. Francis de Sales and Śrī Vedānta Deśika, meditating on their two paths together, deepening our own love and willingness to surrender in love to God.

About the Author

Francis X. Clooney, SJ is Parkman Professor of Divinity and Comparative Theology in the Harvard Divinity School at Harvard University.

Reviews

"This is not a shallow or introductory analysis of comparative spirituality but a solid, methodical, and critical examination of the subject. The text is respectful of Hindu spirituality and loyal to Christian doctrines. It is philosophical, theological, and practical."—Catholic Library World

"An extremely thoughtful and well-informed work that merits the attention of all those interested in issues of interreligious theology."—Theological Studies

"A remarkable commentary on spiritual learning, this book provides a deeper insight into how we can most fruitfully and spiritually think about religious pluralism in the twenty-first century, being open in heart and mind and at the same time remaining loyal to one's own tradition."—Dialogue & Alliance

"This excellent and fascinating study of two important devotional texts ... is much more than an interfaith commentary."—The Way

"It is very rare to say of an academic book that it might become a spiritual classic, but this may well be one of them."—Reviews in Religion and Theology

Endorsements

"Beyond Compare is an amazing book. The research is thorough and the appreciation of Śrī Vedānta Deśika's thoughts and writings prove beyond doubt that [Clooney] has imbibed the teachings of our great Teacher in the true spirit of a Srivaishnava. The comparative study of St.Francis de Sales' Treatise and Swami Desika's Srimad Rahasyatrayasara makes most interesting reading and invites Srivaishnavas to read about the Catholic saint's ideas on loving surrender to God. Beyond Compare is truly beyond compare!"—Anuradha Sridharan, associate editor, Sri Nrsimhapriya

"Salesian scholars will certainly find this work rich and rewarding, especially in the novel and refreshing way in which the Treatise on the Love of God is read and reflected upon in the light of a recognized scholarly work in an entirely different religious tradition. Moreover, theologians and philosophers interested in furthering the debate and dialogue between faith and reason or religion and reason will relish the observations and insights demonstrating in an engaging fashion both the power and limitations of 'undisciplined' reason."—Alexander Pocetto, DeSales University

Georgetown University Press

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