Ramanuja And Schleiermacher: Toward A Constructive Comparative Theology (Princeton Theological Monograph)
Publish Date: 2011-05-19
Author: Jon Paul Sydnor
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Can the comparison of two theologians vastly separated in space and time help contemporary theologians to think better? This book argues that it can. Specifically, this book argues that the novel and burgeoning discipline of comparative theology is a powerful method for gaining critical insight into our inherited worldviews. More important, it argues that the critical insights gained through comparison can produce constructive theology or, in other words, revised and renewed worldviews. New comparisons produce new questions, and new questions produce new answers. In order to demonstrate the power of this process, the book compares two preeminent theologians, Sri Ramanuja of the Hindu tradition and Friedrich Schleiermacher of the Christian tradition. Each argues that God sustains the universe at every moment of its existence, but they work out the divine sustenance in very different ways. By comparing their description of God's continual preservation of the universe, this book asks original, unfamiliar questions of each. Then, it speculatively suggests possible answers to those questions, inviting Ramanuja and Schleiermacher to respond to the challenges raised. This method demonstrates the incisive power of comparative theology to generate critical tension, as well as the creative power of comparative theology to resolve that very tension.