Seeing through Texts: Doing Theology among the Srivaisnavas of South India

Seeing through Texts: Doing Theology among the Srivaisnavas of South India

by Francis X. Clooney, SJ
     
 

Examines texts and commentaries in the Tamil-language SArivastradition of South India; about the general issues of text, vision, and narrative that such texts raise, and about the implications of these for a particular style of comparative theology.

Seeing through Texts invites us into the world of south Indian Hinduism through a study of 100 songs of the

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Overview

Examines texts and commentaries in the Tamil-language SArivastradition of South India; about the general issues of text, vision, and narrative that such texts raise, and about the implications of these for a particular style of comparative theology.

Seeing through Texts invites us into the world of south Indian Hinduism through a study of 100 songs of the Tiruvaymoli, the great masterpiece of the ninth-century Hindu saint Satkopan. These unique songs, dedicated to the Hindu god Visnu/Krsna, lead us through poetic and imaginative, philosophical and moral reflections on the nature of the self and the world, ancient myths and temple worship, and the mystical moods of longing, desire, and love in which one seeks, loses, and finds again the God who loves us first. The book is also a study of the interpretation of the Tiruvaymoli in the traditional Hindu Srivaisnava commentaries of the twelfth-fourteenth centuries, as well as a comparative theological study which explores the implication of the songs and their commentaries for readers from outside the Srivaisnava tradition.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Clooney has turned an analysis of Satakopan's Tiruvaymoli, a theology treatise in the form of a long sensual poem about a girl's love for God, into seductive contemporary theology. In this work, Clooney has established himself as our most passionate, discriminating, deferential, and subtle comparative theologian." -- Robert C. Neville, Boston University

"I find Clooney's notion of 'reading through texts' to be a very powerful idea that should be of interest to a large audience of textual scholars, and not only South Asianist scholars. I also find Clooney's formulation and exploration of the issues incumbent on the project of doing comparative theology and reading texts from a comparative perspective to be very engaging. His representation of the great Tamil religious poem Tiruvaymoli is quite successful in giving the reader a good sense of the qualities of this text and an appreciation of its considerable merits." -- Norman Cutler, University of Chicago

Booknews
An analysis of the Tamil language songs of Satakopan in the 9th century and the commentaries by teachers in the 12th to 14th century Hindu tradition, combined with a considerate appraisal of comparative theology at the end of the 20th century. And though that description of the volume is accurate it does not convey the fascinating meditation on which Clooney embarks in the process of his writing; that is, what does an American, Roman Catholic priest have in common with the ecstatic poetry of India's 9th century. The journey to discovery is as interesting as the fine scholarship. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780791429969
Publisher:
State University of New York Press
Publication date:
07/28/1996
Series:
SUNY series, Toward a Comparative Philosophy of Religions Series
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
351
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.70(d)

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