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Theology after Vedanta: An Experiment in Comparative Theology

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That is, Christian theology after reading Vedanta. An experimental combination of three elements: a detailed study of the Indian theology called Advaita Vedanta; a re-examination of Christian comparative theology as rethought in the light of Vedanta insights; and an exploration of the tensions between the first two. Paper edition (unseen), $14.95. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

Table of Contents

Ch. 1 Comparative Theology and the Practice of Advaita Vedanta
I The Elements of the Experiment 1
II Comparative Theology 4
1 Calling Comparison "Theological"
2 Calling Theology "Comparative"
3 Comparative Theology in Relation to Other Disciplines
III Comparative Theology as Practical Knowledge 9
IV Advaita, Text and Commentary 14
1 A Brief Overview of the Advaita as a Commentarial Tradition
2 Advaita as Text: The Flourishing of a Commentarial Tradition
3 Advaita as Uttara Mimamsa: The Purva Mimamsa Paradigm
V Practical Implications 30
1 Retrieving the Advaita "Text"
2 From the Study of Sankara to the Study of the Text
3 From Truth outside the Text to Truth after the Text
4 From Reader as Observer to Reader as Participant
Ch. 2 The Texture of the Advaita Vedanta Text
I The Texture of the Advaita Text 37
II The Rough Texture of the Upanisads 38
III The Organization of Upanisadic Knowledge in the UMS 44
1 Sutra
2 Adhikarana
3 Weaving the Text Together: Samgati and Pada
4 Adhyaya and the Organization of the Whole
IV The Contextualization of Meaning through Engaged Reading 74
Ch. 3 The Truth of Advaita Vedanta
I The Problem of Truth in the Text 77
II Strategies of Textual Truth 79
1 Denying to Brahman its Qualities (nirgunatva)
2 Paradoxes in the Text (mahavakyas)
III Truth after the Text: The True Meaning of the Upanisads and the World of Advaita 88
1 UMS III.3.11-13: Can We Assume that Brahman is Always Bliss?
2 UMS I.1.5-11: The Upanisads Do Have a Right Meaning
3 UMS I.1.2: Inference within the Margins of the Upanisads
4 UMS IV.3.14 and the Systematization of Advaita
IV Defending Brahman: The Fragmentation of the Other in the Text 102
1 UMS II.1.4-11: The Relative Reasonableness of the Advaita Position
2 Arguing the Advaita Position: UMS II.2.1-10
V Truth, Text and Reader 113
VI A Concluding Note on Advaita and Intertextual Truth 115
Ch. 4 Advaita Vedanta and Its Readers
I The Tension between the Text and Its Truth 119
II Timeless Truth, Timely Reading: The Truth in Reading 121
1 The Simplicity and Temporal Complexity of Liberative Knowledge
2 Two Analogies: Music and Yoga
III Becoming a Reader 129
1 The Desire to Know Brahman and the Desire to Read
2 Authorizing the Reader: The Prerequisites of Knowledge
IV The Constraints on Liberation and the Cessation of Reading in UMS III.4: Description as Prescription 141
1 Expectations about the Person Who Will Renounce
2 The Ritual Background to Renunciation
3 Prescribing Renunciation
V Advaita Elitism and the Possibility of the Unauthorized Reader: Finding a Loophole 149
Ch. 5 Theology after Advaita Vedanta: The Text, The Truth, and The Theologian
I The Practice of Comparative Theology 153
II The Composition of the Text for Comparative Theology: Reading the Summa Theologiae and the Uttara Mimamsa Sutras Together 156
1 Rereading Summa Theologiae I.13.4 after UMS III.3.11-13
2 Are There Incomparable Texts? The Example of ST III.46.3
3 The Fruits of Recomposing the Theological Text: Retrieving the Bible and the Commentaries on the Summa Theologiae
III The Truth of Comparative Theology 187
1 The Patient Deferral of Issues of Truth
2 Truth and the Conflict of Truths in Light of the Textuality of Doctrine
3 The Truth of the Theology of Religions
4 The Truth about God
IV The Education of the Comparative Theologian 198
1 Texts as Teachers
2 The Education of the Comparativist: Competence, Motivation and Limits
3 The Comparativist as Educator
V Finishing the Experiment 207
Notes 209
Selected Bibliography 249
Index 257
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