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Reading the Hindu and Christian Classics

Why and How Deep Learning Still Matters

Francis X. Clooney

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Geisteswissenschaften, Kunst, Musik / Religion/Theologie


We live in an era of unprecedented growth in knowledge. Never before has there been so great an availability of and access to information in both print and online. Yet as opportunities to educate ourselves have greatly increased, our time for reading has significantly diminished. And when we do read, we rarely have the patience to read in the slow, sustained fashion that great books require if we are to be truly transformed by them.

In Reading the Hindu and Christian Classics, renowned Harvard Divinity School professor Francis Clooney argues that our increasing inability to read in a concerted manner is particularly notable in the realm of religion, where the proliferation of information detracts from the learning of practices that require slow and patient reading. Although awareness of the world’s many religions is at an all-time high, deep knowledge of the various traditions has suffered. Clooney challenges this trend by considering six classic Hindu and Christian texts dealing with ritual and law, catechesis and doctrine, and devotion and religious participation, showing how, in distinctive ways, such texts instruct, teach truth, and draw willing readers to participate in the realities they are learning. Through readings of these seminal scriptural and theological texts, he reveals the rewards of a more spiritually transformative mode of reading—and how individuals and communities can achieve it.

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