His Hiding Place Is Darkness

Cambridge, MA. More than a year ago, I published a book entitled His Hiding Place Is Darkness: Toward a Hindu-Catholic Theopoetics of Divine Absence (Stanford University Press, 2013). Various factors - sabbatical, availability of respondents, Boston's massive snow storms - delayed our discussion of the book at Harvard for many months, but it will finally be discussed at the Center for the Study of World Religions on April 20 at 5:15pm.

I will introduce the book and explain why I read together the Song of Songs and the Hindu Holy Word of Mouth, guided by revered medieval commentators (including Bernard of Clairvaux) on both sides; how Hans Urs Von Balthasar became invaluable to holding the book together as a work of dramatic theology; how the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Jorie Graham likewise became an inspiration regarding how to write prose about poetry; and how I decided on the "hiding of the Beloved" as a most intense form of divine presence, during and after comparative study. (Indian artist Jyoti Sahi's artwork appears on the cover.)

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Then three respondents (Catherine Cornille [Boston College], Kimberley Patton [Harvard], and Jorie Graham herself [Harvard]) will discuss the book from various angles, and general discussion will follow. This is not a book event in the sense of an occasion to sell books, since copies will not be available, but rather an occasion for intellectual exchange. I am looking forward to this opportunity to share in a public conversation about my work.

Jonathan Beasley in the Communications Office at HDS interviewed me recently about the book, as a kind of preview, and posted the resultant Q & A on the book at the Harvard Divinity website here. You might find our conversation interesting.

Of course, if you are in area, you are welcome to come to the Center (42 Francis Avenue) at 5:15pm on April 20, and join in the conversation!

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Anita Ray
3 years 1 month ago
I read this wonderfully multi-layered book several months ago. In fact, I read it twice! The work comprehensively demonstrates the possibility of doing theology inter religiously through sacred texts, commentaries, drama and poetry. But more than that, it profoundly challenges the reader to ponder the human experience of separation from the Beloved. Those who live in the environs of Boston should not miss this public conversation with Professor Clooney and his three highly gifted respondents. This is bound to be the intellectual and spiritual highlight of your week.

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