Hindu Monks and Missionaries in Late Modernity: Reflections of a Christian Comparative Theologian

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In December 2014, an Indian parliamentary minister raised a storm of controversy when he proposed a ban on all religious conversions throughout India. This event represented merely the most recent moment in an ongoing “conversion controversy” which has hung over Hindu-Christian relations for over two centuries.

In his lecture, Dr. Locklin will attempt to get behind this controversy by exploring the theologies of several Hindu missionaries in the modern era—monastic visionaries who gave new expression to the non-dualist Hindu tradition of Advaita Vedānta and reinvented it as a global religious movement. Such Hindu missionaries, in turn, offer Christians an opportunity to rethink our own theologies of mission and conversion.

Reid B. Locklin, Ph.D, is Associate Professor of Christianity and the Intellectual Tradition at the University of Toronto, a joint appointment with St Michael’s College and the Department for the Study of Religion. His research focuses on a range of issues in Comparative Theology and Hindu-Christian Studies, particularly the engagement between Christian thought and the Hindu tradition of Advaita Vedānta. His works include Spiritual but not Religious? (Liturgical Press, 2005), Liturgy of Liberation (Peeters, 2011), and the edited volume, Vernacular Christianity, Vernacular Saints: Selva J. Raj on ‘Being Catholic the Tamil Way’ (SUNY, 2017).

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