Ramanuja and Schleiermacher: Toward a Constructive Comparative Theology

By Jon Paul Sydnor

An exercise in comparative theology, examining the how a Christian and a Hindu theologian think God that sustains the existence of the cosmos through time.

ISBN: 9780227680247


Can the comparison of two theologians vastly separated in space and time help contemporary theologians to think better? This book argues that it can.

Ramanuja and Schleiermacher argues that the novel and burgeoning discipline of comparative theology is a powerful method for gaining critical insight into our inherited worldviews. Jon Paul Sydnor compares two pre-eminent theologians, Sri Ramanuja of the Hindu tradition and Friedrich Schleiermacher of the Christian tradition. Each argues that God sustains the universe at every moment of its existence, but they work out their detailed understandings of divine sustenance in very different ways. By comparing their description of God’s continual preservation of the universe, this book asks original, unfamiliar questions of each. This method demonstrates the incisive power of comparative theology to generate critical tension and its creative power to resolve it.

Additional information

Dimensions229 × 153 mm


Trade InformationJPOD

About the Author

Jon Paul Sydnor has studied at the University of Virginia, Princeton Th eological Seminary, and Boston College. He currently teaches world religions at Emmanuel College in Boston.


Foreword by Francis X. Clooney, SJ

1. Ramanuja and Schleiermacher
2. “Absolute Dependence”
3. That upon Which We Are Dependent
4. That Which is Dependent: Cosmology
5. That Which is Dependent: Anthropology
6. Toward a Constructive Comparative Theology



Endorsements and Reviews

In this acutely reasoned, stirring, and accessible analysis a blossoming philosopher-theologian-pastor-educator, Jon Paul Sydnor, brings forth accurate, in-depth readings of primary works by Schleiermacher and Ramanuja. Using up-to-date procedures, his comparison of these two highly discerning, seminal thinkers enables a still wider conversation between Christians and Hindus today. Here newly honed questions, observations, and insights vie with each other for attention. Overall, Sydnor’s work calls forth a pondering over meanings and prospects that only this emergent field of comparative theology can offer. Within this new movement, it will bear the reputation of a pioneering work.
Terrence N. Tice, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy, University of Michigan

Sydnor and those working in this area provide a potent model for a vibrant Christian theology in the global and pluralistic twenty-first century context.
Amos Yong, in Theological Book Review, Vol 24, No 2

Paul Syndor compares the theology and methodologies of two theologians from vastly different backgrounds, Ramanuja and Schleiermacher … He argues that they are better understood when looked at alongside one another than independently; and that studies of this kind can help build interreligious communities.
Church Times, Vol 19, Issue 26