Review of John Thatamanil, The Immanent Divine: God, Creation, and the Human Predicament
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John Thatamanil’s The Immanent Divine: God, Creation, and the Human Predicament(Fortress, 2006) excels in a new stage of inter-religious work: comparative theology for the sake of constructive theology. A major claim is that while initial comparative categories often illuminate what religions hold in common, so as to promote mutual acceptance, such categories over time fall short. Mutual communication must be deepened by mutual critique leading, at least ideally, to mutual transformation. Comparative work picks up steam when descriptive honesty, and the desire for theological coherence show how initial categories fail to be applicable or adequate or both. However, as thinkers continue to seek a consistent common vocabulary, they can come to rethink not only others’ tradition but their own (Thatamanil frequently footnotes Robert Neville and Francis X. Clooney for this approach—not surprising given their earlier joint participation in the Comparative Religions Project...