A Response to S. N. Balagangadhara’s “Translation, Interpretation and Culture”

Francis X. Clooney


S. N. Balagangadhara wrote an essay entitled, “Translation, Interpretation and Culture: On the Disingenuity of a Comparative Theology,” which appeared in this journal in 2014. In it, Balagangadhara defends his theory of translation and supports that theory by deconstructing the field of comparative theology, which he finds unreflective and unsophisticated, at best. The tool of that deconstruction is a sharply critical assessment of several sections of my 2010 Comparative Theology. That book, meant to introduce readers to the field even while not being itself a work of comparative theological practice, draws on my other, earlier books, none of which Balagangadhara seems to have read. Given Balagangadhara’s sharply negative judgment on my work —assessing it to be fruitless, disingenuous, dissimulating, dishonest—I feel it necessary to respond to his essay, and I am grateful to Canadian Social Science for the opportunity to write this brief reply. I will first note some of his criticisms and respond to them. I then comment on what appears to be most crucial to Balagangadhara, his own theoretical reflections on translation at the start of the essay; I will note too how his comments on my work turn out to serve as a foil to his own theorizing, perhaps as a warning to those who do not work out their translation theory first. Finally, I comment briefly on the third, constructive part of his essay, with its unexpected reference to the 1960s reforming Council of the Catholic Church, Vatican II, and the intriguing notion that Balagangadhara might make a constructive contribution to post-Vatican II attitudes toward the diversity of religions.

Full Text:



Clooney, F. X. (2001). Hindu God, Christian God: How reasons help break down the barriers between religions. Oxford University Press.

Sebastian, J. J. (2008). The Truth, the Way, the Life: Christian commentary on the three holy mantras of the Srivaisnava Hindus. Peeters Publishing.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3968/8790


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2016 Francis X. Clooney

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Share us to:   


  • How to do online submission to another Journal?
  • If you have already registered in Journal A, then how can you submit another article to Journal B? It takes two steps to make it happen:

1. Register yourself in Journal B as an Author

  • Find the journal you want to submit to in CATEGORIES, click on “VIEW JOURNAL”, “Online Submissions”, “GO TO LOGIN” and “Edit My Profile”. Check “Author” on the “Edit Profile” page, then “Save”.

2. Submission

  • Go to “User Home”, and click on “Author” under the name of Journal B. You may start a New Submission by clicking on “CLICK HERE”.
  • We only use three mailboxes as follows to deal with issues about paper acceptance, payment and submission of electronic versions of our journals to databases: caooc@hotmail.com; css@cscanada.net; css@cscanada.org

 Articles published in Canadian Social Science are licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 (CC-BY).


Address1020 Bouvier Street, Suite 400, Quebec City, Quebec, G2K 0K9, Canada.

Website: Http://www.cscanada.net Http://www.cscanada.org 
E-mailcss@cscanada.net, css@cscanada.org

Copyright © Canadian Academy of Oriental and Occidental Culture