His Hiding Place Is Darkness: A Hindu-Catholic Theopoetics of Divine Absence

By Francis X. Clooney | Go to book overview

ENTR’ACTE ONE
LOVE IN-BETWEEN

ACT ONE RIGHT AWAY PUT US IN THE MIDDLE OF THINGS. There was no other way to get there, and delay would be fatal, since the problem of this book lies in deep loves disturbed in the presence of other such loves. But now we must step back and consider how actually we are going to learn amid the increasingly intense uncertainties with which the Song and Holy Word confront us. There is no reason to make our task more difficult merely by neglect and carelessness.

Finding our way forward requires striking a delicate balance. If we want to honor these acts of intimate reading but still care for what we already love and know to be true, we need to sort out the moments of our project—with texts and methods in mind—and then put them back together for the sake of a single, singular way of reading that is the practice of this book, most particularly in Act Two. I map the project as follows.1

First, I introduce the Song of Songs and its most poignant current, the suffering of this young woman when her beloved has just left her, has not returned. To orient our reading, at every step I draw on two modern commentators, Cheryl Exum and Elie Assis, and primarily for guidance on one lineage of medieval Christian commentary, that of Bernard of Clairvaux, Gilbert of Hoyland, and John of Ford. Second, to explain why I begin with a religious reading of the Song as poetry and drama rather than its history or the theologies that have grown up around it, I turn to the theology of Hans Urs von Balthasar. His expansive theological vision shows why and how a theologian can appreciate the beautiful and the good—the poetic and dramatic—that come into play before the work of theory, system, and doctrine (including theorizing about world religions) can bear fruit. Third, holding at bay for now the dilemma that arises when one moves from the poetic and dramatic realm to thinking theologically (in the narrower sense) about religions in relation

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His Hiding Place Is Darkness: A Hindu-Catholic Theopoetics of Divine Absence
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Encountering Traditions ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Prologue ix
  • A Note on Editions and Translations xv
  • His Hiding Place Is Darkness 1
  • Act One- Missing Him 2
  • Entr’Acte One- Love in-between 16
  • Act Two- Spiritual Exercises in Times of Absence 49
  • Entr’Acte Two- Writing Theology after the Hiding of the Beloved 104
  • Act Two- Spiritual Exercises in Times of Absence 128
  • Epilogue- Jesus, the Beloved 140
  • Notes 143
  • Bibliography 181
  • Index 185
  • Encountering Traditions 188
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