Brad Malkovsky


The publication of Michelle Voss Roberts' Dualities: A Theology of Difference (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2010) has been welcomed by many scholars in the field of Hindu-Christian studies as one of the best books in comparative theology to have appeared in recent years. In it the author focuses on what she calls "the metaphysics of difference and differences between metaphysical systems in the world's religions," through which she seeks to open "new routes through the discourse surrounding dualism, duality, and relation" (xix). She reexamines issues about duality and relation by drawing on the work of Lallesvari, a fourteenth century Hindu of the Kashmir Saiva tradition, and Mechthild of Magdeburg, a thirteenth century beguine Christian. With her analysis and comparison of the thought of these two women Voss Roberts compellingly dismantles widely held clichés about Christianity's essential "dualistic" teaching and Hinduism's inevitable monism. The author argues for an understanding of reality that occupies a richer and more multi-faceted ontological position than that of the two simple extremes of dualism and monism.

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