Michelle Voss Roberts, That Subtle Talent Which Holds Them Spellbound. Aesthetics and Emotion in Hindu-Christian Encounter

Interreligious understanding does not only occur through reasoned dialogue and intellectual analysis of doctrines for their relative truth or error. These assessments also take place on affective, embodied, and emotional levels. Drawing on examples from the life of Roberto de Nobili and other instances of Hindu-Christian encounter, comparative theologian Michelle Voss Roberts will discuss how Indian aesthetic theory illuminates the role of the emotions (rasas) – especially contemplative peace, devotional love, and prophetic fury – in interreligious understanding.

Michelle Voss Roberts is Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and Associate Professor of Theology at Wake Forest University, School of Divinity, Winston-Salem, North Carolina (USA). She is the author two book-length works in comparative theology: “Dualities: A Theology of Difference” (Westminster John Knox, 2010), and “Tastes of the Divine: Hindu and Christian Theologies of Emotion” (Fordham University Press, 2014), which received the Award for Excellence in Constructive/Reflective Studies from the American Academy of Religion. Dr. Voss Roberts currently serves as Vice-President of the Society for Hindu-Christian Studies.