Loyola University Chicago

Department of Theology

Faculty & Staff Directory

Hugh Nicholson, PhD

Title/s:  Associate Professor

Office #:  Crown Center 445

Phone: 773.508.2484


CV Link: Nicholson CV 2011 revised.pdf


Hugh Nicholson received his MA in Religion from Yale Divinity School and his Ph.D. (Systematic theology) from Boston College, where he studied under Francis X. Clooney, S.J. He specializes in comparative (interreligious) theology with a focus on the Christian, Hindu, and Buddhist traditions. Before coming to Loyola, he was the Joseph E. McCabe Associate Professor of Religion at Coe College, Cedar Rapids, IA. In 2004–2005 he was a Senior Fellow in the Martin Marty Center at the University of Chicago Divinity School.

Program Areas

Prof. Nicholson's most recent work, Comparative Theology and the Problem of Religious Rivalry (Oxford), attempts to reconcile the ideal of religious tolerance with a recognition of the extent to which religious identity is constructed by mobilizing religious difference. It does this in the context of developing a model of comparative theology. His current research project explores the agonistic dimension of philosophical-theological discourse by tracing the origins of the tradition of Indian logic (Nyaya) in the practice of polemical disputation.

Research Interests

Comparative theology; the interface between theology and the comparative study of religion; the cognitive science of religion; classical Indian (Brahmanical and Buddhist) philosophy.

Selected Publications


The Spirit of Contradiction in Buddhism and Christianity (Oxford 2016).

Comparative Theology and the Problem of Religious Rivalry (Oxford 2011)


"Reconciling Christian Identity and Interreligious Respect," in Hilda P. Koster and Rosemary Carbine, eds. The Gift of Theology: The Contribution of Kathryn Tanner, pp. 209-232 (Fortress Press 2015).

"Social Identity Processes in the Development of Maximally Counter-intuitive Theological Concepts:  Consubstantiality and No-Self," Journal of the American Academy of Religion 82:3 (2014), pp. 736-770.

"The History in Front of Comparison:  The Reception History of Eckhart and Indian Thought and the Future of East-West Comparison," Medieval Mystical Theology 23:2 (2014), pp. 127-141.

"The Unanswered Questions and the Limits of Knowledge," Journal of Indian Philosophy 40:5 (2012), pp. 533-552.

"The Reunification of Theology and Comparison in the New Comparative Theology," Journal of the American Academy of Religion 77:3 (June 2009), pp. 1–38.

"The Political Nature of Doctrine: A Critique of Lindbeck in Light of Recent Scholarship," Heythrop Journal 48:6 (November 2007), pp. 857–876.

"Two Apologetic Moments in Sankara's Concept of Brahman," Journal of Religion 87:4 (October 2007), pp. 528–555.

"Comparative Theology After Liberalism," Modern Theology 23:2 (April 2007), pp. 229–251.

"A Correlational Model of Comparative Theology," Journal of Religion 85:2 (April 2005), pp. 191–213.