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Inter-religious Theologian Raimon Panikkar Dies at 91

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BELLARY, SEP. 01: altProfessor Raimon Panikkar, the world-renowned theologian of Indian origin, died in his home in Spain, Aug. 26. He was 91.

Panikkar, son of an Indian Hindu father and a Spanish Catholic mother, is known for his theological scholarship in the areas of comparative religion and inter-religious dialogue.

 

His death was announced in a website dedicated to him–www.raimonpanikkar.org.

 

He was born Raimon Panikkar Alemany in Barcelona in 1918. He was ordained priest in 1946 in Rome. Stayed in Europe until 1955, when he traveled to India for the first time in his life.

 

In 1958 he obtained a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Madrid, with a thesis entitled: Ontonomía of science. On the meaning of science and its relations with Philosophy, published in 1961.

 

He defended his doctoral thesis in theology at the Lateran University in Rome in 1961 with the title: The Unknown Christ of Hinduism.

 

Panikkar taught and lived in the United States from 1966-1987. In 1966 he was appointed professor at the Harvard Divinity School for twenty years and combined his time between India and the U.S.

 

In India he researched at the University of Mysore and at the Benaras Hindu University of Varanasi. These studies lead to specialization in Indian Culture, history and Philosophy of Religions.

 

His thinking is a meeting point between East and West. His work is deep, equipped with richness of language and approaches to a multidimensional characteristic that distinguishes him from his detractors, said his biography in the website.

 

Panikkar said once on his life: “I left Europe [for India] as a Christian, I discovered I was a Hindu and returned as a Buddhist without ever having ceased to be a Christian.” [Source: www.raimonpanikkar.org]

 

 
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