Jeffrey J. Kripal

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Jeffrey John Kripal[1] (born 1962) is the J. Newton Rayzor Professor of Philosophy and Religious Thought and former chair of the Department of Religious Studies at Rice University in Houston, Texas.

His work includes the study of comparative erotics and ethics in mystical literature, American countercultural translations of Asian religions, and the history of Western esotericism from gnosticism to New Age religions.[2]

Biography[edit]

Kali's Child[edit]

Kripal's 1995 book Kali's Child: The Mystical and the Erotic in the Life and Teachings of Ramakrishna was a study of the Bengali mystic Ramakrishna. The book won the American Academy of Religion's History of Religions Prize for the Best First Book of 1995.[3] A second, revised edition was published in 1998. The book has been dogged by controversy ever since its initial publication in 1995.[4] The thesis of the book has been questioned by scholars like Gayatri Spivak,[5] Alan Roland, William Radice, and members of the Ramakrishna Mission (Swami Tyagananda and Pravrajika Vrajaprana).[6]

Esalen: America and the Religion of No Religion[edit]

In 2007 The University of Chicago Press released Esalen: America and the Religion of No Religion, Kripal's account of the Esalen Institute, the retreat center and think-tank located in Big Sur, California. Writing in the Journal of American History, Catherine Albanese called it "a highly personal account that is also a superb historiographical exercise and a masterful work of analytical cultural criticism."[7]

Authors of the Impossible[edit]

Kripal's 2011 book traces the history of psychical phenomena over the last two centuries. The book profiles four writers: the British psychical researcher F. W. H. Myers, the American anomalist writer and humorist Charles Fort, the astronomer, computer scientist, and ufologist Jacques Vallee, and the French philosopher Bertrand Méheust.

Other writings[edit]

In a March 2014 article for the Chronicle of Higher Education, "Visions of the Impossible", Kripal cited Mark Twain, who wrote that a dream about his brother's death appeared to come true in detail a few weeks later. Kripal writes that

The professional debunker's insistence, then, that the phenomena play by his rules and appear for all to see in a safe and sterile laboratory is little more than a mark of his own ignorance of the nature of the phenomena in question. [8]

Kripal's article was criticized by Jerry Coyne in The New Republic as "the latest anti-science argument."[9]

Partial list of publications[edit]

Books authored[edit]

Books edited[edit]

  • Vishnu on Freud’s Desk: A Reader in Psychoanalysis and Hinduism edited with T.G. Vaidyanathan (Oxford, 1999) ISBN 978-0-19-565835-4
  • Crossing Boundaries: Essays on the Ethical Status of Mysticism edited with G. William Barnard (Seven Bridges, 2002) ISBN 978-1-889119-25-0
  • Encountering Kali: In the Margins, at the Center, in the West edited with Rachel Fell McDermott (California, 2003) ISBN 978-0-520-23240-2
  • On the Edge of the Future: Esalen and the Evolution of American Culture edited with Glenn Shuck (Indiana, 2005) ISBN 978-0-253-34556-1
  • Hidden Intercourse: Eros and Sexuality in the History of Western Esotericism edited with Wouter J. Hanegraaff (New York, 2010) ISBN 978-0-823-23341-0

Articles and other[edit]

  • Mystical Homoeroticism, Reductionism, and the Reality of Censorship: A Response to Gerald James Larson. Journal of the American Academy of Religion, volume 66, number 3, pages 627–635 (1998).
  • Textuality, Sexuality, and the Future of the Past: A Response to Swami Tyagananda. Evam: Forum on Indian Representations, volume 1, issues 1–2, pages 191–205 (2002).
  • Foreword to Adi Da's The Knee of Listening (2003)
  • Comparative Mystics: Scholars as Gnostic Diplomats. Common Knowledge, volume 3 issue 10, pages 485–517 (2004)
  • "Sexuality (Overview)". The Encyclopedia of Religion, 2nd edition (2005)
  • "Phallus and Vagina"." In Encyclopedia of Religion (2005)
  • Reality Against Society: William Blake, Antinomianism, and the American Counter Culture. Common Knowledge, volume 30, issue 3 (Winter 2006)
  • Re-membering Ourselves: Some Countercultural Echoes of Contemporary Tantric Studies, lead-essay of inaugural issue, Journal of South Asian Religion, volume 1 issue 1 (2007)
  • "Liminal Pedagogy: The Liberal Arts and the Transforming Ritual of Religious Studies." in How Should We Talk About Religion? Perspectives, Contexts, Particularities, edited by J. White (University of Notre Dame Press, 2006)
  • "Western Popular Culture, Hindu Influences On." In The Encyclopedia of Hinduism edited by D. Cush, C. Robinson, and M. York, Routledge/Curzon (2007)
  • The Rise of the Imaginal: Psychical Phenomena on the Horizon of Theory (Again)." Religious Studies Review volume 33 issue 3 (2007)
  • "Myth" in The Blackwell Companion to the Study of Religion edited by R.. Segal. Wiley-VCH (2008)

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Ph.D., University of Chicago Divinity School, 1993
  2. ^ Jeffrey J. Kripal's faculty page at the Department of Religious Studies, Rice University.
  3. ^ Kurien, Prema A. (2007). "Challenging American Pluralism". A place at the multicultural table. Rutgers University Press. pp. 201–202. 
  4. ^ Balagangadhara, S.N.; Sarah Claerhout (Spring 2008). "Are Dialogues Antidotes to Violence? Two Recent Examples From Hinduism Studies" (PDF). Journal for the Study of Religions and Ideologies 7 (19): 118–143. 
  5. ^ Spivak, Gayatri Chakravorty (December 28, 2007). "Moving Devi". Other Asias. Wiley-Blackwell. pp. 195–197. 
  6. ^ Tyagananda, Swami; Vrajaprana (2010). Interpreting Ramakrishna: Kali's Child Revisited. Huston Smith (foreword). Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass. pp. xvii–xviii. ISBN 978-81-208-3499-6. 
  7. ^ Catherine Albenese, [untitled review] Journal of American History Mar 2008, 1326 [1]
  8. ^ Jeffrey J. Kripal. "Visions of the Impossible". chronicle.com. Retrieved 2014-04-03. 
  9. ^ Jerry Coyne. "The Latest Anti-Science Argument Comes Down to ESP". newrepublic.com. Retrieved 2014-04-03. 

External links[edit]