Jeffrey J. Kripal
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.
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. A second, revised edition was published in 1998. The book has been dogged by controversy ever since its initial publication in 1995. The thesis of the book has been questioned by scholars like Gayatri Spivak, Alan Roland, William Radice, and members of the Ramakrishna Mission (Swami Tyagananda and Pravrajika Vrajaprana).
Esalen: America and the Religion of No Religion
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."
Authors of the Impossible
In May 2009, XL Films began production on a documentary film based on Kripal's then-forthcoming book, Authors of the Impossible. As in the book, the film traces the history of psychical phenomena through the last two centuries of Western thought. The film profiles four thinkers: 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. The film is being produced by Ken Kosub and Jeffrey J. Kripal, and directed by Scott H. Jones.
Partial list of publications
- Kali's Child: The Mystical and the Erotic in the Life and Teachings of Ramakrishna (Chicago, 1995, 1998) ISBN 978-0-226-45377-4
- Roads of Excess, Palaces of Wisdom: Eroticism and Reflexivity in the Study of Mysticism (Chicago, 2001) ISBN 978-0-226-45379-8
- The Serpent's Gift: Gnostic Reflections on the Study of Religion (University of Chicago Press, 2006) ISBN 978-0-226-45381-1
- Esalen: America and the Religion of No Religion (Chicago, 2007) ISBN 978-0-226-45370-5
- Authors of the Impossible: The Paranormal and the Sacred (University of Chicago Press, 2010) ISBN 978-0-226-45386-6
- Mutants and Mystics: Science Fiction, Superhero Comics, and the Paranormal (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2011) ISBN 978-0-226-45383-5
- 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
Articles and other
- 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)
- Ph.D., University of Chicago Divinity School, 1993
- Jeffrey J. Kripal's faculty page at the Department of Religious Studies, Rice University.
- Kurien, Prema A. (2007). "Challenging American Pluralism". A place at the multicultural table. Rutgers University Press. pp. 201–202.
- 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.
- Spivak, Gayatri Chakravorty (December 28, 2007). "Moving Devi". Other Asias. Wiley-Blackwell. pp. 195–197.
- Tyagananda, Swami; Vrajaprana (2010). Interpreting Ramakrishna: Kali's Child Revisited. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass. pp. xvii–xviii. ISBN 978-81-208-3499-6. Unknown parameter
- Catherine Albenese, [untitled review] Journal of American History Mar 2008, 1326 
- "Authors of the Impossible".
- Kripal's blog on Reality Sandwich
- An excerpt from Esalen: America and the Religion of No Religion.
- AUTHORS OF THE IMPOSSIBLE A documentary based on the book by Jeffrey J. Kripal.
- Dr. Kripal's Rice University web page.
- Kali's Child Discussion Site An article by Dr. Kripal regarding the Kali's Child controversy.