Public Panel: Religion & the Imagination with Jeffrey Kripal, Laurie Patton, and Elliot Wolfson
Panel Discussion with Jeffrey Kripal (Rice University), Laurie Patton (Middlebury College), and Elliot Wolfson (University of California, Santa Barbara).
Elliot Wolfson is a Fellow of the American Academy of Jewish Research and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Marsha and Jay Glazer Endowed Chair in Jewish Studies and Distinguished Professor of Religion at University of California, Santa Barbara. He is the author of many publications including Through the Speculum That Shines: Vision and Imagination in Medieval Jewish Mysticism (1994); Language, Eros, Being: Kabbalistic Hermeneutics and the Poetic Imagination (2005); Alef, Mem, Tau: Kabbalistic Musings on Time, Truth, and Death (2006); Venturing Beyond—Law and Morality in Kabbalistic Mysticism (2006); Open Secret: Postmessianic Messianism and the Mystical Revision of Menahem Mendel Schneerson (2009); A Dream Interpreted within a Dream: Oneiropoiesis and the Prism of Imagination (2011); Giving beyond the Gift: Apophasis and Overcoming Theomania (2014); The Duplicity of Philosophy’s Shadow: Heidegger, Nazism and the Jewish Other (2018); Heidegger and Kabbalah: Hidden Gnosis and the Path of Poiesis (2019); Suffering Time: Philosophical, Kabbalistic, and Ḥasidic Reflections on Temporality (2021).
Jeffrey Kripal holds the J. Newton Rayzor Chair in Philosophy and Religious Thought at Rice University. He is the author of Comparing Religions (Wiley-Blackwell, 2014); Mutants and Mystics: Science Fiction, Superhero Comics, and the Paranormal (Chicago, 2011); Authors of the Impossible: The Paranormal and the Sacred (Chicago, 2010); Esalen: America and the Religion of No Religion (Chicago, 2007); The Serpent’s Gift: Gnostic Reflections on the Study of Religion (Chicago, 2007); Roads of Excess, Palaces of Wisdom: Eroticism and Reflexivity in the Study of Mysticism (Chicago, 2001); and Kali’s Child: The Mystical and the Erotic in the Life and Teachings of Ramakrishna (Chicago, 1995). His present areas of writing and research include the articulation of a New Comparativism within the study of religion that will put “the impossible” back on the table again, a robust and even conversation between the sciences and the humanities, and the mapping of an emergent mythology or “Super Story” within paranormal communities and individual visionaries.
Laurie Patton has served as the 17th president of Middlebury College since 2015, following four years as the Dean of Duke University’s Trinity College of Arts and Sciences and the Robert F. Durden Professor of Religion from 1996-2011 at Emory University, where she also served as the chair of the Religion Department for 7 years, and received the Emory Williams Award for excellence in teaching. She brings her expertise in South Asian history, culture, and religion, having written nine books and over 50 articles in the field, as well as having translated the classical Sanskrit text, the Bhagavad Gita. Her lectures center around interfaith issues and religion and public life. She has consulted with the White House offices on faith-based initiatives and civic engagement. She also served as the president of the American Society for the Study of Religion.