Jeffrey J. Kripal, “The World is One, and the Human is Two: Tentative Conclusions of a Working Historian of Religions”
This presentation will reflect back on a three-decade career in the history of religions in order to speculate about the metaphysical substructure of universal magical phenomena and, deeper still, of comparative mystical literature. It articulates and develops a set of basic working or tentative conclusions around the unity of the world, the duality of human knowing, the paradoxical role of belief, and the empirical-symbolic natures of the empowered imagination. It lands on a basic dual aspect monistic structure with some acknowledged tendencies to migrate in an idealist direction.
- 9:30am - 10:15am
- 10:15am - 11:00am
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.