Jeffrey J. Kripal holds the J. Newton Rayzor Chair in Philosophy and Religious Thought at Rice University in Houston, Texas. His areas of interest include the re-visioning and renewal of the comparative method in the study of religion, the comparative erotics of mystical literature, American countercultural translations of Asian religious traditions, and the history of Western esotericism from ancient Gnosticism to the New Age. He focuses on the more informal modern world of the "spiritual but not religious,” an increasingly popular orientation that Kripal calls the "religion of no religion."
Kripal is a prominent advocate for including the paranormal in religious studies which he contends is an untapped source of insight into the sacred. He believes that by tracing the history of psychical phenomena through the last two centuries of Western thought we can see its potential centrality to the critical study of religion.
Kripal’s lecture is part of the center’s Maxine and Jonathan Marshall Speaker Series on Religion and Conflict, which honors the lifelong commitment of Maxine and Jonathan Marshall to promoting the arts, education, civil liberties, and world peace.
Comparing Religions (Wiley-Blackwell, 2013)
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)
Kali’s Child: The Mystical and the Erotic in the Life and Teachings of Ramakrishna (Chicago, 1995)