Jeffrey J. Kripal is the J Newton Rayzor Professor of Philosophy and Religious Thought and former Chair of the Department of Religious Studies at Rice University. He received his PhD from the University of Chicago Divinity School, where he worked on his dissertation with Dr. Wendy Doniger. He is the author of seven books: 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); and Kali’s Child: The Mystical and the Erotic in the Life and Teachings of Ramakrishna (Chicago, 1995). Two of these have been optioned for documentaries that are currently in production. His present 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 thinks he may be Spider-Man.
*Note, PhD Candidate Aaron Kemp, who also edits video for the show, was instrumental to the writing process for this particular interview. Thank you Aaron.