Barry McNamara  |   Published April 14, 2022

‘Will College Make You Wise?’

Internationally known speaker John Thatamanil to speak on that topic during College’s Sam Thompson Lecture on April 21.

MONMOUTH, Ill. – Why are we here?

JOHN THATAMANIL: Internationally known speaker to present College's Thompson Lecture via Zoom... JOHN THATAMANIL: Internationally known speaker to present College's Thompson Lecture via Zoom on April 21.That’s a deep philosophical question about mankind’s place in the universe, but it’s also a thought that might cross college students’ minds while they sit in a classroom, listening to a lecture.

Internationally known speaker John Thatamanil will touch on the latter thought when he presents Monmouth College’s annual philosophy-themed Sam Thompson Lecture on April 21.

Titled “Will (or Should) College Make You Wise? On Learning to Learn from Other Religious Traditions,” Thatamanil’s talk will be presented via Zoom at 7 p.m.

“John Thatamanil is one of the leading voices today in comparative theology and philosophical theology,” said Monmouth professor of philosophy and religious studies Dan Ott. “What an honor it is for him to speak to us about the importance of studying religious traditions as part of the undergraduate educational experience.”

An associate professor of theology and world religions at Union Theological Seminary in New York, Thatamanil is the author of Circling the Elephant: A Comparative Theology of Religious Diversity and The Immanent Divine: God, Creation, and the Human Predicament. An East-West Conversation. He is currently working on a book titled Desiring Truth: The Quest for Interreligious Wisdom.

Thatamanil is a past president of the North American Paul Tillich Society and the current chair of the American Academy of Religion’s Theological Education Committee. He teaches a wide variety of courses on subjects such as Hindu religious thought and practice, theologian Paul Tillich and “Double Belonging: On Multiple Religious Participation.” Currently, he is co-teaching a course on nonviolence in Gandhi and King with Cornel West.

An Anglican/Episcopalian who also reads and practices in traditions of Hindu and Buddhist nondualism, Thatamanil is an ordained deacon and the diocesan theologian for The Anglican Diocese of British Columbia.

The Thompson Lecture is in memory of the legendary Monmouth philosophy professor Samuel M. Thompson, who graduated from Monmouth College in 1924. Thompson taught at the College for 46 years after earning his doctorate at Princeton University in 1931.

The Thompson Lecture Series is made possible by Thompson’s daughters, the late Jean Thompson Follett ’51 and Roberta Thompson Fassett ’56, and the College’s Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies.

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